I live by a small diner called (and I’m not kidding here at all) The Country Diner. It used to be called The Cozy Kitchen and many of those who live in my little town just call it “the kitchen.”

It doesn’t matter if you are a tourist or a long time resident, it’s almost impossible to go to The Kitchen without someone talking to you. It is the culture.

A few things to note about The Country Diner:

  1. They only accept cash. You take your new fangled credit card
    to an ATM if you want good cookin!
  2. Regulars get (and if the diner is busy MAKE) their own coffee.
  3. If you go there 3 days in a row, you will see at least two of the same people everyday with no exceptions.

One of the regulars there is named Sonny, and boy is he a character! He’s always got a joke or two (clean only) and he’s never afraid to start a conversation.

If you look at Sonny, you’ll see a normal guy. He is in his early seventies (looks like he’s in his sixties, but he’ll tell you exactly how old he is if you just talk to him). Of all the noticeable features, his eyes stand out. They are friendly eyes. He looks at people with kindness and maybe, a spark of mischief.

Today, he asked about my son and if his swelling went down in his foot. (Jonathan stepped in a fire ant hill this weekend). He asks if my daughter is liking cheer and if my wife has sold any houses recently.

If you have ever wondered why someone would move to the outskirts of Nashville (instead of the excitement closer in) it’s because they want to live in a town that has a Sonny. A town with an Ed and Linda. A town where folks regularly drop off cakes to the fire and police department.

As I left the diner this morning, I thought to myself… “What would I do if I came in one morning and Sonny wasn’t there?” I like to think that the diner would call to see where he was. Maybe one of the regulars would swing by his house.

What if no one did?

I live in a little town that was built on an ideal that we watch out for one another. My town has become the acceptation to the rule. When I was working full time for a home health agency in Florida, no body was looking out for my patients. Many were alone.

There is a good chance if you are in a competitive market, then many of your seniors don’t have this kind of support network. The diner they have gone to everyday for the past 20 years has no idea how to reach them if they don’t come in for a couple days.

The doctor is so busy, missing an appointment isn’t a red flag. Their kids are busy and only call once a week. The neighbors are millennials and they have never spoken more than a few words to them.

When is the last time you simply asked your referral source if they had any older seniors that missed their appointment? How about anyone who just got put on a new medication that has made medication errors in the past? How about a patient that looks worse this month than last month? Could it be their diet? Could it be their living conditions?

You have a chance to stand up for these patients. Not as a salesperson or patient liaison. As a neighbor who dreads the day that those eyes go from kindness (with just a hint of mischief) to sadness with a look of constant exhaustion.

I challenge you.

This week, don’t think like a post acute provider. Think like a pre acute asset. Sure, Sonny isn’t necessarily homebound if he goes to the diner everyday, but be there when it becomes too difficult for him to make his daily breakfast or (for our in home care providers) get him there and home safely everyday.

I hope someday you get to meet Sonny, or someone like him. It reminds you that behind that referral is a person and most of them are wonderful.

Have a great week!

– Jason

About the Author:

Jason Lewallen is Vice President of Business Development

for Home Care Sales

He can be reached at:

Email: jason@homecaresales.com

Phone: 615.815.7907


PS: Might want to consider…

If you are a home health, hospice, or private duty agency who struggles with:

educating your referral sources

not having professional handouts with the correct clinical/treatment info

not knowing what to say to drive referrals

not having time to train your sales team about diagnosis specific info

…then the 52 Wk Roadmap to Referrals program is the answer you have been looking for. Agencies are using this methodology to gain more referrals and position their entire sales team as experts.

It’s a plan for every week of the year and can lead to double and triple the referrals you are currently getting. The investment is a mere $500 per month. That’s less than a fraction of a referral!

One of the biggest challenges your organization faces is in getting enough referrals for your organization to remain profitable. Many times, organizations think they can get enough business from just websites and word of mouth and I will tell you, these are the ones that typically don?t succeed.

If you look around at the top 5 organizations in your market, I guarantee you that they have a sales representative or a team of sales representatives. If you ask them, what is the biggest challenge that your sales representatives face today when out trying to gain new business and the answer is usually the same. Getting past the gatekeeper.

Today I want to share with you a few tips so you can get past the gate keeper and gain more private duty, home health, and hospice referrals. Let?s start by talking about getting into the hospitals in your service area.

Getting past the gatekeeper: Hospital Account

Hospitals can be a real challenge to gain access. In fact, we teach a whole class on how to access the hospitals in our High-Performance Sales Academy and spend time role playing out the situations every month on our group coaching calls and really take the sales reps through all the what if scenarios. You may also need to get a vendor clearance and your organization may also have to share in referral exchange EMR?s.

However, one way that almost always works and it doesn?t require any special referral software is to have your sales representative go visit any of your active patients that gets admitted to the hospital. The sales representative can go visit the patient and after they see the patient, stop at the desk and ask them to page the discharge planner that has your patients room assigned to them. When the case manager arrives, you now have a chance to do your qualifying sales call and find out if this hospital discharge planner has both the willingness and the ability to refer to your organization.

You want to be prepared to ask several questions so you can then easily position your organization to obtain referrals. Here are a few examples of what I would ask:

What agency do you currently refer most of your patients too? This question typically gets an answer that is something like: We offer patient choice, or we provide the patient with a list.

Can you show me if my organization is on your list? If you?re not on the list, you can write a letter to the hospital corporate compliance officer to request to be on the list. If you are on the list, you can say something like ?Great, I?m so glad that you offer freedom of choice.

Could you share with me how do you help your patients receive guidance on how to use the list? How do they know what providers are great at wound care? Or How do they know what providers take their insurance? Or how do they know who can provide 24-hour care at home?

Can you share with me the last time that you had to give a referral to a different agency other then the hospitals own?

How often do you have to give a referral to someone other than your own agency?

Do you have trouble getting services provided quickly in any of the counties?

Could you share with me 3 things that you love about referring to your preferred agency?

Could you share with me 3 challenges that you have experienced in working with your preferred provider?

Would you be willing to try my organization if I can solve any of your challenges?

Is there someone else that is going home today that is just like my current patient, Mrs. Jones that I could also provide care too?

If they do refer, great job. If not, thank them for allowing you to collect the data. Tell them that you will be back next week around same time so you can share some brochures and a price list, or insurance list. If they say a different date and time, document their request and let them know you will see them next week. Leave nothing behind but a business card and do not give them any brochures. (IMPORTANT)? This is a reason to see them for another sales call. Document your answers to all the questions that you asked before you forget them.

Remember to review what they shared with you and plan your next sales call content based on their answers. That information should create a great response with your follow up and can lead to more referrals.

[Link to YouTube] Watch this video to see the impact asking these questions can have on a referral source from my own experience

Doing Discovery is important! What questions to ask to your accounts is fundamental to the success of your sales efforts. If you believe your team needs guidance on how to identify and qualify their accounts, look no further than our High Performance Sales Academy! They will gain all the tools they need to drive referral growth for your organization.


Cheryl Peltekis, RN “The Solutionist”

Co-Owner of Home Care Sales

I’m going to describe a few setback scenarios. If any of these describe you, I want you to read on, but only after you say this phrase aloud:

“I am on a mission”

– Setback Scenarios –

  • You are struggling to get enough referrals.
  • Your referral sources are not responding to your sales calls.
  • Competitors are taking all the referrals in your market.
  • Other agencies are breaking the law to get referrals.
  • You feel your agency doesn’t support you.
  • There aren’t enough patients in your market to hit your number.

Remember, if this is you or your situation say it aloud:

“I am on a mission.”

Now, this next part may feel like a curveball, but …did you know that everyone loves an underdog? We naturally root for the disadvantaged and hope that they will win, even if it is against all odds.

If you are in any of the setback situations above, you probably feel like the underdog. In our industry, most salespeople are. Many clinical individuals from both your own company and those who can refer patients to you have a stigma built up against your position.

Even worse: You have patients and families that don’t know they have options. Your referral sources often have NO EDUCATION (and generally misconceptions) about what you do.

It’s up to you to rise above the struggle and well… you are the underdog.

Your mission, however, is bigger than your challenge.

Without you, patients go without care. The education you provide to referral sources and clients/client families is the catalyst for longer and better lives for your patients.

Remember how I said everyone loves an underdog? Every senior between the age of 70-80 is on the path to a fall. They are set up to miss their medications and confuse the medicine all together. They will go without meals and many suffer depression due to the loss of a significant family member.

They are all underdogs. I love them, you love them, and your referral sources love them. We know that we can make that 10 year gap between 70-80 (and beyond) so much better, but our referral sources do not. They don’t know there are answers. They don’t know that we have those answers.

Rising above means having the right mind set. Don’t focus on all the things that have went wrong up to today. Think about it this way: The setback you experience today is the setup for a comeback tomorrow!

In that way, you are not a failure, but an underdog. Everybody loves an underdog.

For every challenge you face, there is a life in need of your service. Remember what I asked you to say out loud?

(Reminder: I am on a mission)

Your mission is bigger than the obstacles you face. The reward is greater than difficulties you are up against. You are the best kind of underdog story…The one where the underdog wins.

Go and let your week change someone’s life for the better!

– Jason


About the Author:

Jason Lewallen is Vice President of Business Development

for Home Care Sales

He can be reached at:

Email: jason@homecaresales.com

Phone: 615.815.7907


PS: Might want to consider…

If you are a home health, hospice, or private duty agency who struggles with:

educating your referral sources

not having professional handouts with the correct clinical/treatment info

not knowing what to say to drive referrals

not having time to train your sales team about diagnosis specific info

…then the 52 Wk Roadmap to Referrals program is the answer you have been looking for. Agencies are using this methodology to gain more referrals and position their entire sales team as experts.

It’s a plan for every week of the year and can lead to double and triple the referrals you are currently getting. The investment is a mere $500 per month. That’s less than a fraction of a referral!

PDGM? – the most significant change in the Home Health payment system in the last 20 years is right around the corner. While you are getting your Ops team ready ? what about your MARKETERS?

Who will bear the brunt of communicating the required changes?

Your Sales Team!

How are you going to educate your referral sources so that you dominate your market and get the HIGH-VALUE PATIENTS?


Here are some of the items to consider for your Marketers:

  • YOU NEED ALL THE DIAGNOSES for your coders ? NOT JUST Primary and Secondary! (This 1 tactic will impact the way we “gather referral information” and the how much you get paid.)
  • Your Marketers need to know the 12 Clinical Groupings so that they can actively be looking for those HIGH-VALUE REFERRALS!
  • Are your referrals Community or Institutional? ? Do you have a plan to seek more of the higher reimbursed patients?
  • What is the functional impairment level of your “Ideal referral”?
  • What are the co-morbidities of the patient so that you can gain an adjustment (low ? high) from the secondary diagnoses as reported on your claims

PDGM will change how you interact with your referral sources. If you thought education on F2 was HARD ? IMAGINE all the training you will have for your referral sources!

Now is the time to start addressing these issues pro-actively. Often in our industry, we wait until it’s bad enough to effect our bottomline, then start the process of planning and implementing change. Agencies who are ahead of the curve are the ones that win more referrals and garner trust with their referral sources.


If the answer is no…consider this:

Cheryl and I have created an EASY way for you to gain a blueprint for your Marketers to have a clear path to PDGM.

Step 1:? Sign up for our GROWTH SUMMIT for owners and executives (Its where we are giving you the blueprint to navigate the changes to supercharge your growth)

Step 2:? Come to Vegas for an awesome event of Peer to Peer networking and Education on how to make this Next Phase of your agency the “GROWTH PHASE”!


At this conference, you will have GAIN The SHORT CUTS and Get More done in Less Time. Sign up NOW to join us!



Melanie Stover, OT, MBA, IS/ISM

Co-Owner of Home Care Sales

New trend has developed in 2019 with SNF referrals

Yesterday I attended a post-acute care provider collaboration meeting. The hospital that holds the meeting invited their 6 preferred providers for Home Health and their 10 preferred Skilled Nursing Facility providers. At the meeting they discussed the regular issues:

  • What patients went back to the ER
  • What patients had a rehospitalization first 30 days post discharge from the hospital
  • What could Home Health or the Skilled Nursing Facility done different to keep the patient out of the hospital
  • What patients should have been referred to Adult Protective Services

At the end of the meeting the Physician that is responsible for the hospitals readmission rate set a new standard of care for the Home health agencies and Skilled Nursing Homes to follow.

New Standard:

Every patient referred to Home Health will have all arrangements made 48 hours prior to discharge and every Home Health will have a representative meet the patient at the Skilled Nursing Facility to ensure that the patient has everything that they need in the home. One issue that served as a catalyst for this change was a recently discharged patient that never received his nebulizer machine and therefore went without the medication. This patient ended up back in the hospital.? All of this could have been avoided if the facility confirmed delivery of the necessary equipment to the home or if the Home Health confirmed delivery of the equipment to the home.

This change is not just an isolated incident. Hospital’s across the country are rolling out similar standards. While it’s a complement to the positive effect Home Health has on the client, many agencies have not prepared for this level of service.

Think about it

How many organizations wouldn?t be able to do this?

How many organizations still haven?t hired (or trained) a sales associate to go the home, introduce the company, and verify demographics and orders?

Are you ready to service at this level?


Don?t panic we can help get your sales team ready to meet these challenges with our High Performance Sales Academy


Cheryl Peltekis, RN “The Solutionist”

Co-Owner of Home Care Sales

As a Home Health / Home Care / Hospice marketer, it may seem important that you spend your conversation time telling your referral sources about your services, but what is more important is to develop the ability to ask good questions.

What is the purpose for asking good questions?

  • Differentiation of services provided
  • Reduces resistance
  • Identifies strategy for marketing to the specific referral source
  • Demonstrates interest in the referral source

The foundation for developing effective questioning skills

Prepared and crafted open-ended questions pave the way for successful marketing conversations resulting in referrals for your home health and in-home care services. Relationships always begin with conversation and, to secure referrals, you have to develop relationships and trust.?? Excellence in questioning skills can result in more profitable conversations. Open ended questions (questions that cannot be answered with just one word) will allow you to obtain needed information about your referral source without making it feel as if you are draining them of information. The conversation will have an easy flow when effective questioning skills are utilized.

Limit situational questions

Questions that a referral source can answer in a simple yes or no and does not entertain conversation would be considered a situational question.? These questions have little value to an individual.? These are more closed ended questions which usually begin with the following types of words:

  • Did you…
  • Do you want to…

Specific questions, which would be of a closed ended type regarding home health care services, include

  • Do you make home care referrals?
  • Do you have any patients who would benefit from Home Care?
  • Did you think of anyone since I was last here?

The answer to these questions are simply a word or two and do not encourage more conversation ?- STOP asking questions THAT DO NOT WORK!


When we teach the sales and marketers, we work with the ?Open ended Specific Home Care Sales Trigger Questions? that get you the referral YOU WANT!? – Melanie Stover


The return on use of open ended questions

The skill to prepare and ask open ended questions will produce referrals simply by developing relationships based upon quality conversations.? …AND that is what a sales call is ? a CONTINUATION OF A CONVERSATION!

Feel and think are concepts and words that center around open-ended questions. Open-ended questions tend to start with the following words:

  • Tell
  • What
  • Why
  • How

Open ended questions includes these types of questions:

  • What are your top 3 diagnoses?
  • What types of patients have you been seeing in the office this week?
  • Which COPD patient is struggling with SOB when they walk down the hall and you are concerned about their safety?

Do you see the difference? You are REACHING INTO THEIR CASE LOAD and PLUCKING out a specific patient that you want to serve!

This style of questioning encourages the referral source to provide information about their facility or office and themselves. In addition you will discover some of their real feelings about who they refer to and why they have specific referral patterns.

We all understand that great conversations include great listening skills and using open-ended questions allows you the opportunity to use your listening skills to increase referrals for your home health and in-home care services.

This technique can be tested very easily with your next referral source conversation regarding your home health (or In-Home Care/Hospice) services by taking just a few moments to craft your next weeks ? ?Sales Question of the week?


Need more questions to get you the referrals you WANT?


Join the Roadmap to Referrals and get 52 Weeks of questions that have been PROVEN to deliver referrals for other agencies ? they can for you too!

Melanie Stover, OT, MBA, IS/ISM

Co-Owner of Home Care Sales

I just had a fantastic call with what I will now refer to as a friend of mine, Amy. She has a sales background and is just moving into the Home Health and Hospice space.

It was nice talking to another “classically” trained salesperson, as there is a small kindred spirit found in folks who have stared down a manager sternly telling them to A.B.C. (Always Be Closing). A person who has felt the pain of having to “qualify a non-buyer” and the struggle when asked to “sharpen your pencil just a little more” to negotiate a contract.

My favorite part of our conversation today was the mutual excitement that we shared about this industry. Being in sales for a time can teach you to offer incredible incentives and benefits. You can solve hundreds of business problems for your clients. Rarely, do you get to find yourself representing a service that quite literally changes the lives of your clients.

Even talking about it now gives me chills. As young man, I worked on an assembly line making a hilariously low sum of money and constantly asking where my life was headed.

Back then, I would have laughed out loud if someone told me that someday I would help thousands of mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, and even sons and daughters live a more fulfilling and independent life.

What a crazy, exciting life I get to lead!

Here is the thing…You lead that life too! The service your agency provides has such a deep impact on your community that you are a regular philanthropist.

Consider this:

If your agency served just 10 patients a month in total, you would change the lives of 120 patients a year.

As if that wasn’t enough, you would (on average) impact over 500 family members conservatively as well as several facilities, physicians, and referral providers. (based on spouse survival statistics, the average household census, and grandchildren per patient)

That is more than most non-profit organizations will help in the entire lifespan of their companies!

So, Tomorrow…

When get into your car each morning this week and you are thinking, “Where do I start?” – remember that you are already in the business of good works. You are changing lives and making an impact. Let that realization put a spring in your step and push you forward.

Moreover, you (as a representative) are helping referral sources to identify those patients who need our services. Without you, those patients are going with out. You stand between seniors and the bathing and meal prep they don’t have the strength for. You offer the kind of therapy and education that can keep a patient from a life-altering fall or medication mixup. You help parents and grandparents to secure their dignity and legacy when the time has come for them to pass on.

Someday, most of us will find ourselves on the other end of the beautiful service(s) we provide. We will bounce back from a rough surgery, survive a heart attack, or maybe even have to rely on daily help to continue living a great and meaningful life.

We might even need to say goodbye in the most meaningful way possible and a hospice organization will help us to find the words and pass on without pain or suffering.

Getting referrals…yeah, it can be hard. Real hard sometimes. But, damn… it is well worth it.

Keep up the great work and have a fantastic week!


About the Author:

Jason Lewallen is Vice President of Business Development

for Home Care Sales

He can be reached at:

Email: jason@homecaresales.com

Phone: 615.815.7907


PS: Might want to consider…

If you are an agency owner or salesperson who feels like you are not making the kind of impact that you want. There is a solid, proven solution.

If you feel:

a. total burnout
b. like there is way too much competition
c. like you cannot find the right patients
d. like your team simply needs some new tools to rise above all the “noise”

Then you can now breathe easy and gain access to the very tools that are designed to push you above beyond where you are now and get you the level of success you have dreamed of.

This is the High Performance Sales Academy.

With the HPSA you will gain access to a full virtual library of training that includes:

scripts and templates
bonus video trainings including
access to our proven 5 Step selling process
route and time management training
Unique Selling Point education track
and even video game tutorial simulations!

Additionally, you gain a pass to our monthly HPSA Q and A coaching calls with the dynamic duo themselves (Melanie and Cheryl).

You can’t build a house without tools. Provide your team with the tools they need to get the job done and done well. Sign up now!