Observation Deck

The Essential Stand-Out Sales Approach for 2021

Providers of all sizes either survived or thrived in 2020. Regardless of how our businesses fared in 2020, we must approach sales planning in 2021 differently.

How will you be an Essential Stand-Out to your referral community? Were you an essential part of the referral process or were you non-essential? Did your prior actions and service to the referral community reward you with increased access when other non-essential sales people had no access?

All of these are important questions to consider, because they will help develop the plan and strategy for you to be both essential and a stand-out to the referral community in your sales approach for 2021.

The pandemic continues, and while we are making progress there is no indication what the “new normal” will be like. So, we must prepare as if things will not change and adapt as we continue through this current sales environment.

Medical providers of all sizes either survived or thrived in 2020. Regardless of where our businesses were in 2020, we must approach 2021 differently.

For those that survived and or thrived, a missing or under-developed component to your sales effort is the sales process: the structured and disciplined approach of a sales process addresses messaging, sales cadence, territory management, market data, account and prospect planning, and overcoming objections and obstacles. The sales process, when fully developed and executed, will propel a sales team and business through times of normality and pandemic. It is the process that adapts and the individuals follow the metrics, cadence, and direction that the process defines.

Let me encourage you to consider a sales process for your business and sales team as we enter into 2021.

There are three essential, stand-out components to customer and prospective customer loyalty and growth. These components are phases that as sales professionals we aspire to achieve with every customer (referral source) engagement:

  • Relational Selling
  • Partnering for Outcomes
  • Consultative Engagement

Relational Selling

Every customer and referral source engagement begins with Relational Selling. This is the method by which we earn the trust of the referral source or agents for the referral source through providing consistency, strong messaging, solutions, resources, fast, efficient and effective service from set up to patient care.

Relational Selling is the gate keeper for all referral source engagements. If there is a lack in any of these elements just mentioned, then referrals are delayed. Some sales representatives will get through the early stages of this phase in just a few short weeks, others it will take months, and some never achieve it. There are too many variables to vet this thoroughly in this article.

By the way, the Relational Selling phase never stops and is with you and the referral source for the duration of the relationship. You are always held accountable to these elements.

Partnering for Outcomes

Partnering for Outcomes is the next phase in the referral relationship. These are the components that makes you stand out from other relational sales people calling on the same office. Outcomes are more important than ever to the referral community. Regardless referrals are from a hospital, clinic, or physician office setting; providing outcomes solutions for the patient population that you are entrusted with, is what will take you from the occasional referral to the majority or all of the referrals.

How you provide these outcomes is easier than it has ever been. By partnering with manufacturers and service providers, you can build their programs for outcomes and metrics for patient compliance, readmissions, and disease process management.

In the past, outcomes services and management might have been an option, however, in today’s environment, as we migrate to normality (still undefined), outcomes are essential.

To achieve a partnership phase with the referral source, you must identify what they want and or need to measure for a specific patient’s population and help them achieve that measurement. Then you must resource this through manufacturers and service providers you trust and will bring consistent and positive outcomes.

Similar to the Relational Selling phase, Partnering for Outcomes will never go away and will further separate your business and sales efforts from the rest of the herd.

Consultative Engagement

Finally, if you have done your job well and both relational and partnering for outcomes selling are present, you will graduate to the consultative engagement phase. This is where we are seen as adding value to the referral sources business and patients.

In the Consultative Engagement phase, we have built a rapport and partnership with the referral source and now they are seeking input from us. They are bringing specific patients to your attention and asking about specific therapies or services that would help and achieve positive outcomes. The referral source has dynamic conversation with you that surpass relational messaging. This phase moves you beyond a product or service provider, to a solutions provider.

Where are you today with your customers? Which of these phases would you say the majority of your referral sources lay? How will you plan to move each of them through these phases in 2021 and become an Essential Stand-Out?


On Feb. 10, Ty Bello will present The New Sales Approach for 2021 and Lessons from 2020, a free webinar sponsored by PlayMaker Health that will review lessons learned in 2020 and how we can use them to develop a new sales approach in 2021.

Also, Bello recently joined the HME Business Podcast for an in-depth discussion on sales leadership strategies.

This article originally appeared in the Jan/Feb 2021 issue of HME Business.

About the Author

Ty Bello, RCC is the president and founder of Team@Work LLC, which offers more than 50 years’ combined experience in assessing, developing, and coaching sole proprietorships, sales teams, C-suite executives, individuals and teams in a variety of industry settings. Bello is an author, communicator and registered coach, and can be reached at ty@teamatworkcoaching.com for sales, customer call center, and management coaching needs. Please like Ty on LinkedIn and visit www.teamatworkcoaching.com for more information and join The Coaches Corner at teamatworkcoaching.com/coaches-corner.

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