Observation Deck

The Survival of the Fittest

Returning to Medtrade after a few years shows an industry that is reinvigorated and ready to thrive.

It’s amazing how much an event can reflect the spirit of an industry. The Fall 2017 Medtrade, held Oct. 23-25 at Atlanta’s Georgia World Congress Center, was my first show in four years. Wow! A great deal has changed. 

Vendors were more engaged than ever and attendees were looking for new and improved revenue opportunities. Attendees seemed excited to be at the conference and those that I spoke with were thankful to be there. Instead of a prevailing sense of worry or loss, I saw optimism. In fact, out of all the attendees that I spoke with I ran into one person who openly shared they are going to sell their business.

Instead, I observed attendees in vendor booths having extended and deep conversations about existing products and engaging in demonstrations of new products. The exhibitors seemed to have a recommitted approach to solution selling and coming along side of the providers as vendor partners. Overall the two days on the show floor were dynamic and very positive. 

I have categorized what I saw as “the Survival of the Fittest.” I had many conversations with old friends and some new acquaintances. Everyone was very engaged. There was a definitive shift in the show from the Medtrade I attended four years ago, and what I observed, I really liked. 

None of us like change. Competitive bidding and other regulatory burdens have taken our industry on a course none of us would have selected. We have two choices: 1) we can deny what has taken place and constantly complain about the course we are on and wax eloquently about the “good ole days,” or 2) we can embrace our journey and realize that we still get to change people’s lives every day. I definitely observed more optimism than pessimism at the show.

To all of the providers who specialize in traditional HME, complex rehab, sleep, retail, and others segments, whether you attend Medtrade or not, you are resilient. Let’s not pretend that these past years haven’t been tough. You have persevered.

Will the road be easier going forward? It is hard to tell, but let’s choose to look at the glass half full rather than half empty. The fact is more people need our services every day in our communities. We change lives, one set-up and encounter at a time. 

Bearing that in mind, hopefully you’ll get some encouragement from these final words:

If you have not attended Medtrade in the past few years, I recommend coming back and seeing the “new normal” of the Medtrade show. We are all in a New Normal: our industry, business, vendor partners, and even Medtrade. These times we live in can either define us or we can make this our defining moment. Make plans today for the future of your business and how to serve your team, the referral community, and ultimately the patients entrusted in our care. Make each day a defining moment. 

About the Author

Ty Bello is the president and founder of Team@Work LLC, which provides sales coaching, training and professional education to the HME industry. Bello is a Registered Corporate Coach with the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches.


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