What Selling Cemetery Plots Taught Me About RCM

Make the Sales Pitch Revenue Cycle Management

Before I started making sales pitches to CFOs, Directors, and VPs on why I think they should make VARO Healthcare an extension of their business office, I was making sales pitches to regular people (all jobs aside) - in their homes. And guess what I was selling? I was selling cemetery plots. Yep. But, it was BEFORE death. Awkward. Cold-calling daily and making appointments with people in their homes to convince them to pre-plan their funeral expenses. I’d go through an entire presentation all the while trying to evoke some sort of emotion about how much better it is to pre-plan rather than put your family through the hassle of dealing with it after they die. Weird, I know. It’s difficult to persuade people to believe in what you’re selling, even though YOU believe in it, “yes, you should spend XYZ now to pre-plan so your family won’t have to later”.

So, what does this have to do with anything related to revenue cycle, or outsourcing?

Just like pre-planning, I’m trying to convince CFOs, “we will improve your business by XYZ…” The people I’d talk to about funeral arrangements KNEW it was something they should plan and talk about, but didn’t want to. They really didn’t want to spend money on funeral arrangements when they were “in good health”! Just like the CFOs, Directors, and VPs, they KNOW they should talk about money being left on the table, re-evaluate current vendors or in house operations, and if there is a simpler/cheaper/more practical way of doing things, but WHY do that when there are a hundred other fires to put out that seem more important than dealing with something that is running “okay”? And if things aren’t “that bad”, why change anything? Right?

What I do know is even though it’s 2 different products that I’m selling, a plethora of different types of people, they all have the following in common:
 

  1. Not very receptive to change. Like the saying goes, ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it’. So, maybe you have a firm or a group of people in-house collecting self-pays and they’re not doing bad, BUT… They’re not doing GREAT either. Ah, well… you’d rather just keep it the way it is because you are going through an EPIC conversion in a few months, ICD-10 changes are coming about, the ACA is taking precedence, registration desk needs some revamping, etc… are all wayyyy more important than collecting money. Right?
  2. Slooooowwwww to react, or in other words, procrastinators. I could write a book full of stall-tactics from YOU people (yeah, I said you people…). “We are happy with things now, “Contact us in Q1”, “We have a bunch of other initiatives going on right now”, blah blah blah. Or even worse, the people that drag me along. “You’re still in the running”, “we haven’t forgotten about you” (meanwhile, I’m on month 17 talking to you and nothing has changed). 
  3. They don’t want to say “YES”, but they don’t say “NO” either. I’ve chased around so many dead leads at both jobs. You have the people that don’t want to tell you “yes”, I’ll buy from you. However, they’ll meet with you, answer your emails/calls, lead you along, but never tell you, “I’m actually NOT in the market for this” or “I can’t do this NOW, but I can later”. SOMETHING, anything will help me stop if you just TELL ME TO. But, then I get the people that say, “I’m not interested” right off the bat – well, okay, WHAT exactly aren’t you interested in? I haven’t even told you anything yet. I know salespeople are annoying. Isn’t that an oxymoron? I’m a salesperson who can’t really stand salespeople? But, when you find a good one that isn’t TOO pushy or irritating, that’s a good thing and building a relationship with them is beneficial in case you need them for some reason in the future. I’ve been told I have the ability to be persistent without being TOO persistent <insert pat on the back here>.

All I am saying is this - people don’t want to hear that maybe they need to take care of something NOW rather than later.

Give a sales pitch a shot. Let it be clear initially what your objective is (whether you are the product they sell), give a YES or a NO answer so we aren’t chasing you around (it’s just as annoying to YOU as it is to us), and stop procrastinating so much. The more you just giving the person a meeting just to hear them out OR you are seriously in the market for push something off, the harder it is to get it taken care of. Just like losing weight – I’m guilty of the, “I’ll start the diet on Monday” type thing. But the more time in between, the harder it is to fix and keep yourself motivated!

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Alyssa Maderia DiSalvatore VARO Healthcare

Alyssa DiSalvatore

Topics: Hospitals, change management, Outsourcing, Revenue Cycle Management

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