What Healthcare Professionals can Learn from Sales People

October 14, 2015
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Healthcare professionals have a lot of experience talking to patients, but they don’t always have the training to actually carry out sales and marketing. As a provider, you want to do what’s best for your patients and your business at the same time. Learning from salespeople about how to increase brand awareness and find new prospects will bring more people to your practice.

Healthcare professionals have a lot of experience talking to patients, but they don’t always have the training to actually carry out sales and marketing. As a provider, you want to do what’s best for your patients and your business at the same time. Learning from salespeople about how to increase brand awareness and find new prospects will bring more people to your practice. Whether you are part of a large practice or operating solo, you can benefit significantly from learning some sales. In this post, we’ll list some of the most important skills that salespeople use to close deals, and which you as a care provider might not know. If you read this carefully and try to apply it to your practice, you will experience better return rates and get more new patients.

First of all, finding patients. In healthcare, we are used to a passive form of getting new patients- waiting for them to walk in the door, waiting for referrals, perhaps putting out an ad or two in a newspaper. Developing a full-fledged marketing campaign from the bottom up to attract new patients isn’t a concept that comes naturally to a care provider, but it’s a crucial element in growing your business. Trying to enhance your marketing is a way to find new patients who could benefit from your care. That’s why focusing on your brand and increasing its profile matters.

Next, think about how you talk to patients. Providers get training in how to have conversations with patients about a variety of matters, but it’s not extensive. Sales teams have perfected how to talk to people, make them comfortable, and discuss the value of the deal casually. This all stems from a field called negotiations training. It draws from psychology, business, and other sources to provide guidance on how to talk to people in a convincing way.

As a provider, it is important to make sure that your patients come back for follow-ups and regular checkups. This, too, has an analogous process in sales. Sales teams need to come up with ways to ensure customers keep coming back. Doing this involves targeted techniques, like periodic reminder emails and calls or ensuring that the patient makes an appointment for the next session before they leave. The sales attitude towards following up is more aggressive than providers are used to, but the method works- they are better at getting repeat business than doctors are. Try putting more time and effort into reaching out to patients when they need to come back.

This is a trend that is already taking form in healthcare, but it has roots in sales as well: transparency. Whether you are using radiology information system for tests or an external lab, allow patients to see their own test results and other data. Sales teams are getting used to explaining the details of their deals, including the potential use of any sensitive customer data. As a care provider, you are the steward of medical and financial information. You can gain the trust of your patients by being open and transparent with them as much as possible.

Sales isn’t just about being pushy. It’s about how to show customers that a given product is valuable to them. When it comes to health care, you already know how valuable the service is, but it’s up to you to show your patients how much they can benefit. That is what will convince them to make follow-up appointments and keep them. It isn’t easy to change the way you operate, but it’s the best thing for the patients, the best thing for your business, and the best thing for you.