By TRIPP MATTHEWS
In preparing to make your sales calls, there are three fundamental elements that can not be overlooked 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.
What does the data say?
It’s important to analyze and understand the current referral patterns from any referral source. How many referrals did your agency get from a particular physician last month? What about over the last quarter? The last year? Have you reviewed the admission-to-conversion rate? What was the payer mix? Your agency should have this data, and it should be reviewed before you walk in their door.
Who is the competition?
Where else is their business going? The physicians or other referral sources you’re approaching 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:
1. 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.
2. 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.
Know who’s who
Doctor’s offices and discharge planning teams are their own family. If you want to be a part of that family, you have to first understand who is who. You probably don’t want to collect this information all at one time, but you need to know the name of the head nurse, the office manager, the receptionist, the physician’s assistant, the nurse practitioner, their main assistants or nurses. You’ll need to know not only their names but something unique about each and every individual that you are going to come across in that business. This sounds trite, but friend them on Facebook or Instagram. Connect with them on Linked In. These things matter to humans – you’re one. It makes you feel appreciated, or at least connected with someone else when they have obviously done their research and know something about you that you did not expect them to know.
Things may change rapidly on the regulatory and reimbursement landscape for home health, hospice and private duty agencies, but certain strategies maintain their value no matter how quickly the industry evolves.
Don’t overlook the basics, and be prepared when you walk into a healthcare provider.
Tripp Matthews is CEO of Curaport, a home care news and information portal. The Curaport Network aggregates content, tools and learning programs from trusted information sources. Tripp is a 12-year veteran of home care sales.
Want to delve deeper into sales strategies that work to boost referrals to your agency?
When you sign up below for Tripp’s mailing list,
you’ll receive a free copy of his tip sheet
“Extra Credit Strategies for Referrals”
You’ll also be notified about upcoming webinars,
podcasts, lectures and other content of
interest to home health professionals.