You know the importance of building your Medicare business during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). What if I told you building your Medicare business post-AEP is equally important?

Now that it’s the off-season, you actually have the time to work on expanding your reach and attracting new clients. So, how can you keep the cold winter temperatures that mark the beginning of the lock-in period from stunting your Medicare business’ growth? Turn up the heat with these four surefire ways to keep things warm through winter.

1. Continue Selling Medicare Products

Just because the busy season is over doesn’t mean you have to put selling Medicare products on ice. There are certain Medicare products you can keep relying on to kindle your business post-AEP.

Special Needs Plans (SNPs), for instance, open the door to an abundance of sales opportunities. These unique Medicare Advantage (MA) products are available to individuals who are dual-eligible or those who qualify based on a chronic illness or institutional care. You can sell them post-AEP because those eligible for an SNP have a Special Election Period (SEP) to join one.

There are certain Medicare products you can keep relying on to kindle your business post-AEP.

Medicare Supplements (Med Supps) are also particularly valuable to have in your portfolio during lock-in. Why? First, Med Supps can be sold year-round. And second, people who are unhappy with their new MA plan can request to disenroll and join Medicare Parts A and B during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP), which runs from January 1 to February 14. These individuals may want a Med Supp policy to fill the coverage gaps of Part A and B.

What’s more, you can also continue to sell MA and/or Part D plans outside of AEP by utilizing SEPs. There are many ways Medicare eligibles can qualify for an MA or Part D SEP. Just ensure your clients know to let you know if they experience any of the qualifying life events so you can help them determine if they can, and should, switch plans.

2. Sell Non-Medicare Products

It sounds a little counterintuitive, but selling non-Medicare products can also spark Medicare sales and help you maintain a thriving business in the senior market during the next few months.

If you limit yourself to selling only Medicare-related plans, you’re limiting your clientele. Selling ancillary products, life insurance, and annuities allows you to connect and form relationships with more shoppers, who you may be able to help find Medicare coverage later. It also opens the door for you to receive more referrals from satisfied clients.

Moreover, cross-selling non-Medicare products to clients you’ve already helped into Medicare plans could help you retain those clients and build their loyalty to you. By becoming more of a one-stop shop for your clients, you add value to your business.

By becoming more of a one-stop shop for your clients, you add value to your business.

Shoppers tend to stick with businesses who they feel treat them well. According to Genesys’ 2007 Genesys USA Consumer Survey, 48 percent of consumers report that customer service has the largest impact on their loyalty to a company.

3. Follow-up with Prospects and Clients

Ever hear the old saying, “The fortune is in the follow-up?” It didn’t become an old saying for nothing. Following up with prospects and clients post-AEP is another way you can fan the fire to keep your Medicare business nice and toasty this time of year.

In their 2012 Life Insurance Awareness Month Fact Sheet, LIMRA states 78 percent of shoppers who had a previous relationship with their sales representative bought life insurance. However, the organization also states that 35 percent of prospects who didn’t buy life insurance reported they were still shopping and sales representatives should have followed up with them.

Follow-up calls or appointments show prospects you’re prepared and willing to help them meet their coverage needs when they’re ready for you. Similarly, follow-up calls or appointments show current clients that you care and you’re dedicated to helping them find the insurance products that work best for them. They also allow agents like you an opportunity to further build relationships and check if you can meet any unfilled coverage needs.

Following up with clients allows you to build relationships and check if you can fill any coverage needs.

As an agent, it’s a good habit to schedule follow-up calls or appointments with your prospects and clients at the end of your initial meeting. When you’re scheduling these events, you’ll want to try to follow up with clients you’ve helped into a new MA plan sometime in December or January. Some clients may not like their new plan, and may want to switch to Original Medicare and a Med Supp during the MADP.

4. Track Down More Leads

Lastly, perhaps the most obvious way you can keep your business glowing and growing this winter is by compliantly tracking down warm leads.

Hosting educational events and seminars is a great way to get your name out there and build your reputation as a knowledgeable, friendly, local support system for the newly Medicare-eligible or confused Medicare enrollees. In addition, if you don’t want to leave the comfort of your own home, there are several lead sites out there that will send you a list of leads for a fee. However, if you go this route, it’s important you do your research to find a good provider so you stay compliant.

Consider teaming up with a Field Marketing Organization (FMO) to find new leads more easily.

To find new leads more easily, consider teaming up with a Field Marketing Organization (FMO), like Ritter Insurance Marketing. One of the benefits of working with select FMOs is that they offer lead programs and prospecting lists, among other lead opportunities.

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In a nutshell, winter may seem like the time you can hunker down and hibernate, but it’s not, especially if you want to sustain a growing business. While you may be out of the busy season, don’t fall into the trap of thinking your business is seasonal. People have different needs year-round, and there are several products you can sell throughout the year to help them meet those needs and maximize your senior market success.

A modified version of this article was previously published in the March 2017 issue of California Broker Magazine.