Plan Advisors Blog

Tips for Avoiding Telephonic Sales Allegations

Posted by Lance Hoeltke on Thu, May 28, 2020 @ 11:30 AM

Selling over the phone allows brokers a lot of flexibility. While telephonic sales are gaining popularity right now, they can also get you into trouble if you don’t take the time to ensure you’re being clear and thorough in your sales calls. Both CMS and individual carriers monitor broker performance for compliance. Failure to follow an approved script, failure to provide direct contact information, and failure to follow up are a few of the ways sales allegations can arise. Keep reading for best practices to avoid telephonic sales allegations.

man making sales call

Ensure Understanding For All Parties

Understanding is key when it comes to selling over the phone. With non-verbal cues missing, ensuring you and your client are on the same page may take some extra steps. You may feel like you’re being repetitive or annoying, but your client will appreciate your thoroughness and it’s always best to err on the side of caution in these situations. 

Here are a few ways you can ensure understanding from your client throughout the conversation:

  1. Slowly read scripts and pause frequently to allow the client to ask questions – A sales script is a great tool, but it can make it easy to slip into the habit of simply reading with the goal to finish. Your primary goal should always be your client. Create periodic breaks in your sales script as visual reminders to engage with your client and give them the opportunity to ask questions. 
  2. Learn to recognize verbal cues that indicate confusion, concern, or not paying attention – This one may sound like a no brainer, but there are a lot of different ways people convey confusion, concern, or lack of attention. Vague words, like "sort of," "kind of," and "I guess," can be an indicator of confusion or concern. Try asking questions as you cover all of the details. Your client can get in a habit of simply responding with a one-word answer like "yes" or "no." Try to come up with a variety of questions that get your client more engaged in the conversation. This will help ensure your client understands the information you are presenting and can help them feel more comfortable asking questions. 
  3. Review all information, including plan selection, prior to submitting the enrollment – Once you make it to the end of the call, you’re all set, right? Not so fast. Even though you received verbal approval from your client throughout the call it’s always a good idea to review the information at the end of the call before you move on to next steps, like submitting for plan enrollment. 

Complete the 30-60-90 Day Follow-up Process 

We suggest all brokers follow the 30-60-90 day follow-up process, but especially those conducting telephonic sales meetings. Customer service goes beyond the initial sales call, it includes helping your client through each step of the enrollment process and beyond. Ongoing communication allows clients to raise concerns and ask questions sooner rather than later so they can get the most out of their plan. The 30-60-90 day follow-up process includes:

30 Days Post-Enrollment: Making sure they understand their plan and how to utilize their benefits.

60 Days Post-Enrollment: Reminding them of all their health benefits associated with the plan and making sure they don’t have any questions.

90 Days Post-Enrollment: Reviewing their experience with the plan thus far and reminding them about cost-saving options.

We’ve created a guide to the 30-60-90 day follow-up process that lists all the information you should share and questions you should ask as you make sure your clients feel supported through enrollment and beyond. Click here to download the follow-up guide.

Avoid Misuse of Company Logos/Non-Compliant Marketing Materials

Just because you’re selling over the phone doesn’t mean you can neglect your sales collateral. Most brokers will either mail or email a copy of the sales presentation to their client to review and follow along with during the call. In order to use carrier logos on these materials, you must obtain permission from the carrier. You’ll want to submit your non-generic materials for approval by CMS as well. Alternatively, you can also use pre-approved pieces for marketing and can work with your upline to create generic marketing pieces that meet the generic material guidelines of CMS.

We know it can be difficult to remember everything. To make it easier, we created a Presentation Compliance Measures Checklist, which applies whether you're giving a presentation in-person, telephonically, or electronically. In addition, make sure you’re familiar with telephonic and electronic enrollment options for each carrier and then follow the guidelines above for successful sales during this time.