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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.

 

If you need help with strategies, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Cheryl@homecaresales.com or directly to our sales manager Mike@homecaresales.com.

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

Sales representatives often ask questions about trying to attract patient types that they know their organization is great at treating.

Today, I got an email from a new salesperson who works for a large private duty organization. Johnny asked if I knew how he could capture more diabetic patients. He explained that the admission coordinator was a diabetic and that she really felt that she would be able to create a plan of care to support diabetic patients.

I suggested that he go to speak to the local Certified Diabetic Education Coordinators (CDE) that are having classes in his service area. Then I gave him a roleplay example to help him understand the very “words to say” to gain a diabetic referral.

Here is the role play that I provided Johnny to follow:

 

In this scenario, Mike is the Clinical Diabetic Educator (CDE), and I will play the role of the salesperson.

Cheryl has made an appt with the CDE to learn about his classes and how they support their students.

Cheryl: Hi, you must be Mike – good to see you – thank you for making time to meet with me.

Mike: Yes sure – how can I help?

Cheryl: As I shared on the phone I am interested in learning about your offerings – we have clients and a number of them have diabetes and I am interested in learning how I can better support them and how I can get them to you.

Mike: Ok yeah great – so I hold classes for folks with diabetes – and then one on ones with patients who are struggling to manage their diabetes. I hold them here at the office and the hospital. I would like to hold them in other places too, but it seems like there is never enough time.

Cheryl: Wow you really do a lot for the community – this is great. May I have a few brochures?

Mike: Absolutely, please let me give you at least 20.

Cheryl: I am curious – what do you see as some of the challenges that your patients face?

Mike: Oh, you know – they don’t eat well – they don’t check their blood sugar – they like to sit on the sofa and not move. Many of them are overweight and they don’t want to come to see me because they don’t want to get weighed. Folks report that they feel like they are going to “get in trouble”.

Cheryl: Wow – It sounds like they sure do need help at home. The good news is that my agency can help with all those issues. Our coordinator is a diabetic herself. She meets with each of the diabetic patients and builds a plan of care to support their diabetes, that’s why I wanted to meet with you. I know we are the company to service diabetic patients!

Mike: Yes, I know a little about home care services. However, most of my patients are on Medicare and you don’t take insurance

Cheryl: That’s true we do not take Medicare, but we still can help. We work with the patient and their families to build a plan of care to support them at home and that plan of care helps keep their diabetes in check. If folks don’t have the money to pay for a caregiver, we try to connect them with resources.

Mike: That’s nice. But I don’t know, I must think about how we might work together. I haven’t been referred to in-home care before. I just think about the cost for the patients. I am not comfortable talking about private pay expenses.

Cheryl: I can understand that and that’s exactly why I am here. To take that burden off your shoulders. How about if I come to one of your classes and as you go to break give me 5 minutes to share about my agency and what we do. Then we let the patients decide who would like to talk to me afterward.

Mike: Yeah, I like that better. Let’s look at a date – how about (insert date and times)

Cheryl: Perfect I will see you then. Before I go. One of the things that may not have thought about our patients that can’t get to your classes. Which patient has missed their appointments with you?

Mike: Oh I have a couple. We just keep calling them and rescheduling for another date.

Cheryl: How about if we offer a free in-home assessment to see if we can help get your patients here?

Mike: Oh – you would do that?

Cheryl: Yes, we would love to call them – ask if we could help and see where it takes us.

Mike: OK, I am open to that idea. I have one patient I would like you to connect. Let me get his info for you

Cheryl: Perfect – got it and I will let you know what they say – what’s your cell and I will text you

Mike: 333.333.3333

Cheryl: Great ok now you have mine too. Talk soon!

Now let’s review this roleplay.

First, I love to provide you with new referral sources (the CDE) to call on. I also love that this expands the CDE’s vision on how you can support private duty patients.

In the roleplay, Cheryl removes the stress of discussing costs, by offering to do the selling directly to the attendees.

In this example, the salesperson has access to direct consumer selling to the diabetic patient population.

I also love to show you how asking questions is more important than the rep telling the account about the agency.

Here in this example, the brochure vomiting is illuminated and replaced with specific information to differentiate the agency by just stating, “Our Coordinator is a diabetic herself”.

If you want to learn more about how you can sell by a diagnosis, we can help. We have a program called the Road Map To Referrals, 52 weeks of sales calls that expand the referral sources’ knowledge on whom to refer.

What to learn more? Simply email mike@homecaresales.com to set up a time to discuss or simply go here and chose a time that works for you: https://calendly.com/mike-home-care-sales

 

Have an amazing day!

Cheryl Peltekis, RN “The Solutionist”

Co-Owner of Home Care Sales

 

PS: Here is a link to a diagnosis-specific selling process video done by my business partner Melanie Stover. Be sure to click the Like and Subscribe button while you are there!

Click HERE to see the video on YouTube.