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Covid 19 has affected all of us. Hear my 2020 story…

Thankfully 2020 has come to an end, but the pain from the last year has lingered on. I wanted to share a look at how one agency owner, who owns a home health, hospice, and private duty organization, survived the year.  The owner I am speaking about is me, Cheryl Peltekis, RN “The Solutionist”.  

Covid came into my awareness I believe in December 2019, but I did not see it having much of an impact. Boy was I wrong! 

In March, all hell broke loose. 

It all started at my corporate headquarters when 50% of my operational team all came down with Covid at the same time! We had to operate the organization with 50% of our team. It was insane. I became intake for home health, hospice, and private duty as well as the initial authorization nurse, and nursing supervisor taking all the reports on all new admissions. It was 18 hours days for 2 weeks straight. Insane does not come close to describing these 2 weeks.

Next, my consulting business, Home Care Sales, had to completely change the way we do business. We had to deal with all our clients reaching out to say hey what do I do now that my reps cannot get in to do sales calls or pick-up referrals?  

We quickly pivoted and in March launched our Inside Sales Course, which rocked the industry. Our clients were gaining more referrals than ever before! My personal sales representatives that work for my agencies were all placed on the inside sales training program.

Hospital referrals were significantly cut. We had on average about 178 admits from hospitals a month, and that was cut down to under 40. 

Trying to keep my businesses above water, we reached out to all our physicians that have referred in the past and told them we can help with telehealth visits. We would go into their patients’ home and complete an assessment, review their meds, and help get the patient with face to face virtual visits with our iPad.  

If problems were identified that would meet the requirements for admission for home health to monitor how the patient is responding to changes in the patient’s plan of care, we would do the admission that day. With the sales reps using the inside sales training, our home health census boomed! We made up for all of the referrals that didn’t come from the hospitals and more!

Now we had a new problem… 

We needed more nurses and at the same time, 3 full-time nurses quit, saying they do not want to care for Covid patients. Now what! Okay, brush off the dirt, and get recruiting. God must have a plan for all of us because I had just been working on an amazing recruiting and retention program, so I quickly used what I created and got busy hiring.  

First, we put in place a new retention program to prevent losing any other staff. Success! Now, during this time of onboarding new staff, we had a shortened length of stay on services. We were discharging patients sooner than necessary to make room for new admissions.  

This is why one of the things I say all the time during webinars or workshops to owners is: 

“Grow your census, not just your admissions.”  

If you want to grow your census by 25 more patients on census you will need another full-time nurse.  You cannot grow without hiring more staff.

Of course, private duty began booming. After all, adult daycare centers were closed and now those patients were at home and left alone. 

We were already a waiver/options provider so we could provide the additional patients with private duty services paid for by the waiver program. Soon, AAA was referring more than ever before to our organization. We needed to hire more aids. By the time we got that done, private duty hours had grown (by over 2500 hours a month by end of June).

In hospice, we experienced no growth. In fact, fewer and fewer referrals. As if that wasn’t enough, our hospice Medical Director gets Covid and ends up in ICU on a vent for 28 days.  Skilled Nursing Facilities were preventing access to buildings and keeping patients on their version of palliative care to capture higher reimbursement.  

This led to fewer patients going to ER or urgent care centers for fear of contacting Covid. So we hired some new sales representatives for hospice, only to find out they had a non-complete and they can’t work for 18 months selling hospice services.   

So here we are back to the drawing board. Does anybody else relate to this 2020 story? Well, don’t worry. You can’t keep a Philly Girl down for long!

Our hospice Medical Director released from the hospital and admitted to home health services. OT and PT work with him and get him back on his feet within 6 weeks. During those weeks, I worked with my current team to leverage the inside sales process with the message of the Roadmap to Referrals Hospice. Calling about specific diagnoses was the key. 

After closing out the year, we conducted a review of the year of stats for 2020, and would you believe it?

We shattered every goal we set for growth in 2020!  

What a year of ups and downs. I do not think I worked this hard for quite a few years! My agency, family, and Home Care Sales learned so much from 2020! We saw what worked at my agency as well as the many agencies that we consulted for. The good news is this: Vaccines are going out! We will conquer this.  

We have all learned so much from this tough year. The beautiful thing about facing adversity is it gives you a chance to push through and battle on! Once you accept your situation and decide that you will conquer the challenge, you can push through and win your battles!  

It gives you the ability to tap into strengths that you may not even know that you possess. Look back over your 2020. It was so hard, right?  Well…you made it through it.  If you can do that, what can’t you do? 2020 taught us all that we are stronger than we realize.

Cheryl Peltekis, RN “The Solutionist”

PS: Need more help with your conversion to “remote” marketing. Check out our High Performance Inside Sales Program or sign up with Mike to see any of our programs in action: https://calendly.com/mike-home-care-sales

Curiosity May Have Killed The Cat But It Got My Call Returned

Last week I wrote about the frustration that our sales reps deal with every day.

Getting a hand in their face. Being ignored. Why because our contacts and prospects are just too busy. They don’t want anything to stop them from being productive and they just want us to leave them alone.

I shared a little about using something called the Gap Theory.

Have you ever found yourself watching a stupid TV show because you just want to know what happens in the end? Have you ever stayed tuned to the 10:00 PM news, even though you were tired, because the lead was “When we return, see how the man eluded the police by scaling a 50-story high building!”

The reason is when we want to know something we don’t already know, we become curious and WANT the answer. It is like getting an itch, and we want to scratch it. To scratch the itch, we will invest our time.

We’ll stay up later to watch the news even when we are tired. We’ll sit through a stupid TV show, and we’ll even return a salesperson’s call. This gap in knowledge is called the “Gap Theory” and it is a salesperson’s best friend.

“Gap theory” is when there is a gap in our knowledge that can’t be filled. It creates pain. The pain won’t go away until we gain knowledge or fill the gap.

You want to get more prospects to call you back? Fill the gap. Shift your thinking from: “What information do I want to convey?” to “What questions do I want my prospects to ask?” An example, I learned the number one thing that doctor’s offices can do to prevent vulnerable seniors from falling.  I would love to share it with you!

Another way to grab attention from our contacts and prospects is to Surprise them

We are surprised when we didn’t expect anything. It makes us stop for a moment and sit up and take notice.   As I said earlier, our brains are dialed into changes in our surroundings. They can be anything from how you communicate to what you communicate. 

You want them to have this response, they stop and think and then they say to a co-worker after they read an email from you, “Hey, did you know that……”?  Or they jump on the internet and immediately start reading about a stat that you just shared with them.  Maybe they go home from work and say to their spouse or children, “Guess what I learned today?” Now, you will probably get them to read your next email too!

One of the reps that we work with, sent a letter to all the doctors’ offices that she was prospecting at invited them to tea.  The Sales rep got a free zoom account, and she made an invitation and sent it snail mail with a teabag in the envelope.  She invited 10 different offices and 50% of them showed up to talk about the top 3 daily frustrations about working in a doctor’s office!  She has now moved 4 of those prospects into referring contacts.

Mystery

A mystery is a story that makes no sense.  It’s when we’re presented with a “Huh?” Mysteries exist wherever there are questions without obvious answers.  Why do 30% of people using an inhaler use it improperly?  Why don’t patients like our new project?

Mysteries are powerful. They invite the client to solve the “huh?” with you.  Mysteries create a need for closure. We (our contacts and prospects included) do not like to leave things open.  We will “hang around” for the answer to get closure.  Creating mysteries for prospects and clients will lure them into discussions and on a journey. By creating mysteries prospects will stick with you until they get the information you hold. 

For example:

Voice Mail Script

Hi Betty,

You don’t know me yet, but I wanted to share with you what Dr. Smith’s office is doing down the street from your practice to make his patients safer at home.  Call me at [xxx.xxx.xxxx] or email me at [email@email.com] and share with me a few days and times that you can speak to me for just about 5 mins.  Can’t wait to share…..


To get more prospects to call you back and to get a better return from cold calling, you have to create intrigue. You have to be unexpected. The way to be unexpected is to leverage curiosity, intrigue, or a knowledge gap and surprise.

The “Surprise Call”

Surprises break up a pattern. Prospects and current contacts get sales calls every day.  They are the same old, boring, cold calls from everyone. There is little to no difference from one cold call to the next.

Example of an expected cold call:

Hello, my name is Cheesy Sales Guy. I’m calling for just 5 minutes of your time. I’d like to talk to you about our Piggly, wiggly. It’s helped many of our customers save money, improve efficiency, and create happier employees.

If you would please give me a call back at (555) 555-1212.

I look forward to talking to you. Thanks!


I’ve gotten more of these calls than I can count. I tune them outright from the get-go. There is nothing here to make me want to give up my valuable time to call back. The ones that don’t get tuned out, surprise me. They break my expected pattern of a cold call.

Like most of us, our prospects and contacts have learned to tune out these messages too. To avoid getting tuned out, surprise your prospects, break their pattern, be different.

Use humor, a few off the wall, and surprising facts about your product or service. Share some unique and unknown facts about your clients’ industry. Make a silly promise, be humble by acknowledging you know you’re an annoying cold call, do whatever you can do to break the cold call pattern your prospects are already used to. If you can’t break your prospect’s pattern, you won’t get their attention. They will simply hit the delete button and poof your message goes into the cyber a bias.

Create surprise, avoid being gimmicky, keep your message germane to your prospects and contacts. I’ve found, the best way to get prospects to call you back is to know something they don’t about their industry, their business, the products they use, and more. When we know something our prospects don’t, we create a knowledge gap.

A knowledge gap creates curiosity. Curiosity creates intrigue.

Our job as salespeople is to sell products and services that improve the existing condition of our prospects and current contacts.  If we are unable to improve their situation, we have nothing to sell. For us to demonstrate we can improve a prospect’s work environment requires knowledge and information about the industry, the market, their business, and their competitor’s business.

If you want a prospect or current contacts to take your cold call, find the gap in their knowledge by knowing things they don’t. Do research on what matters now to hospitals, SNF’s, ALF communities, and doctors’ offices.  

Look for obscure information that could positively affect your prospects such as learning about MIPS, merit bases incentive payments for physicians. Do the research for them. Become a treasure trove of data and information for your referral sources.  They will love you for it!  They will be loyal to you!  You will move your prospects into new referring accounts!

 

Cheryl Peltekis, RN “The Solutionist”

PS: Need more help with your conversion to “remote” marketing. Check out our High Performance Inside Sales Program or sign up with Mike to see any of our programs in action: https://calendly.com/mike-home-care-sales

Curiosity, The only thing you need for a successful Cold Call

Today’s sales environment is more complex than it has ever been.  We are forced to perform phone calls and follow an inside sales process.

We are not crazy about this!

But? Maybe we should be!

You see, you can do a lot more calling over the phone than you can in person. The problem is that our contacts and our prospects are busier than ever.

Being always connected, customer’s and prospect’s time is constantly threatened. Our prospects and customers are constantly being barraged with endless emails.

Their to-do lists are a mile long. They are stifled by unplanned patient/resident issues and countless interruptions. Reports are due, patients/client’s family are calling, projects are unfinished, etc…

There just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done.

Our prospects are crazy busy. Because they are so busy, they guard their time with a determined tenacity. Our customers and prospects are NOT going to give up their time easily. They are already overwhelmed.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t bode well for us. As salespeople, it’s our job to get our customers’ and prospects’ attention. It’s our job to get them to pay attention to us. Our success depends on our ability to get customers and prospects to call us back, to take our calls, to give us their valuable time.

To gain your prospects’ attention and get them to give up their time, you need a trigger. Something that will have them pause and say “I want to know more.”

THIS TRIGGER: Curiosity!

What is it?

Curiosity is when we disrupt our contacts’ or prospects’ way of thinking. Our brains spend hours, days, weeks, months, and years establishing patterns of those things around us. As we do our jobs and live our lives, our mind scans our daily surroundings and maps our patterns. These patterns then become predictable.

Our subconscious mind embraces these patterns as the norm. These patterns are captured by our minds. By embedding these consistent patterns in our subconscious, our conscious mind focuses on the bigger more pertinent information coming in. In essence, by identifying patterns the brain allows our conscious mind to work more efficiently, ignoring the little, redundant information we are inundated with every day.

Let me give you an example.  How many of you have been so deep in thought when you were driving somewhere, that when you arrived at your destination you are like, “How did I get here”?  This is your brain using patterns of the norm that is captured in your mind and puts driving on autopilot, so you can think through issues and not about driving.

What’s happening is we are programmed to tune stuff out.  I am sure you have heard of the expression “Talk to the hand.” Well, giving the hand to salespeople and other needless distractions help us to be productive. This human tool has a negative effect on our salespeople. Our Sales executives get tuned out!

To capture a prospect’s attention and avoid getting the hand, we have to disrupt their pattern of thinking. You have to get their subconscious to say, “Hey! That’s not right. That’s not what I am expecting.” When this happens our subconscious sends a message to our brain that says “hey, this isn’t right. You need to take notice.” Surprise is a killer tool to get the mind’s attention.

When our expectations aren’t met, when our patterns are disrupted, our brain cells fly into action. This process begins in a tiny region of the brain called the anterior cortex. When we expect something that doesn’t happen, the brain creates a unique signal called the error-related negativity signal or as neuroscientists call it, the “oh, crap!” circuit. I like the “oh, crap!” name best.

As salespeople who make cold calls (or just need to get prospects and customers to listen), we need to figure out how to trigger the anterior cortex. We have to get to the “oh, crap!” circuit. The way to do this is to be intriguing.  I know many of you are thinking, Cheryl you have gone crazy. But folks, I have spent hours studying neuroscience, and this stuff works so well, I use it on my own family! Don’t tell my husband! But you can get yours to do the dishes using this stuff correctly.

Intrigue or curiosity is created through the unexpected. It’s created in our ability to trip up the predictable pattern our contacts and prospects have. In other words, provide information our clients and prospects didn’t expect.

Have you ever found yourself watching a stupid TV show because you just want to know what happens in the end?

 

Have you ever stayed tuned to the 10:00 PM news, even though you were tired, because the lead was “When we return, see how the man eluded the police by scaling a 50 story high building!”

The reason is that we want to know something we don’t already know. We become curious and WANT the answer. It is like getting an itch, and we want to scratch it. To scratch the itch, we will invest our time. We’ll stay up later to watch the news even when we are tired. We’ll sit through a stupid TV show, and we’ll even return a salesperson’s call.

This gap in knowledge is called the “Gap Theory” and it is a salesperson’s best friend.

Gap theory is when there is a gap in our knowledge that can’t be filled. It creates pain. The pain won’t go away until we gain knowledge or fill the gap.

You want to get more prospects to call you back? Fill the gap. Shift your thinking from: “What information do I want to convey?” to “What questions do I want my prospects to ask?”

Our High-Performance Sales Academy teaches behavioral neuroscience tips to get past the gate keepers and more.  To get started right now and learn how to become a high-performance sales executive for only $497 click here:   Earn More Referrals Now.  You will gain immediate access to our High-Performance Sales Academy as well as our new updated version being released soon! 

Our upcoming version will include our inside sales training. Buy the High-Performance Sales Academy training, and Cheryl will give the first 5 to buy a free pass to also receive the inside sales training!  Just email Cheryl@homecaresales.com to receive your gift! Next week my blog will share more tips!

2021 Sales Plan Development Guide

As the calendar year draws to a rapid end, many of us are eager to have 2020 be in the rearview mirror. This is the time of the year that sales teams start to plan for the upcoming year. 

If you are like most sales executives, you are focused on using the precious few selling days between now and year-end.

Unfortunately, you are also being tasked with creating your 2021 business development plans. Hopefully, this guide will help you create it with a little more ease.

The most important thing to know before anything else gets done is to know what you will be responsible for next year. What is your mandate? What are you responsible for accomplishing? Are your bonuses structured for 2021?  What will make your boss pat you on the back and proclaim you are a rock star? 

First things first, nail down what your VP, CEO, CFO,  or COO (…or whatever the title of the individual you report to) that you understand what they expect from you!

  • What growth goals have been set for the company?
  • What part of the growth goals are you and your team responsible for?
  • What services will be emphasized?
  • What markets will be targeted?
  • What major sales initiatives will be started in 2021?

Ideally, there is a well-structured plan or system in place for setting and hitting the company’s goals. A strong plan provides you with the direction that you need to build action steps to hit 2021 goals. Once you have the goals set, you need to think about the overall framework for planning.

Start building your Strategy!

Strategy: Strategy is all about HOW. It is HOW you are going to achieve those goals that are largely dictated by your leadership. They could include things like:

  • Key Accounts to target
  • Growth percentages
  • Growing Gross Margins by seeking certain client/patient types that have higher reimbursement
  • Improving public image by doing more community events
  • New product/program launch

Structure: Structure follows strategy. Structure describes the pieces related to how your sales resources will be organized, distributed, layered, and compensated.

  • Territory management and expansion
  • Inside sales development
  • Sales Budget
  • New and expansion business (hunters/Farmers)

Sales:  This is where you want your most valuable resources (your clinical team) to benefit from the new business coming in the door. This is the time of year to have your sales reps have a virtual meeting with the caregivers providing services in their market space and discuss details such as:  Which doctors do they want more patients from? What is the best facility for them to work with? 

When you support growth where the clinical teams what to do business it is a win-win for everyone.

You can also suggest that the sales executives take the clinicians out to meet the accounts!  This can be remarkably successful.

  • Training needs for 2021:  consider new product training
  • Resources for 2021 such as promo items, marketing materials
  • Compensation and Quota setting for 2021
  • Reward and Recognition for 2021

People:  Your organization will succeed or fail based on the strength of your people. You need to plan on recruiting and retaining amazing clinical talent. In order to hit growth projections, you need additional clinical team members in order to grow!

  • Recruitment Process Improvement Program
  • Retention Program and Committee
  • Allocation for budgeted funds to include additional recruiting
  • Orientation programs that produce highly qualified staff
  • Ongoing personal development, training, and coaching

Process:  Process is at the heart of getting things done. A good process removes friction! Process is not a bad word. Having a solid process makes getting to your goals easier. (and honestly… who doesn’t want that?)

As you begin to think about next year, start looking around your organization and ask:

  • Are the current processes making things easier or more difficult? 
  • Could we make changes that would save us time? 
  • What needs an upgrade? 
  • Is the current process going to help you achieve your goals or create another problem that needs to be fixed? 

BONUS: Could you onboard 40 new employees a week?  Owners: If you can’t answer that with a resounding yes, then you need to fix your onboarding system.

Time to Build Your Roadmap To Hitting Your Goals

Step One:  Start by listing each category, Strategy, Structure, People, and Process. Under each category list the appropriate measures that apply in your organization.

Step Two: Scan down the list of measures and identify what components are currently out of alignment with your 2021 goals.  You need to allocate more of your time to get them in alignment or you will set yourself up for failure.

Step Three: Now it is time to assess each of the problem areas based on some key metrics.

  • Complexity: Challenges are associated with timing, resources, scarcity, or cultural barrier from within the organization’s leadership. Use a ranking system 1 – 10 (where 1 is an easy fix, and 10 will require specific efforts and buy-in from all levels of the organization)
  • Impact:  This refers to the positive effect this initiative would have on attaining your goals if time and energy were invested. Here you are trying to assess how much benefit you would gain by focusing on this process issue. Again use 1-10 scale where 1 means focusing here would barely move the needle and 10 means it would significantly impact your year.

Step Four:  This is the toughest part of the planning. Since we all know there is never enough time or money to do everything we want, it’s time to prioritize all of your potential initiatives. Start at the top of your list and assign each potential initiative a letter grade of A, B, or C.  An “A” means this initiative is critical to your success and you will unlikely reach your goal if this is not addressed.  “B” means important but not essential, and “C” refers to something that, in all likelihood will have to wait for another year.

Be careful here – the usual tendency is to rate most or every this as an “A”

Unfortunately, for this to work, you need to be brutally honest with yourself. You may need to go back over the list a couple of times, but you should aim for an even distribution of As, Bs, and Cs.

I made you a quick spreadsheet that you can download and make your own.

Download 2021 Business Development Guide Here!

Step Five: Execution is a systematic process of rigorously discussing how and what, questioning, tenaciously follow through, and ensuring accountability. It includes making assumptions about the business environment, assessing the organization’s capabilities, linking strategy to operations, and the people who are going to implement the strategy. 

During this final step, you’ll be synchronizing those people and their various disciplines and aligning rewards to outcomes. It also includes mechanisms for changing assumptions as the environment changes and upgrading the company’s capabilities to meet the challenges of an ambitious strategy.

In its most fundamental sense, execution is a systematic way of exposing reality and acting on it!

Be successful in 2021! 

Have a plan and execute on it! To make this easier for you we would love for you to consider joining our new Caring Agency Mastermind!  (CAM FAM, for short) Not only do we cover business growth planning, but we include information on all 5 pillars of success.

To learn more, go to www.homecaresales.com/cam.  We have only a few spots remaining to get you started for the 2021 year!

Employee Retention Suggestions

I love my clients. Helping home care agencies, home health, and hospice organizations service more patients is the most rewarding work I have ever done! 

Home Care Sales has done such a great job at helping organizations grow that we create a new problem. Not enough staff.

Not enough staff can be caused by 2 different problems.

  1. Recruiting Process not producing candidates.
  2. Losing current employees

Last week, I wrote my blog about the recruiting process. (<- Click to see the blog)

Today’s blog post is about retention. I just got done working on a brand-new recruiting and retention program for Home Care Sales Mastermind clients, and I spent hours reading and practicing strategies at my own organization.

Fact: Replacing a minimum-wage-earning employee costs the average business about $3500 every time it happens. 

On average, a retail business replaces 59% of its workforce each year. Many home health, private duty, and hospice organizations have a 59% workforce turnover in aides each year. Companies can’t afford this level of employee turnover.

Retention really comes down to 5 key responsibilities of management plus one shot at making a great first impression for a total of 6 responsibilities. When a company handles these 6 responsibilities well, employees stay with the company longer. 

Management needs to provide employees with:

    1. Thorough orientation to the job at the start and continued opportunities to learn.
    2. Consistent communication every day.
    3. Respectful discipline and fair treatment when they make any mistakes.
    4. Sincere recognition when they do something exceptional
    5. An annual performance evaluation that offers a clear path to future professional growth.
    6. And my final recommendation is a First day that makes a great impression.

Today I want to share with you just a few strategies that can help you retain the staff that you just spent tons of money and time onboarding. I am going to just share a few that I absolutely love and that I’ve been able to implement.

1. WOW them on their first day! 

Announce them to the entire company with a Welcome To The Family Poster. We use a chalkboard, and when a new employee enters our agency, they see a welcome message and their name on the chalkboard. We also like to continue to WOW them with lunch on their first day with their manager whenever possible.

We also send to each new employee (at about day 21) a goodie box of snacks. Just when they think we forgot about them we sneak in this surprise, and folks just love it.

We send it to their homes where their family gets to see how much we appreciate them. Employees love to tell their friends and family about their first day, and how great they felt. This is a wonderful (and proven) recruiting tool!

2.  Provide them with a mentor! 

Many agencies I’ve worked with (and even my own) use an amazing preceptorship program. We team up each new employee with a buddy. This buddy is an outstanding employee who has proven themselves and is respected by all. We pay them a small preceptorship bonus, and they are trained on how they will preceptor new employees. 

I will share with you that all the new employees love having someone on the inside. The preceptor reaches out daily for the first week and just offers to answer any questions and be a great resource. 

We love that the preceptor is a peer and can give the new member policy and procedure guidance. We also like the preceptor to take the new employee to lunch the first week. When we interviewed new employees to ask them how to rate our orientation system, we score extremely high in satisfaction. We attribute this incredible success to using the preceptorship program.

3.  Employee Newsletters! 

Newsletters can take a lot of work and they never make everyone happy… but when you ask employees what is important, they love communication. When we do our annual interview with our staff, we ask them what is one thing that we do that you love about working at our company. The answer that receives over 80% or higher scoring, is our employee newsletter.  It is basic. 

Our newsletter includes the following:

    • New Employee’s names, titles, and a few sentences about them.
    • Employee Anniversary’s, Birthdays, and special employee news (births, graduations, and celebrations)
    • Monthly Health Observance information
    • Crossword Puzzle about key terms related to the holiday, Unique Selling Point, or monthly health observance
    • News about new things going on at the agency.
    • Opportunities to join the company!

4.  Annual Agency Report: 

We call our annual report, the State of the Organization. We have an annual meeting, usually a holiday party, that we take about 15 min to deliver the highlights of the company in-person. We also mail this annual report to each employee’s home.  We cover quite a bit in this report. 

Here are just a few of the highlights:

    • Patients Serviced and report on year-over-year growth
    • Insurance contracts accepted
    • Employee Survey results
    • Performance Improvement Project
    • Complaints and Resolutions
    • Annual Goals and progress towards hitting them
    • Survey results
    • New Contracts, technology, learning opportunities
    • Any changes coming for the upcoming year

Employees love being in the know!  When they can share information about the company they feel like an insider!  They feel like they are part of the company and that makes them feel a sense of belonging to the organization.

Final Thoughts…

I hope all of you are doing a great job of retaining your staff. I really do.

Just remember: other organizations will be trying to get your best employees to join their team. You need to act now to keep them!  

Small things, such as a monthly thank you email or a moment of recognition can make your staff hang up on a recruiter trying to win them over. Whenever the unemployment rate is below 6% headhunters are quite active.

Beat them at their game by keeping your staff loyal to you!

 

If you would like to read more about my agency and its culture, you can download my first book: The Five Steps To Sales Success to Grow your Private Duty, Home Health, and Hospice Organization at www.homecaresales.com/book.

If you prefer a printed copy you can find it from the link below.

Buy Book Here!

Cheryl Peltekis, RN “The Solutionist”

Sales problem or Recruiting Problem?

For years, Home Care Sales has been helping organizations around the country to grow their agencies. We love what we do!

We are well-known as the consultants that teach you to sell using medical diagnosis (which has been pivotal in millions of dollars in revenue for our clients).

While our clients have experienced great success, many say that our products help them grow but then a new problem is created… Staffing!

We need more caregivers, nurses, or therapist is what we hear from our clients.

 

Today’s blog is about your recruiting process and a few tips that will help you make sure your recruiting process is working.

First, do you have a process? Does each person tasked with hiring follow the same process? Does the process work? Do you have any KPI’s that you are tracking to prove that your recruitment process is working or to identify when it is broken? Is one manager better at hiring than another business manager?

Here are a few of the recruitment metrics that I would suggest that you measure:

 

  • How long does it take to hire employees?
  • Is your potential candidate the right fit for the job?
  • How much money are you spending on the entire hiring process?
  • How efficient are you in the hiring process?
  • How many candidates are applying for your job postings?
  • Which places are the candidates looking for your job postings?
  • How well does your new employee perform at the job?
  • Does the job description that you provided with the listing accurately represent the actual job details?

Many of the organizations are operating without a formal recruiting process. Below are some of the points that I suggest your organization adopt to improve your recruiting key performance measures.

Just changing a few things will improve your recruitment efforts.Melanie and I are working on a new Caring Agency Mastermind, we call it our CAM FAM, and we have created an incredible recruitment and retention program that we are including to our CAM FAM members.

This mastermind group will have “hot seatproblem-solving calls for owners/executives twice a month. The hot seat calls are designed to help you solve any issues and hold you accountable for hitting your short term and long-term goals.

CAM FAM was created to help you get upgraded quicker, easier, and more enjoyable.

 

We will also have one wonderful in-person gathering every year to connect with other members, learn some new information, and gather with others who speak your language. 

If you want to learn more, about any of our mastermind groups all you have to do is go to www.homecaresales.com/mastermind to fill in an application. We cannot wait to have you join us on this exciting new journey!

Cheryl Peltekis, RN “The Solutionist”

Five Sales Exercises to help you improve your sales messages

One of the most frustrating things that I have seen repeatedly from Sales Representatives is that they continue to call on accounts that have never referred. According to Ziglar, that is the definition of insanity! 

Over the last 10 years, I will share with you that I have studied my fair share of data. Sales representatives are taking about 5-8 sales touches before they get their first referral. Today, I wanted to share with you an exercise that I learned to help sales representatives get in touch with their sales messages. 

When sales representatives understand how important the sales message is, they can use it effectively to finally bring in the referrals.

Here is the assignment that I give reps to improve their sales results. 

First: I ask them to list 5 reasons that describe why someone refers a patient to receive care. 

 

The way to do this is to look at the last 5 referrals and go ask the person who referred them for services:  Why did you refer this patient for services? 

Here are the types of comments that I receive back:

  • The patient had multiple hospitalizations
  • The patient had multiple falls
  • The patient has cognitive deficits
  • The Patient is non-compliant
  • The patient cannot get to the doctor’s office
  • The patient has a problem with blood sugar
  • The patient constantly is calling the MD with problems.

The next part of the assignment is to have them create “one marketing message” related to each reason why the patient was referred for their company’s services.

 

  • We can prevent multiple hospitalizations
  • We have a falls prevention program
  • We treat patients with cognitive deficit’s
  • We educate patients on disease management
  • We can help you by doing a telehealth visit search

(Note: Tie into Call-To-Action for your product/services)

Now I have them turn this into a trigger question and a “what is in it for me?” statement to bring in the referrals. 

Quick Example: “Which patient might end up in the hospital this week? I’d love to make sure you don’t have to worry about him or her this week.”

There are many variations of this, but over the years, we have unlocked several that almost always work.

The follow up to this is to build a year of weekly sales messages and provide handouts that support the questions. 

 

This part can be daunting, but you don’t need 52 DIFFERENT topics! You won’t simply talk about heart conditions once a year. You are more likely to talk about it once a quarter, but if you focus on your key diagnosis and reasons for referring, you can build out a strategic plan like the one we provide in the Roadmap of Referrals.

Once you’ve compiled that, We need to talk about gatekeepers (window witches, window wives, dragons at the gate, etc…)

 

You need to figure out how to get through the gatekeepers present at all your account types. We can’t spell out EVERY strategy here, but there is a good chance you can predict the kind of gatekeepers you will meet. Having an effective strategy past these people obstacles will put you on target to build the referring relationship you need. 

Finally, to truly knock it out of the park, you need to roleplay your sales messages.

 

This will let you figure out what you will say when you will meet objections like:

  • We don’t refer
  • You need to have a Lunch and Learn
  • The hospitals handle all our referrals
  • I have a provider that I use for my patients
  • My patients can’t afford your services
  • My patients don’t need your services

Once you have mastered all of this you are finally done.  You have completed your very own 52-week sales plan.

If this is too difficult for you, do not worry, we have done this for you. 

 

Our weekly sales messages can produce up to 5 times the number of referrals you are currently getting from an account. We also provide the handout (PDF) to email, and phone script to use to build the number of referrals you are getting from your current referring accounts.

The real secret sauce happens when once a month the agencies get to join Melanie and I in our virtual coaching room and hear us roleplay:

  • How to use the trigger questions,
  • How to deal with the most common objections that your sales representatives will face
  • How to use trigger questions when asking for specific patient types

Why this works so well is this…. Your sales representatives get to build up their confidence.  And folks, confidence sells.

Want to see what this looks like? 

Go to www.homecaresales.com to learn more or just email Mike@homecaresales.com and you can have your own private demo. This product can help you close the prospecting funnel. This is THE TOOL to stop no value sales calls. 

Don’t just let your sales team wander aimlessly without a Roadmap of Referrals. 

 

Cheryl Peltekis, RN “The Solutionist”

PS – You can also claim some of Mike’s time directly on his calendar here:

https://calendly.com/mike-home-care-sales

Medicare Update for 2021

Roleplaying with Sales Representatives when faced with the objection, “I have an agency I am referring to”

Today most of our agencies are battling against a great number of competitors!

I have worked with some amazing sales managers who do a great job on teaching and coaching sales associates on how to differentiate their organization from their competition.

Sales managers know how important it is for a sales representative to be able to clearly state why they should get the business and not one of their competitors.

However, there is still a problem that often gets missed. The sales representatives are able to confidently state why you should refer to them, and yet so many get stuck the second the account says to them:

“I have an agency that I give my referrals to”

 

Today, I wanted to gift you with a role-play session that you as a sales manager or owner can practice with your sales representatives when they face this common objection.    

Set the scene first:

This sales representative has been prospecting a large rehab hospital for about 3 weeks now and has not been able to get any referrals.  Sale call being done over the phone because of COVID-19. 


Sales Representative: Hi (Social Workers Name), how are you?

Social Worker:  Busy, we had at least 10 new patients come in this weekend from the hospital.

Sales Representative: Wow, that is quite a bit of admissions for one weekend.

Social Worker:  Yes

Sales Representative: I won’t take up your time. I wanted to share with you that according to an article I read by the US Pharmacist Organization, 25% of patients that get hospitalized are there because of medication misuse. What do you think about that?

Social Worker:  I believe it! I am sure that half the patients that go home from here make mistakes. Half of them are ordered over 15 medications and they have no clue why they are supposed to even take them.

Sales Representative: I agree with you! I also know that you want to keep those patients out of the hospital just as much as we do!

Social Worker:  Yes, I do!

Sales Representative:  Who is being discharged this week that you believe is a high risk to have a medication error at home?

Social Worker:  Oh, I have 3 that come to mind immediately. I have them on my desk right here.  Mr. A, B, and Mrs. C.  All of them have at least 10 medications to take when they get home, and all 3 of them are widows and live alone.

Sales Representative: Great, let me take them from you right now and set them all up for home health services for you.

Social Worker: I have an agency that I use that I am giving them too.   

 

This is where many sales representatives back down…

Don’t! Push right through!

 

Sales Representative: Well how can I become the agency that you refer to? I believe so deeply in my organization, we are nurse owned and operated, and we currently have a 5 star rating, and we are committed to making sure that no one who needs the care goes without it!

Social Worker:  That is great, but I refer to XYZ.

Get ready for it…

 

Sales Representative:  What will happen if you don’t refer to XYZ and you give me those referrals right now?

Social Worker:  Excellent question. You know what? I am going to try you right now! Here you go.

Sales Representative: Perfect!

Listen up sales managers! You need to have your sales representatives ask the hard questions! Have them give a soft push towards getting the referrals and not run away crying that every account already has an organization they refer to!

You have got to push for what you want without being rude or too pushy. But PUSH! You do this by asking the hard questions so you can get the answers you long for!

 

Need more tips like these? We got them! Go check out www.homecaresales.com and learn more or email Mike@homecaresales to see a demo.

You can also claim some of Mike’s time directly on his calendar here:

https://calendly.com/mike-home-care-sales

 

Cheryl Peltekis, RN “The Solutionist”

The Most Important Skill That Sales Representatives Must Possess

This morning I received a call from a client who was building his sales team from 3 reps to 6 reps.

He wanted to put his new reps through our Fast Track Orientation, High Performance Sales Academy, Masters in High Performance Selling, and Inside Sales Process as well as purchase the Community Calls program. 

He started to share with me about his success with his current sales reps using our products.

He then asked me:

“How do I know how to pick the next three sales representatives to join my team?”

 

I explained it all comes down to one core skill that the sales representative must possess. First, before I share that one core skill, there are certain personality traits that are found in phenomenally successful sales representatives. They usually have high energy. As a sales representative, you are going to use a lot of energy every day.

They usually are very personable and friendly. They can walk into a room and get any stranger into some type of conversation with them. They can usually handle topics like the weather or the big game from last week, or even the décor of the room they are standing in without breaking a sweat. They can easily engage others in a conversation.  They also usually have this big smile to go with their big friendly personality.

It is easy to test your potential hire to see if they have this trait.

I have my secretary take the applicants for a tour of my building and stop at each desk to introduce the potential new employee. I then call and speak to a few staff members and ask them. How was his/her interaction with you? If I hear things like, “they were nice” or they report things like, “the candidate saw my dog picture and immediately showed me a picture of their dog.”  Or maybe even something such as, “they saw I had a Penn State flag in my cubby and said they went to Penn State too!”

Other great questions I like that a candidate may ask is, “Why do you like working for the company”? or “How long have you been working here?”  Maybe they then follow up with, “You must love your job to have been here that long,” or,”You must know a lot of information about this industry, I will have to tap into that amazing knowledge.”

This quick tour really becomes as important as the actual interview. 

You want to see if they have the core skill that representatives need to be able to really land amazing accounts. You see, the best sales representatives have the ability to become acutely aware of what is important to the person they are talking to.

The best sales representatives (that I have been out in the field doing ride-alongs with), have the knowledge to stir the referral sources emotions and bring out the accounts frustrations. Superstars will quickly become competent to confront the stated problems in the future. They naturally tap into their core skill.  They can clearly articulate the exact way that they, and only they, can solve their problem and make the referring person look good while doing it.

That’s it!  It’s that simple!  Just uncover the problem, stir the emotions up by restating the problem, and bam, come in with how you are the solution to fix their problem. 

Trust me, this is how I got my nickname “The Solutionist”.  I have followed this fixer mindset long before Olivia Pope, ever took to the big screens in Hollywood for the TV show Scandal.

Let’s see it in action now! I am going to take you through a sales call to one of my favorite Cardiologist’s office who refers to all 3 of my service lines.  Let me set the stage.

I am going into a large physician’s office and I have gotten about 8 referrals over the last 2 months. I have built this relationship from the front desk, the “window witch” all the way to the 3 cardiologists at the practice.  I have learned that once a month the 3 cardiologists meet for a team meeting and I got invited to sit down with them today over lunch.

Start with small talk, about family and fun fall activities going on in the communities. Next, I took control of the meeting flow by just claiming it. I said, “Ok Gentlemen, this is how I would like to spend the next few minutes with you all before I let you go about your incredibly busy day. I have a few questions to ask so I can learn more about your practice and any challenges you may be facing.”

I have their commitment and then I ask these questions:

  • Share with me what issues are top of mind right now with your practice. 
  • Probe deeper, “Tell me more about wanting to increase legitimate ways to bill for more at each MD visit”.
  • Restate what you believe is their problem and stir the emotions.  “I believe from our conversation today, that you are all expressing concerns about adding on additional billing codes because you don’t want to take any risk for billing more by adding additional billing codes to the claim unless you all feel good about providing the additional billing service.  In addition, you want to make sure you can easily pass a billing audit about the additional billing codes added to the claim”.  Did I get that correct?
  • Come in with your solution.  I have heard similar requests from other physician offices, and I have one quick solution that I can provide you with today. You can bill for advance care planning easily and I have books of the necessary resources that you can place in your exam rooms and I can show you how easy it is to add this resource book with just a few questions from you when you enter the exam room about the information in the advance care planning resource book, and you can comfortable add this billing code to every patient visit.  Let me show you the resource book, I have one in my car. In just 5 mins I can show you how to have this done today!

Now, I was prepared. I after all am the co-creator of the Masters in High-Performance Selling System. In our master’s program, we teach reps sales strategy sales calls to help improve Mips scores for physicians as well as teach them how to support the physician to learn new billing strategies such as Advance Care Planning billing.

Because I was prepared, I made sure I used my core skill of uncovering their pain and offering a solution to their problems, I was able to take today’s problem and solve it.

The result? I just put this account in a vault. 

I have made sure that every referral, from all three of these physicians, will be sent to my agency.

You see folks, we don’t just work on creating products that help you get more patients to serve. We share with you, exactly how we are winning referrals!

Home Care Sales was created to serve more people. To make sure that everyone that needs help at home gets the services. When we create products, it is because we use those exact products to serve more patients. That’s why our past clients come back over and over again and purchase our products for every sales rep they ever hire. 

Want to check out our master’s program?  Reach out to Mike@homecaresales.com and arrange a demo!  You too can have an amazing team of “Solutionist” like me!

You can also claim some of Mike’s time directly on his calendar here:

https://calendly.com/mike-home-care-sales

 

Cheryl Peltekis, RN “The Solutionist”