When it comes to selling home care services, positioning yourself as the expert is one way to stand out from the crowd. Of course, you have to BE an expert in order to do that, and that expertise takes strategy and time to accomplish. Tomorrow I speak at the Pennsylvania Homecare Association Annual Conference in Lancaster, PA, with my colleague Sam Smith from Axxess. Axxess is a major sponsor of the Future of Home Health Project that the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation (AHHQI) is implementing. That project has the potential to move the health care delivery system closer to one that has a focus in home-centered care. As an industry thought leader, I love taking opportunities to speak about the future of home care, and to extend my personal brand while doing so.
Following this important conference, Smith and I travel to DC to attend the American Academy of Home Care Medicine Conference where the AHHQI team will be in force. It is this marriage of home care and physician (or nurse practitioner) involvement that is one tenet in the home-centered care movement. And, this change in home health care and the health care delivery system is something worth noting whether you are a provider of home care, or a vendor to the industry, or just a person aging in America.
Other tenets that bear emphasis are: a change to more Interdisciplinary teams that work to achieve effective physical, functional and psychosocial evaluations/screening; a change to results that interface with an individual’s needs and goals translated to time-sensitive interventions; more effective ‘hand-off’ or transition to community physician and/or family ‘power’ caregivers following crucial conversations and episodes; and a focus on medical support keeps people alive, and psychological and social support that enables them to live.
Back to using positioning as an expert to sell services…when you are an expert and you educate instead of directly selling your services, the digital marketing aspect of today’s tactics, allow people to find you when they have a need.
As a home care agency, try educating on some aspect of frailty or disease that might be of interest to your targeted groups. For instance, elder law attorneys may want to know options for finding good care. There are liabilities and risks associated with hiring private aides that attorneys or trust officers may not have realized. And for senior groups, how about discussing when one knows it is time to seek assistance. What are signs of stress and burnout or malnourishment? And how does one seek assistance. And what does ‘assistance” mean? Are there contracts and set hours, or can the person seeking care have input into the caregiver and the duties?
For some specifics, first make a list of all the things that you do know, and then look for ways to get in front of people to educate them about what you know.
Below are some tips to help you identify – even create – good speaking opportunities, and overcome your anxiety to deliver a lecture that’s informative, persuasive and effective at getting inquiries that may turn into new business.
- Seek out venues where you’ll reach your target audience. A home care agency has a number of target markets to reach. Several come to mind immediately: funeral home directors, children of elderly parents, associations that cater to those who have frailties, like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or cancer. Call them and find out if you can speak at their next meeting. If not, target some and start building relationships with the goal to speak in front of them, eventually. Timing is crucial, so just be aware of opportunities and do not be afraid to ask.
- Choose a topic that’s of interest to the audience. You simply can’t deliver a speech on why your agency is the best, or on what your agency does. You need to give a speech that’s informative about an important issue in which the audience is interested. If your audience is senior citizens, give a speech on how proper nutrition can improve bone density. If it’s physicians, talk about how they can improve patient satisfaction by referring families to home care rather than nursing homes.
- Partner with other speakers. If you’re giving a speech on fall prevention, consider partnering with a local homebuilder who can provide tips on redesigning the home to eliminate obstacles for elderly loved ones with limited motor skills. They’ll likely jump at the chance to do it for the good PR – plus, it will cast your agency in a positive light while positioning you as an expert.
- Consider inducements. Inducements such as refreshments, door prizes, raffles, etc. provide an incentive for people to attend your event. The more attendees there are, the greater the likelihood is that you’ll win new clients. It may mean forking over a little bit of cash, but that could be money well spent if it translates into new business. And giving away a plant or a flower and asking them to put their information on a card to be eligible will give you contact information after the talk.
- Bring an informative handout. The main purpose of the seminar IS to win new business, so giving the audience something to take home with your information on it will let them know to call if any needs arise.
corecubed’s MOST program is all about positioning as an expert. We have created many presentations, with handouts, and even have many of them approved in several states for CEs. We have done all the work, including a great process for how to get engagements, how to communicate about those, and what to do as a follow-up.
No one wants to place the care of their elderly loved one into just anyone’s hands. By talking and looking like an expert who is knowledgeable, experienced, compassionate and thorough, your company can cement its place as the go-to agency for in-home care.
I love the aging care industry, and with 34 years’ experience, I AM an expert. You may not have the years or the experience, but you have to start somewhere. If you are in Pennsylvania for the PHA Conference, or in DC for the AAHCM , stop by and p and say hello!