Sales people like to charge hard. They are aggressive go-getter’s that want to succeed as much as possible as fast as possible. But Aesop taught us that it is the Tortoise, not the Hare, that wins the race. If Sales & Marketing professionals do not take the time to prepare for their sales calls and daily activities, they too will lose.
As much as things change, the more they stay the same. Trite, cliché, and true. Especially true for Home Health, Hospice, and Private Duty agencies – there is constant change in the regulatory and reimbursement landscape for these Homecare providers, yet the demand remains to continue to grow their volume. Sales & Marketing professionals in this industry are on the front lines of this important and incessant push for growth.
Twenty years ago, the idea of a Home Health or Hospice agency having their own “salesperson” was just beginning to form. Now, these individuals and teams are as much a part of a Homecare agency as the clinical leadership! As this industry has become more experienced, it has also become more aggressive and regulated. Marketers can no longer just show up to a physician’s practice with a box of doughnuts or a catered lunch – we all know the rules that govern these interactions with physicians and referral sources. The job and purpose of a Sales & Marketing professional is still the same – get more referrals (preferably Medicare??). How one goes about growing the volume is different. This article is not going to encapsulate all of the different sales tactics and truisms, but rather will focus on one element that is often overlooked or simply ignored: Preparation.
In preparing to make your Sales Calls, there are three fundamental elements that can not be overlooked or yada-yada’d when preparing to see the physicians and/or referral sources for that day. These may seem basic, but it is mastering the basics that can separate the great from the good.
- Where are we now – one must understand the current referral patterns from any referral source. How many referrals did we get from this physician last month? What about over the last quarter? The last year. What was their Admission-to-Conversion rate? What was the payer mix? Your agency should have this data, and this should be reviewed before you walk in their door.
- Where else is their business going – they are making referrals somewhere besides your agency. Harsh, but fair. But to whom are these other referrals being sent? There are two ways to find this out:
- Health Market Research Data – this has many names and formats, but your agency can access this information (usually at a cost). You can find out, within geographical areas, how many referrals are made by which referral sources to which agencies.
- Ask them yourself. This information will allow you to understand the mindset of that practice/facility, and also allow you to triangulate what they are telling you about the potential referrals they have versus what the data will empirically show you.
Things may change. But they also stay the same. Don’t overlook the basics, and be prepared when you walk into a healthcare provider.