You’re a complex rehab technology (CRT) provider thinking of expanding your business by selling urological supplies. You already know which of your clients use urology products; you might have even discussed bladder management regimens while assessing them for tilt-and-recline systems.
Or maybe you’ve already committed to providing urological supplies as part of your continuum of care business strategy, but now need to create a sales plan so you can benefit from the recurring monthly revenue that urologicals can add to your bottom line.
Here are four ways to reach out to existing clients with a new message: In addition to being their expert seating and wheeled mobility resource, you’re also here to support their urology-related healthcare, further deepening your relationship with them.
1. Use Multiple Modes of Communication
HME sales expert Mike Sperduti is a veteran educator on the topic of human communication. “We all have individual communication styles,” he explained. “Regardless of who your target audience is, whether it’s a clinician or a client, you want to appeal to their preferred style of learning.”
Some clients are visual learners; use videos to reach and teach them. Other clients learn through listening and are influenced by what they hear — use testimonials to reach them, Sperduti said.
“Some are kinesthetic learners, meaning they need to see, touch and feel something to be comfortable with it,” he added. “This sensory group needs to sample products.”
Sperduti recommends an approach that blends all of these styles and engages as many senses as possible, so you can reach people regardless of how they prefer to learn.
2. Send Your Message Via Multiple Channels
Remember when direct mail was king and we had only three major television channels to choose from?
Today, that landscape has been replaced by non-stop messaging via TV, radio, smartphones, personal electronics, magazines and social media. The bombardment of 24/7 communications can be overwhelming. How do you choose the best platform for sharing your message?
“What matters most when choosing a communication channel is who’s viewing that channel and when,” said Lisa Wells, Cure Medical VP of marketing. “It’s all about who’s listening, 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 traditional physical mailer or a digital ad. “It’s probably going to be a wash if your intended recipient only sees it once,” Wells adds. “If your budget won’t allow for repetition across channels, concentrate your efforts while personalizing the outreach as much as you can.”
Remember those potential clients who learn kinesthetically? With disposable products, reinforcement is particularly important.
“We hear from end users that when they wanted to try a product and asked for a sample, they received exactly one,” said Chris Sellwood, Cure Medical’s VP of sales. “It’s very hard to make a decision about a personal healthcare item, like a catheter, if you have only used it one time. That’s why Cure Medical has a generous sample program for our sales partners.”
3. Anticipate Your Client’s Urology Needs
Anticipation is a natural part of being a CRT provider. You’re anticipating the progression of conditions such as ALS and Duchenne muscular dystrophy and how to make seating or electronics adjustments. You choose wheelchairs that can grow as your pediatric clients do.
Anticipation is also key to supporting urology needs.
Sellwood said successful suppliers maintain a sense of urgency when stocking and delivering intermittent catheters. “Your clients cannot simply run down to a big box retailer to get more if they run out of what you have provided,” he noted. “Unfortunately, your client may wind up in the emergency room needing immediate assistance if that happens.”
To avoid that outcome, Sellwood said providers should maintain an “acceptable level of ‘in-house’ product available to fulfill urgent needs,” even if you use a drop-shipper or off-site warehouse.
Also make sure your clients know the full range of products you offer, including different styles and lengths of catheters, and different types of lubrication. Having an assortment of products assures you can fully accommodate a range of client preferences and needs.
“Many urological clients are not aware that providers carry the breadth of products available on the market today,” Sellwood explained.
That lack of knowledge, coupled with user issues such as discomfort or pain, can cost you a client in the long run, so stay abreast of customer concerns and be ready to offer alternatives that may better fit their needs.
Sellwood recommended reminding clients to plan ahead for catheter usage, so they don’t wait to notify you until they are almost or completely out of supplies. Having advanced warning of what they need will help to minimize paying extra for expedited deliveries.
Finally, appoint and train urology “experts” on your customer service and sales teams who fully understand these products and common user issues. Schedule recurring events with manufacturers like Cure Medical for frequent in-services and ongoing product education.
4. Choose Partners Who Fully Support Your Goals
Your clients aren’t the only ones who should have choices when they buy urological supplies. As their provider, you have choices as well when deciding which products to invest in. It makes sense to buy from manufacturers who support your goals and whose priorities align with yours.
For example, seek a manufacturer who understands reimbursement pressures and has resources to support and grow sales while not directly competing with your efforts.
“Savvy manufacturers are sensitive to the pressure that providers are facing in the marketplace due to reimbursement shifts on all levels,” Sellwood said. “Cure Medical works so hard to offer a product mix that is priced in respect of these levels.”
Wells added, “We’ve intentionally created a marketing resource program for our supplier partners that caters to a variety of communication preferences, whether it’s through our provider-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 — serving and supporting the people who prescribe and use Cure catheters.”
To learn more about communication styles and how they apply to clients, visit www.MikeSperduti.com for training resources and events.
For more advice on ways to improve your urological supply business, reach out to the intermittent catheter experts at Cure Medical. Visit www.curemedical.com or call (800) 570-1778.