Be A Dinosaur
became extinct because they didn't have an opposable thumb
and couldn't type.
sure, there are scientists that talk about "earth cooling"
and "asteroid" theories. But they know nothing about
sales. Dinosaurs couldn't hold an order pad and didn't have
access to computers.
can hold an order pad
but do you avail yourself of the
myriad of available computer tools and resources? If not,
you may be unknowingly contributing to your own obsolescence.
it comes to computer technology, many of your customers may
be less sophisticated than they should be, but they're probably
more savvy than you think. While fewer than 7% of physician
practices order online, most of them realize that they need
to make better decisions and be more in tune with current
changes in the distribution of information.
predict that most offices will be Internet savvy and using
this tool by 2002. Some of the more conservative prognosticators
predict 2005. Whatever the case, each year we will see more
customers looking for more sophistication in both ordering
evidence of change, check out your own customers. Ten or 15
years ago very few physician offices had professionally qualified
office managers, but look at them now. It is not unheard of
for the manager of a large practice to have an MBA or a master's
degree in health care.
The day of a hand-scrawled quotation is over. If you're not
using computer-based word processing for presenting quotes
you should be. Even if your company doesn't provide you with
the tools to make visually appealing, customized quotations,
then you need to find a way to improve that task.
addition, more and more quotes include services and value-added
programs as part of the determining factors. Many customers
now send out their RFPs (requests for proposals) on diskettes
with pre-formatted columns for unit price and extensions.
are some tips on writing the proposal:
always count! Use your spell check function and have someone
else proofread it as well. The word "their" or
"there" will be equally acceptable to the spell
checker, so it is important to have someone proofread to
make certain that the right word is used in the right context.
"Miss Crabtree" to edit for content and also for
grammar. Many word processing programs have features to
identify grammatical errors or even syntax, but nothing
will ever replace having a different pair of eyes read it
over and offer comments.
Use active, not passive voice (e.g., "We shipped 400
lines," versus "400 lines were shipped.")
succinct. The only time more words count is in trying to
write a 1000 word essay in high school.
the questions in the RFP are in a certain order, answer
them in that same order to make it easier for the customer
to compare one RFP to another.
no more than two fonts, choosing a simple, easy-to-read
typestyle such as Times Roman, Arial, Arial Narrow, etc.
Use at least 10- or 11-point type size for readability.
the questions completely and clearly. In the past three
or four years, one question has been added to several proposals
that I have responded to: conflict resolution. "If
the customer has a problem, what are the steps and time
lines to reach a satisfactory conclusion?"
in bullet points (or, in TV jargon, "sound bites").
Make your point in short, direct sentences.
Data is merely data. When you can manipulate it into a usable
form, it becomes information. Spreadsheets give you the opportunity
to present information that the practice can analyze and use
for decision making. Sometimes this information can be imported
into a spreadsheet from another source; other times it must
be reentered. The most common spreadsheet programs are Microsoft
Excel and Lotus 1,2,3.
reviews with your customer are the perfect time to produce
spreadsheets and charts to provide information on performance.
Most spreadsheet programs have simple methods for turning
a spreadsheet into a bar chart, pie chart or other visual.
For example, if you're providing information to a customer
on ordering compliance products, they may want to see how
well their members or facilities are embracing the program.
A bar chart shows the data in an easy-to-see and dramatic
Numbers can say anything you want. Pick data that are important
to the customer. What areas concern them? For some, it may
be the fill rate. For others, it may be compliance in converting
to a specific brand or product. Yet other customers may be
concerned primarily with how much is spent per patient at
each of their facilities.
the example of a customer with three sites who has recently
converted to you from a competitor. Site A has the potential
of $12,000 per quarter; Site B, $20,000; and Site C, $8,000.
We are in the second quarter of the program and doing our
business review. We'll do two charts.
first chart easily illustrates the dollars spent by site for
each of the two periods. From this simple chart the customer
can see which sites have increased and how much. Which site
is doing the best? Site B has increased by the most dollars
and has the largest total.