One of the biggest challenges your organization faces is in getting enough referrals 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 get 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?
  4. Can you share with me the last time that you had to give a referral to a different agency other than the hospitals own?
  5. How often do you have to give a referral to someone other than your own agency?
  6. Do you have trouble getting services provided quickly in any of the counties?
  7. Could you share with me 3 things that you love about referring to your preferred agency?
  8. Could you share with me 3 challenges that you have experienced in working with your preferred provider?
  9. Would you be willing to try my organization if I can solve any of your challenges?
  10. 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 your 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. Do not give them any brochures. This will serve as your 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 answer and be prepared on what you will say next week!


Cheryl “The Solutionist” Peltekis, RN


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