This is the second in a series of four articles outlining a seven-step “Emergency Survival Plan” you can deploy in your health insurance practice. In the first article we covered two key tactics: First, how to get a crystal-clear picture of your ideal client, so you know who you want to attract, and second, how to offer compelling information to your target audience, so they recognize that you are the best guide to help them navigate the problems, pain and predicaments related to selling health insurance.

Survival tactic No. 3: Let current clients tell your story

Imagine with me for a minute: Suppose you saw your doctor on T.V. telling people all about his wonderful practice. Would that give you a feeling that this is who you can trust with your health? Probably not. In fact, you probably chose your doctor because someone recommended them to you.

Now, suppose someone mentions what a great time they had with their friends last Saturday at a new steakhouse in town. Would you be interested in checking it out? You probably would. Hearing someone recommend a place or product un-prompted is way more convincing than a dozen display ads the restaurant may have posted itself.

Here’s the thing: It’s much easier to believe another person’s recommendation for a business or a professional than it is to hear it directly from that professional or business. Deep down, we all know this to be true.

So how do you put this principle into action in your own practice?

Make it easy for prospective new clients to read, watch and listen to testimonials from the people who have already received great service from you. With the wealth of available video, audio and web technology, you can collect a treasure chest full of great stories from your current clients.

In fact, you don’t even have to use the latest technology. If video, audio and web tech is not your thing, either a) hire it out or b) start with something very simple, like a feedback request email template that you send out to clients once they’re happily involved with your products. It will take maybe 15 minutes each day to send, receive and catalog responses to your feedback requests.

Now you may be thinking, “What if my prospect isn’t happy for some reason?” In truth, that’s some of the best feedback you can get. For one thing, it means this person still wants you to help them. For another, it gives you the opportunity to hone your service, helping you become a professional that people really do rave about.

And you will get positive stories, too. When you do, catalog them by type of problem solved and put them everywhere in your marketing (brochures, business cards, web pages, emails). You can even set up a toll-free number people can call to listen to what others have to say about your service. Do you think that might eliminate any competition in your prospects’ minds? Darn right it will!

Action step No. 1: Create your feedback request template. To do this, simply write a brief, friendly note thanking your client for doing business with you and asking for their feedback on the experience. If you can add an incentive such as a give card or optional donation to a charity, you will get a better response; we all like incentives.

Keep your questions simple and direct. For example, you might ask: What could I have done differently to have provided a better experience for you? Why did you choose to do business with me, and what do you think I do best? On a scale of 1 – 10, how likely are you to refer my services to a friend or business associate?

Survival tactic No. 4: Position yourself as the obvious expert

This tactic is all about developing your “unique selling proposition” or USP. You must be able to answer the question, “Why should I choose you above every one of your competitors?”

How do you do this? First, think about your many unique qualities. This alone will plant the seeds for growing your USP.

There are two ways you can make yourself unique. The first is to highlight your unique personality. The second is to focus on your specialty, sharing all the ways you dominate your chosen niche market.

To start, let’s look at method No. 1. Believe it or not, we like dealing with other human beings. Let me ask you this: would you be more attracted to a standard, shiny, corporate-looking brochure or one that has pictures and stories of someone’s life – details about their dog or cat or family or last fishing trip? I think the answer for all of us is easy. Never forget that you are in the entertainment business when it comes to attracting new business. Think of your most human qualities, the most important things in your life, and find a way to convey this to your customers. This can be your USP

The other way to develop your USP is to specialize in one particular thing, to become the go-to guy or gal in one area. This could be special products for seniors or dental plans for thirty-somethings or even a particular form of customer service, such as having a 24/7 Free Recorded Message Hotline, where people can get all their questions answered.

Action step No. 2: Block out 30 minutes and write down five stories you can “show and tell” about yourself that prospects might be curious about. Think of these as “human interest stories.” They don’t have to be glamorous or authoritative; in fact, the more human you appear, the more endearing (in most cases!).

Action step No. 3: Block out another 30 minutes and list 10 areas of interest to your prospects in which you have some degree of knowledge or expertise. Then, create a plan to research all you can about that one area of interest. For example, you might schedule 15 minutes a day for the next two weeks as your study time (early mornings work for some; late evenings are best for others) and make that your home study time. Once your knowledge base is developed, write about the topic in a blog, public speech, newsletter, email series, magazine or any other visible forum. Just share what you know. Remember: you don’t have to know everything; just a little more than your reader!

Follow these three action plans, and you’ll be well on your way to establishing yourself and your practice as an industry leader. Next month, we’ll talk about how to systemize your follow-up, a practice that will help you stay in touch with a growing number of prospects and ensures that you’re there when your client is ready to make a buying decision. Stay tuned!

Fred Adams is a speaker and sales trainer, and serves as National Sales Manager for HSA for America. To get more information and resources for building your health insurance practice, visit www.HealthInsuranceMentor.com.

For more exclusive health insurance coverage, visit ASJ’s Health Insurance Resource Center.

Past health insurance stories from ASJ:

  1. The Emergency Survival Plan for Health Insurance Specialists
  2. 5 Myths About Health Insurance Exchanges
  3. Texas Employers Skimp on Health Care Coverage
  4. Health Care Under President Perry? A Look at the Future.
  5. The Brave New World of Health Insurance