One of the biggest challenges your organization faces is in getting enough referrals to remain profitable. That is a simple truth. Many times, organizations think they can get enough business from just websites and word of mouth, and I will tell you, these are the agencies that typically don’t succeed.
If you look around at the top 5 agencies 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?” the answer is usually the same.
Getting past the gatekeeper in the Hospital
Today I want to share with you a few tips so you can get past the gatekeeper and gain more private duty, home health, and hospice referrals. Let’s start by talking about getting into the hospitals in your service area.
Hospitals can be a real challenge to gain access to. 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 EMRs. However, one way that almost always works and 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 patient’s 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 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 is most important to you when selecting a hospice to care for your patients? 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 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 than the hospital’s own?
- What types of patients do you refer to hospice?
- 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 to?
- Who else should I speak to regarding hospice referrals?
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 the same time so you can share some brochures and a price list, or an insurance list.
If they say a different date and time, document their request and let them know you will see them next week!
Important: Leave nothing behind but a business card.
Do not give them any brochures as 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.
Remember to be prepared on what you will say next week!
Besides visiting active patients that are hospitalized, you can also get past the gatekeeper by partnering with someone who has access. Look for another sales rep that you see that is getting in. Maybe they offer oxygen or DME or maybe they are a hospice vendor, and you are selling private duty services.
Ask the rep to help you gain access in exchange for introducing them to your favorite account(s).
A third way to get past the gatekeeper at the hospital is to go into the hospital with a physician that is willing to introduce you to the discharge planners. We just had great success with this strategy.
I walked into a hospital that was almost impossible to get past the front desk. They wouldn’t let in visitors unless you were family. You had to be an approved vendor to go in with another rep that had access.
I asked one of the physicians who makes rounds at the hospital if he would be willing to introduce me to the case managers. He said, he would be happy to introduce me to the head of case management. It worked!
Today we are getting overflow referrals from this hospital.
We know patients need help at home and we are on a mission to get all of them the care that they deserve.
Have an amazing day!
Cheryl Peltekis, RN “The Solutionist”
Co-Owner of Home Care Sales