Monday 8am: Read this newsletter
Monday 8:30am: Let's Make A Deal
I was talking to a sales manager last week about one of his reps. He recounted how this rep had not been making progress with some accounts that were considered important by the agency, Now, important means "they used to refer to us, but they don't anymore.....but we can't lose them".
The reps current plan is to visit each and every week with coffee (maybe donuts too, but who knows) and talk to the key referral person. The referral person has stated their preference to using another agency and has not referred to this agency in months.....yet, the referral person still sits down every week and drinks a free coffee with this rep.
Because it's a good deal. A really good deal.
In exchange for making NO referrals and sitting down with a homecare rep the referral person gets a free coffee each and every week. EVERY week. For doing NOTHING.....ZIP....Nada....
That's a good deal if you can get it.
As I talked to this sales manager I pointed out that this is even a BETTER deal for the referral person than if they did make referrals to his agency. Why? Because this deal is known....it's a guarantee. In essence, I don't make referrals and I get coffee.
What if I start making referrals.....is there still coffee every week? Maybe not...maybe the relationship changes and my coffee goes away. I don't know this because the rep calling on my has offered such a good deal I'm not even willing to see what the "new deal" would be like.
How many "good deals" have you created in your territory?
Here's another one....
I remember making sales calls with a rep a few years back. She stopped at a bakery and loaded up on a few pies before we started making calls. When we pulled up outside of an ALF she very seriously counseled me "When we go in there, they are going to be in a meeting. We're not allowed to say anything. There is a table in the room where all the agencies leave their goodies.....once we put this pie on the table we have to leave right away". Then she made sure I had heard here "Michael, don't say ANYTHING or we'll be barred from ever going back in".
I was dumbfounded....but I played along.
Just as she promised we tiptoed into the room during their meeting. One person looked up at us and gave us a dismissive wave and a half smile. We put the pie down on a table crowded with cakes, cookies, candy, and who knows what else. Then we quickly left. Forget what I said to the rep when we got back to the car (because you can already guess I'm sure). What do you think of this "good deal"?
This was a spectacular deal because this facility could garner a weeks worth of sweets without ever even talking to a rep! The reps calling on this place were so conditioned that no one ever questioned the lunacy of this idea....they just did it, week after week.
Did my client get referrals from them, you ask?
Yes, about 4-5 a year.....what a complete waste of time, money, and energy. But hey, the referral source had such a "good deal" that they were unwilling to make any changes. Why risk changing anything when all of those sugary treats might go away?
Again, how many "good deals" have you created in your territory?
When you make it a better deal to NOT refer to your agency than to refer, the fault is not with your referral sources, it's with you. STOP this madness of conditioning referral sources to not refer to you. EVERY SINGLE time you make a calorie laden sales call with nothing to show for it you are reinforcing the fact that your referral source never has to refer to you. Time after time, week after week you send the message "Don't refer to me...and I'll keep feeding you".
Madness.....and sadness. Aren't we worth more value to our referral sources than the price of the crap we bring in to feed them?
Rather than this, start creating "fair deals". A fair deal is simply this. You bring great service to the referral source and their patients. They refer said patients to you, you provide feedback on how those patients are progressing. Once in a great while you sit down to coffee, lunch, or donuts and talk about what a great job you are doing together and how much each of you respects the other. Think it can't be done? My clients do it every day.....
Or....keep offering "good deals".....and see if the game ever changes.
Here's a hint....it won't.
Want to learn to offer "Fair Deals" and win more business? Sign up for one on one professional sales coaching where I'll eliminate every "good deal" you've ever made and show you how to really sell and grow you business. Or, come to the Senior Care Sales Workout! in Las Vegas on May 2-3 and you'll get the full face to face treatment with tips, techniques, case studies and more. Now THAT is a very fair deal.