Congratulations! All of your hard work, sweat equity and sheer determination has finally paid off and you are the leading agency in your market. So now what? While celebrating this achievement is top of mind, it’s important to note that it requires even more hard work to maintain this position in your market. Being the market leader makes you the biggest threat. You have a target on your back and very few competitors will pass on an opportunity to take a shot. Here are four key tips that can help you remain on top.
Tip 1: Keep a record of your big successes
Each time you turn a referral source into a loyal referral source, that’s a great accomplishment. Make sure to document how this unfolded. What happened to make this discharge planner, physician or social worker choose you? Without the answer to that question, how do you know what to do in order to retain that loyal referral source? What if it was something as simple as showing up each Monday afternoon when the doctor has a clear schedule, but you make a mandatory sales meeting each Monday afternoon, not knowing that you may be robbing your company of valuable referrals! What if one of your nurses is the referral source’s neighbor (and the subsequent reason you receive their referrals) and you end up letting that nurse go?
Face it… there are only a few ways you can gain a referral source’s loyalty and a thousand ways you can lose it. By keeping an accurate record of referral source interactions and making sure that both your sales team and your operations team know what is making these referrals happen, you should be able to keep that referral source content and loyal.
Tip 2: You may become the leader, but never assume you are the best
In the past (and even to this day), you have been able to “out-market” your outcome scores. That is quickly coming to an end. All signs on the horizon indicate that both reimbursement and many bundled programs will be tied to how well your products and services work. Instead of assuming you are the best, pursue great results with tenacity and instill in your clinical team the desire to be the best. Celebrate great outcomes and be lavish with your praise, but never rest on your previous achievements.
Instead of assuming you are the best, pursue great results with tenacity and instill in your clinical team the desire to be the best.
Tip 3: Leave no stone unturned
Every market has potential that you have not yet tapped into. Maybe you have captured the loyalty of your hospitals, discharge planners and facilities, but are you getting too comfortable? Specific Medicare and insurance referral data (like what PlayMaker CRM offers in its TargetWatch tool) can ensure that you see exactly who is referring in your market. Find out who is referring to your competitors and look for ways to become the agency of choice for those referral sources. Your competition is working on your loyal referral sources everyday and you are going to notice if they are able to steal that loyalty away. Ensure that they have to work hard to get any business in your market and never forget that at one point, you were right where they are now.
Tip 4: Never stop trying to learn what your referral sources like
A few years back, I worked with a fantastic physician who hated having orders faxed to him. In fact, he would rip up or shred every order my team would send via fax. It came to the point that we put “Do not fax Dr. X” on the fax machine! You need your whole team (both sales and operations) to learn and understand what your referral sources like and do not like. Make sure you set the expectation that your team is always delivering a positive and pleasurable experience. Since we aren’t all in sales, we can’t expect every member of our team to be selling how good we are. That one “Negative Nancy” that isn’t committed to pleasing your referral sources could be the one that cost you that referral source’s loyalty. Statistics indicate that there is an overwhelming possibility your displeased referral source will never come back.
There is nothing like being the best and becoming the market leader, but never forget that you were once just like your competitors, fighting for each individual opportunity. Stay focused and never lose sight of the prize. It may be good to be on top, but it’s even better to stay there.