If you set a goal to be able to bench press 300 pounds, how will you reach that goal? One pound at a time—and with more than just bench presses in your training.
So, how do we take our current sales routine for home medical equipment (HME) and make a difference for the future? How do we begin our training in a post-COVID-19 environment? First, we need to take into account the past and the present to be ready when we come out of this.
Our best predictor of future success is our current behavior. To not prepare is to assume the following:
- Nothing has changed about our business
- The referral community will have little to no changes moving forward
- The message brought to the community will not need to change
- The consumer of our products and services will not change
The key word in all of these is “change.” If these are your assumptions, you may be drastically wrong.
The following is a training guide that will help you prepare for the future sales environment. The disclaimer is that there is no easy way to predict exactly what will happen or what the marketplace will be like on the other side of this pandemic. There has been careful consideration built into this training program that should lend to flexibility and adaptation to what the market will actually reveal.
Here is your three-step training guide for the post-coronavirus HME sales environment.
1. The Warmup: Understanding Sales Strengths, Successes & Routine
Before you can achieve your goal of positioning sales efforts for a post-coronavirus environment, you must have a deep understanding of where your base business and referrals were before the public health emergency began. You must know the number of referrals, base accounts and prospects that you were working on.
You must also know the strengths of your sales territory management process and your weaknesses. You cannot reach your goal without establishing this grounding of the business.
Now is not the time to embellish what was really accomplished and what accounts gave you business or not; you must be realistic. This may not look very pretty, but transparency at this point will define the next step in the process. Take some time to gather this information and study it thoroughly. Look for patterns in referral trends and for accounts that have gone dormant and or exceeded expectations. This will be useful data as you plan your workout.
2. The Workout: A New Sales Routine & Messaging
This is where real strength is built. Take the information you gathered in the warmup and build a plan for how you will be top of mind with the referral community during each encounter or sales calls every day.
The sales day in this current environment has changed from a normal routine of face-to-face sales calls. We now need to adapt to this environment in a way that exceeds our current level of sales strength. The daily workout must consist of variety; just as when lifting weights, you don’t do the same routine every day because the muscle will get used to it and not respond. Muscles are like the referral community—they need a different routine to grow and see results.
Presently, providers cannot make face-to-face calls and have adapted and used other avenues to penetrate the marketplace and help stay visible. They have incorporated phone calls, emails, texts and even social media. By using these “exercises” of the sales routine, they have stayed top of mind with the referral community. Changing up the daily workout by rotating calls, emails and texts with each referral source provides the variety and stimulation that differentiates you from the competition.
Remember the purpose of the workout is to build strength. Be careful not to put too much weight on the bar—there can be repercussions that impact the goal. In other words, don’t press the referral community for referrals during this time. Their world has been turned upside down. This is not a time to sell but a time to serve. Stick with the plan and routine for the workout. The encounters will be consistent and help keep you top-of-mind, and this will help build the strength you will need to achieve your goal and reach the cooldown section of the training guide.
Consider this great quote from legendary business coach Brian Buffini, which makes this effort of serving real: “Give it out in slices and it will come back to you in loaves.”
3. The Cooldown: Reviewing Each Sales Encounter
After every good workout you need time to cool down and allow your muscles to recognize the impact of the workout and notch short-term achievements. This must also happen after every sales encounter.
For those who have used a customer relationship management (CRM) system in the past but weren’t fully on board, now is the time to embrace your CRM. The CRM is like a weight lifter’s training records. Every serious weight lifter can review their training book and know exactly what happened during the last workout. The CRM is the training book for sales professionals.
First, record every encounter that you make and notate its type: phone, email or text. This record is valuable as you attempt to change the routine from encounter to encounter. Also, make notations as to what content was sent or shared. This, too, is valuable for future encounters.
Also, monitor referrals coming in during this time and contact the referral source soon after setup has been completed. Thank them and ask how you can serve them—and remember to also ask them how they are doing.
Through the reports provided from your software and CRM, review your numbers. This is going to be part of your new routine moving forward and will benefit you greatly as you strive to reach your goal.
The warmup is about the past, the workout is about the present, and the cooldown is both the present and future. Acting upon this sales training guide will ensure that reach your goal.
And what is your goal? Throughout this time, it is to stay top of mind, to serve rather than to sell, to be grateful for the referrals you get and to plan for when we come out of the pandemic.
Make all aspects of this training guide count while we are in the COVID-19 environment.