In today’s modern world, everything and everyone is connected to the internet and your reputation as a laboratory reaches far more than the typical newspaper advertisement would. Doctors in this age are at the forefront of medical practices and their referral alone is sure business and revenue for your laboratory. In addition, doctor’s offices need to purchase business supplies and services just like any other company.
So if you choose to market to these medical physicians, you have to take into consideration the unique nature of selling to medical professionals. Doctors tend to have very full schedules and are accessible through an office manager or receptionist and may frequently need to reschedule appointments due to medical emergencies.
However, there are dozens of marketing tips and strategies that you can implement, but not all of them may be suitable for the services you are looking to offer to these physicians. When it comes to marketing to doctors, there needs to be a comprehensive plan that focuses on finding, attracting and retaining patients.
Note that selling lab services to doctors can be easy, only when you overcome the obstacles which frustrate everyone else. Below are few strategies and tips to consider when toeing this line.
10 Tips and Strategies on How to Sell Lab Services to Doctors
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Do your homework
The first thing is to learn as much as you can about the doctor you plan to solicit before making your first call. Know his specialty, how long he has been in the market and the type of patient he typically treats – approach the sale from an educated perspective. Note that if you are trying to persuade a doctor to stop using his current service provider and do business with your laboratory instead, you will have to find out as much as you can about the competition. Create unique selling points that allow you to differentiate your laboratory services and outline why you are the better choice.
Create ongoing, effective lead generation systems
Doctors are notoriously hard to reach. These experts are unbelievably busy, refuse to use technologies like voice mail and email, and are protected by the most aggressive receptionists on the planet. Thus, lead acquisition costs can quickly spiral to the point of unprofitability. However, to be successful, you’ll have to extensively follow time-tested direct response principles: test new ideas, track results, roll out winners and continuously improve and refine your efforts. Also plan to test a variety of media to generate your leads, including direct mail, trade publications, fax, paid search, search engine optimization, e-newsletters, opt in email blasts, affiliate marketing, publicity, telemarketing, trade shows, schmoozing, you name it.
Befriend the office manager
Have it in mind that most doctors utilize an office manager or front desk clerk to field initial service and sales inquiries. Always strive to be polite to this individual and respect her time. Be brief in introducing yourself and your laboratory services. If you walk into a busy waiting room, don’t monopolize the manager’s time with your pitch. When possible, have materials you can leave behind for later review. Ask for the best “slow” time to follow up.
Unique selling proposition
Developing a unique selling proposition is marketing 101, so it is surprising how few medical related businesses really have one. Doctors are skeptical, and they have heard it all before. If you cannot clearly deliver a unique benefit in 60 seconds, and then prove your claim, beware. On that note, you’ll do much better with a specific message than a general one. Always offer specific solutions to specific problems.
Employ medical pros as staffers
Since you will also be selling healthcare-related services, consider the value of hiring a salesperson from the medical field to represent your company. Doctors tend to find it easier to trust and identify with someone they view as their colleague. This type of sales representative may also be able to utilize his own contacts in the industry.
The offer is key
The most important thing always comes down to your offer. Have it in mind that the only way to get doctors to pay attention to you – let alone respond – is to provide them with a very compelling value proposition, prove why they should choose you, and then give them an incentive to act now. Note that this offer could be some kind of discount, a free white paper, e-newsletter subscription, seminar, or even something doctors or staff can use personally. Spend whatever time is required to develop strong offers – your success depends upon it.
Demonstrate time-saving features
Always remember that doctors are busy professionals. Focus your sales pitch on the timesaving features of what you are offering. Medical professionals are more or less likely to look favourably on services that free up the time of office staff, streamline their office operations and allow them more time to focus on patient care. Also focus on the professional nature of your business. Doctors are always expected to maintain solid reputations, and this extends to their affiliation with laboratories and businesses they align with.
Have a functional website
Note that with every person, including doctors, carrying an internet-enabled smart phone in their pocket, information is easy to get. The first thing that any doctor would do is search online and scroll through your website to understand your practice, services, and reviews. So make it a priority to build a website that responds to your client’s needs. Supply them with the information that they are looking for about your lab. Focus on giving health information that is useful to them. Maybe you can talk about preventive care and ways to live a healthy life on the website.
Word of mouth and email shootout
Even in this technological age, word of mouth from current patients and employees still remain one of the best form of marketing. Every person is a spokesperson. So treat your employees well and keep your patients satisfied, just these two together can do what is required the most for your lab. Also, when a patient or client referred by a doctor visits your laboratory, try to gauge as much information as possible. Maintaining a subscriber email list can be very useful while disseminating information. Share beneficial information with patients on the basis of their illness record. Not only it shows the patients that you know your field, it also helps to show their doctor that you care for their well being.
Facebook and Other Social Media
Even doctors use and are available on some platforms of social media. Some doctors prefer Facebook while others may rely on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter or LinkedIn to stay connected to the world. Also note that these virtual platforms can help you reach the innermost personal circle of a person through engaging posts. So always try to appear on social media news feeds as much as possible to get the ‘Top of Mind Recall’ for any doctor or hospital staff when your services are needed. Share useful tips on social media to keep them interested.
Indeed, most people get intimidated by doctors. Whether you are reaching them through marketing or selling to them face-to-face, you need to communicate with them like a real person. And while it varies by circumstance, it often helps to make things fun for them.