From Virtual Selling to “In Real Life” #IRL
Everyone has had their fair share of COVID and how it affected us not only on a personal level but on a professional level as well. We have found that some professionals are having difficulties transitioning back to #IRL. Let’s talk about the last two years through the lens of a business development professional and a few essential action items you can execute to drive results.
What were your sales strategies pre-pandemic?
We had open access to accounts:
- We were able to do office drop-ins and have face time with physicians.
- We had open access to hospitals. Agencies could get on the floors and see patients and have face time with case managers allowing for educational opportunities.
Pre-pandemic, most sales training taught face-to-face transactions and a sales process to match. Coaching from leaders was often based on direct observation allowing for real-time feedback and growth. Pre-pandemic many relied less on value-based tactics and instead utilized a relationship-based sales approach.
What Does That Mean?
When you could get as much face time as you wanted, moving into the relationship-based tactics approach was much easier. Some folks traditionally relied on the relationships they built over years of effort. This approach, however, does not always create value. Essentially you are prioritizing your connection with that single person over the other aspects of what you are trying to sell.
However, we have learned since the pandemic that the sales role has changed and evolved, and we need to move into other selling methods.
- Is relationship-based selling a bad thing? No, not at all. People buy from people whom they like and trust. But what we need to evolve to is more of a value-based strategy.
- With value-based selling, you need to understand the account and the relationships you need to have. We are prioritizing their needs, not ours.
Most companies went completely virtual during the last couple of years, creating a completely different environment.
- Agencies had zero prep time and zero notice. We went from full access to zero access in a day.
- We could not get into hospitals, SNF, ALs, or PCP offices.
- Some agencies experienced turnover due to their role moving into telephonic sales, which is not what they signed up for.
- Agencies had lost accounts due to the inability to take more patients (lack of PPE, COVID protocols)
I think everyone, in the beginning, was in a panic mode of not knowing what to do, along with not knowing what the world would even look like the following week. Hospitals and facilities were so hard and had zero staff. Their staff was getting sick with COVID and either never came back or came back weeks later. They had to utilize staffing agencies to ensure their patients were receiving care. Some facilities had empty floors and no residents b/c their residents, unfortunately, passed away. It was such a sad and scary time.
How We Changed
We had to get creative with finding ways to connect with our referral sources. We had to coach on creating compelling telephonic/emails sales stragegies.
Coaching on how to create value in such a short time because there is only so much you can say in a message.
Using What Chances we Had
One-liners – making your emails and voicemails pop. We had only 20 seconds to make an impact. They are busy.
There was a point where some agencies only allowed nurses to essentially market to hospitals; unfortunately, most clinicians do not have any sales training. Some agencies had to educate their clinicians on what to do during a sales call.
What have we learned about transitioning back to IRL? We have learned a lot. One thing that stands out initially is that we now have three types of employees.
- The employee that was hired during the pandemic. They do not have the FTF skills required for the job because they have been remote for two years. Their relationship building has been remote. Their discovery has been remote. They might not have been able to set foot in any of their accounts.
- The second type is the employee that has stuck it out, and they are tenured and are still trying to figure out how to meld the before/after skills. A balance between a blend of transitioning back to IRL. They need refreshers on in-person selling, which includes more of a consultative selling approach
- Agencies also have vacancies from sales team members that left during the pandemic b/c they struggled with transitioning from in-person to virtual. This left some accounts without any steady sales members calling on accounts.
Find your Gaps In Skills and Coach Them
We will always need to continue pivoting and discovering your accounts. Most agencies need a refresher of their sales skills, focusing on value-based strategies and a consultative selling approach after two years of employees with very little face-to-face sales training.
Coaching will help your team grow and build on their strengths and weaknesses. That can include cold calling, developing new accounts with planned strategies, and boosting your team’s confidence with their in-person selling skills.
Increase AGILITY During Staffing Shortages
Another big way we need to pivot is the need for referral sources to help identify patients sooner. We must educate our referral sources on what that earlier identification looks like. Early identification will also not only help our patients get the full benefit of community-based services but also allow the agency to help properly staff for that patient considering the shortage they have right now.
We have learned to be creative: There has been so much turnover in accounts, so as we transition to #IRL the key decision makers might be different than who they were two years ago. It might even be someone different than two months ago. So that is where your continued discovery with your referrals and a routing plan is critical.
We now have stronger email/phone skills. We know how to develop those compelling messages while being respectful of time. We have learned to establish rapport very quickly through telephonic skills.
A consultative and value-based selling approach is critical as we transition back to IRL.
Looking to get assistance with helping your team with their sales skills/tenured or new? We have a solution for your needs.
Healthcare Sales Certification Workshop
Register now for this two-and-a-half-day workshop will focus on improving your sales techniques and growing your agency census with integrity. This is a hands-on, skill-based workshop that is focused in on the healthcare industry and has a tailored approach to increasing referrals. Successful completion of the workshop and testing results in your certification as a CHAP Center for Excellence Certified Healthcare Sales Professional© (CHSP©).
Through this workshop, you will learn and/or be exposed to:
- Consultative Sales Approach: how to implement into your market
- Relationship based
- Consultative selling
- Practice & Role Play: in a supported environment so you feel comfortable taking it back into your field
- Advanced Referral Tactics & Strategies
- Pre-call planning
- Growth planning
- Rally schedule
- Resource strategies
- Regulatory Compliance: to ensure we’re being safe and compliant
- Improve your industry knowledge
- Enhance adherence to regulatory compliance
- Establish credibility with referral sources
- Learn the 5 steps to repeatable, consistent referral growth
- Advance professional development
- Increase employee retention
- Earn valuable credentials
DISCOUNT CODE: When registering, get $100 off using discount code: #IRL100
DATES: (2.5 days) View current course offerings
LOCATION: 448 W Market Street, San Diego, CA 92101
OUTCOME: CHAP Center for Excellence Certified Healthcare Sales Professional© (CHSP©)(Valid for 3 years)
SPEAKER: Meredith Darabasz, MSN, RN Growth Strategy
Meredith’s community-based experience has ranged from a clinical nurse case manager, director of operations, and most recently she served as the area vice president of business development. Her proven background in operations and business development will help providers grow and improve clinical quality.
In this role, Meredith will take the lead on executive partnerships connecting the largest organizations in community-based care with accreditation, as well as education and training from the CHAP: Center for Excellence. Additionally, she will facilitate and build curriculum for our career-specific certifications. Meredith received her dual master’s degree in nursing leadership and education from Wilmington University and is also an adjunct nursing professor.