What Do I Start with First?

Jan 28, 2016

  1. Residentzombie
    Offline

    Residentzombie Expert

    Posts:
    89
    Likes Received:
    2
    State:
    Wisconsin
    Hi guys. I am a 34 year old 10 year licensed agent who previously worked at a Medicare agency as an Assistant Manager type and handled most customer service, did telemarketing early on in my tenure, and sold a few policies over that 10 years to walk-in clients if agent was not available. I am very well versed in all Medicare regulations and understand superbly how Medicare works and fully understand Med Supps, MA, and PDP plans. The agency I worked for was very successful as the top 2 agents there make well over $150,000 even with 50% commissions. They are beasts and have over 1,000 clients each. I left the agency due to lack of pay for my experience and commitment to the business and am now wanting to become an independent broker dealing only with Medicare. This is the time to focus on Medicare with the Baby Boomers and the agency I used to work for started to focus too much time with the ACA and I wanted nothing to do with it (most of their ACA business was lower income people and half of them stopped paying their $24/m ACA premiums and those agents got hit hard with chargebacks). I sat back with a nice grin on my face oh so saying I told you so. My salary was $30,000/yr and found out most other agency STARTS pay at my position at $35,000/yr no experience so yeah that was the final straw for me. I realized if I want to change my life that I must change it and not wait for others to change it for me so here I am.

    I have $25,000 saved and only have about $1,500 month overhead to pay all my bills every month. I need help/advice on where I should start. First of all do I want to start as an LLC agency or self-employed contractor for tax reasons? I want my tax to be rock bottom to start since I will make 0 profit Year 1. I know about Westfall and will soon sign up for his site and check it out but I'm not sure if Chris covers my missing gaps as I am versed in Medicare already. I never did underwriting before and not that familiar with it since I wasn't in a sales position. The gist of it is if they answer Yes to any Q they are denied (but not always). I have no laptop, smartphone, GPS, landline, or suits so here what do I need for a presentation pitch in a client's home? I pass AHIP every year so I know what I have to disclose just not what consumers want to hear. I'm thinking to go with Magic Jack for a landline but then I need to fax and need help with a home fax setup. Chris's deal on unlimited cold calling numbers for $50/m sounds great. I have 6 years cold calling telemarketing experience and this is a strong suit of mine. I only did 1 year direct sales selling T-Mobile cell phones at a mall and that's it. I am familiar though with things like F.O.R.M. (family, occupation, recreation, message) and understand the psychology behind selling. Is it better to buy logoed polos or just start with a suit and tie? What technology is needed for presentations? Even though I could sell over phone I want to start with the traditional way of selling and that is cold calling for appointment and selling in client's home.

    I plan on writing 50 apps my first year with a goal of 60 every year after that. I am not unethical at all and am not in this industry for the money although I know the money is great. I'm not afraid to spend all my money to support myself the first couple years and me making $30,000 year would have me no longer in the red financially as I live a very modest life. The agency I used to work for used JSA as primary FMO but also went with SMS for Mutual of Omaha. I'm thinking if the agency likes JSA they must be a good FMO to work with and my experience with them on customer service has been favorable in my working years with them. So this is where I am and would greatly appreciate some advice/feedback on what to start with. I never was self-employed before so I need help how and where to start. Thanks in advance.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2016
  2. sman
    Offline

    sman Guru

    Posts:
    6,234
    Likes Received:
    269
    State:
    Georgia
    Aren't you the same person who was on the forum a couple of months ago telling everyone how much you knew and how many years experience you have? I think you were also telling several people how wrong they were in the way they did business. Now you want advice from these same people? That's rich.
     
    sman, Jan 28, 2016
    #2
  3. Residentzombie
    Offline

    Residentzombie Expert

    Posts:
    89
    Likes Received:
    2
    State:
    Wisconsin
    I was harping on agents that bad mouth MA plans because of the horrendous regulations that go with selling them. As I said I am very ethical. The agency I used to work for did 50% of their business with Medicare Advantage plans and for awhile they were excellent plans. I heard from seniors the lies other agents make about MA plans because they can't sell them or don't want to and yes seniors get very upset at agents that lie about MA plans because they don't like the regulations. Also working in customer service so many agents would sell a MA senior a Supp and not cancel the MA plan because they knew nothing about MA because they didn't sell it. I spent many dozens of hours of my life fixing ignorant agent's mistakes with seniors because they don't know what they are doing. Yes I have a big chip on my shoulder about Med Supp only agents and always will. As I said I am well versed with 10 years in the industry so I don't need any help on how these products work. I am needing help with how to start self-employment. If you don't want to help a fellow entrepreneur out then don't.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2016
  4. TDFnCali
    Offline

    TDFnCali Guru

    Posts:
    3,149
    Likes Received:
    13
    State:
    California

    LMAO ^^^^ You got that Scott?? LoL

    #ThisForumIsHilarious
     
    TDFnCali, Jan 28, 2016
    #4
  5. Todd King
    Offline

    Todd King IMO/FMO Owner

    Posts:
    8,291
    Likes Received:
    1,875
    State:
    Virginia
    You have plenty of money to get started with, so you should be looking to invest in clothes and the basic office equipment to get going. Of course, you can't make any money until you're contracted with the particular companies you need.

    You don't necessarily need an actual fax machine as there are many ways to fax online. You also don't need to go and buy suits. It really boils down to what you're comfortable in wearing. I personally like suits, but there are many agents that just wear slacks and a polo shirt and a sport coat or something like that for the colder months.

    There is no technology that is needed to make a presentation in someone's home. As a matter of fact, you want to stay away from stuff like that. You want to interact more personable with your potential clients than what some canned filp book or video on your laptop would allow. You really don't need anything more and a legal pad to help explain things such as how the doctors and hospital get paid by Medicare and the Supplement Company. Keep it simple!!

    One thing that jumps out at me is that you are only looking to sell 50 the 1st year and 60 the following years. Why so low? Don't you want to make more money than that?
     
  6. Residentzombie
    Offline

    Residentzombie Expert

    Posts:
    89
    Likes Received:
    2
    State:
    Wisconsin
    As of the past 2 years MA plans have been under attack by politicians and with the funding cuts to fund ACA credits yes I understand MA plans aren't as good as they used to be and now they are taking a back seat due to the political turmoil that surrounds them. This is also why I am starting in the industry now. I will first and foremost pitch Supps just like all you other guys, but I will offer MA if it suits the client and the client is okay with the cuts that are happening. I'm guessing that 60 to 75% of my business will be written with Med Supps now just like all of you guys are doing. 6 years ago, this would be a different story and I would be more like 50 to 60% of business with MA plans. As of the past year or two MA bashing is okay I get it, but previously it was done solely for greed on the part of the agent. I also won't sell a policy for 0 commissions but this is not the same. My time and knowledge are worth something and really the main reason companies offer 0 commissions is because they don't want us to send those clients their way. That is the true reason why some companies pay 0 for guarantee issue clients. They know us agents will use that and stick sick people on Med Supps and they don't want that book of business on their member's premiums.

    ----------

    Thanks Todd. The reason my numbers are kind of low is because of the market I am in. I live in the Milwaukee area and Milwaukee has a very poor crime ridden inner city. The agency I used to work for is still my competition and their top 2 agents are excellent and there are a few more agencies and I'm sure a dozens independents in this area. Cell phones, AEP, the Do Not Call List, and mainstream media propaganda against cold calls has made cold calling a real challenge. I expect to do 20 to 25 hours of cold calling a week for 4 to 5 qualified appointments and sell 1 to 1 1/2 policies per week. I want to keep my expectations low so I don't burn out and quit. I have to travel to a neighboring County for most my appointments as Milwaukee is too ghetto to work in. I guess that brings up a good point. Should I not cold call and try to buy leads? I am a much better telemarketer than most of these yahoo marketers agencies hire.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2016
  7. sman
    Offline

    sman Guru

    Posts:
    6,234
    Likes Received:
    269
    State:
    Georgia
    Yeah, I'm glad he let me off the hook there. Didn't know what I was going to do.
     
    sman, Jan 28, 2016
    #7
  8. Residentzombie
    Offline

    Residentzombie Expert

    Posts:
    89
    Likes Received:
    2
    State:
    Wisconsin
    What about tax filings? Is it better to start off as an LLC or just start self-employed? I know I can always change it later if I become more successful, but what is best way to start since I will spend almost just as much as I make on my business this year. I don't plan on getting any advances to start I want to keep my earned income low since I have savings to support myself.
     
  9. Ron Van D
    Offline

    Ron Van D Guru

    Posts:
    612
    Likes Received:
    78
    State:
    Indiana
    My advice is just start self-employed. Ask an accountant and a lawyer about tax benefits and legal protections. Get E&O insurance now.
     
  10. Residentzombie
    Offline

    Residentzombie Expert

    Posts:
    89
    Likes Received:
    2
    State:
    Wisconsin
    Ok thanks Ron. I know about E&O since I was licensed with most carriers when I worked at the brokerage agency and since I'm not seeking advances and was licensed previously, I'm not expecting much of a problem there. I let my old E&O with NAPA lapse as my FMO found a cheaper option and I only ever sold 3 or 4 health policies and a few dozen PDPs in my time with my old employer. What about deductions. What stuff do I need to document just gas mileage used for appointments and to pick up office supplies and save all receipts regarding any business expense? I will eventually relocate, but I know the Southeast Wisconsin market very well and want to start with what I know. Also I don't plan on ever having more than 400 clients. I saw first hand the chaos that happened when a major MA plan dropped out of the market and agents had 6 weeks to retain their 400 clients with that plan. I am not working 18 hour days during Open Enrollment no sir. That's the problem with successful agents working at agencies, they have too many clients. Yes the agency is there to help but most clients want to speak directly with their agent. That is hard to do when that agent has 1,200 clients and he is trying to get new apps out to 400 of them.

    ----------

    Also what should I know about Employer Group plans for T65s? The bar we set at for a qualified lead at my old job was they had to be paying at least $300/m. Is that a good figure to still go by? Are there any tricky Group plans out there agents need to be cautious of? Such as the company paying the retiree for premiums? When I set leads it seemed a lot of people didn't know what was going to happen to their Group plan after they became Medicare eligible. What is the best way to approach this common problem? I also refuse to sell ACA plans to people so I realize I can't cancel the primary beneficiary if the spouse is piggybacking benefits and put the spouse on ACA until they become Medicare eligible themselves. I know we must be very careful with having people cancel Group plans because they can't get them back 99% of the time. I know the mood of the nation is very anti-ACA anyway on average so I don't think I'm missing out on anything by refusing to market or sell ACA plans.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2016
Loading...