With increasing competition in the home health care market, and ever increasing pressure on a physician’s time and resources, home health representatives face an uphill task to get just 5 minutes with a physician. In addition like all sales representatives, you too might be turned away by the physical’s staff, who’s responsibility it is to ensure the physician’s time is guarded, thus making it harder to receive physician referrals.
This 3-part series will give you insights into how your agency can rise to the top of a physician’s list of preferred home health care providers in 3 simple steps. Starting with tips on how to charm your way through the doctor’s office, working on your initial research and refining your pitch with the staff, as you go along. The second part in this series delves into crafting the perfect physician-appropriate pitch. And the last part will identify steps agencies can take to build and nurture long-standing relationships with the physician and his staff. With all of these steps put together you will be able to put a perfect pitch together for those coveted physician referrals.
STEP 1: Start With The Staff
An effective sales strategy aimed at physicians is vital for any home health agency seeking to improve referrals. While this is one of the best approaches to choose, you may find yourself turned away by gatekeepers at the physician’s office – personnel who are trained to ward off sales representatives from medical device companies, pharmaceutical companies and the like. But your first meeting with the physician’s staff can be a pivotal point in your relationship with the physician and his office, in more ways than you can imagine.
While physicians have the most authority when it comes to their ability to provide recommendations for home care referrals, it is often the staff who direct these referrals. It’s vital therefore, for agencies to include the clinic’s staff as key influencers in an effective physician sales strategy, including them in the process from the very beginning. • Get in at the right time Leverage your first meeting with the doctor’s office to get to know the staff and learn more about the practice. Most clinics don’t schedule meetings for the first 30 minutes to an hour of the work day. Arriving early helps you catch the staff when they’re relaxed and not yet tuned to turn you away.
Be quick and direct
- Introduce yourself and your agency, and before they have a chance to turn you away, ask them a few questions about the practice. Do they already work with other health care agencies? Which insurance providers do they work with? How do they feel your agency can help? Let your questions be informed and friendly, and let them know you came to meet them so you could learn more about the practice and how your agency can be of assistance.
Fine-tune your pitch with every visit
- Let them know you’ll be back to meet them and when you do, be sure to list how working with your agency will benefit the practice, its patients, and staff. Take these meetings as opportunities to rehearse and refine your sales pitch, and seek new opportunities to fine-tune it with each visit.
Ask for an appointment with the doctor
- Finally, when the reception has warmed up to seeing you drop by, and you’ve won them over with your pitch, ask if there is there a day or time the doctor meets representatives and if you can meet the doctor then. Ask for a few minutes to make your pitch and if you’ve done the job of getting to know the staff and making them part of your pitch, you can be sure you’ll have a warm reception at the doctor’s office too.
Once you’ve learned as much as you can about the staff and the practice, and refine your pitch with them, it’s time to start crafting the perfect physician-appropriate pitch to receive those physician referrals. Get started with more details in the second part of this series.