Q&A | May 8, 2014

Healthcare IT End Users Tell VARs The Do's — And Don'ts — Of Selling

By Bernadette Wilson, associate editor, Business Solutions magazine
Follow Me On Twitter @bernadeditor

Healthcare IT End Users

The panel at The Smart VAR Healthcare Summit on May 6 in New Brunswick, NJ, helped take the guesswork out of selling IT to healthcare providers. Responding to questions from panel moderator, Mike Monocello, Business Solutions editor in chief, the panel listed the best ways to contact them, how to get and keep their attention, information that can get a second call or appointment — as well as what not to do if you want the sale.

Mark Roberts, enterprise manager of mobile technology for Yale New Haven Health System, says one of the best ways to contact him is reaching out through social media, specifically LinkedIn. He says this is particularly effective if the VAR has done research into his healthcare organization, its needs, and how their solution could address them.

According to Roberts, it is a mistake to have a third-party telemarketer make cold calls. He explains if he is interested in the solution, the caller — usually with limited technical knowledge — can't answer his questions. "I was engaged at that point and asking questions," he comments. "On the next call, I have to start all over again."

Roberts comments the best way to open a discussion about your solution is to have the appropriate technical resource make the contact and schedule the appointment. "Answering technical questions will make that appointment work," he says.

Panelist Jim Shellhamer, technical system analyst of the mobility management group at Lehigh Valley Health Network agrees. "Skip the dog and pony show. Give me facts. Give me the information I need to make a decision."

He says LinkedIn is also a good way to reach him, as well as through email. He admits, however, with the number of emails he gets in a day, a good subject line clearly mentioning the technology and ROI — or anything to do with mobile device management — would get his attention.

He says explaining definitive ROI in the body of the message is also a hook.

Albert Ferreira, project manager of virtual care at Holy Cross Hospital, says a personalized message added to information about a solution will get him to take a look. "It shows someone took the time to do their research and knows what the hospital is like and what solutions it needs."

Ferreira explains that healthcare providers "don't want to be first" to use a solution. If you can explain how you have implemented the solution at another facility and how it is working there, that will help keep the discussion going — especially if you can provide a contact he can call for information tabout the solution.

Panelist Linda Girgis, MD, physician and owner of Girgis Family Medicine, says the most important thing for VARs is to be straightforward and honest. "I have no trust in a company if I get different answers from different people."

Girgis also advises VARs not to try to speak to her during office hours when she is seeing patients, but rather to make an appointment.

She adds that she doesn't like when VARs make assumptions about what her practice needs. "Listen to what I need," she advises.

Smart VAR Healthcare Summits, powered by ScanSource and Business Solutions, are sponsored by: Motorola, Honeywell, Datalogic, and Zebra.

Newsletter Signup
Newsletter Signup
Get the latest channel trends, news, and insights