The Catalyst … accelerating business growth in healthcare

Follow Up Calls

Posted by Stan Schroeder on Thu, Feb 16, 2012 @03:45 PM

In my 20 years of medical sales experience, one of the most common mistakes I see sales professionals make is having follow-up calls that are not what they should be. If you are calling someone who has done business with your organization in the past but you don't know them well - or it is your first time personally calling them, make sure you are well prepared.
And do yourself a favor - put as much pre-call planning into your phone calls as you do your personal visits for the best results. There really should be no such thing as a "cold call" any more with key people in an organization since you can do so much research before you call. If they have any authority - they expect that you have done your homework.
Here is an outline I might use to call on someone I don't know well....
Good morning _____, this is Rob Bahna with Resuscitation International.
I have been working with other ________ departments (or title you are talking to), discussing some ideas that have helped them deal with some of the unique challenges they are facing today with SCA victims. We have seen some outstanding customer satisfaction and positively affected patient outcomes.
I would like to ask you a few questions to see if some of our solutions might make sense for your department.
I would like verify some of the information I have been able to learn about your facility and
make sure I understand them from your perspective as the ____________(title)?
Ask about them…..

I understand you have been a _________ for 5 years. What are the biggest changes you have seen in that time as it relates to how your responsibilities have evolved? Where do you find yourself spending a lot of time where you didn’t use to?
Besides yourself, who else do you involve in the important process of purchasing medical supplies and equipment?
Sell Your Company
Jane, we know it is important for you to know who you are doing business with. Resuscitation International has been servicing the emergency medical supply and equipment needs of pre-hospital professionals for 10 years. We have a proven track record of being an industry leader. We are proud to have more than 100,000 agencies and professionals rely on RI.

 ______, as you are well aware, over the last 10 years we have seen a shift in acuity levels. You are being asked to do higher levels of care in many situations with less resources, especially in today’s economy. RI has been in business for over 10 years – and we can help you deal with these challenging times.
Determine Your Customer’s Objectives
Make them stop and think – ask high gain questions that differentiate you and are not only situational.
1) What Criteria do you use to evaluate your potential suppliers (business partners)?

2) How do you prefer to place your orders?
3) Which company do you currently order your supplies from today?

Do you order from more than one company?
4) Could you please share with me what your experience has been with Resuscitation International?
If they do not volunteer it – ask them
5) It looks like you have not ordered from us in the last ______, could you share with me some of the reasons?
Engineer Agreement to Demonstrate Product-Program
________, I appreciate you taking the time to share this information with me. Based on your feedback, and some recent changes we have made it (whatever areas kept them from ordering from us – or things they like about others) we believe we can make your job of ordering easier and be very competitive from a price perspective.

When do you normally place your supply orders? What do we need to do to earn a shot at your next order?
If my pricing is competitive, would there be any other reason that would prevent us from doing business together?
Best of Luck. Be proud to put your signature on everything you do. Or don't do it.
Rob Bahna
Vice President of Sales
Resuscitation International

Tags: selling, Essential Healthcare Management, hospitals, healthcare suppliers, teamwork, medical devices, brand management, market research, priorities, sales, business growth, Management, strategic thinking, business development

Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

Posted by Stan Schroeder on Wed, Jan 04, 2012 @01:16 PM

The old axiom "Practice Makes Perfect" has been around for a long time. Anyone who has seen my golf game knows that Practice Does Not Make Perfect. Perfect Practice Makes Perfect. If I go to the driving range, what I do is practice my imperfect golf swing, to make it more consistently bad.

If we talk about my softball swing - it is another story. From years of baseball from little league through college, and 25 years of softball, I know the fundamentals of the swing and what it should be. The more I practice, the more confident I become and the more muscle memory kicks in so I don't have to think about it.

Have you made any New Years Resolutions for 2012? Why do so many resolutions fail? Most resolutions (assuming they are reasonable, achievable and important to the person making them) fail because we don't make them habits. You have probably seen different opinions on how long we have to do something to make it a habit. I have often heard it takes 21 days (or 28 days) of consistently doing something before something becomes a habit.

Psychological research on this question in a paper was recently published in the European Journal of Social Psychology. Phillippa Lally and colleagues from University College London recruited 96 people who were interested in forming a new habit such as eating a piece of fruit with lunch or doing a 15 minute run each day Lally et al. (2009). Participants were then asked daily how automatic their chosen behaviours felt. These questions included things like whether the behaviour was 'hard not to do' and could be done 'without thinking'.

When the researchers examined the different habits, many of the participants showed a curved relationship between practice and the automaticity of it. On average a plateau in automaticity was reached after 66 days. In other words it had become as much of a habit as it was ever going to become.

Although the average was 66 days, there was marked variation in how long habits took to form, anywhere from 18 days up to 254 days in the habits examined in this study. As you'd imagine, drinking a daily glass of water became automatic very quickly but doing 50 sit-ups before breakfast required more dedication.

The researchers also noted that:

Missing a single day did not reduce the chance of forming a habit.
A sub-group took much longer than the others to form their habits, perhaps suggesting some people are 'habit-resistant'.
Other types of habits may well take much longer.

66 days is a considerable amount of time and requires strong commitment. And remember that this applies to business habits as well.

If you want call on 2 new prospects each day in addition to your current customers, track your progress each day for 66 days.

If you want to do a better job of asking for referalls, track your progress for 66 days.

If you want to lose weight, track your calorie intake, or your calories burned during excercise , check out the free App Lose It! for the iIPad or IPhone. It will give you a good example of tracking and how motivating that can be.

And practicing bad habits will not get you the results you are looking for, don't hesitate to ask for help to make sure you are practicing correctly.

Have a great 2012.


Rob Bahna

Tags: selling, leadership, determination, leader, priorities, referrals, business growth, business development


Posted by Stan Schroeder on Wed, Nov 09, 2011 @10:19 AM

We all know that the ability to hire good people is one of the most important skills that managers need to have. Arguably, being a good judge of talent will help you succeed more than any other skill you have as a business professional. It can also cost you millions of dollars if you make the wrong choices. And ultimately, it will probably be the single most important factor in determining your, and your companies success or failure.
Every company has had the debate about the most important qualities they look for in hiring people. When you talk about hiring sales people in particular, if you wrote out your list, it would probably contain most of the following qualities:

-Positive Attitude (glass half-full person)

-Strong Work Ethic

-Proven Sales ability

-Ability to learn/intelligence

-Communication skills

-Clinical knowledge if applicable


-Team orientation

-Fit with our culture/ideals

-Work History

-Computer Skills

-Are they Coachable?

-Track record of increased responsibility

I am a big believer in behavior based interviewing, especially in today's economic environment where you will find professional interviewers who have access to most of the questions potential employers can/will ask. Make sure you have all of your questions written out and the two to three follow-up questions you will ask based on their answers.

There are certainly other qualities you probably have on your list. Other key ingredients for success that in my experience do not get talked about enough are:

-Good Judgement

-Sense of Urgency

-Do you like them?

-How well they handle adversity (tell them you do not think it is going well and see how they handle that objection)

-How well do they interact with others in the environment you have them in when you are not there?

Make sure you take your candidates out in a social situations - a meal or two - to see how they interact with other people. In my opinion, you should never hire anyone with whom you have not had multiple conversations. Anyone can be a rock star for one or two meetings. If I am hiring a key person - I like to go to their environment and even take their spouse or significant other out to dinner prior to making an offer whenever possible.

You also need to be completely honest with yourself about the strengths and weaknesses of your training programs, and what you are truly capable of training your new hires. That may determine certain skills you require when you bring someone on board.

We are all busy. But hiring people is one area that you have to make time for and you cannot afford to skip steps. Even though you may be doing two jobs until the position is filled, hiring the wrong person will ultimately cost you much more.

Rob Bahna

Tags: selling, priorities, sales, business growth, Management, strategic thinking, business development

Sense of Urgency

Posted by Stan Schroeder on Fri, Oct 14, 2011 @04:07 PM

In my experience, the most effective business people are those that have a strong Sense of Urgency. And that Sense of Urgency is something that they are able to translate to others and get them to take action sooner.

You don’t need anyone to tell you that the time pressures today are as great, if not greater than they have ever been. When I first got into the business world, most people did not have email, no one had websites, and only the top executives had cell phones that looked like big Walkie Talkies and cost thousands of dollars every month. (The bag phone was not far behind.)

All of us have experienced a myriad of changes in most aspects of our lives as technology has changed. You may argue that that is a good or bad thing. Sitting in the back seat of the car with my sisters for hours on road trips playing “he is touching me” and “you are on my side, don’t cross that line” are not nearly as fun today with movies, games, iPods, and iPads.

Why then do some people resist change when it comes to selling or in other business areas? The definition of INSANITY is doing things the same way and expecting different results. And this includes doing things the same way we used to do them when it no longer makes good business sense, just because we resist change and do not want to expand our comfort zones. Try doing business in today’s world without doing email for just one week.
If you, are or one of your team drive 3 hours to see a customer 3 times a year that is going to buy $1500 a year from you – that does not make good business sense unless you enjoy margins a lot greater than most. They may like it, they may even tell you that is why they buy from you. But if you are losing money, it does not make sense to do it. And that is before you even factor in opportunity costs.
The best business people recognize what is truly urgent and important, and use that Sense of Urgency to get things done. If you are stalled in the selling process, and your customer does not share your sense of urgency about what you are selling, don’t expect them to help you advance the ball. But ask yourself, can I help them develop that sense of urgency because they really see what is in it for them personally?
Our new mechanical CPR device will be launching soon. I firmly believe it will really make a difference in healthcare. As all of you face today, we will have customers who really believe in the product, but are not able to get it due to current economic conditions. We will try to work with them to create a sense of urgency that helps them see how getting it now, versus waiting, will have an impact on their patient care and staff. We might even have a discussion about the 27 patients that it could be used on between now and then “budget time” if there is any way to help them get around that process. It has to be a partnership in professional selling.

But, if they don’t share your belief – then it may feel like “pressure” selling to some people. Remember, every sales discussion is “pressure” if they don’t want it. If they really want it – they will work with you to find ways to develop a sense of urgency to help them get it, or they will tell you the truth of why they just can’t do it now, and it won’t be a smoke screen.
What was good enough to get you there is not good enough to keep you there.

Rob Bahna
Vice President of Sales
Resuscitation International

Tags: selling, priorities, sales, business growth, Management, strategic thinking, business development

Jimmy Valvano

Posted by Stan Schroeder on Tue, Oct 04, 2011 @07:15 AM

The link below is for a You Tube presentation given on March 3, 1993 by Jimmy Valvano as he was dying of cancer.

When you have 11 minutes to spare, take some time to watch it. If you have never seen it - you will learn a little Italian. If you have seen it - it will remind you of some of the important things we need to prioritize.  

He suggests a few key things in his speech:

Every day, we should do 3 things:



Have our emotions moved to tears.

We should never forget:

Where We Started

Where We Are

Where We Are Going To Be

He ends by saying that Cancer may take away all of my physical abilities, but it cannot touch my Mind, it cannot touch my Heart, it cannot touch my Soul.

Don't Give Up. Don't Ever Give Up.

Whatever business or personal obstacles you are facing this week - keep them in perspective.  

Rob Bahna 

Vice President of Sales

Resuscitation International

Tags: determination, priorities, strategic thinking