A slight variation of the old joke goes, what’s the difference between a recession and a depression. The answer is simple, when my portfolio is down 30% it’s a depression; when yours is down it’s only a recession.
Ask most Medicare eligible seniors and chances are you’ll hear worries about their current financial situation. And while consumer confidence rose for a second straight month in September, the nation’s collective mood is concerned.
Markets rise and fall. Recessions come and then they pass. Consumer confidence measures a rather specific set of attitudes. It does not specifically measure attitudes exclusively among seniors who often are on fixed retirement incomes. For many of them, concerns about a future recession remain high. For you, lessons from the past can help you navigate your way to success during this period of uncertainly.
Capitalize On Price Sensitivity
Whether a gallon of gas costs $2.99, what I just paid to fill up outside the Raleigh Durham Airport, or $6.49 which is the cost currently in Los Angeles where I live, the vast majority of individuals are price sensitive.
This becomes especially true during periods when prices rise. With Medicare Open Enrollment about to begin, expect the television airwaves to be filled with even more ads promoting $0 premium plan options. Mailboxes are similarly being filled with direct mail campaigns highlighting options to save, reduce costs and get more for less.
The typical independent agent or broker cannot compete with the hundreds of millions being spent by insurers and call center operators to generate calls. But that doesn’t mean throwing in the towel.
A recommended strategy would be amplifying their saving message with information that shows ways you can help consumers save even more. For example, pointing out those costs typically not highlighted in the $0-cost ads or describing common situations where a no-cost plan actually costs more will enhance your value as a local cost-conscious Medicare expert.
While Open Enrollment focuses on the millions with Medicare coverage in place, don’t overlook prices sensitivity as a factor impacting the 11,000 who turn 65 daily. A recent report from the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance found that turning-65 seniors are favoring lower-cost Medicare Supplement plan options.
Invest In Marketing When Others Shy Away
When times get financially tough, many naturally worry and, as a result, cut one of the more discretionary expenses – marketing. However, few independent agents are using paid media to generate new prospects. At best, agents are using direct mail.
For independent agents and brokers, much of what you can do to gain local exposure will have no or little cost. While greater scrutiny is being placed on the marketing of Medicare products, this is mostly the result of concern surrounding those cable television ads.
An independent agent or broker can focus on their presence as a local expert who can compare and evaluate all the savings opportunities. Using your social media to undertake no-cost messaging such as “Let me help you understand which options are really advantageous to you and which are outright come-ons.”
Ever wonder why television ad messaging changes? It’s because seniors tire of the same-old messaging and advertisers realize that focusing on current attitudes can increase response rates. Those undertaking direct mail solicitations should search out newer messaging that has proven to be impactful in the current environment.
Go Where Consumers Go
Seniors will continue to increasingly use the Internet to find information. Be certain they can find you as a local Medicare insurance agent. If you have a Linkedin profile, make sure it contains some references to your 2023 Medicare insurance expertise.
If you have never set up a Google My Business profile, do so now. Make sure you are listed on key directories used by consumers to find local Medicare insurance agents near me. Website traffic to the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance’s online directory grows significantly during AEP as consumers seek local experts they can speak and meet with.
Undertaking some of these strategies will ensure that you will not only weather the current economic times, you’ll enjoy long-term benefits.