Behold the Payer
There is much to learn when embarking on a successful HME sales career. Learning how your operations department functions, the product lines you offer and the needs of the referral source are just the beginning. The key is selling products that generate income for your company and, ultimately, yourself.
That's something we must focus on if we are going to survive these difficult economic times. We are often concerned about the price the competition has set for the same product. We wonder if supply and demand make a difference in how we should price our products. We consider as well what price the marketplace might bear.
These are all interesting business concepts, but do any of these economic issues play a role in the home care industry? Some do, but most pricing issues we must deal with come handed down to us from a third-party payer. We often have little understanding of the formula for price-setting, nor are we at liberty to alter the price due to local trends or the economic environment.
Now that that has been clarified, what's a salesperson to do? The best we can do in order to be successful and profitable is to understand as much as possible about the payer, the payment and the process we must follow in order to get paid.
In fact, it's all about the payer. Too many salespeople see their role as one related to making the phone ring, creating orders and locating new referral sources. Today, that may not be enough. In some companies the phone is ringing, but too often without the right type of order on the other end of the line.
What must a salesperson learn before he or she moves out to capture the right business in the marketplace? Competitive bidding and the present reimbursement environment make learning about products and payers even more important. Here are some strategies and tasks to consider:
Make a list of contracts you have with any managed care groups or payers. You want to know who is paying what for what. You could find that some products or services have been excluded in some contracts. There could be products that are not covered at all, and for those, the patient might need to make a cash purchase.
Take a look at each primary payer source and become familiar with the profits you get from the particular products you provide. You are not in business to break even; you are in business to make a profit. You cannot, as a salesperson, consider making a commission on the sale of products that do not generate a profit for the company.