Reopen Home Care Sales & Marketing
As the United States begins to plan how to reopen its states and economy, the home care industry....specifically the sales & marketing function, cannot lag behind. It's time for us to establish how we will safely move forward with reintroducing ourselves into the community and the facilities that we call on.
Phase 1 - Now
1. Understand and respect the rules of your state as it pertains to non essential work, social distancing, masks and gloves worn in public, etc. This is not the time to buck the rules. We are inserting ourselves into facilities that have the most vulnerable population of patients. This virus is opportunistic and it's our FIRST responsibility to protect those who cannot protect themselves.
2. As facilities prepare to reopen, contact them to understand their new protocols. You are going to find that some are closed to you, and everyone else, forever. Some facilities are going to adopt a lock down methodology as we've seen in hospital systems for years. Don't fight it and don't try to talk them out of it. We'll find a way to work with them in coming weeks.
3. Determine yours and your agency's comfort level with visiting these facilities in person. No one will blame you for taking a measured approach to going back into the field. The virus is scary and you should discuss with your manger what their expectations of you are, and any concerns you have.
Phase 2 - Next
1. As restrictions are lifted, plan a small number of "test" sales calls to make sure you and your referral sources are able to safely meet. Call in advance, schedule a brief meeting, see if you can meet outside the facility (or in a lobby, etc) and simply get the feel for how sales meetings can be held. Use whatever PPE is required and make sure you have a plan to have enough of it, and to keep it from potentially spreading any germs to you, your staff, and your family.
2. Begin to qualify your accounts as to one of three types.
a) In person sales calls allowed
b) Virtual sales calls only (phone, Zoom, Skype)
c) Digital marketing only (no direct contact allowed in any form)
This is going to be the reality we face going forward. The entire world will be changed by this virus....and not just from the virus, but from the changes we've made and accepted. Many more people will be working from home because their companies have seen how effectively they can do it. Social distancing orders will be more prevalent when the virus breaks out in certain areas. Wearing a mask in public will become no big deal, and an everyday occurrence for many people. Our referral sources are going to institute long term changes as well. We can either fight them (which won't work) or figure out how to maximize our impact under these new guidelines.
3. Refrain from large networking gatherings until we understand the "phase 2" of the virus expected this Fall. Your local networking group will survive just fine without you for a few months. Don't risk your health and others until we know how well our current restrictions have protected us from spreading the virus.
Phase 3 - New Normal
1. Resume your in person selling activities as allowed by your referral sources.
2. Make common sense personal protective measures a standard part of your day. The tendency is for humans to adapt to whatever current condition they are in. It would be easy for many people to slack off of their efforts as the memory of the virus fades. Resist that, as we're going to live with COVID-19 for a long time.
3. Be prepared to go back into lockdown. While we all hope that our flattening of the curve has helped contain the spread of the virus, and that we can begin to move out of lockdown, nothing is guaranteed. Most epidemiologists expect a return of the virus this Fall or Winter. States and the Feds are going to be quicker to reinstitute lockdown and quarantine measures at least in the short term. Remember how you worked your way through the current lockdown and resume virtual sales calls and digital marketing immediately. There could be several cycles of short term lockdowns coming, at least in certain areas of the country, so don't be surprised and don't let it throw you off your game.
It's almost time to reopen home care sales and marketing. Let's make sure we are part of a safe and effective solution, and not part of the problem.
To learn more about safe in person selling, virtual sales calls, and digital marketing register for our all new Home Care Marketing 10 Week Accelerator course beginning this Wednesday April 29 at Noon EDT and continuing for 10 weeks. You'll get our new strategy for success in the post pandemic world of home care, home health, and hospice sales. Get more information and register today so you don't miss the first session.
Good Selling (and be safe...)