When a customer raises an objection during a Medicare Advantage sales appointment, it can catch even the best salesperson off guard.
Handling objections is a regular part of sales, but that doesn’t make it any less challenging. Objections are bound to come up when selling Medicare Advantage.
Salespeople who can address objections with finesse are more likely to rack up a sale.
Medicare Advantage plans are inherently complicated. For that reason, insurance agents provide a valuable service to their customers. When it comes to taking care of their health, customers are happy to have a seasoned expert on their side.
To that end, we’ll cover some of the common objections you’re likely to face during a sales appointment and give you some solid tips on how to overcome them.
- Understanding Your Prospect
- Use Active Listening
- Asking the Right Questions in the Right Way
- Take Note of the Common Objections About Medicare Advantage
- I want to keep using my doctor.
- I don’t like the hassle of having to get prior authorization for certain medical services or procedures.
- I don’t want the headache of selecting a new plan annually.
- I travel a lot (or they have a second home in another state).
- I’m concerned about coverage limitations with out-of-network providers.
- What happens if my provider discontinues my plan?
- What if I change my mind and want to go back to Original Medicare?
- I don’t want to lose my Medigap coverage.
Objections and the Importance of Handling Them
Let’s say that your sales presentation is going along without a hitch. The prospect is expressing interest and you’re moving toward the close when suddenly, they interrupt your presentation with a question.
Maybe the prospect didn’t say anything at all, but you could tell by the expression on their face that something didn’t sit right with them. Either way, these are sales objections that could hinder the sale.
Try to think of objections as a temporary roadblock. Don’t let them throw you off, and don’t ignore them. Take a short break in your presentation and address each objection as it comes up.
The goal of handling objections is to alleviate the prospect’s concerns so they can focus on their needs. If you don’t handle an objection before moving forward in your presentation, it’s like having an elephant in the room. You both know it’s there, yet no one is talking about it.
Even if you can close the sale despite the objection, the customer may reconsider the objection after the sale and cancel their coverage.
What you may believe is an objection, may actually be a brush-off. Think of it this way – an objection is an authentic reason that may keep the prospect from buying.
A brush-off basically amounts to an excuse.
With an objection, the prospect may see value in Medicare Advantage, but they’re not sure it’s right for them. By contrast, a brush-off tells you they just don’t want to talk to you right not for some reason. They may or may not wish to tell you why.
It’s important to distinguish between brush-offs and objections because the approaches to handling them are different.
A good salesperson will be able to tell the difference between an objection and a brush-off and be able to respond appropriately without losing the prospect’s trust.
Objections are more serious than a brush-off because they can prohibit a sale quickly if you don’t handle them expediently. When you can handle an objection well, it will put the prospect at ease, and you’re on your way to building trust with a potential client.
A brush-off is less serious because you will still have opportunities to contact the prospect in the future.
Put them in your pipeline as a warm lead. Keep in contact with them and continue nurturing them. A prospect who brushed you off may be more receptive at a future time. Keep your name in front of them and they’re sure to remember you when they have the need and the time.
4 Keys to Overcoming Objections When Selling Medicare Advantage
While a sales presentation is active, there are also times when it pays to be passively attentive. The four keys to overcoming objections are understanding your prospect, listening actively, asking clarifying questions, and taking note of common objections about Medicare Advantage.
1. Understanding Your Prospect
In the hours and minutes before your appointment, take the time to consider who your prospect is.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do they have a comfort level with meeting with you on the phone or virtually?
- What is their level of knowledge about Medicare and Medicare Advantage?
- Do they wear hearing aids or glasses currently?
- Do they wear or need hearing aids?
- Do they take regular prescriptions?
- Is dental care important to them?
- Do they enjoy working out regularly?
- Do they prefer to visit their regular doctors or are they willing to switch if they need to?
- Are they looking for a policy with a lot of bells and whistles or just the basics?
- Are they price-conscious?
You may have learned the answers to some of these questions during prospecting or the initial conversations with the prospect.
Don’t worry if you’re going into the appointment with little or no information.
These questions make for great conversation starters. The prospect’s answers will help you target their greatest concerns and tackle possible objections.
With the benefit of screen sharing, you can pull up charts or slides to help support why a Medicare Advantage plan might work best for them.
Also, consider the prospect’s personality. Some people enjoy a little banter before a sales presentation. Others prefer to get right down to business. It all comes down to learning as much as you can about the prospect and leveraging that information appropriately during your presentation.
2. Use Active Listening
You will be doing most of the talking during a sales presentation. While it’s important to do your best to be informative, you must listen to what the prospect has to say. The best way to do that is with active listening.
Active listening is a basic communication skill, yet many salespeople have trouble mastering it. Active listening is a two-way interaction. The salesperson’s role is to listen attentively and try to understand what the prospect wants them to know. It requires being attuned to the prospect, responding thoughtfully, and reflecting on what they’re saying.
Active listening also gives you a chance to display empathy which will help the prospect view you as authentic. Here are some phrases you can use to express empathy:
- “I can certainly understand why you feel that way.”
- “Your feelings are valid.”
- “I’m glad you brought that up.”
- “I’m glad to hear that.”
- “Makes sense.”
- “Sounds like you’ve done a bit of research on Medicare Advantage already.”
- “I can see that your time is valuable today.”
The more you practice active listening with prospects, the easier it will become for you.
3. Asking the Right Questions in the Right Way
As the prospect shares information with you, you may need to ask them questions for clarification.
Simply say, “Can I ask you something?” They’re likely to answer yes.
Getting prospects to say yes early on in the conversation makes it easier for them to say yes as you continue your presentation. More importantly, it makes it easier to get a yes at the end of the sale.
There is also an art to how you ask questions.
You can glean a lot of information by asking probing questions such as, “Have you had a hearing screening?” or “Do you foresee needing dental work over the next year?”
Asking open-ended questions is another form of questioning that prospects are usually receptive to. It gives them a chance to do the talking and explain themselves better.
For example, you might ask, “What are your biggest concerns about health insurance?” or “How do you feel about making changes to your Medicare plan?”
Take mental notes as the prospect is talking and think about how to address their objections professionally.
4. Take Note of the Common Objections About Medicare Advantage
The reason for keeping tabs on the common objections about Medicare Advantage is that if one prospect expresses objections, other prospects will likely have some of the same objections.
Remember how you handled each objection and how the prospect responded to it. This will allow you to fine-tune your approach and master it for when you encounter the same approach in the future.
Next, we’ll review specific objections to Medicare Advantage and how to overcome them.
8 Common Objections With Medicare Advantage Sales & How to Overcome Them
Prospects may have heard about some of the disadvantages of Medicare Advantage, but the knowledge they have may not provide the full perspective.
Ultimately, you want prospects to get the coverage that’s right for them. By helping them see the whole picture, you are essentially arming prospects with the information they need to make the best choices.
Let’s look at the 8 common objections to Medicare Advantage and how you can fully inform your prospects about whether their objection is truly a concern.
1. I want to keep using my doctor.
There are several ways prospects can find out whether their preferred doctors are on a plan. The easiest way is to call the doctor and ask them.
Most providers also have a lookup tool that allows insureds to check to see if their preferred doctors are on the list. In the interest of transparency, be sure to let prospects know that doctors have the liberty of leaving networks if they choose, even in the middle of a term.
You can also flip this and say that doctors may join a network any time they wish.
2. I don’t like the hassle of having to get prior authorization for certain medical services or procedures.
Unlike with Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans may require patients to get prior authorization for certain medical services.
You might point out that the requirement of getting prior authorization will assure them that a procedure is medically necessary. This will affirm that the benefits of the procedure or treatment outweigh the risks.
3. I don’t want the headache of selecting a new plan annually.
Impress upon prospects that there are benefits to choosing a new plan every year.
Providers may move in and out of the network. Laws change. Coverages and conditions change. The insured’s health needs may have changed. Insureds should take all of these things into consideration so they can choose the best policy for the year.
Everyone likes to have options. Besides, it’s a good habit for insureds to review all of their insurance policies at least annually.
4. I travel a lot (or they have a second home in another state).
This may be a valid objection for some people who have regular medical issues. Providers in Medicare Advantage plans often serve a limited geographical area.
Someone who lives in a different part of the country for a few months or longer may have to pay higher amounts for seeking out-of-network care.
You may be able to weigh this disadvantage against the advantages such as getting vision, dental, or hearing care.
5. I’m concerned about coverage limitations with out-of-network providers.
If they have two homes and it’s not an emergency, they can always travel back to the home where they have their Medicare Advantage plan to get services covered at the in-network rate.
- 6. What happens if my provider discontinues my plan?
While this isn’t something that happens often, it can. Prospects should be aware of this. They should also be aware that there are thousands of Medicare Advantage plans available nationally, and they’re sure to find one they like just as well.
7. What if I change my mind and want to go back to Original Medicare?
Assure them that they can go back to Original Medicare if they choose.
In the first year of buying a Medicare Advantage plan they have the Trial Right which means they can go back to Original Medicare any time during the first year of coverage.
They can also go back to Original Medicare during the General Election Period or the Annual Election Period.
8. I don’t want to lose my Medigap coverage.
You may be able to overcome this objective by informing prospects that Medigap plans are typically more expensive than Medicare Advantage plans.
Considering Medicare Advantage plans also cover extra services such as vision, dental, and hearing care, they may be a better value for their premiums.
If you don’t close the sale on this appointment, you can always send prospects more information and resources on the pros and cons of Medicare Advantage. Be sure to let them know that you’re always available to answer their questions.
Final Considerations for Overcoming Objections to Medicare Advantage
Ultimately, you’ll want to encourage prospects to consider all the relevant facts before making a final decision.
If they don’t choose to buy a Medicare Advantage plan, let them know you are available to answer their questions or if they change their mind.
You might also ask them if it’s okay for you to keep them on your mailing list so you can update them on any legislative changes with Medicare and Medicare Advantage.
If you close the sale, be sure to follow up with them after the sale and offer to answer any questions they may have about their plan.
Whether they purchase a plan from you or not, always ask them for referrals.