APRIL 2024
exhibitor newsletter
This month's content revolves around one concept...
prospecting customers/DPMs who are in a better position to create a partnership vs. a seller-buyer transactional dynamic.
Get Local
Co-Creating Content
Let the Time-Sucking "Whales" Swim By
Next 90 Days in Meetings
For most of us who have been in the podiatry game a long time, we know that having conversations with our friends and family can get frustrating...

"Ohhhhhh, do you work with Dr. DownTheStreet?" "Ohhhhhhh, I go to Dr. AcrossTown; what do you think about her?" "Who do you recommend I see for my bunion?"

Most don't understand that we aren't working daily with the DPMs in our own communities; nor do we have the faintest idea about how they run their practices. Instead, we have to explain that as a regional sales representative (or sometimes the ONLY rep for the entire DPM market), we don't spend a lot of time getting to know the DPMs who are right under our noses.

What's strange is, I wouldn't be surprised that if you were to look at the history of the company you work for - they used to know all of those practices inside and out. I have found that a common narrative of companies that have been supplying the podiatric space for several years all started by building relationships with the physicians in their own towns and neighboring cities before branching out to become the national providers we know them as today.

Ask yourself if you really know the DPM market in your own town? Do they know you? Why not??? If you were going to be able to get your foot in the door - literally - it's with the DPM Next Door.

When business are brand new, it usually makes financial sense to start prospecting within a circle around your geographic area until you have generated enough revenue to begin expanding. However, once you've expanded... and I'm talking over the course of several years... it may be time to consider going back to your starting block.

Think of all the time that has passed from the beginning of your company and how many physicians that used to be in your area are no longer working there. Was there any due diligence to determine who has filled their spots?

I think it's clear what I'm getting at - START OVER WITHOUT HAVING TO START OVER! How great is that? You get to gain from all the benefits that come from prospecting locally, including lower costs and increased quality time that can result in either a stronger revenue source; or simply serve as a channel of knowledge about what DPMs are experiencing day in and day out. By engaging with your local DPMs, you are getting an inside view that isn't feasible elsewhere.

Consider the DPMs' benefits as well. Working with a local company usually provides a better relationship so they are able to express their needs and/or concerns. Additionally, anything that would be shipped from your competitors will take several days vs. a drive down the street for you.
Thoughts? Questions? Email Me!
Earlier this year, I had provided some tips about tapping into the power of your Brand Champions - those DPMs who love everything you and your company does for them and provides for their patients.

These are extremely valuable relationships; so when there are differences in opinion regarding how certain messages are constructed, it can be a tricky balance between making sure you don't upset your biggest fan and making sure that the product/service is being represented accurately.

In my previous articles I had even provided the following tips when it comes to the Brand Champion/DPM - Vendor/Sales Rep relationship:

Right Place, Right Time.
Everyone can tell when they are being put into a situation that isn’t natural; let your brand champions tell their stories when it makes sense and is in context. Also – don’t give them a script. Let them use their own words and authenticity will shine.

No Pressure.
Referring your favorite, trusted brand shouldn’t feel like work. Avoid quotas and meetings where you pester your Champion about why they haven’t sent any leads over recently; unless you want to create resentment and break up.

Keep Your Ego in Check.
Maintain respect for them as a client, not as an employee. Also remember that there is a difference between friendship and professional friendship. And finally, shut your lips and learn. Always make sure your champion feels heard by you; but then you need to genuinely consider their feedback.

I still stand by these tips, but we can't ignore the fact that if one of a brand champions is lecturing on a subject matter that involves your company/product/service, there does need to be a bit of checks and balances to ensure accuracy. This can only be done with a co-creational approach.

We all know there are some physicians who simply will NOT budge for anything or listen to what anyone else has to say. In that case, you may want to think about whether or not the partnership is a positive one and/or worth the stress of dealing with a stubborn bull.

Other times, we may just be too afraid to speak up. Don't be. I have chosen to be in the podiatry industry because I have found that our profession is saturated with incredibly awesome people... and that definitely includes the physicians!!

If you have a client who is speaking on your behalf at a meeting, or for a non-CME webinar, or a community event - whatever it may be - avoid hesitating to ask for collaboration. You'd actually probably be surprised how thankful they are that they don't have to do all the work themselves!

It's also important to realize that while we work with amazing physicians, we don't always work with amazing content generators/writers. For the most part, the content created by physicians is clinically spot-on (I mean, how the heck would I know, right?), but I have discovered that there is often some room for improvement in regard to presentation organization and slide design.

These are the areas where individuals like us (those in sales and marketing) have the upper hand. Another bonus; as you work on a combination of scientific content and marketing content together, you will find yourself discovering new ways to explain your product/service in the voice or with the jargon that DPMs utilize; making you that much more relatable and, more importantly, credible!

As a collaborative team, it's imperative to maximize one another's strengths; so let's check egos at the door and get the job done!
Thoughts? Questions? Email Me!
I don't know what your company calls the "BIG ACCOUNTS," but I used to work for a company that called them "whales." They weren't necessarily Super Groups, but they definitely had multiple locations and a minimum of six physicians - all with purchasing power (or at least you assume).

In my experience, sales managers and other members of leadership are often hungry for these accounts; one may even say obsessed with acquiring these accounts. My vote - let someone else have 'em.

OK, this is not a blanket statement. I am not saying that working with physicians in larger practices is always a chore; however, I think the main point I'm making here is to stop overlooking the non-whale accounts that (1) often result in a higher quality partnership/relationship, (2) have less cooks in the kitchens making decisions, (3) are easier to manage, (4) usually stick around for the long run, resulting in much higher ROI.

Let's go through each of these benefits individually....

First, when working with a practice that is shorter staffed, you will find that the DPM relies more heavily on you, without sucking your time - because they don't have any! I have found in those scenarios, the relationship also becomes stronger because they look to you as an ally; and if you weren't around to support them, it would throw a major wrench in their routine and it could potentially cost them a lot of time (which results in money lost) to figure out an alternative.

Second, when there are fewer cooks in the kitchen making decisions, there are fewer people voting on an alternative that isn't you! Think about it; DPMs have their favorite companies and their favorite reps. If you have a good relationship with 2/7 of the practice's DPMs, but don't' know the other 5, it's not guaranteed that your two votes are going to be enough to keep the account. Often these practices choose single providers vs. allowing each DPM to work with their own vendors.

Third, smaller accounts are easier to manage. Obviously anything that isn't robust is easier to manage, but I'm not talking about lack of orders. You can have a smaller practice be one of your largest revenue-drivers and be simpler to manage than a practice with several physicians (usually as a single account, but then the branching off of sister accounts), several shipping locations, several shipping requests, several product specification requests, etc. Usually the more people there are to manage in a single account, the less likely you're going to satisfy all their individual needs.

Fourth, they usually stick around for the long run, resulting in greater ROI. This benefit stems off of the first one in a sense, but let's focus more on the ROI factor. When you're calculating ROI of a client account, I would be extremely surprised if you didn't have a much larger expense report trying to close the "whale." Then, when you do close the "whale," because of the potential for staffing changes and the difficulties that come with pleasing large accounts, there is a greater chance that you will lose the account in comparison to a smaller, more manageable account that knows you, trusts you, relies on you, and pays you over and over again with loyalty... oh and profits.

So what does this have to do with Conquering Conferences??? Well, when you head to meetings, avoid getting starry-eyed over the "whales" that are on the top of your prospecting list. Keep fresh bait alive for the decent sized fish who are more than willing to feed you as long as you keep providing a quality product, excellent customer service and the support they deserve.
Thoughts? Questions? Email Me!
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