The most important marketing and sales tool for home care – open questions
Developing and asking good questions serves to:
* Allow service or agency differentiation
* Lower resistance or objections
* Build a sales platform and marketing strategy specific to this referral source
The basics of good questioning skills
Open-ended questions that are well-crafted and thought out ahead of time can really spark sales or marketing conversations. After all, conversations are the first step to building a relationship with an individual, and relationships are key to getting referrals in the home care business! The best home care marketers and sales professionals are the ones who talk the least in sales call situations. They have mastered the skill of asking good open-ended questions as a way to get the conversation flowing. This does not mean that there is no place for closed questions. or situational questions. As a home care marketer, you really need to have some basic information about the referral source situation. However, asking too many situational questions will feel more like an interrogation session with your referral source.
Examples of situational questions
Situational questions are those that a prospect or referral can answer with one or two words or a simple yes or no. They are questions of low value to the individual you are trying to market or sell to, mainly because the focus is on you getting information from them. These questions usually start with the words or phrases like did, who, when, would you, will, how often, and have you.
* Do you do home care referrals?
* How many referrals do you make per week?
* Who do you mean?
…all questions are closed and situational in nature. All of these can be answered with a few words and probably won’t lead to a deeper conversation or an understanding of what will ultimately drive that referral source to make that first referral.
Examples of open questions
The real payoff in sales and marketing comes when you develop good open-ended questions. These questions usually start with the words say, what, why, and how. The words feel and think will also play a big role in open-ended questions. Examples of open-ended questions are;
* Tell me about the types of patients you see?
* Why do you think this is important?
* What do you think a home care agency can do to improve the care of your patients?
These questions not only offer your potential customers or referral sources an opportunity to provide you with good information about themselves or their organization, they also serve to reveal their true feelings about why and who they are reaching out to.
Take a few minutes to develop and write down your own set of questions. Try them out the next time you engage a referral in a conversation about your agency.
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