When I first started my medical billing business I was dead set against cold-calling! No way, I was terrible on the phone. Even though I got lucky in obtaining my first couple of clients pretty early on, I knew that if I was going to market for additional accounts, I would have no choice, I would have to do the dreaded cold-calling. Why is it even called “cold” calling? I get hot flashes when doing them! I’m sure many are just like me in dreading this process of marketing. So before I sit down to make those calls I review my own tips on cold-calling. Yes, even now 25+ years later I still keep these tips handy any time I have to make a call to a “potential” client. Making these calls can be very intimidating and frightening even if it’s not the first time your doing it.
Unfortunately, cold calling is a necessary part of selling any brand or service business. If you want to grow your business, you have to contact new prospects. I hope the following tips will help you in overcoming your fears and helping you to gain a little more confidence to this important selling method.
First before we begin, let’s take a DEEP BREATH and remember the worst that can happen is they can “hang up”. Once you are OK with that, you can press on and keep in mind these helpful tips!
1. You don’t have to aim so high that you need to speak with the physician on your first call. In fact, it’s best to talk with the office or billing manager first so you can get an idea as to the practice setup, billing problems, etc.
2. Choose the biggest physician practices and start there. That sounds pretty scary but we have a reason for this. Most of your larger physician offices already have in-house billing solutions setup or maybe they are part of a large ACO where billing is done by one office elsewhere. Regardless, by aiming high you get to use those practices as “practice”. You will expect to hear “no thank-you” from these offices, but that’s ok because you will gain confidence as you talk to the larger offices. This will help you prepare to call the other practices to which you will now be ready to speak with.
3. Remember don’t try to speak directly with the physician or provider right away. Instead ask to speak with the person in charge of billing or the office manager. Try and strike up a conversation by introducing yourself and instead of talking, ask them if they wouldn’t mind sharing their biggest billing problems with you. If you have gotten this far, that’s EXCELLENT. Keep listening and take notes. Try to personalize your conversation and be sure to note those personal observations. I landed a client once after calling an office manager to find out how her husband was after his auto accident, we ended up meeting for lunch and we’ve been friends ever since.
4. Make your cold calls whenever you feel the most energized and refreshed. For most people that is at the beginning of the business day. Try to imagine the call as a friendly conversation rather than an adversarial one. Remind yourself that the services you can offer can really make a difference in the medical practice and their bottom line. Remembering what you can offer will remind you of your goals.
5. Research potential market – Use your local newspaper, yellow-pages, social media networks, and local chamber of commerce connections. Try to research areas of discussion such as the Affordable Care Act, new Medicare or Medicaid rules, new coding changes or anything else that allows you to enter into a mutually engaged conversation.
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