Being a group health insurance broker can be a very rewarding and lucrative specialization. Health insurance is a major area of concern for business owners, so a broker with the ability to handle their needs and their accounts makes him an indispensable ally. Unlike other areas of the insurance industry, commissions on group health-insurance sales are paid on an "as earned" basis. Every month, when a business owner pays his group health-insurance premium, the broker collects a commission. The result is a relatively predictable income stream for the broker.
Health-insurance brokers need many clients before their commissions are high enough to earn a significant living. Many brokers will struggle for months, if not years, before their monthly commission checks can pay the bills. However, with the proper foundation and marketing techniques, the time it takes to enjoy sufficient compensation can be greatly reduced.
As with all insurance brokering, there is fierce competition for clients. It is essential that the new broker understand this and make a point of doing things differently than everyone else. Setting himself apart from other agents is a major key to success.
Many brokers rely on direct-mail marketing to acquire new clients. This technique has its pros and cons, and every broker will see different results. A significant problem with direct mail marketing is the cost involved with sending out marketing material. With the price of a normal postage stamp constantly rising, it is becoming more and more expensive to contact potential customers through the mail. Hundreds of other companies, group health insurance brokers included, are also using this technique. The result is a significant number of marketing letters that are never opened. In order to truly stand out from the crowd, a broker must learn to use the concept of "lumpy mail" effectively. However, lumpy mail often costs even more than a standard letter, making the initial cost much higher.
It is also difficult to track the success of a direct-mail campaign. A significant time lag exists between the mailing and a deal.
Countless brokers have turned to Internet marketing. Billions of people use the Web every day, giving advertisers potentially unlimited exposure to new customers. But the Internet has become saturated with advertisements of every sort, and people have become almost as numb to online marketing as they have to direct mail. Since most group health-insurance brokers aren't Internet marketing experts, successful client acquisition often requires the hiring of an expensive professional, who still could not guarantee results.
Phoning potential new customers is perhaps the most time-tested and reliable method of gaining new clients. Dozens of calling plans exist with free calls to certain areas of the country. Voice over IP is also a growing method of utilizing the web for virtually free telephone calls. With the right techniques, telemarketers can successfully schedule appointments with local business owners on a consistent basis. Many group health-insurance brokers hesitate to call businesses out of fear of rejection. By getting past this fear and pushing through residual procrastination, a broker can fill his calendar with appointments. If the fear is just too strong to overcome, hiring a professional telemarketing firm or individual to work on a performance-only basis can yield great results.
Because group health insurance is very important to businesses, many owners are more likely to give the broker a chance to speak. Simply calling to offer a free analysis and cost comparison of an existing group health-insurance plan will result in a good percentage of business owners agreeing to a short visit. There is also no time lag between the initiation of the process and the ability to examine results. If callers are unable to successfully set appointments, it is also very easy to make changes to the calling script and measure new results almost immediately.
The most important aspect of succeeding in this business is great customer service, which simply means doing what you say you will do. In any aspect of an employee benefits organization, if a broker or his marketing pieces make a promise to deliver certain products or services, it must be done. There is nothing business owners hate more than having their time wasted, and nothing they like more than getting what they were promised. If a broker creates a marketing piece or telemarketing script that includes statements describing what makes him different from his peers, he must be able to demonstrate those differences on a consistent basis in order to attract and retain group health insurance clients.
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