Every sales event is unique, so your approach should be dictated by each account and contact type as well as your objective(s) for the visit. You should understand the types of accounts in your territory, the key players in each, and any challenges they could be facing.
If you are not sure where to start, use the recommendations below as a foundation for building out a strategy!
Step 1: Diagram your approach
Start your journey by identifying the types of accounts you intend to target, and who those key players are likely to be. For example:
- Physician Office, Group Practice
- Internal Medicine specialist, Family Practice specialist, Cardiologist, Orthopedist, Geriatric specialist
- Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF)
- Administrator, DO, Care Coordinator, Medical Director, Social Worker, Activities Director
- Assisted-living and Independent-living facilities (ALF & ILF)
- Owner/administrator, Director of Clinical Services, Caregiver, Admissions coordinator, House Physician
- Administrator, Hospitalist, Case Manager, Discharge Planner, Social Workers,
- Departments include: ER, ICU, Med/Surg, Cath Lab, Respiratory, Cardiac Unit
- Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRF)
- Administrator, Social Worker, Physician, Nursing staff
Next, research the office(s) you've identified. Review any applicable market data, as well as any profile information in Marketscape CRM: all historical notes, referral history, and ownership history.
For each account, answer the following "key questions" in order to diagnose the health of the prospect and begin to architect your plan for engagement:
- Who am I calling on?
- What is my objective?
- What do I know about this account?
- What challenges do they face?
- What questions will I ask?
- What objections do I expect?
- What solutions, programs do I suspect will be a fit for this account?
It is also helpful to identify the people that will drive your business for each account. Generally, these contact types will include:
- The gate keeper
- The influencer
- The referral writer
- The decision maker
Next, consider the following "key questions" in order to diagnose the landscape of the environment you're entering:
- Who are the players for this account specifically?
Examples from Step 1 could be the Case Manager, Social Worker, Medical Assistant or Nurse Practitioner. The key player might be the physician, but in many cases it's not, or is not only the physician. These are the contacts we want you to add into Marketscape CRM. Identify and gain access to these contacts!
- What is my strategy for each contact type? Does this content provide value for their specific role?
- What is my plan for walking in to the account and interacting with contacts?
- Get past the gate keeper
- Speak with the doctor. Review historical referrals, if any have been received, regardless of the last Start of Care we have on file
- Learn everyone's role
- Build the relationship, establish rapport. Identify one key piece of information on the contact profile every time I speak to the outlined people above
- Ask for the business every single time
Step 2: Needs Discovery
"Needs Discovery" is the single most effective home health and hospice sales technique. It is at core of all great sales training. The sales professional identifies the referral partner's needs and then offers a solution that establishes their company as a logical choice for their referrals.
Your goal is to find out what's important to your referral partner. Understand each contact's needs, problems, challenges and frustrations. Interview them carefully to see what you can do to earn their business.
Diagnostic questions must:
- Establish the referral partner's role – how does this person influence the business?
- Establish how you and your company services will help them to:
- Achieve a(n) ________________________________________
- Solve a(n) ___________________________________________
- Satisfy a(n) __________________________________________
- Start broadly and narrow down:
- Start with the services you want to sell and the benefits to the referral partner, then craft a series of questions to uncover the partner's needs
- Ask questions that you likely already know the answers for – the referral partner will tell you their needs, for which you will already have a solution in mind
- Feature: CHF program
- Benefits: reduce phone calls, reduce hospitalization, increase outcome
- Which patients are your most common frequent fliers in the ER?
- What challenges do they pose for your practice?
- How does that impact you?
Step 3: Asking for the Referral
One of the most successful skills sales professionals must develop is how to ask for the business! Sales people must ask for business in their own words and develop their own style.
Here are some examples of how ask for a referral, to get you started:
- Who else do you have going home this week?
- Which other patients can we take care of for you today?
- Based upon our discussion, which patients are you thinking of?
- Within your practice, who can benefit from our services we've just discussed?
- Who are the top three patients that continually call your office?
- Which patients have you changed medications for recently? Who is noncompliant on the medications you've currently prescribed?
- Of the patients you've seen today, which ones are you most concerned with?
- Which ones do you spend the most time with? Which ones call your office or answering service multiple times?
- Which of your patients have experienced an exacerbation in their COPD, or have had an unmanageable prescription?
The bottom line is to assess who is sitting in the waiting room, identify the types of patients the physician has in their practice, and then "paint the picture" of your solution for the referral source. It's your job to identify, educate, ask, and close.
We hope that you've found these recommendations helpful. If you need help putting these into practice, try combining this process with our Contact Sales Zones outline in each contact profile and/or our recommendations for documenting your Cold Call Outreaches!