Consumers come in all shapes and sizes, and as a result you need different strategies for selling to different consumers. For instance, some people understand the need for health insurance and have plenty of funds to buy it. While they may be a minority, they’re the type of clients that immediately understand the value of having health insurance, and these types of clients are more likely to result in a simple sale for you. But, many other sales take a bit more effort.

Here is, what we believe are the three most common types of prospects for you as a broker:

  1. People with excess funds who don’t realize they need insurance
  2. People who want insurance but don’t have excess funds
  3. People who don’t want and can’t afford insurance

Prospects that fall into the third category are the hardest sale. They’re the group who are more likely to be influenced by the individual mandate and buy insurance only if they qualify for a subsidy that will cover the majority of their insurance cost. Even with the premium tax credit, many of these folks still fail to pay their portion of the monthly premium and end up terminating their plans. This can be very frustrating scenario for you.

The other two categories require very different sales strategies, and depending on your approach, you may find yourself targeting one group more often than the other.

People with funds who don’t think they need insurance

Many people need insurance because they have assets to protect or have ongoing health conditions that could result in big medical bills. They have the means and can afford the coverage they need, but they don’t consider health insurance to be a priority or aren’t sure it’s really worth the cost.

Selling to this group of prospects can also be very frustrating for you because what should be an easy sale is anything but. To close the deal, you have to rely on your sales skills. You’ll try to explain, not only the available coverage options but also the need for coverage in a way your clients will relate; your job is to show these folks the value of buying something they think, they don’t need. That can be hard work.

People who want insurance but can’t afford it

At the other end of the spectrum are people who understand the need for health insurance but don’t’ think they can afford all the coverage they need. For instance, someone with ongoing medical conditions might need monthly prescription drugs and have a list of providers they don’t want to give up. They understand the need for health insurance and would prefer a comprehensive plan with a broad provider network.  Except, they may find that the only plan they can afford is a more restrictive network HMO plan that excludes some, or all, of their current doctors and has larger  deductibles to pay before the insurance coverage jumps in to help cover the cost of care and the ongoing prescriptions.

With these clients, you need to pull out your consultative skills. You have to search for creative solutions that give our clients the protection they need at a price they can afford. Of course, this is easier said than done because it usually requires you to piece together several different types of coverage rather than giving the client everything they need in a single health plan.

It’s worth noting that you can’t always give clients everything they want, so you need to be prepared to be honest with them. For instance, a resourceful agent might be able to pair a high deductible health plan with supplemental plan that helps cover the deductible expenses and a telemedicine benefit that gives the member up-front access to doctor services. The trouble comes when the client’s favorite doctor doesn’t participate in that individual health insurance network and there’s nothing you can do to change that. In this case, you need to put on your consultant hat and explain to the client why  that particular plan fits their needs the most, even though their doctor doesn’t participate in the network; and sell the benefits of the plan and why it’s the better option for them.

Similarly, brokers who take a consultative approach need to examine all of their client’s insurance needs when making a recommendation. In addition to health coverage, clients may need something to protect their income and help pay the bills in the event of an accident, extended illness, or in the unfortunate event of a death.  This may require some creativity if the client has only a limited amount or resources to spend on the multiple types of insurance available; brokers must be good at stretching a dollar as far as it can go.

All of the Above

The truth is sometimes we’re lucky enough to find an informed client with enough funds to buy the coverage we recommend and all we have to do is make the sale. However, other times we have to dig a little deeper into our creative sides and remind some clients why they signed up for health insurance and the importance of paying their premiums on time to keep the coverage that protects them when the unexpected happens.  There are also times when we need to put on our analytical and consultative hats and work within our client’s limited budget to offer them the coverage they can afford and need to protect themselves and their families from those unexpected costs. No matter the client, your job today is more difficult than ever, but at the same time, what you offer as an agent is more valued than ever. It’s good to remember that. Without knowledgeable agents to guide consumers in the search for health insurance, disability insurance, life insurance, and more, many of our clients would go without the protection they need and find themselves in the not-so-good situations. You have an important job. We at AHCP salute you and want to do everything we can to help you succeed, so give us a call today and let us know what we can do to make your job easier.