The healthcare sector is constantly changing and growing; thus, enterprising businesses can find plenty of opportunities. But the healthcare sector can also be difficult to break to, and marketing to hospitals and primary care physicians can represent a new challenge. Any business can do a few things to improve its odds of success.
Know who to talk to
Hospitals are complicated organizations. Decision-makers can include management, staff, patients, and even the general public. If you plan to market to a hospital, thoroughly research and figure out who you must speak to.
For smaller practices, the office manager is your best bet to talk to, as it can be difficult to speak directly to doctors with their busy schedules. Wait for less busy times. Also do your research in advance. Important details can include what the doctor specializes in, where he went to medical school, who else is in his network, and whether he runs an independent practice or is part of a larger network. For example, selling a device to help treat lung cancer to a PCP will be less than helpful.
Be Careful of Freebies
Some marketers may want to provide some free things to make a positive impression. This can include small gifts like pens, or something more extravagant like free lunch for the hospital staff.
Such tactics can have their time and place, especially for smaller practices. But hospitals often have policies against accepting such gifts, to ensure that they select the best product instead of the most generous marketer. Make sure to do your research first, such as by contacting the hospital’s marketing department. Otherwise, you could find yourself shunned or even banned from the premises.
Know your Competition and Product
Why is your product or service better than your competitors?
You should be able to answer this question immediately and in less than 30 seconds. If you find yourself reading off your product’s brochure during your sales pitch, you might as well pack up and go home. Research your competitors on their websites or through your network, and do not hesitate to get into the technical details. The more you can show that you know what you are talking about, the more confident the doctor will be in your product.
Stay in Contact
Your relationship with a physician or hospital should not be a one-off thing. It should be a constant partnership, as you consistently show how you can help them.
If you have successfully sold one product, keep in regular touch. Make sure that there are no problems with the product once it is in use and be helpful if there are problems. Offer to help the physician in other ways, such as serving as a referral contact or looking for other ways to deliver value.
A relationship with a physician should be a long-term relationship, with each of you contributing to a partnership. That will help distinguish you from other marketers who only want to sell something and go home.
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