Back in the old days, doctors did business a little differently– rather than making the patient come to them, they went to thepatient, medical bag in hand. The society was more rural at thetime, hospitals were fewer and further between, and most patientswould either recover or die at home, in their own bed. Over time,this started to change – physicians realized they could do morebusiness and provide better results by seeing patients in a setlocation, so they traded in their black bag for a clinic with awaiting room.

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Sometime later they stopped taking chickens and pigs as payment,opting instead for cash and insurance. The funny thing is, themajority of insurance agents still do business like the doctors ofyesteryear. No, we normally don’t accept farm animals in lieu ofcommission, but we do make “house calls” most if not all of thetime. That’s certainly how I got my start in insurance. In 1997, Iwas hired by a Medicare Advantage company – at the time it wascalled Medicare + Choice – to sell their Medicare HMO product.

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I spent all day calling on seniors in their homes, and likeanyone who’s done that job can tell you, it was an eye-openingexperience. I have a million war stories, most of which youprobably wouldn’t believe. At the time, this seemed like thelogical way to do business – frankly, it never occurred to us thatthere might be another way. Danielle and David Kunkle, abrother-and-sister team in Fort Worth, seem to have found the otherway. Their company, Boomer Benefits, specializes in Medicareproducts, and they’re quick to tell you that they don’t make housecalls.

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When it’s necessary to meet in person, they ask the client tocome to their office, but the majority of their sales are done byphone or over the internet. “Seniors are a lot more mobile and muchmore internet-savvy than people give them credit for,” Danielleexplains. “They prefer to do business this way.” Their system seemsto be working – Boomer Benefits is a leading producer for severalMedicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage plans and recently movedinto a larger office.

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I work with another agent who seems to have discovered the sameformula. He specializes in individual life & health insurance,works from home, and makes all of his sales by phone. “I don’t havetime to go see people,” this broker says. “I’d lose money if I did.This is a volume business.” He, too, is a leading producer who isoften asked by the carriers he works with to teach other agents histechnique. I know what you’re thinking: sure, this may work wellwhen dealing with individuals, but you have to go visit employersin person – that’s where the employees are. True, but how much ofyour time is actually spent in front of the employees?

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Very little if you’re like most agents. Outside of theenrollment meeting, brokers rarely see their employee clients – themajority of their time is spent dealing directly with the businessowner, and most business owners have cars. They can very easilytravel to you. Some agents, in fact, use this as a salesstrategy. I used to call on a firm whose office is in a historicdowntown building. The architecture is beautiful, and they use thishistoric backdrop to show off all of the cutting edge technologythey can offer.

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They prefer to meet on their turf, knowing that it will impressprospective clients – and impress them it does. To seal the deal,they often fly in out-of-town prospects at their expense and have alimo pick them up at the airport to bring them to their office. Asyou might guess, they usually get the sale. So will this alwayswork? Of course not, but it doesn’t have to work all the time to beworth trying. The point is that there are a hundred ways to skin acat – if you find yourself in a rut, then perhaps its time that youconsider some of the other 99 ways.

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