It seems like summer is already winding down and AEP is once again right around the corner. September is an important month for kicking off your pre-AEP outreach. Timing is crucial for both retaining current clients and prospecting for new ones.
Your initial focus should be on retaining your current clients. You worked hard for their business; now, they are a source of unlimited renewal income. Be proactive in reaching out to lower the risk of losing them to another agent. Although you should always be pursuing new clients, successful agents know their business is built through retention and referrals. They also know it is easier and more cost effective to keep an existing customer than to acquire a new one.
Client Retention Letters
September is an ideal time to send retention letters to your current clients, before carriers start sending marketing materials out on October 1st. Your letter can have a multi-purpose approach:
- Tell your clients to be on the lookout for their carrier ANOC letter in September. These letters will notify them of any changes to their benefits for 2024.
- Remind clients that AEP is from October 15th to December 7th. You are here to help them review their existing plan, evaluate any changes, and help them find a new plan, if necessary.
- Ask clients to schedule a benefits review with you after October 1st.
- Show your appreciation and thank clients for their business.
To stay compliant with CMS rules, you must not use these letters to prospect or sell. You mustn’t discuss plan details or set appointments prior to October 1st.
Your existing customers are your best source of referrals. When you reach out to them prior to AEP, let them know that you welcome any referrals.
If you receive referrals, CMS compliance rules state that you cannot cold call or text these prospective enrollees: you must secure a permission to contact or wait for the prospects to contact you first. One option is to provide your clients with your business card to pass on to referrals. Be sure to send a thank-you card to any client that refers potential business to you.
Prospecting for New Clients
Once you have completed your pre-AEP outreach to existing clients, start planning events to generate leads. Finalize dates and secure venues for seminars and educational events that will take place after October 1st. Prepare to put your marketing campaigns into action. Consider what types of events and marketing have led to good results in the past to invest your time and effort wisely.
Remember, new CMS rules (effective September 30, 2023) state that agents must not distribute SOAs or set appointments at Medicare educational events. You can distribute permission to contact forms, business reply cards, and your business cards. A marketing event must not occur within 12 hours of an educational event at the same site.
Marketing and Sales Materials
If you have not done so already, pre-order your supplies and marketing materials to hit the ground running. These supplies include business cards, flyers, invitations to events, direct mail pieces, and anything else you need for AEP. Your competitors will be flooding the market with information starting October 1st – don’t start late. Update your social media accounts with relevant AEP-related content.
Make sure you stay CMS compliant with all your outreach efforts, marketing materials, and events. Breaking Medicare’s marketing rules has consequences and could put your whole career in jeopardy.
Make yourself accessible and easy to reach for current and prospective clients. Be quick to respond to any inquiries and follow up in a timely manner. This is key to high customer satisfaction and yet another way you can distinguish yourself from your competition.
The experienced team at PTT Financial is here to support you through AEP and help you achieve your goals. Contact us today.