I was recently on a coaching call with an owner and his team. One of his team members is a senior rep who believes he knows everything there is to know about their service line. When I question him about his message…well, I’ll just come out and say it. His message is tired. He asks the same questions and shares the same information. The challenge: HE thinks he is “good,” and his owner THINKS he is doing “good” because his numbers are “good.”

However, I know he could be great. That 23 Medicare a month could be 50, or 60 a month. How do I know? Because we coach and train reps who are well beyond those numbers.

The sad thing is ? this guy will never get there because he is not open to hearing anyone else speak except for himself. He is just waiting for someone to take a breath, so he can jump in and tell you how much he knows.

Which got me to thinking… How many reps or members of your team are asking for patients the same way, sharing the same message just waiting for the referral source to stop talking so they can start talking about how great they are or your agency is without asking the right questions?

One of the exercises we do in our High-Performance Sales Coaching program is to ask the sales reps to create a list of 10 ways to ask for a patient that will deliver you the patients or clients you want ? your ideal referral.

Right now, if you are a rep reading this article ? start a list.

I will give you a minute ? I will be right here when you get back.


…Welcome back!


How did you do?

Did you get 10? If you didn’t ? its ok keep working on it! Try taking? it to your staff meeting and enlist the help of your team.

If you are a manager or owner ? try it yourself. Then ask your team to create a list.

Compile it ? share it ? improve it.

That is a great exercise and will challenge you ? but NOT AS MUCH AS THIS NEXT ONE:

Now ? Role Play ? ask your first question and when you get to the ? at the end ? COUNT TO 5 IN YOUR HEAD ? AND SHUT YOUR MOUTH!


How was that?

Every time we role play in the 52 wk training call each month, people struggle not to pile on questions. In an effort to “cover” all patient possibilities, they inadvertently exclude them all. Neuroscience has proven this:

When I ask for a patient with COPD who has SOB or is a fall risk or struggles to maintain their caloric intake…

The referral source hears it as an “AND” question.

Like this: “A COPD patient who is SOB AND a fall risk AND struggles to maintain caloric intake.”

Their brain thinks about their caseload and if they do not have someone who fits all of those ? They simply say “NOPE, I don’t have anyone like that. But I will keep you in mind if I see someone.” The sad story is that it’s true they didn’t have someone with all of those symptom’s, but maybe they had someone with one of them.

Let’s unpack all the goodies in this article as an owner or sales rep for reflection

  1. Be coachable ? even if you are in the business 20+ years. I learn something new every day!
  2. Ask good questions. You learn more than doing all the talking (you get to “stay” longer on a sales call with your referral source if they are talking more then you AND you get invited back!)
  3. If you don’t have 10 SOLID ways to ask for a patient ? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR- your referrals sources can’t do it on their own ? EXPAND their definition of HH, HC or Hospice (lord knows they have more patients who deserve your care! Educate them!)
  4. Count to 5 in your head when you ask a question ? it feels like forever, but your referral sources are still thinking!
  5. Ask ONE question at a time and then move onto the next after it has been answered

Sales looks easy from the outside. It is an art and science. I love every day I get to wake up and have 26 letters to play with that ? when put in the right order ??generate a result of a referral.

I know you love it too! Your care is amazing. The passion you bring to the industry is is palatable. We love what you do!

Thank you for caring the way you do. ?Follow the formula. Do the work. Commit to the process. Succeed like you were meant to with your agency!

Giving you the FREEDOM TO GROW!


Keep Serving Seniors!


Melanie Stover, OT

Co-Owner of Home Care Sales