Using Sales Shadowing to Train Medicare Agents - Western Asset Protection
using sales shadowing to train Medicare agents

Using Sales Shadowing to Train Medicare Agents

Starting as an independent Medicare agent is often overwhelming. A large number of agents quit in their first year. Having the right support system is key to ensuring new agents find their footing quickly and have a strong foundation to build a successful career. Sales shadowing with an experienced mentor is an effective tactic for retaining new agents. Plus, it gives agencies who include it in their new hire training a competitive advantage.

Why Sales Shadowing Is Effective

New agents are trained and equipped with the necessary skills to pass their exams through specific workshops and training sessions. However, there is much more to selling Medicare than knowing the rules and regulations. When new agents shadow experienced agents on sales calls, they observe how to apply what they learned in training and workshops to the real world. They also observe how experienced agents interact, build rapport, practice active listening, and respond to objections from actual clients.

The great thing about sales shadowing is that experienced agents can easily incorporate it into their regular workdays. Shadowing is beneficial regardless of whether the sales presentation occurs over the phone or in person. Bear in mind, it’s important to ask permission from clients first to ensure they have no objections to having another agent observe the process. In addition, the new agent must have a license and certification for the plan they are observing.

The work the agent does before and after the presentation is just as important as the sales meeting itself. This includes the preparation before the meeting and any post-presentation actions, such as using a CRM tool to document notes, filling out an enrollment application, or setting a follow-up appointment.

After shadowing a few sales meetings, the new agent should be comfortable taking the lead. However, the experienced agent should be present to offer guidance and support if necessary. This allows the new agent to practice presentation skills and build confidence.

It’s important to incorporate a follow-up session into every sales shadowing opportunity. This is a chance to review the sales presentation, share observations, and ask questions to help the new agent identify weak areas that need improvement.

Choose the Right Mentors

When choosing who to involve in the shadowing process, pick experienced agents who exemplify the traits and behaviors you want to instill in new agents. They should have the patience and temperament to teach. New agents will benefit from shadowing more than one agent to observe different strengths, skills and techniques. They will eventually adapt what they learn to fit their own style.

Benefits of Mentorship

Sales shadowing is just one benefit of working with a mentor. Being a successful Medicare agent means running your own business, which requires a myriad of skills and business know-how that includes sales presentations, licensing, contracting, CMS compliance, marketing plans, generating leads, and networking. Mentors will have experience in building a book of business and can offer insights about the local Medicare market. They can also prevent new hires from making mistakes and help them avoid frustrations. Mentors should remain available long after sales shadowing is complete – to answer questions and provide ongoing advice.

The wisdom and guidance an experienced agent offers through mentoring and sales shadowing can make a big difference. Mentoring improves retention rates and gives new agents more opportunities to succeed in their new careers.

Agencies that build sales shadowing into their new agent training processes are likely to experience less turnover and a hire rate of new agency productivity.

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