News and views to improve the strength and vigor of all your direct response marketing activity.

Looking to turn more leads into sales? Answer these 4 essential questions…

It’s back: crunch time preparing for Medicare’s Annual Election (Enrollment) Period. Every direct marketer is challenged to turn leads into sales. When you are selling Medicare plans, this step (like much else in this category) gets complicated. Pulling off a successful AEP is a direct marketing crucible that refines disciplines that can benefit every marketer.

Like all Medicare marketers, by now you are knee deep in acquisition activities for that seven-week period when the lion’s share of all annual sales are made. Products have been filed. New creative is being reviewed. Media recommendations are being developed. Everyone is in high gear to make the October 1 go-live date.

With all the focus on getting tactics deployed in the mail, on TV, online, and in the newspaper, have you neglected to carefully check what happens to all those prospects when they do respond? All too often, the prospect experience doesn’t match the expectations set by the acquisition materials. Ask yourself, and your team these questions:

1. Have You Reviewed and Updated Your Phone Sales Scripts ... Recently?

Often, these have been around for years and no longer match the promises made in the upfront materials. “Call now to get your free information kit.” “Call now to talk to an advisor.” “Call now to come to a meeting.” Has your call to action changed over the years, while your outdated legacy script starts out fulfilling a promise made in past materials?

2. Does the Link to Your Website or Landing Page Truly “Link” to Your Marketing?

When prospects follow the link — from a display ad, mailing, or TV spot — do they immediately land on the most appropriate content? Does the section of your website bring them the information they’re expecting? Or are they dropped on the home page where they’ll be seeking to find what they’re looking for? Better yet, drive them to a dedicated landing page that tracks click sources, measures success, and provides a convenient, focused space where they’ll find everything you promised.

3. How About Your “Salesman/Woman in an Envelope” – Your Fulfillment Kit?

Ah, the Medicare Pre-Enrollment kit. Does it just get updated without a critical examination of how it works for the prospect when they are sitting at their kitchen table today? Does the envelope still say, “Easy Enrollment,” but when opened materials spill out like the guts of a Sunday newspaper? (If so, that’s overwhelming, not easy.) Maybe it is time to bring out your Marie Kondo book to de-clutter and reorganize.

4. What Tools Do Your Brokers and/or Agents Have To Help You with Sales?

When was the last time you audited and updated the materials field sales folks use to sell? Are they pieces left over from other acquisition activities? Or are they designed to work in the “real world” for the people in the field whose needs are very different?

The cost of procuring leads is expensive (whether for AEP or in general). Each one is “for closers.” Have you given your closers (whether they are inside, outside, or in an envelope) the very best opportunity to close that sale? Put on your prospect hat now while there is still time to make changes and follow the sales process through their eyes. You’ll be glad you did.

Competition is looking to be high this fall so we all need to stay sharp! Good luck everyone!!

P.S. — A Final Box to Check

Don’t forget to give both your phone and field agents some prepared words about the new ACA legislation and its lack of effect on Medicare (so far). Seniors will be worried even though it doesn’t relate to them. They see all the headlines and controversy about health insurance and they worry. Take the time to prepare some comforting words. That gesture will go a long way in establishing you as a company they can trust.