Observation Deck

Winning the Numbers Game

Effectively growing your standard power business in the face of poor public policy.

So much has been said and written about the challenges facing the industry that we sometimes forget one overwhelmingly positive fact — our potential client base is a demographic whose numbers continue to grow at an exceptional rate. Statistically, baby boomers, who constitute 27 percent of the U.S. population, are turning 62 at a rate of 365 people per hour. Their increasing numbers make the standard power market very viable despite changes in the business environment. The rules may have changed, but the needs of an ever expanding older population have not. Providers just need to adapt in order totake full advantage of these demographic positive trends.

Educate Your Referral Base

Referral base education is an extraordinarily valuable tool in marketing your company as the local mobility expert. Designate and train an employee to focus solely on standard power and to serve as a referral based educator. They should travel to offices and facilities to educate physicians, case managers, HMO directors, and nurses on what your company can offer their patients. By having your standard power expert visit them onsite, you can solidify you company’s position as the local, hands-on source to meet their patients’ needs. This is a very low-cost, high-impact strategy that helps you reach the target demographic very effectively.

Diversify your Payer Mix

When it comes to standard power products, providers often gear all of their standard power strategy to Medicare funding. The reality is that there are many opportunities available that are often overlooked. Medicaid, managed care insurance and private insurance are a few examples of the types of alternative funding sources you should be considering to bolster Medicare reimbursed standard power items. When you diversify your payer mix, you are not putting all of your eggs in Medicare’s basket and you’ll be better equipped to weather changes in the legislative environment.

Market to Your Existing Customer Base

This is a very cost efficient way to improve both your revenue and profitability. These segments are already familiar with your staff, reputation, and quality product. By using you existing database you can identify cross-selling opportunities. If a customer has purchased a lift chair, there is a good chance that they may also benefit from a standard power product. Primary cross-marketing methods include mailers, bill stuffers, oxygen hang tags, fl yers for deliveries, and special events (i.e. Health Fair Day, scooter tune-ups). By tracking the response and results from each of these initiatives, you can determine which is the most effective in your community with your existing customer base.

Cross-train Employees

One the most effective resources a provider has is their staff. All personnel should be trained to deliver exceptional customer service and to identify opportunities for your business. A delivery person can be trained to identify potential patient needs in their home environment. This not only provides opportunity, but it also emphasizes your commitment to providing your customers with a complete mobility solution. Ensure that all members of your staff understand the important role standard power products play in your company’s overall success. Again, having someone on staff that is dedicated to standard power products is helpful to maximizing your overall sales effectiveness. Keep the lines of intercompany communications open. Regular meetings or memos are a good way to improve efficiency and capitalize on opportunity.

Partner with the Right Manufacturer

You should align yourself with top quality manufacturers as your reputation depends greatly on the products your offer. If you associate with well-known quality brands, it is far easier to be perceived by consumers as a reputable, quality provider. Your standard power products should deliver the features your customers want while still delivering value. Positive word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool and providing the right products goes a long way in terms of customer satisfaction. When you generate brand loyalty for your company and the products you provide, you are building a strong consumer base that will want to continue to work with you.

Additionally, working with a manufacturer that produces reliable, highquality products also delivers better overall value to your business. By avoiding repeat service calls, you are able to run more efficiently and cost effectively so you can focus more energy on growing your business.

Use Efficient Marketing Strategies

With many providers cutting their advertising costs, you can find yourself at a great advantage. It is much easier to get your message across when you are the only one talking. You may be surprised what you can accomplish on a small budget as your competitors pull back their advertising.

Product brochures, custom print advertising, banners, showroom merchandising materials and television and radio advertising are all effective tools in getting your company’s message across. Work with a manufacturer that can effectively deliver a full range of professional marketing support services.

While changing legislation impacts the standard power market, it certainly doesn’t mean that all opportunity in this area has passed. If you adapt and adopt strategies that help you maintain efficiency and increase the potential for standard power sales, you’ll find the opposite is true. Opportunities in standard power are abundant and will remain so for a long time.

This article originally appeared in the August 2010 issue of HME Business.

About the Author

Joe Chesna is the National Sales Director of Standard Power for Pride Mobility Products Corp. in Exeter, Pa. He can be reached via email at jchesna@pridemobility.com or 800-800-8586.

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