Accelerating Your Urological Business
These four, easy-to-implement sales strategies can help you maximize your market reach into this crucial category.
- By Lisa Wells
- Mar 01, 2018
As HME provider owners and operators hunt for ways to increase their revenues, they should focus on how they can amplify the recurring revenue that disposable urological supplies provide. There are a variety of patients that need them, and a variety of products available to capitalize on that need. To get the most from this important but often under-served category, try these four sales strategies to accelerate your urological category growth:
1. Explain Your Value In Different Ways
HME sales expert Mike Sperduti often teaches on the topic of communication, and he’s a true practitioner of what he preaches. “As human beings, we all have individual communication styles that may vary,” he explains.
“Regardless of who your target audience is, whether it’s a clinician or a patient, you want to appeal to their preferred style of learning,” he explains. “Some people are visual and they use videos to learn. Some are auditory, which means they are influenced by what they hear. That’s when you should employ testimonials,. Others are kinesthetic, meaning they need to see, touch and feel something to be comfortable with it. With this sensory group, you need to sample product.”
Sperduti recommends an overall communication approach that uses a blend of all these styles so you can engage as many senses as possible for people to receive and benefit from your sales message. (To learn more about communication styles and how they apply to HME audiences, visit www.MikeSperduti.com for training resources and a calendar of events.)
2. Spread Your Message om Multiple Channels
Remember when direct mail was king? It wasn’t all that long ago either when there were only three major television channels to choose from.
Today, a virtual, non-stop world of messaging via television, radio, magazines and social media bombards clinicians and consumers at a rate that no one can keep up with, so don’t feel alone if you’re overwhelmed by the thought of where to start.
What matters most when choosing a communication channel is who’s viewing that channel and when. It’s always about them, so make sure enough of your intended audience is where you’re reaching out, or you’ll be wasting time and money.
Reinforcement matters too, whether you are doing a physical mailer or a digital ad. It’s probably going to be a wash if your intended recipient only sees it once. If your budget won’t allow for repetition across channels, concentrate your efforts while personalizing the outreach as much as you can.”
Reinforcement is particularly important with disposable products from a kinesthetic standpoint too.
“We often hear from end users that they wanted to try a certain disposable product, and when they asked for a sample, they received exactly one,” says my colleague Chris Sellwood, Cure Medical’s vice president of sales.
“It’s very hard for an individual to make a decision about a personal healthcare item, like a catheter, if they have only used it one time,” he explains.
3. Anticipate Your Customer’s Urology Needs
Beyond the initial customer experience, employ the following tactics to help keep your urology sales process running more smoothly throughout the year.
For HME providers who are new to the urological category, there is a reason why they need to have an increased sense of urgency in stocking and delivering intermittent catheters. Patients cannot simply run down to a big box retailer to get more if they do run out of what you have provided to them. Unfortunately, your customer may wind up in the emergency room for immediate assistance if that happens.
To avoid that unpleasant situation, Sellwood says HME Providers should maintain an “acceptable level of ‘in-house’ product available to fulfill urgent needs” even if you are using a drop-shipper or another off-site warehouse.
For improved account retention, ensure your existing customers are fully aware of the range of urological products — including styles, lengths and types of lubrication — that your company offers.
“Many urological customers are not aware that dealers carry the breadth of products that are available on the market today,” Sellwood explains.
Lack of knowledge coupled with user issues like discomfort or pain can cost you an account in the long run, so it’s in your best interest to stay abreast of customer concerns and to educate on alternatives that may better fit their individual needs.
Also, identify and train some on-staff urology “experts” within your customer service and sales teams so that they fully understand these product areas plus common user issues, and schedule recurring events with manufacturers for frequent in-services and ongoing product education.
Lastly, Sellwood recommends reminding your supply customers to plan ahead for catheter usage, so they don’t wait to notify you when they are completely out of supplies or only have a few catheters left. This helps avoid a more-costly rush for delivery.
4. Choose Partners Who Fully Support Your Goals
With the pains of reduced reimbursement coupled with direct-to-consumer conflicts from a growing number of HME manufacturers, you should seek out partners who understand these challenges and fully support your business goals, and who fully comprehends the value and impact of the strategies listed in this article.
This doesn’t just apply to urological supplies. Savvy HME product manufacturers are sensitive to the pressure that HME providers are facing in the marketplace due to reimbursement shifts on all levels and across all categories and are responding by helping their provider partners.
For instance, at Cure Medical, We’ve intentionally created a marketing resource program for our HME partners that caters to a variety of communication preferences, whether it’s through our dealer-ready product videos and photos or our willingness to sample product. This takes the burden of creating multiple points of engagement off our partners so they can focus on what they do best — servicing and supporting the people who prescribe and use Cure catheters.
This article originally appeared in the March 2018 issue of HME Business.
Lisa Wells is the vice president of marketing for Cure Medical, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Spina Bifida Association. An HME veteran, she often contributes to industry publications and health education programs. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.