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Market Your Specialty Services Effectively To See Growth In Your Bottom Line

Specialty ServicesMarketing Specialty Services like chronic disease management, shows why you are different and better. Back up claims with top quality care so marketing efforts create long-term, upward-spiraling agency growth.

4 Effective Ways to Market Your Specialty Services

Ok, so if your niche’ is your best marketing path, how do you move forward? Here are four ways to make your specialty services known.

1. Utilize Specialty Nurses to Sell Your Program.

You want your marketing campaign to be distinct, client-focused, and targeted. The nurse specialist is key to helping promote the program. Wound care nurses communicate the benefits of your wound care program better than anyone. And who puts “personal touch” into ads better than the very person caring for the target market? And who knows the details of your program’s outcomes better than the nurses running it? Harness their knowledge with marketing material that promotes the benefits of the program.

2. Networking and Building Relationships

Again, let your nurse specialists talk to doctors and other medical experts. They “speak the lingo” and why your agency is the right choice for patient’s homecare needs. The specialty nurse is a point of contact for the physician or other healthcare providers and promotes better continuity of care. You can also attend networking events, send out email newsletters, advertise to MDs and hospitals on your website, and attend “health fairs.”

3. Maintain a Social Media Presence

If you don’t already have an agency Facebook and Twitter page as well as a presence on You Tube, establish them without delay. Social media offers opportunity to create online relationships that can “discover” new clients. This happens through those directly following you as well as those looking for a potential provider. It is a great forum for interacting with clients and potential clients to understand major concerns and answer healthcare related questions.

4. Establish Yourself as an Industry Expert

Use online blogs showcasing the detailed, high-level knowledge base your agency possesses, particularly in its specialty areas. Allow your specialists to be involved in writing material. Be sure your blogs are SEO-friendly so they are easily discovered in an organic search. Or, you can pay for your blog to appear at the top of the first page for keyword searches. The more people trust you, the more likely they are to entrust themselves or loved ones to you. Make sure your agency is worthy of that trust when your market! All of these approaches potentially lead to increasing referrals and “converting” new prospects. The more successful your programs are, the easier the strategy for marketing can be.

To learn more or for timely advice on building your homecare specialty programs, contact Kenyon HomeCare Consulting online or by calling us at 206-721-5091.

 

Maintaining Ongoing Successful Partnerships With Doctors

doctor partnershipsForming and developing strategic partnerships with MD’s is key to success of today’s home health care agencies. In fact, competition is fierce in the arena of doctor-homehealth relationships. And the rapid growth of the homecare industry in recent years has created a situation in which doctors and homecare practitioners must work in harmony for the good of patients.

Why Must Doctors and Homecare Agencies “Partner Up?”

The fact is, many patients have a strong desire to stay at home and live active lives, rather than be confined to a hospital or nursing home. They would also prefer to avoid unnecessary trips to hospitals, MD offices, clinics, and other medical facilities when possible.

But there are many services that require a doctor’s oversight, approval, or prescription to be both legal and safe. Even when patients are cared for at home, they often need to be under the umbrella of a local physician’s office as well.

This means your home health agency needs to be on the same page with other providers, especially licensed physicians, and always have the lines of communication open. In fact, you need a designated “relationships manager” to coordinate all the details of your agency’s ongoing relationships with MD practices.

Managing Your Ongoing Partnerships With Doctors

To ensure you can nurture and hold onto valuable partnerships with local doctors once you get them started, you’ll need to appoint an official “go between.” There must be someone assigned to the task of managing this potentially complex relationship.

Here are some tasks that your MD practice relationship manager should regularly engage in:

  • Serve as the contact person between the doctor and your homecare agency, and at times meet personally with physicians.
  • Organize a step by step operational flow and ensure both ends are aware of, comfortable with, and are following that same “flow chart.”
  • Ensure that you are communicating to doctors your agency’s true capabilities and full capacity, and that you are delivering on every promise made to patients and doctors alike.
  • Be alert for problems that develop and be quickly troubleshoot them, so you cultivate ongoing growth and boosted referrals.
  • Make sure you are on the same page as doctors when it comes to ICD coding and documentation.
  • Develop and implement specific care-protocols with each MD practice. This will minimize calls to the MD and empower nurses to work more independently without any risk to the patient.

Whether you are just starting up a new home health agency, or you are simply trying to hone and perfect your growth strategy, managing well your MD relationships cannot be ignored. You need to make the relationship beneficial to your agency, to the MD practice, and to the patient.

To learn more or for a free consultation on optimizing your homecare growth and your bottom line, contact Kenyon HomeCare Consulting today by calling us at 206-721-5091 or by filling out our online contact form.

Top 6 Ways to Begin Developing Strategic Partnerships

Developing strategic partnerships with other providers is not optional in the home health & hospice industry. Without them, you rely on “random” walk-ins and call-ups without any reliable source of new clients.

You might survive without strategic healthcare partnerships, but you will certainly not thrive. Partners help you improve care for patients, greatly boost referrals, and ultimately improve your community reputation and bottom line.

But how do you form these strategic partnerships, and what kind of partners are you looking to “team up with” anyway?

Selecting Partners (And Being Selected by Them!)

You first look for a wide variety of other providers as potential partners, from hospitals to doctor’s offices to assisted living facilities to outpatient clinics. Sometimes, which ones you seek partnerships with depends on your staff’s skill sets, as when you team up with wound care clinics when you have wound care nurses and a wound care program at your agency.

Other times, mere geographic proximity is a key factor in selecting a partner, depending on how many healthcare organizations (and of various types) are located in the area.

But otherwise, look for providers as a partner that are reputable, willing to work closely with you to improve care levels, and especially if you are accepted as a “preferred providers.”

In the past, for example, hospitals would just hand people a list of post-acute care options; but today, more and more hospitals choose a smaller number of preferred partners to work with. You need partners whose services you can complement, not duplicate. And remember, partners will affect each other’s reputation and bottom line, so choose wisely.

And don’t neglect to join an ACO, which might lead to referrals and partnerships!

Tips on Making the Partnership Work Well for All Involved

To gain new partnerships, as well as to manage them well and thus maintain them, you will want to follow these six strategic partnership development tips:

  1. Assign a “designated relationship coordinator” to be your official contact person for all your partners, and prospective new partners.
  2. Set up data exchange protocols with partners to facilitate efficient and accurate communication/billing.
  3. Ensure partners are aware of your capacity and capabilities, and can quickly get updated on the current situation.
  4. Establish transition-of-care milestones, and work to eliminate any glitches in inter-agency work flow issues.
  5. Have issue escalation procedures already in place to deal with emergencies. Know how/where/when to get help with critical conditions that go beyond your on-staff expertise.
  6. Make specific service level commitments with partners so they can count on you for such and such number/types of services.

Finally, let your managers and coordinators focus on their specific tasks and not get bogged down in other duties. And consider outsourcing your ICD coding rather than to tie down managers/clinicians with coding assignments.

To learn more about forming/managing key strategic partnerships for your home health organization, contact Kenyon HomeCare Consulting by calling us at 206-721-5091 or by filling out our online contact form.

 

Meta Description:

Strategic partnerships are key to home health growth. Find out how to form and develop optimal partnerships.

Social Media Posts:

1. Have a plan for establishing and developing your home health strategic partnerships.

2. Learn how to develop new strategic partnerships that will help your agency grow.

3. Learn what kinds of homecare partnerships to seek and 6 ways to develop them!

4. Don’t neglect homecare partnerships: they’re key to quality patient care and referrals.

6 Ways to Increase Your Home Care Referrals

Tim Rowen and Home Care Technology Report (HCTR) are favorites of ours here at Ankota.  Tim and HCTR are invaluable resources for folks interested in keeping up with innovations in the home care space.  I subscribe to HCTR’s email list and receive regular informational emails from Tim that includes industry news, reviews, and thought pieces. A recent email I received from HCTR resonated with me as a marketer. In only a few sentences, Tim provided a number of ways to increase referrals for home care agencies. In his email, Tim thanked a home care agency for the excellent level of care that his mother is receiving.  He also relayed a personal story to illustrate why he felt they were worthy of notice.  This seems simple enough, so why did it resonate with me as a marketer?

Long story short:  It was a sincere and specific compliment based upon personal experience from an industry Thought Leader that was shared to an audience broader than the home care agency had already.  In other words, it was free promotion to a wide audience from a trusted source with direct experience of the service.

What agency wouldn’t want a recommendation from a trusted industry leader sent to an audience that is already requesting the information from that person?

Given that introduction, the question becomes, what can we learn from the story to help improve and grow our business?  As a start, here are 6 lessons that sprung to my mind thanks to Tim’s story:

Increase Referrals- Provide Exceptional ServiceReferrals

For the most part, the success of your agency begins and ends with providing exceptional personalized service to your clients and families.  Whether it’s general word of mouth or a “shout out” by an industry leader, no one is going to recommend your business if they don’t feel that you truly care about the client and their family’s well-being.  For veterans of the home care industry, you likely know this better than I.  Beyond that, it’s likely that providing excellent service and caring about each individual client’s well-being is not an issue for you.  Rather, the challenge is how to get the word out to prospects about all your great work caring for folks?

Glad you asked…

Grow Your Referrals-Request Online Reviews

An increasing number of us look to online review sites such as Yelp to inform us about a new service or product we are considering purchasing.  I know folks in home care are often busy caring for their clients to do anything more than the basics for their online presence.  But based upon how consumers decide to spend their money, having strong online reviews are important.  If for no other reason than it is likely that your competition is working on improving their reviews, it is important that your business does as well.

The easiest way to achieve this is to either ask clients that you feel are particularly happy with your service to write one. Also sending a mass email with your request can prove effective.

Beyond Yelp reviews, here are a few online review resources you should look at.  If you haven’t already looked, you may be surprised to find some reviews already posted!

  • Yelp.com
  • Google Reviews (connected to your business’ Google search)
  • Facebook Page Reviews
  • Reviews Directly Posted onto Your Website

Build Trust with Influencers and Cohorts to Boost Referrals

There are a number of industry experts, Key Influencers, Thought Leaders, social media mavens part of every industry who have broad and loyal followers.  If you are active on social media, odds are that you’ve already connected with them in some way.

Getting an endorsement, Mention, Retweet, or similar can often increase your web traffic, engagement, and the feeling that you’re “in the mix”.  Ultimately though, if the goal is to increase revenue and create loyal customers, building trust with both Influencers and others “in your boat” is more important than a social media engagement metric.

That is, while consumers do tend to look at things like total followers, that’s a pretty small part of their decision-making process when choosing their home care agency.  What folks add into their process is outside opinions and Social Proof.  And often what it takes to move the needle is simply providing value, support, and generosity to folks involved in your industry.  Put simply, be a good online Citizen involved in your particular community.

Getting a glowing review by someone who you’ve built trust with (Key Influencer or otherwise) will be easy. You’ve already proven that you are someone they want to help succeed and that your offerings can bring value to their followers.

To Realize a Referral Upsurge, Get Involved in Local Business Associations

While being a good online Citizen and contributor to your online is important, I suggest that you do likewise in the real world as well.  I’ve noticed some folks join their Chamber of Commerce or small business organization, they read the newsletter, and that’s about it.  It’s unlikely that approach will create dividends for you.

Building trust is the name of the game and that can only happen if you “show up”.  So get involved, volunteer to help out on events or committees, get to know the business people both related to your field and outside of it…provide value.

Often the folks that are already involved in these organizations continually meet a lot of other folks in the community or industry, and have built a wide network.  If you do get involved, you might be surprised how often your name is the first one folks mention when others come to them for recommendations in your industry.

Connect with Folks in Your Industry from Outside Your Area

Here’s a bit of a confusing mantra for you: “You don’t know who you know knows.”  That is, folks you are connected to, who you wouldn’t assume could help build your business, could possibly be connected to a treasure trove of prospects.

Beyond that, if you do build trust with other businesses in your field but who operate out of your area (or those parallel to your business), they will often be more likely to refer folks to you over your competition.  They get to feel that they are bringing value to prospects who are outside of their expertise or local area. And the assumption is that you will do the same for them when a prospect in the opposite situation comes to your attention.

Build Your Email List to Multiply Referrals

The story behind this blog article began when I received an email from Tim.  Or did it?  Another way to look at it is that this article began when Tim continually provided value to the home care industry to the point where I noticed him as an industry expert.  More to the point, this article would not have been written if A.) Tim hadn’t built trust with me to the point where I felt is was valuable for me to be on his e-mail list and if B.) the home care agency that he mentioned in his article hadn’t built trust with both him and his Mother.

Conclusion

To tie this all together:

In whatever fashion you can muster time for, build trust through your level of care and your industry/community involvement, ask those who you’ve built trust with to provide reviews and recommendations, and finally, build your email list so that you can promote all your new glowing reviews! How do you build your email list?  That will be a blog topic for another day.

On a related note, download Ankota’s new e-book called, Winning with the Home Health Value-Based Purchasing Program.

We are here to help! Call 206-721-5091 or contact Kenyon HomeCare Consulting if you need advice on marketing including increasing referrals.

This article”6 Ways to Increase Referrals for Your Home Care Agency” by Jed Hammel, first appeared on Jan. 30, 2016 on the Ankota blog. Mr. Hammel is the marketing director at Ankota LLC. Ankota’s mission is to improve the efficiency and coordination of care outside of the hospital. Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care, focusing on efficiency and care coordination.  

 

3 Approaches Home Care Uses To Help Clients Avoid Financial Scams

As the American population grows older and more of its wealth becomes controlled by senior citizens, home care agencies must be able to help their clients both recognize and avoid instances of financial scams and fraud.

Unfortunately, financial scams targeting older adults remain one of the most common forms of fraudulent criminal activity. Elderly individuals are frequent targets, due to the effects of age on memory, cognition and social participation. And that situation can be exacerbated by a revolving door of strangers entering an elderly person’s home. But, it’s also an opportunity for care agencies to provide safety measures to ensure clients aren’t taken advantage of.

“As it is with any employed position, caregivers will come and go,” said Joy Loverde, author of The Complete Eldercare Planner and the upcoming Who Will Take Care Of Me When I’m Old? “Caregiver burnout is a significant industry problem with high rates of annual staff turnover — between 40 and 60% in home care agencies, according to research conducted by the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute.”

The only steady relationship most clients have with the home care agency is with the owner and their care manager. That’s why an extra layer of “scam security” is necessary to safeguard both your staff and clients.

Loverde suggested the following best practices for home care agencies to help their elderly clients avoid financial scams like those noted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation:

Avoid Financial Scams: Safeguard Finances, Correspondence & Valuables

Financial Scams

During the initial home visit, ask clients specific questions about their financial-management and mail-management systems.

“Ask clients: Who manages your finances and your incoming mail? Who is directly responsible for paying your bills? Importantly, the goal is to find out if clients have an existing system in place for averting financial abuse,” Loverde said.

Ascertaining such details as who is responsible for paying credit cards and other bills or who balances the checkbook can help determine not only if the client has already been a victim of fraud (like debt collection scams) and if they are still at risk.

“Experts say most people don’t realize they’ve been scammed right away. It’s only later they feel something ‘wasn’t right,’  Loverde said. Intelligent, well-read and accomplished people succumb to slick sales pitches, fearing exposure of the incident might bring their competence into question.” “Some victims choose to forget about the loss and keep it a secret.”

Also during the initial home visit, “put the topic of valuables on the table,” Loverde said. “It is not uncommon for home care workers to be unjustly accused of stealing. Discuss with clients and family members the importance of putting away private papers, cash, and valuables in a safe place.”

Avoid Financial Scams: Provide Documentation of Caregiver Vetting Process

“Among other questions, clients deserve to know: Why are you recommending this particular person for this job?” Loverde said. “What kind of background check did you conduct on this person?”

You can obtain forms online that will help identify and organize the documents providing proof of a potential caregiver’s skill set. A personal care agreement, or contract between the individual who agrees to provide caregiver services and the person receiving care, can serve to protect your loved one should they need a legal advocate.

Avoid Financial Scams: Provide Training for Designated Managers and Caregivers

Loverde suggests providing certain staff members with sensitivity training around financial scams. Also providing clients with written documentation of part of this training.

“Care managers and caregivers should be aware of how the client manages their incoming mail, unexpected visitors who pose as healthcare or home repair representatives, use of internet, and incoming telemarketing phone calls, among other scam tactics,” she said.

Determining if elder clients have already been victimized can be difficult.  But, Loverde recommends observing their behavior when the subject is brought up. Do they clam up? Become standoffish?  She suggests watching for other clues such as:

  • Overdue bill notices and bounced checks
  • Unusual activity in bank accounts and cash withdrawal machines
  • Withdrawals of large amounts of cash
  • Unrecognizable signatures on financial documents
  • Conflicting accounts of incidents
  • Forgetfulness regarding the whereabouts of checkbooks, bank and credit card statements
  • Frequent trips to gambling casinos
  • Recent changes in wills or the creation of a new will
  • Increased frequency of incoming telephone calls
  • Large volume of mail that promotes prizes or free trips
  • Valuables such as artwork, silverware, and jewelry going missing

By putting these measures in place, you can help ensure that clients, family members, staff and your agency are all scam-aware and, hopefully, scam-free.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for additional ways to expand your knowledge-base or business, download Ankota’s free white paper, Why Care Transitions Is The Next Big Thing for the Home Care Industry.  Just click the link to download.

Writer of this post, Constance Brinkley-Badgett is an editor and writer at Credit.com. In the past she was as an editor for MSN.com, senior digital producer for CNBC, and digital producer for NBC Nightly News. Constance is a graduate of the International Culinary Center in New York. She has worked for chefs such as April Bloomfield and Jean Georges Vongerichten, and is the founder of Crave Personal Chef Services in Austin, Texas.

This article first appeared as “3 Ways Home Care Agencies Can Help Clients Avoid Financial Scams” on the Ankota blog on December 14, 2016. Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care, focusing on efficiency and care coordination.  Ankota’s primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care.

5 Sales Hacking Fundamentals To Improve Home Care Sales

Ankota’s marketing director, Jed Hammel doesn’t come from the home care world but instead is an expert is social media marketing, film making, event planning and more.  Jed wrote today’s article about how “Sales Hacking,” a term coined by the startup world, can be incorporated into your home care agency’s sales strategy.

What is Startup Growth Hacking?Sales Hacking

A few weeks back, I wrote an article about “Growth Hacking,” entitled, “Growth Hacking Tips for Home Care via Startup Marketing.” The piece went over the basics and some different definitions of a new kind of marketing/sales approach used in many startups and a growing number of other industries.

I suggest you click the above link and read the full article, but as a way to sum up:

Uber growth hacker Andrew Chen offers this as a definition for growth hacking:

“Growth hackers are a hybrid of marketer and coder, one who looks at the traditional question of “How do I get customers for my product?” and answers with A/B tests, landing pages, viral factor, email deliverability, and Open Graph. On top of this, they layer the discipline of direct marketing, with its emphasis on quantitative measurement, scenario modeling via spreadsheets, and a lot of database queries. If a startup is pre-product/market fit, growth hackers can make sure virility is embedded at the core of a product.”

What is Sales Hacking?

Good Question, glad you asked!  In this article by Vinod Mehra“What is Sales Hacking?” the author defines Sales Hacking as:

“Sales Hacking is shortening the sales cycle by authentic means.  For examples if sales process says you move from A to B followed by C to receive the Order D.  How can you short circuit step B & C to receive an order D is SALES HACKING.  In simple words what tactics can be used to short circuit B & C to reach D.”

I suggest that you read the entire article here since it outlines 7 tips for hacking sales that I feel you will find useful.

 5 Useful Sales Hacking Tips

One of the leading inbound marketing/sales companies, Hubspot, posted an article, “5 Small Sales Hacks That Will Increase Your Results in a Big Way” written by Brian Moseley that offers some easy ways for you to get started with sales hacking as well.  You should read the entire article here to get an in-depth perspective, but as a start, here’s what the author suggests:

1) Shorten Your meetings

2) Split Up Your Inbox

3) Label Your Emails

4) Pin Tabs

5) Use the Right Tools

What are some of your sales hacking tips?  What tools do you use to prospect, nurture, and close sales?  Share your tips in the comments below!

Also, one of Ankota’s recent whitepapers, entitled “Selling Care Transition Services to Hospitals” is available for download and we think you’ll find it useful.

This article was posted by Jed Hammel and first appeared as “5 Sales Hacking Tips for Home Care via a Startup Leader” on the Ankota blog on Nov 28, 2016. Jed Hammel is the marketing at Ankota LLC whose mission is to improve the efficiency and coordination of care outside of the hospital.  Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care, focusing on efficiency and care coordination.  Ankota’s primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care.

 

5 Shrewd Tips To Get In-Home Care On The Healthcare Radar Screen

Care Coordination Concepts, Inc. provides practical approaches to help non-medical in-home care providers enhance their market position by focusing on delivering health maintenance value to clients and their health system providers.  Cathy Meckes was co-founder and president of a licensed and Joint Commission accredited provider of private insurance and waiver program funded in-home skilled nursing, nurse care coordination and non-skilled supportive services.  Cathy has written today’s blog (and the white paper below).  Enjoy!

Despite what seems to non-medical (supportive) in-home care providers to be an obvious contribution to effective transitional care, hospital and physician providers are slow to build supportive in-home care into their transitional care processes.  That’s frustrating but, why would we expect providers to recognize a supportive services role in transitional care?  They still don’t recognize in-home care in many other parts of the health care system!in-home care

In-Home Care Provider’s Role in Health Maintenance

However, that can change as providers expand their focus beyond acute care to health maintenance.  This is where supportive services have the potential for greatest impact.  Health maintenance is emerging as the focal point for provider systems moving towards quality outcomes based reimbursement systems. Now is the time to establish your role in health maintenance with the goal of ongoing, long-term payoffs.  The in-home care providers who contributes to health maintenance, will have a role in transitional care. Because most patients will require moving through a maintenance phase following an acute care episode, you win.

Non-medical home care providers can earn a role in long-term health maintenance.  Others on this road include; patient-centered disease care, case management, preventive and long-term home health, and tech systems monitoring red-flags.  But, being a part of the system requires development of processes mirroring those of established participants.  And delivering the quality outcomes providers are seeking.

5 Tips for Making Your In-Home Care Agency Attractive to the Healthcare World

What you do is important, but how you do it is critical to establishing and maintaining a value add role in maximizing a patient’s health maintenance and minimizing their need for acute care.  So, to enhance how you provide care:

  1. Consider employing a nurse or social worker to set up and oversee your non-medical care.  This may increase the professionalism of your assessment. But more importantly, it will provide an effective peer to peer contact for other professionals involved in your patient’s care.
  2. Involve providers in your staff training.  In regards to critical skills for health maintenance, medication compliance, recognizing and reporting red flags, is especially significant.
  3. Get provider input on the baseline and outcome data they are seeking to enhance their care management and document their outcomes.
  4. Create communication tools that provide appropriate updates to everyone involved in your patient’s care.
  5. Upgrade your client information system to provide enhanced assessment tools, red flag alerts, periodic care summaries and outcomes data.

Next Steps: Getting In-Home Care on the Healthcare Radar Screen

Health maintenance is the place to be, not just for patients, but for non-medical in-home care providers.  As provider payment systems continue to move toward risk and quality-based provider reimbursement, provider attention will move towards health maintenance and resources will follow.  Therefore, the in-home care providers who have established processes that incorporate effective leadership, appropriate collaboration and best practices will earn a role in a system focused on health maintenance.

Cathy has recently written a whitepaper, “Non-Medical Supportive Services: Establishing a Role in a Heath-Maintenance-Focused System.”  Download it here for free by clicking the title above.

This blog first appeared on September 19, 2016 as “5 Tips to Get Your In-Home Care Agency on the Healthcare Radar Screen” posted by Ken Accardi.  Ken founded Ankota LLC to improve the efficiency and coordination of care outside of the hospital.  Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care, focusing on efficiency and care coordination.  Ankota’s primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care.

Is Your Home Care Sales Pitch Focused On What Really Matters?

I grew up in my career at GE Healthcare as a technology guy and I wasn’t at all involved in home care sales.  When I left GE to work in a tech company, my role was in technical sales support. Meaning I worked with the sales team doing demos, project scoping and answering technical questions for prospective customers.  In observing the sales team, I was concerned that they were often focused on the wrong things. But since I was new to the world of sales, I presumed that I just didn’t understand sales. In hindsight my gut was right.home care sales

I recently came across an article written by Mark Roberge, a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School (HBS) and who also works at HubSpot. Also the company that Ankota uses for our website, blog and marketing automation.  The article is called Are You Discussing What Your Buyers Want to Discuss? Or What You Want to Discuss?  I usually try and provide a link to the original article, but in this case it came to me as an email and I couldn’t find it online.  I was however able to find a link to a book review on Mark’s book entitled The Sales Acceleration Formula.

Focus Your Home Care Sales On What Clients Care About

Are you discussing what your customers care about?

Mark’s article included the graph below that compared what customers want to hear about with what sales people want to talk about.  As you can see, they’re not well aligned.

BANT_What_Buyers_Want_vs_What_Salesmen_Sell.png

Finally, now back to my first sales experience that I mentioned above. Most sales guys focused a lot on a concept called “BANT” which stands for Budget, Authority, Need and Timing.  The sales meetings mostly focused on the B and the A. “Do they have a budget for this?” and “Who has the authority to buy?” were the main questions.  The one customer focused piece, “need,” got the least attention. Then timing was discussed but it wasn’t from the customer’s perspective and rather was “you need to pull this deal into the quarter.”  The picture above shows that the BANT components are the last things that customers are interested in.

How Does This Relate to Home Care Sales?

The data depicted above generally represents B2B (business-to-business) companies who sell their product or services to other companies.  But, the lessons can be applied to B2C (business-to-consumer) home care sales as well.  A few key takeaway are as follows:

  • Price is very important to customers:  If you are a low price agency you should highlight this.  If you’re a higher priced agency, you need to focus on your differentiation and the added value.
  • Use stories to explain how your service works: How the product works is listed above as the second most important concern of customers. Rather than walking through your brochure (which is likely not highly differentiated), tell stories of how you have helped similar customers and how it delighted them.
  • “Yes We Can” should be your answer to special requests: If you are a private pay agency one great way to differentiate would be the a “yes we can” attitude.  Think of the case of a family member who flew into town when their mom fell and injured her hip. This family member doesn’t know how to get services in your area, but you do.  So if they ask if you can install grab bars, or cut the grass, or get the dogs in a kennel, or drive their mom home from the hospital, if you answer “yes we can” (and charge for the service) then you’ll be satisfying the customer, making a few extra dollars and maybe even establishing good partnerships with others who will refer to you.

For more best practices, you can download a free eBook Seven Habits of Highly Effective Home Care Agencies here.

Today’s post is by Ken Accardi, who is sometimes referred to as the “Home Care Software Geek.”  Ken founded Ankota LLC to improve the efficiency and coordination of care outside of the hospital.  Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota’s primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care.

This article first appeared as “Are Your Home Care Sales Reps Focused on What Matters to Clients?” on Aug 13, 2016 via the Ankota blog.

Hospital Preferred Provider Agreements: Expert Advice For Home Care

As Elizabeth Houge, our esteemed colleague and well-known health care attorney explains in this article, hospital Preferred Provider Agreements continue to be misunderstood. But, many hospitals refer patients on a regular basis to post-acute providers. These include home health agencies, private duty home care agencies, hospices, and home medical equipment (HME) companies. Relationships with post-acute providers assist hospitals to control costs and avoid penalties, an essential component of financial viability. Consequently, positive relationships with post-acute providers are increasingly important to the success of hospitals.

Preferred Provider Agreements

Hospital Use of Preferred Provider Agreements

Hospitals may wish to use Preferred Provider Agreements in order to enhance their relationships with post-acute providers. That is, hospitals may agree to make referrals exclusively or on a preferential basis to specified post-acute providers in order to help ensure quality of care. Hospitals may be eager to sign Preferred Provider Agreements for a number of reasons.

Hospitals may decide, for example, to limit the number of post-acute providers to which they are willing to refer on the basis that dealing with many post-acute providers may compromise their ability to implement appropriate plans of care effectively. From the point of view of hospitals, referrals to a number of post-acute providers may complicate communications, which may have the potential to compromise implementation of appropriate discharge plans.

Preferred Provider Agreements may obligate hospitals to refer patients to specified post-acute providers. These agreements should not, however, include a specific number of patients that hospitals are expected or required to refer. In fact, they should explicitly indicate that hospitals make no promises about the number or types of patients who will be referred.

Preferred Provider Agreements and Patient Choice

Preferred Provider Agreements must also take into account requirements related to patients’ right to freedom of choice of providers. Both the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 and Conditions of Participation (COP’s) for hospitals, among other sources, guarantee patients the right to freedom of choice.

Many patients, however, do not yet know enough about post-acute services and providers to be able to make choices. When attending physicians indicate that they prefer certain post-acute providers and patients do not wish to choose other providers instead, physicians’ preferences/orders must be honored. Unless patients or physicians choose post-acute providers, it is permissible for discharge planners/case managers to make suggestions. Then patients may wish to choose post-acute providers with which hospitals have preferred provider relationships.

Hospitals are not required to survey post-acute providers in their geographic area to find every entity that provides care of a quality that is satisfactory to them. Consequently, when patients cannot choose and their attending physicians have not indicated preferences for particular post-acute providers, discharge planners/case managers may wish to encourage patients to choose preferred providers.

CMS Stand on Preferred Provider Agreements

Hospitals certainly cannot restrict patient choice. In the final rule on the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) Payment Model for Acute Care Hospitals; published in the Federal Register on November 24, 2015; however, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) stated at follows:

Hospitals, if desired, may recommend ‘preferred providers,’ that is, high quality PAC (post-acute) providers/suppliers with whom they have relationships (either financial and/or clinical) for the purpose of improving quality, efficiency, or continuity of care.

Based upon this language, it seems clear that Preferred Provider Agreements are acceptable so long as the requirements described above are met.

NOW IS THE TIME FOR ALL POST-ACUTE PROVIDERS TO WORK WITH HOSPITALS AND OTHER REFERRAL SOURCES TO ESTABLISH PREFERRED PROVIDER RELATIONSHIPS!

For more information about this or other legal issues in homecare, contact Elizabeth as outlined below.

Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq.

Office: (877) 871-4062

Twitter: @HogueHomecare

ElizabethHogue@ElizabethHogue.net

©2016 Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq.  All rights reserved.

No portion of this material may be reproduced in any form without the advance written permission of the author.

 

Homecare Networking, Is It A Lost Art? Part II

Today’s post is by Barbara Akst, President and CEO of Training Unlimited and an esteemed Kenyon Associate. Barbara’s expertise in identifying and solving management and census issues, coupled with her training, coaching and mentoring skills are a perfect formula for homecare management and sales success. This article is a continuation of Homecare Networking, Is It A Lost Art? Part I.

Once you have answered the questions stated in the proceeding article you will have the start of your homecare networking action plan. Next, put together a calendar of the professional and community events you will attend. Find out about opportunities to do educational presentations at any of the community events you selected. Oftentimes presentations must be scheduled well in advance (sometimes even a year ahead of time) but it is worth it. Take the time to schedule at least one educational presentation a month. It will significantly increase the visibility of your organization and the success of your networking.

Homecare Networking Action Plan

When you know which homecare networking events you will attend – what is it you want to accomplish at each event? It’s OK to have different goals for different events. However, at a given event, you must know what you want to achieve. Now you are ready to network! You’ve set your goals, you know what you want to accomplish and you have arrived at your event.

What’s next?  Before you even get out of your car, look in your rear view mirror and smile!  That’s right – take a deep breath and smile at yourself. Why? Because taking a deep breath and smiling helps you create an air of confidence. By displaying self-assurance, you help others establish confidence in your organization. The moment you step out of the car, you may be creating a first impression with a new contact. They might even be deciding if you are someone they want to learn more about. As they learn more about you, they’re going to learn about your organization and that’s why you’re at this event!homecare networking

Homecare Networking Confidence

Walk into the event with confidence! Keep your head high and look around the room. We all have a tendency to look for someone we know and make a beeline for them. We do this because we feel safe with what we know. Your purpose at this event is to expand your circle of referral sources and educate about your services. So, look for someone you don’t know and approach them. Keep in mind that networking is scary for many and others will welcome your efforts to meet them.

Your contact with everyone, whether you know them or not, should begin with a handshake while introducing yourself. Say your name clearly, repeating your first name twice, include the name of your company and your company tag line. Example: Hi, I am Carol, Carol Jones with ABC Home Care, where we treat your family as our own. If the person doesn’t respond with the same information about themselves, ask them. Listen carefully for their name (so you can use it later in the conversation) and pay close attention to their handshake.

Their handshake enables to you learn a lot about them immediately.

  • Is it firm or soft and wimpy?
  • Did your knuckles crack when they shook your hand?
  • Was the hand wet, dry, clammy?

After the handshake, you form an impression of the person and your behavior will vary based upon that impression! If you liked them, you will feel more comfortable and it will be easy to chat. If the handshake makes you feel uncomfortable, you will try and make your ‘escape’ as quickly as possible. Remember, the other person is also forming an impression about you based on your handshake. Be sure the way you shake hands communicates what you want the other person to know.

Learn About Their Organization When Homecare Networking

Now that you have formed your first impression, it’s time to learn more about their organization, their role and how you or your organization can help them. That’s right – you want to learn how to help their business succeed. This is the best way to make a memorable impression on your new contact and to determine how you will follow-up after the event. Remember:

  • Do not spend more then 7 – 10 minutes with one person
  • Your time should be spent meeting new people
  • Goal at each event is to schedule at least five ‘one-on-one’ appointments with new contacts
  • Follow-up appointments present the opportunity to showcase your organization
  • Sharing how you can be a benefit to them leads to more referrals

Next Steps After the Homecare Networking Event

The most important thing to do at any networking event is to LISTEN. If you truly listen, you will have a specific purpose for every follow-up. Having a reason to call on a potential referral source makes the next contact much easier, worthwhile for both of you and sets the stage for a successful partnership.

Successful homecare networking is all about ‘KNOW BEFORE YOU GO’. Know which events are best to attend, whom you want to see and what you want to accomplish during and following the event. If you do this, you will reap the benefits of growing your business.

Happy Homecare Networking!

If you have questions or need more information about how Kenyon HomeCare Consulting can assist you with customer relations, contact us or call 206-721-5091 today. Our relationship training will improve your networking techniques, telephone skills and sales training to increase your referrals. We also provide management education and mentoring to improve your interviewing methods, time management, communication, delegation, and decision making abilities.