In today’s blog post, I’m going to get a little scientific with you. We are going to talk about two related terms from your high school physics book, momentum and inertia, and how they can be applied to your sales goals in the post-acute care industry.
Momentum: the process of increasing an object’s forward motion
We all want to achieve momentum in our sales endeavors. We strive for it each day with our sales and marketing efforts. Some agencies mistakenly assume that gaining momentum is all that’s required to be successful, when actually momentum is only the beginning of the process.
Let’s consider this example. I can bring on a new sales rep and he or she can get their first referral in week one. I can run through the halls cheering, shouting the praises for their work all day long. We’ve created some momentum and it is glorious and worthy of celebration! But remember, it’s just the start. You must stay focused on improving and being the best. No one aspires for fifth place or the dreaded “participation award.” So if momentum, which we all agree is important, is not the physics term that we should be striving for, then what is?
Inertia: the physical law penned by Isaac Newton that states, “an object in motion continues in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”
Your periodic sales and referral goals are obvious keys to your success, but the real “end game” here is the motion that continues in the same forward direction, enabling you to build on the momentum you have created in your market. We shouldn’t just want that first referral, but should instead focus on obtaining the subsequent referrals as well. Statistics show that even minor improvements in customer retention can lead to exciting returns. On the flip side, it costs a great deal more to create new business than it does to retain the loyalty of your current referral sources.
While inertia is most assuredly what we are aiming for, the law of inertia points out a threat it titles “unbalanced force.” While this term may sound odd or somewhat harmless, it’s actually a blanket term for anything that stands in the way of your referral sources sending patients your way. An unbalanced force could refer to something like a competitor moving in on your referral sources, or the previously ordering physician has decided to let the primary care physician deal with all referrals for products or ancillary services. It can also be an indication of your own agency shortcomings, such as your staff showing up late to a scheduled meeting or not respecting the referral source’s “don’t fax on Tuesday” policy.
We shouldn’t just want that first referral, but should instead focus on obtaining the subsequent referrals as well.
Don’t get me wrong… you should want to build momentum, but your focus should be on keeping the inertia while making sure the unbalanced force is not coming for your own office. Here are few quick and easy ways you can encourage great customer service in your company and keep inertia strong.
- Have a weekly or monthly shout-out to the member of your team that provided excellent customer service. Make sure they are praised publically to reaffirm your company’s commitment to delivering quality customer service.
- Create an open dialog with your team to encourage ideas that benefit your clients, patients and your referral sources. Perhaps a caregiver’s day out or a fundraiser to benefit a charity where everyone can be involved.
- Ask referral sources what you can do better. While that sounds like a bold concept, your commitment to raising the bar will make it hard for your competitors to keep up.
- Make sure your sales team is properly trained and put in a position to be successful. There are many incredible consultants out there that can help you build momentum with your team. There are just as many who can help you keep it. Make sure you provide your team with training from professionals who can help keep them at the top of their game.
Be sure that you are encouraging the “above and beyond” service that sets every market leader apart from the others. Don’t forget that while momentum is required to gain inertia, inertia continues to move forward as long as the progress is unimpeded. Most important of all… ensure that you are not the unbalanced force that keeps you from keeping your referral source’s loyalty.