Should Doctors have a sales force? A CJU Article – Nicky Jardine
Should doctors have a sales force? Hmmm…. The reality is that all doctors have a sales force.
They are your frontline staff. Receptionists, nurses, practice managers, anyone who has a direct interface with your patients – whether clinical or non-clinical – is your sales force.
The scope of medical practice staff duties are unusual. They are often very broad and quite unique. They include detailed administrative duties, billings and payments, complex appointment and diary management, diligent and timely reporting etc etc…
But perhaps the most important aspect of their work is their interaction with your patients. Each day they deal with your patients, potential patients and referrers on the phone, fax, email and face to face.
They are the first experience the potential patient has of your practice, and through their interactions they help to set the stage of whether you see a happy or an unhappy patient.
Sometimes your potential patients will choose not to see you due to their first experience of your practice.
They also strongly determine in the minds of your patients whether they;
- Believe in your service
- That you care about them
- That they can trust you
- That you will look after them
- That you will give them better outcomes
- That you are honest, reliable
To sum up – they are a powerful influence on answering the question “Why should I choose you dr x?”
A large part of CJU’s business with clients is to “mystery shop” their practice. We do this to audit your “shopfront” and gauge how your staff perform with a potential patient.
Very often the results of these mystery shops are not what has been expected by the doctor due to a disconnect between what the doctor believes their “sales force” is doing and what is actually taking place. It’s not necessarily that your staff are being rude (although sadly, that isn’t uncommon) – but that they don’t take advantage of the opportunity to engage and capture a potential patient. More often than not, this is simply because they lack ‘sales’ training. Not the ‘hard sell’ type but training that enables them to start building a relationship with potential patients from the moment they answer the phone, knowing how to politely follow up potential patients and participate in the conversion process.
When you look at your staff from this perspective – how satisfied are you?
When a medical practice engages staff there are many aspects that need to be addressed. That they can handle all elements of working within and/or managing a practice from a technical and clinical point of view has always been a pre-requisite in staff selection.
In today’s competitive world, their interpersonal skills and ability to engage with people, capture details and follow up will make the difference between running a practice and having a successful, thriving business that has happy patients.