Smart Talk: Selling to referral sources

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Q. I've gone over features and benefits of our services and products with referral sources until I'm blue in the face, but I still can't seem to get their business. How can I take it a step further?
A. Features and benefits are the cornerstone of every sales presentation in every type of sales process. Our industry, however, is a unique in that we have at least two customers to please -- the patient and the referral source. In most cases if we keep the patient quiet and happy, the referral source will keep our phones ringing. However, if we recognize that we have two individual customers, then it only makes sense we have to have two individual benefits from each feature. To wit:
- The best feature of our oxygen program is that we offer in depth patient training. Because we spend so much time with your patients, they're going be more compliant which translates into less return trips to the ER.
- The best part about our respiratory meds program is that it allows for scheduled home delivery, so your patients always have a supply of meds on hand. And that should help you by lowering the number of phone calls from patients needing albuterol prescriptions called into a local pharmacy.
In the end, in the referral sources' eyes, they're really only looking for a couple of benefits: They want to keep the patient out of the hospital, and they want to keep complaints and phone calls to a minimum. And you have the opportunity to help them meet those needs. If you do this, you'll find one of the greatest features about adopting this proven approach to sales is you'll see an increase in new referrals, which will help you by providing increased commissions and bonuses.

-- Sales consultant Eric Kline can be reached at