Serious question: why don’t you spend as much time on retention as you do on sales?

Agents who have a retention program are rare. Most work from the position that their clients love them, won’t leave them, know how to contact them and will contact them if they need anything. In reality, we get clients calling our office all the time because they lost your contact info. Clients don’t want to “bother” you so they call the company instead. Very few companies refer the client back to you.

It is easier to retain a current relationship than go find a new one. It is also easier to sell another policy to an existing client than to pursue a new lead. Yet, agents would rather spend money on leads than work a retention plan. We’ll help you change that with four steps.

Step One

Simple retention ideas are well known but universally most agents STOP at only sending a birthday card. That’s good, but that is only step #1. And most agent don’t even send a birthday card.

I learned the power of the birthday card from an older agent when I first started. He was one of the top annuity sellers and sent birthday cards to all of his Medicare clients. Here was his secret: In each card, he put 3 business cards and wrote “I know you have my card, but these are for you to share with your friends and family who may have lazy money sitting around in bank CDs. I’d love to help them” Then he wrote PS at the bottom. “If you need help with your _______ give me a call. I’m always here to help.” That little, soft ask generated dental, life and other sales each year, just because he mentioned it in the cards. Agents that do send birthday cards, just sign their name—which is a lost opportunity. I’ve had so many clients tell me that I was the only one to send them a card on their birthday. It’s powerful, and more powerful if you do it strategically by always including a soft ask.

Step Two

The second step in your retention plan is to plan a call out to all of your clients without any type of “ask.” Catch them when there is no problem with their policy, when rate increases are behind or far ahead of you, and when you don’t want to pitch anything to them. Basically, call them socially just to check in. “I just want to see how you are doing” and make some small talk. Most clients are very receptive to this and while some do bring up issues or needs that they have, most are refreshed to talk to you in a low-stress situation when there is no pressure to make an appointment or choose a new plan.

It’s easy and you can farm out these types of calls. “Sylvia asked me to call you and check in to see how your plans are doing for you and to see if you need anything?” Plus, this is one time when you could use ringless voicemail or an auto dialer to do the work for you. Normally I wouldn’t leave messages, but it’s still powerful to leave a voice message that you were just checking in. Top agents farm this out or make X calls per week, by setting aside time for retention. Some shops hire staff just to work retention—it’s that important.

Step Three

Step #3 is to reach your clients in many different forms. Send a quarterly newsletter via email (ask us about our service where we do this for your client base if you have 100+ client emails) and send a postcard pre AEP urging them to call you for their annual checkup. Before the hordes of competitors reach out to your clients and before the TV airwaves are clogged with ads from the carriers (again, your competitors) remind your clients in a postcard that you offer all the available plans in their area and can help them in person, over the phone or via email this season.

Step Four

The fourth step is to host a client appreciation breakfast or lunch. This is not possible if your clients are national, but when you do have enough clients centralized, this is a great way to get in front of your clients and give back without asking for anything in return. Give them a meal and some fun content. If you have attended Gordon Marketing meetings, you know we specialize in EduTainment. We educate on the topic at hand but make it fun with jokes and videos. Make people want to come back because it was enjoyable. Medicare rules can be a downer, so don’t let it.

The Fifth and Final Step

Finally, reach out to Gordon Marketing if you need any help implementing these ideas. Our quarterly newsletters can take some of the work off your plate. We also have years and years of experience with all things retention and Edutainment. Our team is always happy to help.

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Sylvia Gordon and her sister, Rebecca, run Gordon Marketing, one of the nation’s largest Medicare FMO/NMA offices. They have a team of over 100 that train and support independent insurance agents in all 50 states. You can find Sylvia’s weekly posts on LinkedIn and the sisters Youtube channel posts 2 training videos each week. Contact Sylvia at sgordon@gordonmarketing.com or 800-388-8342.

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