Poor Tony, he just doesn’t get it.  I feel sorry for him and every rep/owner out there that does the things he’s doing.  In the dramatization shown in this episode of “A Drink with the Hurricane,” he is able to get into the referral source, but the Social Worker isn’t in or she’s busy.  How often has this happened to us all?  Probably every day.  Now what does he do?  He hangs his head, disappointed.  Then he walks right by all these other very important contacts with in this referral source.  He doesn’t even acknowledge them and leaves feeling defeated and probably wants to quit.  This is EXACTLY what your reps (or you) feel like and this is why it’s so hard to keep Home Care Marketing reps!  But go back to the video for a second, and you realize that the key people don’t acknowledge Tony either.  This narrows in on the precise problem…they don’t know him, because he hasn’t properly blanketed the account and gotten to know everyone there.

Marketing reps typically are not properly trained and they are winging it out there, making costly mistakes that result in poor performance.  I was in the SAME BOAT when I started as a marketing rep for Care Choice, and I had to learn this valuable lesson the hard way, myself.  How did I do it?  I got by my gate keepers, I won over my social workers, I earned those precious Home Care Referrals.  Then when everything was GREAT, and my hard work was paying off, you know what happened?  The Social Worker (you know, the person I love and is referring me) decides she wants to change positions.  Or she gets fired.  Or she has a baby and is gone for 3-4 months.  And I’m back at square one.  But now, people already know what I do, so it’s going to be even harder to get in-services, do things, and leverage relationships inside for the referrals I once had, through this new social worker.  This happened to me 4 times before I got wise and realized there has to be a better way. 

What is that better way, you ask?  By building a relationship with EVERYONE at your referral sources, or as I call it “blanketing” your accounts!  Then, if I ever walked into a facility, and the social worker was in a meeting, no problem.  I could go see the Director of Nursing, sit and talk with her for 10-20 minutes about something important while schmoozing.  I then went back to the Social Workers office.  Still in that meeting or now in a new one?  No problem, let me swing by Admissions and hang out there for a bit.  I go back, wow, now she’s on the phone.  That’s ok, let me see how the Activities Director is doing.  Let’s get something on the calendar for me to sponsor for her.  Ok, it’s been almost an hour now, let’s revisit the Social Worker, and guess what, now she’s available.  Plus, she feels bad that I was waiting for her (as she saw me come by several times).  I tell her not to worry because I talked to ____________ and set things up with them to help out in the future.  She’s impressed that I did that because the other vendors just come in and out only to see her. 

These relationships with everyone help out more than you realize.  Here’s how:

Key Contacts have Influence – A Director of Nursing or Administrator can greatly influence who gets the referrals post discharge.  So a relationship with them can lead to the Home Care Referrals you’re after.

Combat Turn Over – As I said above, if the social worker decides to retire, these relationships will help you get introduced to her replacement and expedite the process of earning her trust.

Spend Time Wisely – If your main contact is in a meeting, you can see others, which is an effective use of time, in the meantime.  Then stop back by the office periodically and before you know it, she will be available and have a moment for you.

Walk The Walk – So many Home Care Agencies say “We can help you.” But they do NOTHING that helps the account out at all.  My agency did, and the 100s of agencies I work with do, too.  This is truly EARNING the business and earning their trust.  This impresses everyone in the account and makes them want to send their home care referrals to YOU!

So, the next time you show up at a referral source and the Social Worker is in a meeting, do not just turn around and walk out the door.  You drove there, so get your money’s worth in time spent…by having meaningful conversations with others who can help you get the Home Care referrals you’re after.  With that in mind, this month, as part of a Team Hurricane exclusive, I will be leading a webinar on all things Skilled Nursing Facilities.  As I’ve said many times before, these are among the greatest referral sources for our business.  But just like Hospitals, SNFs are TOUGH!  You need to be prepared before going in there, and that’s what this webinar will accomplish.  Exactly who to see, what to say to them, and how to get the Home Care Referrals flying through the door.  Sign up for Team Hurricane now if you’re not already a member, and get the tools so you can BLOW AWAY THE COMPETITION!!!