Make more money and have more fun by specializing

We’ve all heard that you can’t be everything to everyone. Nonetheless, some brokers try. This is especially true early in our careers – if a client asks if we sell a particular product, the answer is never “no,” right? We say yes, we can help them out, and then we scramble to figure out what we need to do.

That’s the very reason that some group agents dabble in individual or dabble in Medicare – because we had an opportunity, and instead of passing on the lead to someone who specializes in those products, we decided to figure it out ourselves. It doesn’t mean we like doing it, or even that we’re especially good at it – we just do it if somebody asks, and then we hope they don’t need any follow-up support.

As we enter 2014 and the full implementation of health reform, things will be a lot different than early on in our careers. And the good news is that it will give us the opportunity to do the things we really like – the opportunity to specialize.

For instance, some agents are really good at consulting with employers. And there are plenty of employers out there that will be looking for solutions – solutions that may involve dropping the group health coverage altogether so the employees can access the government subsidies.

And other brokers really like working with individuals. Agents who currently specialize in Medicare products fall in this category, so they should be good at helping people enroll in the subsidized plans.

Most agents aren’t good at both, however. They type of agents who like working with employers generally don’t like meeting with people one-on-one, and vice versa. And, since doing one-on-one enrollments will take up time that could be spent meeting with other employers, this may not be the best use of time for agents who prefer the consulting side of the business.

Whatever you like, there will be plenty of opportunity to go around. If you prefer working with individuals, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding agents who will want to work with you. And if you prefer working with employers, it may be wise to refer the “second sale” – the employee enrollment – to another agent. In either event, you’ll probably have to give up a cut of your commission, but the opportunity to get in front of more clients while specializing in what we like will be well worth it.

How can HPA help?

For those agents who would rather meet with employers, our call center, Velapoint, can reach out to those employees by phone to get them set up with a subsidized plan as well as any ancillary products they’re interested in. This back-end support can make you a lot more efficient and allow you to spend your time working with employer clients.

For anyone who’s not currently working with the call center, it’s designed for products you cannot or do not currently sell; opportunities that are larger than you can logistically handle; and multi-state opportunities that are logistically challenging.

Health reform offers agents a huge opportunity, but we can’t continue to be everything to everyone. We need to work smarter.

Download the Private Exchanges 101: The Essentials on Understanding, Using, and Selling Them whitepaper now and see how you can take advantage of this opportunity to help your employer groups save money while offering more options for their employees.

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