Have you considered cross-selling insurance products? Learn what you need to get started. In this article, we discuss:
- How cross-selling insurance products can increase brokers’ revenue.
- How to add supplemental health insurance to product portfolios.
- How to create opportunities for cross-selling supplemental plans.
- How to successfully close a sale.
How do Brokers Increase Revenue By Cross-Selling Insurance?
In order to increase their income by cross-selling insurance, some brokers purchase leads as a valuable way to boost their clientele numbers. However, some agents do not take full advantage of their lead investments. In fact, some brokers aren’t getting the full benefit of revenue opportunity from their existing clients. This is because not all agents cross-sell insurance, such as ancillary products. By cross-selling insurance products, brokers can:
- Expand their portfolio.
- Extend their sales year.
- Improve client relationships.
You may have decided to expand your portfolio by branching into the senior, group business, or individual markets—or all three. By including ancillary products in your portfolio, you can sell supplemental insurance to compliment your clients’ primary medical plans. For example, ancillary insurance product offerings can include these types of coverage:
- Critical Illness
- Final Expense
- Fixed Indemnity
- Hospital Confinement
The relevance of these products will change as your clients age. Each life event brings the need for different coverage levels and, sometimes, even different types of coverage. When you cross-sell insurance, you expand your portfolio, while creating a lifelong relationship with your clients.
How do Brokers Expand Their Portfolios for Cross-Selling Insurance Benefits?
Like any health-related product, there are several steps you need to follow before cross-selling insurance products. Here’s how to cross-sell insurance:
- Collect prelicensing materials from the company. A brokerage firm or FMO can help with this process. This information will help you study for any licensing exams you will need to take.
- Take your licensing exam. State exams are required in order to sell life insurance, and you may need to pay an exam fee.
- Collect a certificate of completion, which you will receive after passing the exam. With this certificate, you can apply for your license.
- Submit additional state-required identification. For example, some states may ask for your fingerprints.
- Finally, you can apply for your license and to the company you would like to contract with. In order to apply for your license, download an online license application from your state department of insurance. Fill out the form, including any requested forms of identification, and submit it electronically. You may have to pay an administrative fee. Your license will be delivered by mail.
Extend Your Sales Year
Your clients can enroll in supplemental plans at any time during the year. This means you could cross-sell insurance after the excitement of the Open Enrollment and annual enrollment seasons are over. It also gives you the opportunity to check in with your clients to ask about any gaps in their coverage. These unforeseen gaps could be a great opportunity to introduce (or reintroduce) supplemental health insurance plans that could fulfill their needs, providing coverage and security in areas where their current insurance plans don’t apply.
Improve Client Relationships
Cross-selling insurance products can help improve your client relationships. These products increase your contact with clients throughout the year. Think about it this way: The right plan can help them through a financially difficult time brought on by an unexpected medical issue, which can be emotionally straining. Happy clients will come back to you year after year, especially when they know you’ve done all you can to protect their physical and financial wellness. A happy client may also refer their friends to you—their trusted broker.
What Are Some Cross-Selling Insurance Techniques?
Outside of the Open Enrollment Period, it can be hard to interact with potential enrollees. There are several cross-selling insurance techniques brokers should attempt. Talk with your clients about your expanded portfolio during your first meeting, after selling them a major medical health insurance plan, or during a policy checkup. Also, reach out to your existing clients when they hit certain life milestones, such as welcoming a grandchild.
During the First Interaction
The first time you are introduced to a client, you have a great opportunity to mention all of your product offerings. Preparing a brief explanation of your products, so you don’t overwhelm anyone with too much information, can spark the prospective client’s interest. If you can set up an appointment to explain in further detail, you may open the door to a successful sale.
After (and During) the Sale of a Major Medical Health Insurance Plan
If you are already selling a major medical plan, cross-selling insurance products should become a routine part of your sales pitch. Observations or questions such as, “I notice this plan does not cover dental,” or “Do you also need a vision plan?” can open the door to discovering gaps in coverage your client may not have been aware of. Simply asking questions, especially as you get to know a client, can both increase your sales and improve your client’s overall coverage.
Listen for an Opening Clue
Successfully cross-selling insurance products can also come down to listening closely. Offhanded comments that your clients may casually mention could be clues that tie directly to a specific plan. These clues can be sales opportunities for you and help provide a financial (and potentially emotional) security net for your client’s family.
Check in With Existing Clients
Contacting your clients before and after the enrollment period allows you to do two things: assess customer satisfaction and open a dialogue. During a check-in, you can ask your clients how their coverage is working, find out whether the costs are manageable, and learn the answers to personal questions. In order to cross-sell insurance, you will need to note their responses to coverage and costs as well as those about the health and size of their family.
This information is beneficial in several ways. First, you can note whether your clients can afford supplemental coverage. Cross-selling insurance products may be easier for an agent if a client can spare a small amount out of his or her budget. Supplemental plans tend to be low-cost, and the coverage they provide can be a major selling point. Second, you can note which plans may benefit each client best.
During a Policy Checkup
Keeping in touch with your clients throughout the year can have several benefits. You can ensure they are getting the coverage they need, confirm that they understand the benefits they’re receiving, and verify that they are continuing to pay their premiums. This is a great way to improve your client-broker relationship, and doing so can also improve your chance of selling more coverage.
When cross-selling insurance products, policy checkups also give you a chance to mention plans that may benefit your clients.
Don’t Miss Out on Moments of Celebration
Birthdays, engagements, college acceptances, and even completed home improvements are all causes for celebration. Each of these life events can bring on plenty of congratulations from the community. As part of individual communities, brokers can create opportunities to cross-sell insurance by sending out simple congratulations for these occasions and others. These communications (such as email, phone calls, or traditional mail) can also include mentions of supplemental products to match a client’s new stage in life.
After a Major Life Event
Certain supplemental products become more vital as your clients age and reach individual milestones. Keeping track of these changes, and opening a dialogue when they happen, will benefit both you and your clients.
Brokers can create opportunities to cross-sell insurance by sending out simple congratulations for events such as birthdays and the births of grandchildren. These communications (such as email, phone calls, or traditional mail) can also include mentions of supplemental products to match a client’s new stage in life. For example, new grandparents may need to consider new or modified life insurance policies. Aging clients may need to re-evaluate their life insurance or purchase long-term care insurance. And everyone needs dental cleanings each year.
How do Brokers Manage Cross-Selling Benefits at Events?
Whether you have an office or rent a venue, hosting events is a great way to initiate conversation about your product portfolio. Here are a few events brokers could host with small or large budgets:
- Educational seminars
- Outdoor cookouts
- Free food or drink stands (such as lemonade, hot chocolate, or roasted nuts)
- Small prize raffles
Be Sure to Participate in Other Community Events
Agents should also consider participating in community-sponsored events. Attending local fairs, clubs, and chamber of commerce events can introduce new clients to your business and more coverage options.
Social Media Can Help With Communication
Use your social media accounts to communicate to your clients and any potential enrollees. Brokers can cross-sell insurance through social media by posting about the benefits of each plan, potential savings, and even the low cost. Also, social media allows brokers to share any events they are hosting or participating in, which may attract more attendees.
Closing the Sale
Building trust, asking questions, and listening are general strategies that can help you with cross-selling insurance products year-round. Here are a few more tips that may help you close those sales.
Mention Potential and Actual Savings
There are two ways to approach cross-selling insurance products through savings:
- Discussing savings in the face of a steep medical bill. You have the opportunity to compare the cost of a supplemental plan to the cost of potential medical bills. The cost of a sudden cavity, an unexpected accident, or an unforeseen illness that is not covered by health insurance is not hard for a client to imagine.
- Talking about savings reallocated from health insurance spending. This may be more effective if you have just sold a health insurance plan that costs the client less than their previous plan and still meets their needs. Suggest that the savings gained from the difference between plan costs can be used to build up the client’s coverage using supplemental products.
One difficulty you may encounter while cross-selling insurance products is misunderstandings about how they work. Clients may think supplemental coverage (such as life or critical illness insurance) is unaffordable or just plain unnecessary. To dispel clients’ misconceptions, learn the ins and outs of each product you are trying to cross-sell. Having a deep understanding of your products, the price of those products, and the costs they mitigate will be an enormous help to you.
Utilize Available Technology
Innovative technology can be used to help brokers in efficiently quoting and cross-selling insurance products. Many brokerage firms, like Excelsior, have access to technology and tools that help brokers increase their revenue while streamlining the sales process. From quoting to building proposals, the right technology can help brokers grow their business. Each brokerage’s technology differs, so it’s helpful to engage with a company to learn about what they have to offer.
Remember: Medicare Has Strict Rules, Even for Supplemental Products
When it comes to cross-selling insurance products, Medicare has strict rules about how brokers can interact with Medicare recipients. First, agents must follow a Scope of Appointment (SOA). If an enrollee is curious about a product but they did not indicate their interest initially, a broker must ask the enrollee to fill out a second SOA form. Additionally, agents cannot discuss or market supplemental products as if they are a part of Medicare. It is the broker’s responsibility to make a clear, distinct separation between supplemental products, Medicare products, and Medigap products.
To find more Medicare Marketing Guidelines that will affect cross-selling insurance products to Medicare recipients, visit our online resource center.
Excelsior Is Here to Help
Cross-selling insurance products can increase your portfolio, boost your year-round sales opportunities, and strengthen your client relationships. Plus, ancillary insurance products have such a broad range that they apply to every major market. At Excelsior, we want to help you succeed in cross-selling. Contact us today to learn about compliantly cross-selling insurance techniques, our regional sales director support, and our proprietary quoting and proposal technology.