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The Medicare shuffle

Regular readers know I’ve been doing the Medicare shuffle lately. Since January I’ve heard from seemingly everyone and their brother, all offering mountains of information, advice, and free services to help me sign up for Medicare.

Such generosity! Dozens of businesses, all volunteering to give so much of themselves, all to make sure I’m taken care of in the years to come. 

Only altruism has nothing to do with it. These “kind souls” are being compensated by various government agencies. The payment must be significant — enough to generate so many folks vying for my attention.

Postcards. Mailers. Happy faces on envelopes. Some are humorous, others serious. Yet regardless of the approach, they all carry the same message: Let us be your agent of record and we’ll handle everything.

As I write this, I’m looking at a 6-inch high, 5-pound pile of newsletters, holiday greetings, brochures, comic books, fliers, instruction manuals and invitations to free lunches. 

It’s more than a little overwhelming! 

Everyone has invested considerable resources to reach me. Since their services are all free, I must determine who best fits my needs. 

So we ran the numbers and determined I’m better off staying on my wife’s health plan until she retires in a few years. When it’s finally time to pull the trigger, we’ll work with someone we already have a relationship with, for two reasons:

• The crush of solicitations will be behind us

• We already know, like and trust this person 

Medicare providers are much like real estate agents, popping up like mushrooms after a rainstorm. These days it’s impossible to swing a dead cat without hitting 10 of them. And like with real estate agents, most would-be clients look at previous relationships to decide whom to work with.

The suggestion is that anyone in either business is well-advised to aggressively network and cast a wide net of contacts and friends, many of whom may not be ready to do business for years.

You’ll want to have newsletters, collateral, website, social media and the rest for staying top-of-mind in the interim, but personal connections may be the most effective arrow in your quiver.

And understand that by continuously planting those personal seeds, many will bear fruit in the days to come. After all, long-term business growth is ultimately what it’s all about.

With that, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.

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