Scott Marcus: Aim for at least 50% retail sales

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Competitive bidding is often seen as the driver for providers to increase their retail operations. Scott Marcus, president of Catalyst Medical Marketing, sees another big reason to increase cash sales: the rapidly growing geriatric market. According to the Census Bureau, Marcus notes, the fastest growing segment of our population is the elderly. Seniors want to lead active lives and are educating themselves about the products that can help them accomplish that. Many of those products aren't covered by insurance, Marcus says, and the seniors are willing to invest their own money in them. Marcus will get into the ins and outs of retail sales during his Medtrade session, "Enhancing Retail Sales Through Improved Closing, Up-selling and Cross-selling."

HME News: Why are retail sales more important for HME providers than ever before?

Scott Marcus: The geriatric market is growing, quite rapidly. To me, that is the real reason that retail sales are more important now than ever--there is a growing customer base that wants these products and needs and deserves our help to further learn about them.

hme: What percentage of a provider's revenue mix should be retail sales?

Marcus: In a perfect world, retail/cash sales would represent 100% of the revenue mix. Providers should be looking to diversify and not be too reliant on any one funding source. I would offer that providers should aim for retail sales to equate to no less than 50% of their revenue mix.

hme: What's a quick way for them to ramp up retail business?

Marcus: You can't just flip a switch and become a retail juggernaut. One must consider store design, store location, marketing ideologies, staffing, product mix, among others.

hme: Where do HME providers fall short in retail sales?

Marcus: Areas that need to be worked on include, but are not limited to, proper question asking, overcoming objections, selection of product, closing the sale and identifying opportunities. In the big picture, these things won't get better unless providers step out of their comfort zone when looking at ways to improve their business.

hme: Where do they excel?

Marcus: Dealers truly care about the well being of their customers and, to me, that is a hell of a strength.

hme: Up-selling can have a negative connotation in the HME industry. How should providers deal with that?

Marcus: Be a consultant, not a salesperson. Think about how you would like to be treated when you go to buy something or how you wish your parents or grandparents to be treated when they visit a store.

hme: What should people take away from your session?

Marcus: There is a great opportunity in retail sales but this is a marathon not a sprint. What I hope providers take away are the tools to be more consistently successful.