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Back to Basics: Referral Management Skills That Every Sales Rep Should Have


Make Your Questions Pay Off!

In preparing for discussions with your referral sources, make sure that you have gathered the answers to the questions that will provide you with the account-specific information.  This preparation is necessary to position your services as the logical solution to their needs.  If there is any uncertainty remaining, take the time to ask additional questions. DO NOT rush the process - Patience will pay off.

Now that you have gotten a referral source to tell you what is important to them and what they need, you can present the solution in a manner that will enable the person to feel you are there to help them do their job better - NOT to sell them anything.

Simply Put - It's Their Solution to Their Problem

When presenting the solution, make sure to repeat back to them the need that they shared with you.  

For example: "When we spoke last week, you shared with me the problems you are having with your CHF patients being sent repeatedly to the ER."

Be sure to restate it so that they remember the conversation and, most importantly, they realize that you are working to solve their challenges. Once you have restated it, then use a bridge statement that tells them that your solution has worked for others in the same situation.

Example:  "Our specialty program has proven effective in reducing other physician's readmission rates for CHF by as much as 40%.  As an agency, we have been able to reduce the readmission rate by an average of 31%."

After presenting the program, you would then ask them if they have any questions.  Then ask if they have any patients that come to mind who would benefit from this solution.  The key is to get them thinking about SPECIFIC patients or, at least, a small sub-group of patients. 

This step is critical - don't rush it - and let them kick it around in their minds and with their co-workers.  If they connect the dots, they will retain the solution and you will see referrals - possibly on the spot!

Get a Commitment

Closing the loop may take time.  A key approach is to ask your referral source if they will give you two or more patients so that you can demonstrate to them just how well the solution resolves their challenge.

Once you have gotten them to agree they have a need and that your solution makes sense, then asking for (and getting) the referrals becomes an easier task.  Have fun with the process, and much success!