Insurance Agent Candy Hilliard Reveals Her Communication Strategies

Bill Lampton Ph.D. 0:16
Yes, welcome to the biz communication Show. I’m your host, Bill Lampton the biz communication guy once again, having a lively and informative conversation with someone who will share their communication strategies and tips with us. And that will certainly help us in our own business. In fact, it will boost our business. today. I’m delighted to welcome from the Atlanta metropolitan area. Kandi Hilliard, she’s a native Georgia and who attended Georgia State University and entered the insurance business 25 years ago, quite a veteran. She’s a licensed professional agent and property and casualty as well as Life and Health Insurance. Kandi continues to help individuals and small business owners find quality and affordable insurance options. And as a broker uses a consultant approach that allows her to customize insurance plans to meet the needs of each client. Kandi says My mission is to offer insurance solutions presented in an easy to understand format. Gosh, don’t we need that when we’re dealing with insurance agents. Present in an easy to understand format that gives people peace of mind. Another bonus there. Candy’s an active member of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce. In fact, that’s where I met her three or four years ago. She’s also active in someone a Business Alliance and the National Association of Professional agents. In her spare time Kandi enjoys traveling the world kickboxing, you can bet I’m not going to argue with her and supporting local charities. So join me please now and welcoming candy Hilliard. Hello, candy.

Candy Hilliard 2:18
Hi, Bill. Nice to be with you today.

Bill Lampton Ph.D. 2:21
It’s terrific to have you here. And a very natural question I think many of us have is when people start to look at a profession they’re going to choose, I would imagine that insurance age might be number 20 or 25 down the line. Because for one thing, it’s a very complicated profession. Not only is there a lot to learn initially, but the game keeps changing. The lingo keeps changing, the policies keep changing. And then also there’s a as you know, fairly common high rejection rate. So with those in mind, I’ve got to ask, and I know our listeners want to know whether they’re with us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook are the podcast where we’re all being heard. I’m wanting to ask what prompted you to become an insurance agent?

Candy Hilliard 3:26
And that’s a good starting question. And I’ll I’ll start with a story to explain a little bit about my personality and why I’m an insurance today. As a child, one of my favorite gifts was a for Christmas time was a hot pink cash register. And it had the plate money in it and everything. So I would take my cash register and set up as a merchant with my friends and I would have items for sale and my friends would come by and we would exchange product and value or product for a value. And I think early on, I understood that service product value that resonated with me. So I’m not surprised that I would be in a service industry. And insurance is complicated. I think that one of the things that I enjoy is taking the complicated and putting it in a simple format that’s easy to understand. And that’s been a part of our longevity. And one of the reasons why I’ve stayed in the insurance industry.

Bill Lampton Ph.D. 4:27
That’s a fascinating story. While other kids were playing with dolls you were playing with cash registers. Very, very unusual and unique. I have to ask, of course you you said and I included in the introduction that one of your skills is being able to translate the jargon that goes with the business and of course every business has its jargon I’m thinking particularly when you’re dealing with him Health insurance policies. I remember once a physician told me that a patient handed the physician, the bill that the patient had been presented for their stay in the hospital. And the doctor said, I’m sorry, I can’t understand that. It’s it is a very, very complicated arena. So let’s say you’re, you would be coming to me or to one of our listeners or viewers, and you would be talking to us about health insurance. How is it you simplified? Do you have a glossary of terms? Do you use no whiteboard? What do you do?

Candy Hilliard 5:46
Well, one of the things that I like to do is start out at where is the client? What level are they at as far as their understanding, we have some individuals that this is the first time they’ve purchased insurance, maybe they’ve worked with a company and now they have Cobra and they’re trying to figure out what’s the best thing for them to do. And if it’s their first time, then we’re going to start by educating them on some terms and technology, I sometimes will reword that terms into an easier to understand word. And I can see when the light bulb goes out, goes off, and it resonates, you know, with the client. So we’re going to meet them at whatever level they are as far as knowledge, and then we’re going to find out what, how much do they want to know about their insurance. And from that, we try to simplify it, we offer customized health insurance plans, we work with a lot of different carriers. And I know that when folks go online and try to find insurance for their business, or for themselves, there’s I hear this, there’s, there’s so much information out there, I don’t know where to begin. So we start by simplifying it, and that we customize the plan. So we’re going to present a couple of options. And then we’re gonna go back to the drawing board sort of speak if we need to, and we’re gonna explain those to them in terms that they understand. So one thing I will say, with medical billing, of course, we’re here for you for the life of the policy, from the moment that you buy it. And then when you ever you need to use it, which is the most important part. And there have been times when we’ve gone over explanation of benefits, which is what you get back from the insurance company when you have a claim. But we also are an advocate and that we’re willing to get on the phone with you that should we need to call the insurance company, you’re not there by yourself trying to communicate with someone that you don’t understand what they’re talking about, we get on the phone with the client, where their advocate for the lifecycle of the policy, I think availability

Bill Lampton Ph.D. 7:32
is is a wonderful gift that you give to your clients. Because one of the experiences that I have, and our viewers and listeners have, is that there might be and let’s say for a large insurance company there, there probably is a website and they’re probably numbers you can call. But often that’s amazed to go through. And it’s it’s your start talking to one person are you are you go through a bunch of, of recordings. And no, I’m sorry, I’m not the right person for you to talk to. So you’re doing a great service when you when you are available. And it’s a direct line. And plus they know you they bought the policy from you they know, trust and like you, as we say in the business arena. So that’s a great plus, can do this, there’s something else that I’m sure as an agent, whatever type policy you’re dealing with, one of the factors that you have to help people overcome is the practice of procrastination. For example, let’s say that you go to someone, and suppose they’re in their mid to upper 50s. And you start talking to them about long term care insurance, which if you live long enough, and you look around you, you’re going to know that that’s a valuable asset, but maybe in those earlier years, you think that’s for other people are I’m sure you have people say to you well, we don’t need that now. We’re healthy. We’re looking at us we’re in good shape, we exercise we we eat well, we have great health habits. So candy out, I don’t think we need that. What do you do with in those situations, and you’re doing it not to sell the policy, but you’re doing it for the welfare of your clients? What? How do you get past that, or help them get past that?

Candy Hilliard 9:42
Well, that’s a good question. One of the things that we do and I’ll say with life insurance, we hear that a lot. There’s you know, nobody wants to talk about life insurance and they feel we’re going to live forever,

Bill Lampton Ph.D. 9:52
which we everybody else is going to die but not me. Right?

Candy Hilliard 9:55
Correct. Correct. And I understand I understand we hear that often. But the one thing that I I encourage them, especially with life insurance and long term care and some of those items is that it’s never going to be cheaper than it is today. For you, as you age, those insurances are more expensive. If it’s something that you need to protect your family to protect your finances, we don’t want you to wait for that. The other thing is affordability. A lot of people feel that life insurance is too expensive. We help to customize the plan, work with their budget and make it affordable, so that they can buy the protection that they need now instead of waiting, and then also we don’t know what your health is going to be, we don’t have that crystal ball to look into the future, we all feel like we’re going to be healthy. But as you know, life changes very quickly. And when it does, we want to make sure that they have the protection, the policies that they need for their family and for their business. So we encourage them, hey, we know what the health status of we’re dealing with today. And I’ve got to get their policies through underwriting, of course, which is the insurance company. And so we want to make sure that we capture a right for you today that we capture your age today and your insurability. So waiting on insurance can be a very risky thing to do. So we encourage them to make the decision once they have the the questions answered, and they feel confident that they’re ready to move forward. And we’re here to help them do that.

Bill Lampton Ph.D. 11:21
That’s a that’s a wonderful approach. And I think particularly I mean, there’s just plain math involved there. If you if you wait, you’re not only running a risk, are you also are you know, there’s a common saying about leaving money on the table, you’re going to be paying more later. So we all like economy, we all like sales, we all like bargains, we all like price reduction. So do that now, yes. One of the things that’s changed so much, since you’re 25 years in the business, and congratulations on serving that many clients candy. One of the things that has changed, of course, and certainly since 1997 is the technology that we use, I would imagine when you look back to your early years in insurance, I guess the the major technology, maybe the only technology was the telephone. And then we got fax machines. And then we started getting the internet and phones and videos and text messaging and so on. I’m sure you’ve had to make those technology adjustments, what have you done to stay updated on technology? And what technologies are most valuable to you and your clients?

Candy Hilliard 12:56
Well, yes, I do. Remember the day when I first started in this business, we would go out with paper and ink. That’s how we were that’s how we collected information and applications we had to meet face to face, and they had to sign the documents and that world has changed a lot. I am ever so grateful for E signatures, the ability to do business at a faster pace, which is what my clients require. When I need to upload a document to the insurance carrier, I do that quickly. You know, I remember we used to use snail mail where you’d put it in an envelope, put a stamp on it and hope that it got there. And so things are moving a lot faster. And we I think one of the things that since since all this has changed, a lot of people are meeting on Zoom. And we’re still happy to do that. That’s some of the technology that we have embraced. It’s no longer just brick and mortar office, although we have that if you if you prefer face to face. So we’re happy to meet the client wherever they want to communicate. And I’ll tell you, I get emails, phone calls, Facebook messages, LinkedIn messages. And so clients come and communicate with me at many different levels. I would say the biggest change for us that that I really like and embrace change. But it’s our client management system. We’ve got information now at our fingertips. And I remember back in the day when I’d have to go to the file drawer and find their file and find the document and that took time and then I could call them back. So now we’re able to type in their name. Our workflow is very streamlined. And we can pull all the information up given our clients questions quickly, which is which is what they want. We’re very active on social media. And we use that as a platform to educate to retain employees and retain clients and to attract new clients. So those are some of the technologies that we’ve embraced and I don’t mind doing business at a fast pace. I do say business at a fast pace, but with a personal touch. We want to make sure that we’re is planning policies not quickly, but simply so they can understand it. And we still offer that face to face. So we’re gonna we’re gonna communicate with you, and whatever way works best for the client.

Bill Lampton Ph.D. 15:12
Well, congratulations on those technology adjustments. And yes, I see you on the social media. And I especially notice with great appreciation, your post on LinkedIn, because you, you definitely come across there as the combination that that I think is ideal, that is a well informed person who wants to help the clients. Can is remarkable talking with you about your 25 years and the people that you’ve served. And I know that there are our viewers and listeners who will want to get in contact with you. So please give us your contact information.

Candy Hilliard 16:06
Sure, well, obviously the old fashioned way is to pick up the phone and call me and we were happy to talk with you that way, you can reach me at 678-546-6813. The other way is, of course, to visit our website, you can visit www dot a FP quotes, qu o t e And on our website, you can request a quote, you can sign up for our newsletter, it’s very user friendly and interactive. You can always email us and that’s candy at a SP And at the bottom of every email that we respond back, you have a link that you can actually set up a consultation with us. And so we make it very easy to get in touch and stay in touch with us.

Bill Lampton Ph.D. 16:56
Very accessible very much so can do one final question. I would suppose that in addition to presenting one on one to individuals, you present to groups as well to corporate groups, is that correct?

Candy Hilliard 17:15
We do we like to work in the small business market 50 And under employees is really our niche market. We are a member, as you said of the Gwinnett chamber, there’s a special program there for a chamber that is with anthem. So if you’re a member of a chamber, then we’ve got some special programs for you as small business owners, I feel like the small business owner is the underserved in our community. And that’s, that’s who I enjoy working with. So yeah, we do group health insurance in addition to the individual market, and we do all everything that I do. We work as a broker, meaning that I’ve got multiple product lines that we can customize and shop and bring that to the client.

Bill Lampton Ph.D. 17:58
Okay, and now that you’ve given your contact information, I’m very delighted to give mine Bill Lampton the business communication, guys, so quite logically, my contact information is on my website. Biz, biz, biz communication invite you to go there, check my services for corporations and individuals. And be sure to give me a call 678-316-4300. Again, 678-316-4300. Candy. This has been a wonderful opportunity for the biz communication show, and our listeners and viewers. How about a closing comment from you, please?

Candy Hilliard 18:54
Well, first of all, thank you for allowing me to be on your show. Always enjoy your podcast and I love the idea of communication. So you are right in my wheelhouse. I think the difference in me and you is I just take insurance and simplify that communications important and networking and businesses. So I think you’re doing a great job. I certainly appreciate it. And thank you for allowing me to be on here today.

Bill Lampton Ph.D. 19:18
Thank you candy and having known you for four or five years. I’ve looked forward to the time when you would be a guest here to those of you who have joined us today. Thank you for being with us. Be with us again next week on the biz communication Show. I’m your host Bill Lampton the biz communication guy and thanking candy Hilliard one more time.

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