Robert T. Yokl, President/CEO, SVAH Solutions
Before I founded SVAH Solutions thirty-four years ago, I was a supply chain director and value analysis practitioner for 15 years, meeting with sales representatives just about every day to discuss and evaluate their offerings. Unfortunately, there were only a few sales representatives that I looked forward to seeing. These were the reps who brought me useful information or a value proposition that either made my customers’ jobs easier, or their products or services better, less expensive, or safer. Unfortunately, many of these discussions were often repetitive, boring, time consuming, and added little value to my healthcare organization.
Show Up with Useful Information or a Winning Value Proposition
The secret to becoming a welcome guest and not an annoying pest is to show up with useful information or a well thought out value proposition. Every time you visit with a supply chain director, value analysis manager, or product or service owner, make sure you have new information (e.g., case study, research paper, relatable story, etc.) to enlighten them about your product or service category – not just your product or service. For instance, one time a sales rep gave me a conversion list of his products vs. his competition’s. Even though this information was confidential, it made my job easier as I started to convert to many products in his product line. Without this list, maybe I wouldn’t have ever even considered converting to this new company’s product line. This conversion list was very useful information for me. Do the same for your customers.
A value proposition is an innovative offering specifically tailored to your customer’s healthcare organization’s specific requirements. I would suggest that you ask your customer if you can perform a free survey to understand their exact functional requirements before you offer a value proposition to them. By doing so, you will not only understand the environment that you are selling in, but you will also be able to provide the precise solution to your customer’s challenges. More importantly, provide the exact, not theoretical, benefits of your product or service. For instance, say that you sell electrodes and as you conduct your survey you observe that the hospital’s nursing staff needs to open two electrode packages to get one to work. Bingo…you just found a huge (50%) savings if your customer changes to your high-quality electrodes that are guaranteed to work the first time. This is what I call a winning value proposition!
The Era of Show and Tell is Over
There was a time when you could show and then tell your prospect about your product or service and be rewarded with an order, but that time has come to an end. Your supply chain and value analysis managers are too busy, sophisticated, and outcome-oriented to be won over by this tactic. The best way to prove that your product or service is as advertised is to conduct a survey to gather facts, data, and proof that your product or service is superior to what your customer is utilizing now. This is because there is no better testimonial than to have a prospective customer agree with you that your product or service is a perfect fit for their healthcare organization. That’s how you become a welcome guest, not an unwanted pest!
|About Robert T. Yokl, Founder & Chief Value Strategist for SVAH Solutions|
|Robert T. Yokl is President and Chief Value Strategist at SVAH Solutions. He has four decades of experience as a healthcare supply chain manager and consultant, and also is the co-creator of the Clinitrack Value Analysis Software and Utilizer Clinical Utilization Management Dashboard that moves beyond price for even deeper and broader clinical supply utilization savings. Yokl is a member of Bellwether League’s Bellwether Class of 2018.
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