I’ve had the fortune to work in different areas, and each one has broadened my professional pespective. I want to share 5 sales lessons that I have learned working in the medical industry:
Not all sales need to happen
It may sound counterintuitive but bear with me: When I started working as a design and marketing professional I did not have a budget to get constant leads, so whenever someone showed interest in my services, I asked myself these questions: What should I do to turn this lead into my client? Should I offer a discount? What if they think I’m too formal? What if I’m too casual? Should I delve into detail as much as I can about services or try and simplify it? In those days the fact of closing a sale mattered more than the actual quality of the sale (and this mistake is understandable but correcting it is necessary). If the future of your business depends on a single sale, it is time to make urgent changes. Your options are:
- Implement a strategy for generating leads like the one I offer my clients,
- Identify a better business model or,
- Change industries
What I have learned from dealing with hundreds of leads each month in the medical industry is that putting your eggs in different baskets gives you more opportunities to close sales, as well as enough perspective to get rid of poorly qualified leads and focus your efforts on those that will bring good business. You may ask “but, what about ABC (Always Be Closing)?” I suggest…
ABC (Always Be Connecting)
This mnemonic trick was given to me personally. There are patients (and clients) who are well informed, have the resources, are willing to travel for medical treatment, and just need to learn how soon they can schedule their treatment. That type of sale I have closed in less than 4 hours (including the time required to receive a doctor’s approval). There are other sales that take up to two years to close. In these cases it is necessary to identify which stage of the process the lead is at, so as not to lose track. On the first call you must obtain information that allows you to have sometimes shallow but always hones conversations (what is their favorite team, what places they have visited or plan to visit, upcoming family events, especially children’s achievements, since a proud father never will exhaust that subject). This information will serve as an occasion to maintain contact every so often, until the prospect is finally ready for purchase. Other ways to always be connected are monthly newsletters. This is usually more efficient since it you need not customize the message to resume conversation with each of your thousands of contacts. Speaking of managing thousands of contacts…
Record everything in a CRM
Our brain is designed to process information, not to store it. Details such as the time a prospect prefers to be contacted, the number of times you have spoken by telephone, or the most recent amount quoted must be recorded in real time in your CRM (Customer Relationship Management). This will not only allow you to follow up in a timely manner and tighten the communication between your team, but it will facilitate your decisions later, based on cold, hard numbers; for example, How many patients come from Canada?, How many emails on average do you need to send before you answer? Which procedure is the most requested? How much does it cost you to acquire a new customer? How many of them return? How long after? If you have doubts about how you can also implement a free CRM system, you can email me at [email protected] and I will be happy to advise you.
Be clear about the scope of your services
Honesty above all. 50% of the leads who call interested in a procedure are not candidates and I must reject them, even if it has cost me hours of work to assist them and they are willing to pay anything. With those who do turn out to be candidates, I must always clarify that the procedure offers health improvement and prevention but not always a cure. This allows patients to make an informed decision and evaluate the service based on clear and honest expectations. Humility means to walk in the truth: promote with pride what you know how to do well and be clear about what you (still) cannot. I recommend in this article where I talk about when you should delegate: 5 Lessons Every Entrepreneur Should Learn from Graphic Design
Always ask how you can improve
The clinic where I have learned all these lessons works like a well-oiled machine after years of experience treating international patients. And still, it is always looking for ways to improve its service. After each procedure, the patient fills a satisfaction survey before leaving the facility, when the impressions of their visit are still fresh in mind. As a business it is important to measure customer satisfaction and have an open conversation about what they really value. Aspects like the cleanliness of the place and the friendliness of the staff usually leave a deep emotional mark that frames your product or service, and encourages word of mouth recommendations.