Have any of my fellow owners felt the pain of hiring the wrong sales representative to grow your agency? This morning the pain hit me. I hired the wrong sales representative. I should have seen the signs from the first 2 weeks…

  • Not replying to my emails timely
  • NO initiative in building her potential account list
  • Waiting for direction from leadership
  • The way she walked, breathed, or just existed

I mean come on now, I’m an expert at hiring. Well folks, it happens to the best of us. I got duped into hiring someone who showed up with her prestigious sales awards in her briefcase. Sharing how she made millions in sales the previous year and demanding a high salary to join my team with her amazing skills.

I wanted the easy way out. I wanted someone who didn’t need much hand holding and so I grabbed this Presidential Award Winner, and offered her the sun, moon, and the stars, and what did I get over the next 2 months? NOTHING! Just another box of business cards to add to my trash can!

…Or did I gain something from this?

What did this opportunity give me a chance to learn?

Was the lesson, don’t be so easily impressed by previous sales successes? Don’t let an employee join your team without making part of their salary in commissions? Was it, always hire 2 reps at the same time so even if one quits you still have one that works out? Maybe all the above. It’s been a while since I just picked wrong and I was really feeling quite sorry for myself. Jason, my colleague and friend, said, “Hey, God is just making way for the next best thing to walk through the door.” I was thankful for his kindness.

This experience made me think about all the reps that I had hired for all the companies around the United States. I slowly went through at least the last 25 hires, and all but 4 are still working at the companies they were placed with and still producing excellent results. Not a bad track record at all.

Next, I looked at the 4 that didn’t work. Interesting again. All 4 had previous sales experience in either pharma or health related sales. I went through 5 of my favorite hires. I found that all five of them were not in sales before they became full time sales representatives.

  • Competition Cheerleader Coach at a College
  • One waitress for 12 years
  • One Bartender for 7 years
  • One a Home Health Aide for 5 years
  • One a hostess at my Flyers Suite Box

What made all these non-salespeople so great at there job?   What did they have in common that made me love helping them grow into the incredible salespeople they are today? Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. They all had a deep passion for getting people help at home. Each of them had a personal connection to the services we provide. Each was eager to go make a difference in the world by helping patients obtain the needed services we long to provide. That is where I went wrong with this hiring mistake that I will call Sales Representative L.  (L = Lazy).

Morale of my story: Don’t get duped…

Don’t get duped by a fancy appearance and a bag of awards. Don’t think years of selling Pharma will make them a great rep. Sometimes it may, but in my case it didn’t. Look for the passion connection to the industry. Look for someone who has had a personal connection to what services you provide in the home. They are the ones who will go knock down doors.  They have a bigger mission than their paycheck. Those are the ones that we should seek out.

So, my friends remember we have the orientation training, high performance sales training, and the master’s in high performance selling program, and coaching to support your reps. If you are like me, looking to hire to get more revenue in the door than hopefully my failure will help you also find the next hire.


Happy Hiring!

The Solutionist, Cheryl Peltekis, RN.

Last week we discussed GOALs and how to make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound).

This week we were together with our AWESOME Home Care Sales Mastermind Group in Miami at the Fountainbleu, and one of the reoccurring themes for their Home Care Sales teams was to make sure they are deeply connected to their “why” and their personal income goals.

As an agency, of course, you have a budget to hit. Often this gets “pushed” down on the rep in the form of a quota. “You MUST hit x hrs” or “Your quota is 20 admissions”. Is that enough for your rep to run with it and overachieve their quotas to bonus highly? Maybe.

I like to do an exercise with the reps I manage.

Step 1: What is your number this year?

How much money do you want to make? 70 – 80- 100k?

Step 2: How many admissions, hours or revenue will that take to make that number?

We call this working backward. Meaning you take the number you want annually, and you break it down into monthly goals – how many hours will it take monthly to get your annual goal? How many new admissions will it take monthly to hit your yearly income goal?

Step 3: how many per week or day?

Often when we break it down to the admissions per day or the revenue per week  – the goal becomes more manageable.


Let’s take an example:

You need 240 admissions to make your annual income goal.

That’s 20 a month – basically, that is 1 admission a weekday.

One of the reps I work with – that is her number – and she has it on her car dash – “I just need one” on a post-it. She says this helps her focus on “just one” and not get overwhelmed.

What is your number as a home care marketer?

Do you know your daily home health admission number you need per day to make your income goal?

…Or your increase in hours per week as a home care salesperson?

…Or your hospice admission goal this week to increase your average daily census?



As a Home Health, In-home Care, or Hospice Marketer/ Sales representative, YOU have control over your income.

That is the BEST part about being a Home Care Sales Representative! EVERYDAY you get to wake up and say to yourself, “Who has my patient?”

My business mentor says it like this:

“Mel, you have the best job in the ENTIRE world. You are IMPACTING LIVES AND INCREASING YOUR INCOME at the SAME TIME!”

You are not selling “widgets.” You are helping some of the most venerable people in the country. Without in-home care, home health, and hospice, many people would suffer needlessly.

Your mission, when you choose to accept it, is to be UNSTOPPABLE with your home care sales, home health marketing, and hospice education. YOU get the people who deserve care – the OPPORTUNITY to get care.

You get to do well – while you are doing good!

This is your year – 2020 will be the best year when you break down your goals into bite-size pieces – you can accomplish anything you put your mind to!

Time for a Mind Shift acceleration!  Your mission is BIGGER than their “NO.”

Now, it’s time to GO do your numbers for 2020!


Keep serving Seniors!

Together We Grow!



PS: If you are looking for a group of REALLY SMART owners and executives – like yourself to share ideas and gain insights and tactics that are working today – you will want to be a part of the Home Care Sales Mastermind!

Click here for the application.

This is your chance to be with owners who are “you next year” and help other owners with your experience!

Join today – there is no other place you would rather be then with smart, successful agency owners who are not in your competitive market and willing to share what works for them!

*Warning: This blog post contains truth that some will not want to hear. If you are struggling to get referrals in your market, you probably need this article…but you also may not like it. Read at your own discretion.

Consider this:

Success is not defined by effort.

You can try with all of your might to empty the Mississippi River with a bucket and never come close to seeing dry sand. Effort is a key ingredient, but cannot wholly get you the resulting gains you need to maintain success and growth.

Success is not always determined by knowledge, either.

In principle, you may know how to build a house, but without the developed skills that an experienced home builder has obtained from many years of construction, you are most likely going to struggle. Knowledge is good and often a great deal of knowledge can land you a great career opportunity, but the knowledge is useless unless put into practice.

So, what is my point? That the formula for goal-shattering, career-sustaining success is better defined like this:

Success = Effort + Knowledge

Without both of those elements, you will fail. That also illustrates a solid point. If you believe that outside forces such as other competitors, regulatory issues, lack of insurances you take, or illegal practices are causing your agency to fail – you are most likely wrong.

Yes, I said it and some of you may have ruffled feathers, but it is the truth. All of those issues can be overcome with knowledge and effort. These two elements may take you to places you don’t like. Such places where you don’t feel “comfortable” are most likely exactly where you need to go to overcome your challenges.

I’m not going to spend the rest of this post explaining the above formula or defending my stance. I’m going to show you how to start on a path to create referral gains in your market. I’m going to show you real life opportunity that is not a magic wand or instant success, but continuous growth.

What you need to do today:


Define your work day and commit yourself to it

How many hours are you going to work? 8-5? 9-4? 7-7? Whatever that number looks like, you need to answer it honestly. This may seem pointless, but with great freedom comes the opportunity to indulge in that freedom. A kids game on a Friday? – Sure, that’s understandable. Ending your day early cause you already got a referral or because you just aren’t feeling it? – not acceptable.

You didn’t get into this to be a sub-par, makes minimums kind of sales person. You want to be a rockstar. Your name should be associated with a job well done and all of your referral sources should know it. It all starts with discipline. Set your day and walk that day out. Don’t let your freedom be the noose you hang your career with.


Get steady to unlock consistent referral sources

One of the biggest mistakes agency owners (especially in private duty) and sales reps make is to be un-reliable with their outreach. If you go somewhere different every day, every week to get your message out, then you are doing it wrong. It may seem like a good idea to get your name out to as many folks as possible, but that is a mistake.

Here is what you need to do:

Make a list of the key people who can refer to you enough to be worthy of your time. This is your account list.

Now, break your accounts up into a list based on frequency of visits.  Most of your accounts should be weekly or bi-weekly and only a few rare exceptions should be monthly or less.

Every week you should be visiting your accounts. EVERY WEEK. Not whenever I am that way or sometimes/occasionally. To get the desired result of consistent referrals, you have to be consistent yourself.

At that point you can follow your sales process. If you don’t have one, reach out to me and we will show you a demo of our sales process, which you can purchase access to.


Plan ahead to push ahead

You should always have a plan and a goal before you conduct a sales call. Additionally, you should always leave with a follow up plan and write it down somewhere for reference. If you are old school, go by a dedicated pad of paper and write your notes. If you are more tech savvy, consider a CRM or a spreadsheet to manage your information.

At Home Care Sales, we use a 52 Week Roadmap to talk about specific diagnosis or programs each week. This increases the odds that you will be driving the patient types you want and not just taking whatever referral they send your way.


Be the Expert

Are you friends with any physicians? If so, simply ask them how much time they spent being educated on your business line. Either Home Health, Hospice, or Private Duty goes with little to no education during Med School. Furthermore, the “blind-leading-the-blind” really applies to this scenario. Other physicians that are also lacking education of the benefits you can provide have probably been taught not to leverage your services due to misunderstanding.

As an expert, you have to really UNDERSTAND what you do. Once you understand, you can leverage a mixture of patient stories, diagnosis-specific identifiers, and benefit-driven education about the services you provide to drive new referral opportunities. If you don’t know what is required to obtain and place a patient in your agency’s care, you need to find out today and be the expert!


You are almost NEVER rejected, so quit acting like it

You are not alway going to get referrals. Even if a referral source has been unable to refer to you or has simply chosen not to…it’s not rejection. Something is keeping them from referring, sure, but if you cannot keep from taking it personal this may not be a good job for you.

Let me give you a scenario to consider:

Dr. Refersalot has committed to sending you a patient, but hasn’t seen fit to send one yet. After many weeks of this behavior, you finally start to feel like you are getting the run-around. What would you do?

  1. Stop visiting Dr. Refersalot since it seems to be a waste of your time.
  2. Leave company info for her everyday until she finally refers.
  3. Schedule an in-service lunch to further educate
  4. Pay the Doc a $100 for her next patient
  5. Ask why you haven’t been able to show her the improvement her patients will experience in your care

Seems to me that the answer is obvious, but (rhetorically answer your true answer) if you are like most people, you will avoid the problem and the referral source. Worse yet, you may try to wait her out…constantly going back without getting any referrals.

The trick is actually part of our High Performance Sales Academy’s Reveal Visit. You’ve got to find out WHY the referral source hasn’t referred. If you are not bringing this to her attention or requesting her to share the reason she won’t work with your agency, there may not be any sense of referring urgency. She will send you a referral whenever she gets around to it…maybe.

Once you uncover the reason you haven’t gotten a referral, you can address it. If the reason ultimately makes it seem that you are not likely to get a referral, you can stop visiting or visit less for a time and hope for a new opportunity down the road.


Finally, remember who you are fighting for

Y0u work everyday for your family and your livelihood. In our industry, you also work for the well-being of others. You serve as an incredible influence to the lives of many. Each referral is a patient who may get to avoid a hospital stay or recover quicker so that they can go see their grand daughter’s dance recital. They are patients whose families are trying to make their own way, but need a little help. They are patients who are trying to say goodbye to those they love with dignity.

We have to meet our own needs, but it’s a huge blessing to be able to help others live a better life in the homes that their years of hard work have earned them. Remember who we are fighting for and don’t give up.


– Jason


About the Author:

Jason Lewallen is Vice President of Marketing

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 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!

Some of us have employees who go around complaining about someone else. Some of them tell us they are just venting and blowing off some stream. But I want to share some information with you on what they are really doing.

One of my mentors, is  the legendary executive coach Marshall Goldsmith, who interviewed more than 200 of his clients and what he discovered matched previous research he read, but found hard to believe: “A majority of employees spend 10 or more hours per month complaining — or listening to others complain about their boss or upper management. Even more amazing, almost a third spend 20 hours or more per month doing so.”

And that doesn’t even include the complaining they do about their peers and employees! Which would be hard to believe if not for the fact that, if you pay attention to what you experience during your day, you’d find it’s pretty accurate.

Imagine the productivity gain of reducing all those complaining hours.

Why do we complain about other people?

Because it feels (really) good, requires minimal risk, and it’s easy.

Here’s what happens: Someone annoys us. We’re dissatisfied with how they’re behaving. Maybe we’re angry, frustrated, or threatened. Those feelings build up as energy in our bodies, literally creating physical discomfort (that’s why we call them feelings — because we actually, physically, feel them).

When we complain about someone else, the uncomfortable feelings begin to dissipate because complaining releases the pent up energy. That’s why we say things like “I’m venting” or “I’m blowing off steam” (But, as we’ll see in a moment, that dissipation doesn’t just release the energy, it spreads it, which actually makes it grow).

Additionally, when we complain to people who seem to agree with us — and we almost always complain to people who seem to agree with us — we solicit comfort, camaraderie, connection, support, and justification, which counteracts the bad feelings with some fresh, new good ones.

Complaining changes the balance of negative/positive energy and, for a brief moment at least, we feel better. It’s actually a pretty reliable process. Addictive even.

Which is the problem (beyond even the wasted time): Like just about all addictions, we’re feeding the spin of a destructive, never-ending cycle. The release of pressure — the good feeling — is temporary. In fact, the more we complain, the more likely the frustration, over time, will increase.

Here’s why: when we release the pent up energy by complaining, we’re releasing it sideways. We almost never complain directly to the person who is catalyzing our complaints. We generally complain to our friends and family. We’re not having direct conversations to solve a problem. We’re seeking allies. We’re not identifying actions that could help. We’re, almost literally, blowing off steam.

Why is complaining such a bad move?

Complaining creates a number of dysfunctional side effects (again, beyond the time wasted): It creates factions, prevents or delays — because it replaces — productive engagement, reinforces and strengthens dissatisfaction, riles up others, breaks trust, and, potentially, makes the complainer appear negative. We become the cancer we’re complaining about; the negative influence that seeps into the culture.

Worse, our complaining amplifies the destructiveness and annoyance of the initial frustration about which we’re complaining.

Think about it: someone yells in a meeting. Then you go to the next meeting (where no one is yelling) and you complain about the person who just yelled. Now other people, who weren’t at the initial meeting, feel the impact of the yelling and get upset about it too. Encouraged by their support, your brief, momentary release transforms into righteous indignation and, becoming even more incensed, you experience the initial uncomfortable feelings all over again.

In other words, while the energy dissipates, it expands. The amount of time you spend thinking about it extends for hours, sometimes days and weeks. And you’ve multiplied the people who are also thinking and talking about it. Meanwhile, our complaining improves, precisely, nothing.

In fact, that might be the biggest problem: Complaining is a violent move to inaction. It replaces the need to act. If instead of complaining, we allowed ourselves to feel the energy without needing to dissipate it immediately — which requires what I call emotional courage — then we could put that energy to good use. We could channel it so it doesn’t leak out sideways.

In other words, let the uncomfortable feeling you have — the one that would otherwise lead you to complain — lead you to take a productive action.

What’s a better move when we feel like complaining?


Go ahead and complain. Just do it directly — and thoughtfully — to the person who is the cause of your complaints.

Talk to the person who yelled in the meeting. If that person doesn’t listen, talk to their boss. If you don’t like that idea, then, when it actually happens, say “Hold on. Let’s respect each other in this conversation.” If you missed the opportunity in the moment, then meet with them afterwards and say, “Please let’s respect each other in our conversations.”

That, of course, also takes emotional courage. It’s a scary, more risky thing to do, but it’s why it’s worth developing your emotional courage. While scary, it’s far more likely to be highly productive. It holds the potential for changing the thing that is the problem in the first place. Rather than become the negative influence, you become the leader.

If you want to brave this route, let your urge to complain be the trigger that drives you to take action in the moment (or, if you missed the moment, then shortly after).

The following advice can help:

  • Notice the adrenaline spike or the can-you-believe-that-just-happened feeling (e.g., someone yelling in a meeting).
  • Breathe and feel your feelings about the situation so that they don’t overwhelm you or shut you down. Notice that you can stay grounded even in difficult situations (e.g., feel, without reacting).
  • Understand the part about what’s actually happening that is complain-worthy (e.g., it’s not okay to yell and disrespect others in a meeting).
  • Decide what you can do to draw a boundary. Ask someone to shift their behavior or otherwise improve the situation (e.g., “Please let’s respect each other in our conversations.”)
  • Follow through on your idea (e.g., actually say: “Please let’s respect each other in our conversations.”)

It’s not nearly as easy as complaining. But it will be far more productive and valuable.

“But wait,” you might protest, “the whole reason I’m complaining is that I’m powerless in this situation. I can’t tell the person to be respectful because they’re my boss.”

You may be right. It’s true that most people complain because they feel powerless.

It’s also true that most people have more power in a situation than they believe they have, even with their boss. And, just maybe, it could be worth the risk to say something. You could say “I see that you’re very angry and I can feel how it’s shutting me down. Can we go a little more gently here?”

It’s a risk because the person may blow up even more…

…Or it may gain you their respect and, in one sentence, change the direction of the leader and the organization. That one moment could transform what could have become weeks of complaining into a moment of productive engagement.

More than once I have seen someone gain the respect of everyone in the room because they were courageous enough to be direct — caringly, compassionately, and truthfully. Almost always, everyone is surprised by the offending person’s response. Most times, the offender was more open to the feedback then they thought. Not always. But almost always.

Let complaining — and the feeling that leads to complaining — be the red flag that it should be: something wrong is happening and you are probably not powerless to do something about it.

I know we usually always blog about sales and business development, but I wanted to share this, because I know someone reading this, right now, needed this!  Now go have a great day.


The Solutionist, Cheryl Peltekis, RN.

3 Goals for 2020.

No more, no less!


Three goals? Just three goals?

Yes! Here is what I know from working with thousands of home care owners and their reps. We all have goals, but often they do not get met because the people made too many, they were too big, or they were pie-in-the-sky unrealistic!

Today I will share with you the best practices of how to crush your goals in 2020 in just two simple steps.

1. Set 3 goals

Why 3? Well, three is manageable. If you have too many goals, you become overwhelmed. You don’t do any of them well, and you quit all of them. So start with three and when you accomplish 1 of them add another to replace it

2. Make your Goals – S.M.A.R.T.

You have heard this before. As my Gross Anatomy professor, Dr. Phish (yes, that was really his name!) used to say, “repetition is your friend.”



Let’s take a look at a common goal. I hear owners and reps say:

“I want to grow.”

Is that specific enough?  Well, it tells us you want to grow, but where? By a specific payer?  Revenue?  Profit?

This is a common goal that does not get met because it is not specific enough.


Let’s take the “I want to grow” goal

By how much?  1% or 40% or 100%?

One owner might be pleased with a 5% growth goal where another needs double-digit growth to make their new budget work

Put a number to your goals!


Here is a big one

We often hear owners say I want 50% growth

Is this attainable?

Could you staff if your rep brought it in?

One of our mentoring clients comes to mind. After a fantastic year of adding $1 million to her topline, she wanted to “do it again the next year.” That’s a tall order. 100% growth in her case to do it again in a home care agency that has been in business for 5+ years – Is that attainable?  You know your business best – you be the judge.

You have to take a hard look at the goals you write you want to stretch yourself but still make it achievable.


Is it relevant to your business now?

Yes, we have future plans. But today is the best day to get started on your goals for 2020!


Put a time frame on when you will accomplish your goal


Let’s look at the example:

“I want to grow.”

When? Tomorrow? Next month? Next year?

Let’s turn, “I want to grow” into a S.M.A.R.T. goal.

  1. Grow my Medicare admissions by 10% in the next 60 days
  2. Grow my private pay hours to 4000 a week in the next quarter
  3. Grow my Hospice by diversifying my admitting diagnosis from 80% cancer to 3 diagnoses.  Add 2 new patient types that account for 30% of the admissions besides cancer in the next year.

Those are great S.M.A.R.T. goals!

2020 is YOUR YEAR!



WORK to make them REAL!

We would love to hear from you –

Let us know your goals for 2020 in the comment section!


Together We Grow!

Keep Serving Seniors,


For most of 2019, we have been hearing about all the fears that PDGM will bring our home health agencies. We have heard issues with cash flow, 1/3 of the companies going out of business, and rumors of agencies that won’t survive with Rap Payments decreased to 20%.

I really felt like we were in the Chicken Little Movie, with the chicken running around screaming, “The sky is falling!” Now, the first week is here and the sky is still in place.

Let’s review what is going to help support our agencies operationally

First, we need to make sure that (with every referral) we get a list of all the possible diagnosis codes. This is going to help with getting the correct clinical group and capture the additional reimbursement for co-morbidities.

Next, we need to make sure that we have everything needed to support the face-to-face documentation. We don’t want anything to slow down the billing process or admission process. It is critical that every referral can become an admission and we don’t want to have the face-to-face encounter making our intake offices have a delay in accepting patients.

Now, what if they are for heavy therapy? Hopefully you already have a plan in place but if not you want to keep reading…

You must look at the referral sources and decide on how to service the patients without losing your shirts. You must know that you have the right therapist who will treat the patient according to what they need to keep out of the hospital and recover safely at home. You want to make sure you have therapy assistants working with your therapist to keep the cost of servicing the patient down.

You may need to add home health aide services to support patients more on days that the therapist isn’t seeing the patient. There may be opportunity to land some of the accounts from competitors that are fearful of taking therapy cases as well. If you can figure out how to do it without losing money, you may quickly become a preferred agency from your referral sources.

Another vital step to prepare for

We need to make sure that our staff is scoring the functional assessments correctly. That each nurse is reading the OASIS answers from the bottom up when completing the assessment. Too many times the nurse reads the possible OASIS answers from the top down and they underscore the patient’s functional status.

If your nurse still has questions about how to score functional assessment you can have one of the physical or occupational therapist and the nurse collaborate on possible answers. The OASIS Guidance Manual is the best resource out there. I am always shocked when I ask clients how they train their staff on OASIS and many clients never mention one of the best resources available to agencies and it is free!

You can find it here:  https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Initiatives-Patient-Assessment-Instruments/HomeHealthQualityInits/Downloads/OASIS-D-Guidance-Manual-final.pdf.

The OASIS Guidance manual shows the items intent, and response-specific instructions. It also provides data sources and resources for answering the functional assessments. I always make sure each new nurse knows how to answer the functional assessment questions.

Final tip for PDGM

If you are a salesperson, you may be pressured more than ever to bring in new business. You may be pressured to bring in facility referrals because they reimburse the agency at a higher level. You will not be successful out selling without a repeatable sales process that is proven to give you results.

If you haven’t gone through our High-Performance Sales Academy this is the time to do it! If you are an owner and finally realized that you must have a salesperson help your organization grow, know we have the products that can help support you!

Go check out our website at www.homecaresales.com and find the solution to grown challenges! Happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year to all!


By Cheryl Peltekis, RN “The Solutionist”


PS: For those that need results FASTER – Our live coaching program starts Tuesday, January 14th and goes for 6 weeks with supplemental virtual training and weekly calls with the Home Care Sales team to launch your team to faster results. The best part? Coaching attendees all get a years access to the High Performance Sales Academy virtual suite!

You can sign up today and launch your team to new levels of success. The link is HERE: https://homecaresales.com/high-performance-coaching/