The Successful Senior Marketing System from the National Care Planning Council is designed to help you promote and market your services to the senior community. In particular the system is designed to enable you to find appropriate planning candidates for Life Resource Planning.
A module in the system is also designed to help you focus on finding veterans through educating on veterans benefits in the community. Here is a description of that special module below.
Government Benefits for Aging Seniors
The presentation "Government Benefits for Aging Seniors" and its slide copy workbook was designed to appeal to residents of retirement care communities. These folks are experiencing some of the challenges of aging and many are looking towards needing long term care services if they aren’t already receiving them. The government benefits workshop includes the following subjects
The presentation – "12 Little-Known Benefits for Senior Veterans and Their Survivors"
Focusing on veterans benefits is a great marketing tool. Veterans and their survivors are anxious to find out about the "free" benefits and disability income programs that they can receive from the government and they will come flocking to any presentation that explains it to them. This ensures a high attendance rate.
Ours is a unique approach to attracting senior veterans and their survivors to a workshop. Roughly 30% of all seniors age 65 and older are veterans or survivors. There is a pretty sizable group of insurance agents across the country who focus on educating veterans in senior care communities about their benefits. Without exception, these agents think that the only benefits available to senior veterans are the so-called aid and attendance Pension and the so-called aid and attendance Death Pension. There is no such veterans benefit as "aid and attendance." This is a misnomer that is derived from a special allowance available with a number of veterans or survivors disability benefits which include Pension and Death Pension.
These two non-service-connected Pension disability incomes are only 2 of the 12 benefits that could be available to residents in senior care communities. We educate on all 12 benefits. The insurance agents who are focusing on senior care communities for presentations have no clue of how to get these other benefits. This puts us in a unique position. When we approach the community for the workshop sponsorship, we may run into these insurance agents who are educating about veterans benefits. Rarely does the community say that they already have someone working with them for veterans benefits, because our approach does not focus on veterans benefits per se. Even if the director or salesperson objects, we just tell them that they should continue to use those "aid and attendance" people and we are going to talk about veterans benefits other than aid and attendance pension that could be extremely valuable to their residents of which their residents typically have no knowledge. When we advertise the workshop to the residents, we definitely stress the veterans benefits portion of our presentation.
Because of our broader application to all veterans benefits, we will be able to meet with many more people in the community who are veterans or survivors and talk to them intelligently about benefits that the aid and attendance pension orientated agents have virtually no knowledge of. Residents who are eligible for these other benefits likely will get more income from VA. Income they were totally unaware of, since the aid and attendance agents had no clue of these benefits.
Had we focused the workshop entirely on veterans, statistically we would only draw a potential maximum of 30% of the residents which is likely never achievable. Likely focusing only on veterans would probably only draw 15% or 20% of the residents. The other residents would not show up. That is why we came up with the title "Government Benefits for Aging Seniors" and why we added the other benefits in the presentation. Virtually all seniors are interested in Medicare and how it works and most are vitally interested in Medicaid if they still have some assets remaining that they want to preserve.
The presentation – Medicare Temporary Care Benefits
By adding Medicare and Medicaid to the mix, we draw many more people to the presentation. Out of a community with 100 apartments or 100 cottages or mix of these totaling 100, we will typically draw anywhere from 20 to 30 attendees and sometimes more. Had we just focused on veterans, we would draw fewer people. If it’s advertised properly and the advertising is done several times before the presentation, it’s possible to draw 50 or 60 people out of 100 population.
The Medicare temporary care benefits focuses on Medicare nursing home services, Medicare home care services and Medicare hospice. Surprisingly many people in these retirement communities aren’t aware of these services. Likewise, they are really not aware of how limited these benefits are as well.
The presentation – Medicaid Long Term Care Services
Practically all seniors are interested in the implications of needing Medicaid on their remaining assets. Those are people we want to draw to our presentation anyway – those who have assets remaining.
This portion of the presentation focuses on Medicaid rules and when Medicaid services kick in. It discusses several of the pre-planning options that are available to preserve assets and outlast the five-year look back. We also discuss the use of funeral trusts for preplanning.
Veterans Benefits and the Issue of Providing Advice and Charging of Fees
Understanding the strategy of drawing out veterans along with those who are interested in Medicare and Medicaid planning, we have a pretty good idea of the issues that most of these people need assistance with. With the veterans particularly, we have to be very careful that we don’t cross the line where we need to be accredited. Actually, it’s better not to be accredited because of the responsibility that accredited agents and accredited attorneys have towards providing assistance with veterans claims. For example, an accredited agent or accredited attorney cannot charge a fee for assistance with a claim. Everybody in this country believes that there is a law that prohibits a non-accredited individual from charging a fee. Even though anyone you ask would save the law exists, it doesn’t. It is nowhere to be found in the federal code or federal regulations governing veterans benefits. The prohibition on charging fees only applies to those individuals who are accredited.
This fee issue actually works in the favor of those of us who are not accredited. We have every right of charging a fee as long as that fee does not apply to assistance with a claim. It’s not the charging of the fee that VA would nail us for it’s the fact that we can’t provide assistance without being accredited. This gives us a great opportunity to charge fees to veterans for a general planning approach that sidesteps any specific advice on obtaining benefits. As far as providing that advice, the National Care Planning Council does have accredited individuals who will provide that advice and assistance for the veteran clients of SSM marketers. It’s a great arrangement for those of us who are members of the National Care Planning Council.
The sign-up sheets we receive from this government benefits workshop reflect the desire of attendees to know more about veterans benefits as well as the desire to learn about Medicaid planning strategies and possibly other issues dealing with aging.
They Sign up for Planning and Not Products
It is important to note that individuals who attend our workshops, are not interested in purchasing products or services. As a result, if we contact them and meet with them and try and sell them products and services, not only will they refuse to deal with us, but they could provide negative feedback to the retirement care community that we did not live up to our word of not selling anything. This is not a problem.
This is a decided advantage. Attendees are looking for direction and advice. In most cases, we approach them with an offer to do fee-based planning to help them find solutions. In some cases, they will not pay us a fee, but we will provide advice anyway. In other cases, we will insist on the fee planning – especially for veterans benefits – because of how we have to integrate incomes and assets and other issues together in order for them to find the proper strategies to obtain those benefits.
It should also be noted that this planning approach actually does result in the sale of products and services, but only after the planning has been applied. In fact, our experience is that we can double or triple the amount of product sales through a planning approach instead of trying to push products as part of our first encounter.
There Are Various Strategies for Getting Sign-Ups to Meet with Us
We don’t want to leave sign-up respondents waiting too long. When we requested that they sign the evaluation and information request form, we asked not only for a phone number but also for an email. We are not particularly anxious to meet with each and every one of these people until we find out a little more about what they want. Definitely, the evaluation and information request form will give us some of that information. But we want to query them first – either on the phone or through an email – before we decide to drive over and meet with them at the retirement community. In most cases, they will want their children to meet with us as well and this has to be arranged.
Finding out more about people before a meeting is in direct contradiction to the training that most insurance agents receive on selling. They are always told to go for the meeting first with the idea that a face-to-face encounter will result in the sale whereas a phone encounter could kill a sale. Our experience is just the opposite. We have found that developing a relationship over the phone or through an email can actually result in greater attraction between the parties if there is indeed a need for direction and advice. Remember, we are not selling product and we don’t have to meet with them to force them to buy something from us.
We have developed a questionnaire that works in some cases. In other cases we simply chat over the phone and talk about some of their issues. We are careful not to provide complete answers to these issues as it would kill an eventual meeting. But we can offer some encouragement as to what can be done and then ask for the meeting.