Applying the Principles of Persuasion to Medicare Marketing

Agents who can increase their marketing response rates receive more leads, and getting more leads can result in more sales. And who doesn’t want more sales? The question then becomes: how can one increase marketing response rates? One method is to apply the principles of persuasion Robert Cialdini authored in Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. The groundbreaking marketing book details six principles; for the sake of this article, we highlight those we believe most likely to convert Medicare insurance sales: Reciprocity, Social Proof, Authority and Liking.

Reciprocity. Cialdini’s first principle of persuasion states that human beings feel obligated to return favors and acts of kindness. Countless studies have proven this hypothesis, demonstrating that something as simple as providing someone with a bottle of water exponentially improves the likelihood they will positively respond to a request. Providing a free educational Medicare plan guide through a website, giving out branded swag like personalized pens at events, or even offering a piece of candy at appointments are examples of ways agents can utilize the Principle of Reciprocity to improve marketing outcomes.

Social Proof. Cialdini describes social proof as people doing what they observe other people doing (“keeping up with the Joneses”). Effectively using this principle in marketing communications can be tied directly to an independent insurance agent’s greatest advantage—being a local resource that’s knowledgeable about the plans and services offered in the area. When agents communicate that other community members trust them, it can immediately instill trustworthiness in others. Consider using a line like “I help many members of our community find the right Medicare plan. I can help you, too!”

Authority. Prospects are more likely to respond to individuals they perceive as credible and knowledgeable experts in their field. Agents who clearly communicate their knowledge of how Medicare works and available plans position themselves as authorities on the subject. Compliant designations like ‘Licensed Insurance Agent’ are not only required on marketing communications, using these terms when and where appropriate can help establish credibility.

Liking. This probably seems like a no-brainer: people are much more likely to be persuaded and influenced by the people they like. There are many elements agents can include in their marketing communications that can inspire likability:

• Dynamic imagery that includes smiling faces, local landmarks, and/or bright color schemes

• Language that engages prospects on an emotional level

• Agent profile photos for a more personal introduction (as opposed to only including agent contact information on a prospect-facing marketing piece)

• Local jargon that’s immediately recognized as native to the area

• Client testimonials

These are just a few examples of how agents can apply Robert Cialdini’s Principles of Persuasion to increase the effectiveness of Medicare marketing efforts. Knowing how the principles are applied, however, can open the door to limitless possibilities—not just in marketing, but in introductory and sales meetings as well. Understanding the psychology of persuasion can be a powerful tool that, when used ethically and compliantly, can help agents and agencies grow their Medicare insurance sales both short- and long-term.

As a National Marketing Organization that works with thousands of independent agents, we understand you must generate leads in order to grow your business. That’s why we work diligently to provide the resources necessary for successful marketing. If this information is valuable and you want to know more about the services we provide our Medicare agent partners, please contact us at or 888-745-2320.

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