By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
[Series Installment: How to Win More Patients for Your Most Profitable Service Lines; Step Seven – Develop Your Feet on the Street. A free White Paper from the Healthcare Success Educational Library.]
FOTS? That’s our shorthand for outside representatives, liaisons or simply your “Feet on the Street.” It’s one of the most important and proactive resources in the competition to win patients for a hospital’s most profitable service lines.
A healthy and constantly flowing physician referral stream is, for many facilities, the lifeblood for continuing success of service lines. These days, certain influencing factors are for certain:
- Competition for referrals has increased greatly;
- Referrals rarely happen spontaneously;
- People do business with people they know and like; and
- Referrals are driven by relationships.
Among these, we’ve found that a sound business relationship, combined with regular contact and ongoing account maintenance, is one of the most important keys to success. It’s the role of each member of the liaison team to personify the hospital and the service line. They maintain the rapport and professional relationship—face to face—with referring doctors. (Remember, “doing business with people you know and like.”)
The Healthcare Success White Paper, How to Win More Patients for Your Most Profitable Service Lines, outlines the primary steps for successful marketing, including a close look at how to develop a workable “Feet on the Street” program.
The FOTS objective is to build and maintain relationships—and a steady stream of referrals—from the physicians in the community. Some of the critical questions that need to be addressed include:
- Is your liaison team program new or existing?
- How do they get started or move up to the next level?
- Among the current and potential sources, what are the A-B-C category referrers?
- How many representatives do have? (What’s the right staffing level?)
- How to design liaison territories, accounts and goals?
- What are the most important qualities for a new hire?
- How to avoid the classic mistake of hiring a “people person” with no sales experience.
For more about critical marketing strategies for building service line success, request a free download of the White Paper: How to Win More Patients for Your Most Profitable Service Lines. And for related reading, see our previous post, Don’t Shoot Holes in Your Liaison’s Marketing Efforts.