This month, I would like to share some ideas on how to create a marketing message and then execute a sales strategy to gain incremental market share in your service area. Marketing creates the message and, of course, it needs to be communicated and persuaded—my definition of selling. I have used these strategies personally with success when I was with both regional and national mobility/CRT companies. Marketing and sales are terms often used interchangeably—here is how they differ.
- Identifies appropriate prospects
- Effectively communicates image and capabilities of the company
- Creates awareness of and emphasizes an appeal—a differentiation factor—about the company
- Perfects customer service excellence
- Requests feedback from clients on a regular basis
- Anticipates and meets needs. Marketing often necessitates cultural changes at every level in the company
- Proactive seeking of prospects
- Interacting to qualify prospects
- Effective acknowledgment of the prospect’s concerns with proposed solutions
- Closing the sale! – “gain the new business”
- Following up and staying in contact when you do not “gain the business”
Some ideas for you to consider:
- Make sure you are on solid ground with your existing clients and your valuable referral sources. They should represent 80% of your time. Visit them and continue to build deeper relationships with them, including the new therapists or department managers that come on-board.
- Once you are on solid ground with your client satisfaction levels and referral sources, you are ready to market and sell your company to grow your business through service offerings and, of course, out-performing your competition.
- First things first, communicate specifically what type of business you are in. Here is an example: (Company Name) is a rehab and mobility equipment supplier with (x #) of branches covering (y) service area. Our high-quality service is accomplished by hiring, training and retaining dedicated and service-minded people in the HME/DME and complex rehab industry. We hold the distinction of being one of the top rehab equipment providers in the area since (year). Think elevator speech and everyone in the company should be able to share this information with potential new business opportunities! Yes, everyone who is on the payroll!
#4. What products and services do you provide? Example: (Company Name) provides equipment and related services in the areas of wheeled mobility and other specialty devices use to aid people of all ages with physical disabilities in their daily activities. General categories include: *Wheelchairs and Scooters, complex rehab equipment, battery powered and manual wheelchairs, tilt-’n-space chairs, adult and pediatric accessories. *Seating Systems, therapeutic seats and backs, custom molded (to exact specifications) seats and backs and various body and limp supports. *Devices to Assist in Ambulation, Elevation & Hygiene, standers, specialty walkers, transport chairs, patient lifts, beds, cribs, low air-loss mattresses, bath lifts, bath benches, and specific pediatric aids and gait trainers. *Service and Repairs, Both mobile service (to your location within service area) or Drop-off/Pick-up (at our company repair shop) for HME equipment, such as Beds and Lifts, Standers, Modifications, Manual Wheelchairs, Power Wheelchairs and Scooters.
#5. Most importantly – HOW YOU DIFFERENTIATE YOURSELF FROM OTHER COMPANIES that you compete against. This requires you to avoid the clichés. Take a look at your company and create evidence that you can back up with facts and supportive evidence. What is your focus, i.e., the core strength of your company? What areas truly differentiate you from your competition? (The #1 reason is likely the quality of the people that work at the company.) Have you received any awards for service, community or charitable endeavors? Share openly your accreditation statistics. Gain testimonials in writing and create videos to add to your webpage and social media and understand the importance of updating your webpage and social media with the goals of making it engaging and active to gain business…it is 2017! In other words, promote and sell items over it. Communicate your certifications and years of service in the industry as of company and of your ATPs. What is the average tenure of your management team in the company and also in the industry? Make a point to state your average delivery times and times to schedule appointments or return phone calls.
When I was with a regional company, the #1 goal of the owner was for us to be the “easiest company to do business with.” That included clients, family members, referral sources, payers and all that make up the day-to-day contacts for running your business. Finally, be active and visible in the community and your state(s). Be an active part of professional organizations. Hold open houses for clients, referral sources, and invite your local and state representatives too. What a great way for them to see your business first-hand and feel your pain when it comes to programs like competitive bidding and continuing pressures from reductions in reimbursement. Remember to include your clients that use mobility devices for the representative to meet while they are there. It really does leave a positive and lasting impression on the representatives, which will only help when you are asking for their support on legislation!
#6. A-B-C! You may remember the 1992 movie “Glengarry Glen Ross.” There is the classic scene with a young Alec Baldwin giving sales “pep talk” to a low energy non-producing group of real estate agents…THE main message… “Always Be Closing!” (I still like the line “coffee is for closers.”)
We stand ready at U.S. Rehab with a couple programs that will absolutely differentiate your company, including our Functional Mobility Outcomes Program and Labor-Tacker, a web-based solution for increasing profits in your K0739 repair labor billings.
Please contact me directly for more information, and I will be more than happy to share some ideas on how these programs will be used to help grow your business and increase your profits in your service and repair department(s).
National Vice President of Complex Rehab, U.S. Rehab