Happy 2020! ABS just celebrated 25 years of helping individuals start and grow profitable medical billing and revenue management companies! We are excited about the next 25 years and what might be in store for us and our family of licensees all over the USA!
We have been hard at work developing new service offerings, new marketing methods and some great new partnerships with technology companies… all designed with our licensees in mind. When you join ABS, you have access to a vast amount of resources to help you succeed.
Starting today, we have increased our one time licensee fee to $27,990.00. This small increase will allow us to continue providing the level of support our licensees have come to expect.
Here’s to a new decade ahead!
Wishing you success,
American Business Systems
In Part I, I shared some of my secrets to marketing to doctors, including getting past (or working with) the “gatekeeper”, presenting yourself and your company as professional, including the way you dress, your marketing materials, business cards, etc., overcoming the “fear factor” involved with change, keeping your name “top of mind” and so forth.
Now let’s focus on specific ways to approach a doctor. One of the things that will appeal to a doctor is the fact that you are an “expert” in your field. One way to do that is to build credibility by association; find a doctor who believes in you and will co-author a book with you. Or at least allow you to write a foreword to their book and, thus, having your name associated with a doctor on the cover of the book.
It might be easier for you to write some articles for various medical publications and establish your “expertise” by educating the doctor on topics with which he or she may not be familiar. In any case, there is something very special about being an “author” and this adds huge trust between you and your prospective clients to be associated with a doctor.
To help with this, I have partnered with a retired general surgeon who has co-authored a book with me that is aimed at physicians: “The New Thriving Medical Practice – How to Get Off the Hamster Wheel, Work Smarter (Not Harder), Generate More Revenue and Enjoy Greater Career Satisfaction in the Post-Obamacare Era.”
Although this book is specifically for those who complete our 5-day workshop in Dallas, graduate and are certified as a CMRM (Certified Medical Revenue Manager) you can get a feel for how this book can help position you as “The Expert” in your marketing efforts by ordering a copy of it from: info@ABSystems.com. Just ask for the “Thriving ebook”.
One of the ways you can make sure your book or handout gets to the doctor’s desk is to seal it in a Priority Mail envelope (you can get these free from usps.com). Put a handwritten note inside to the doctor introducing you and your company. Hand-write the doctor’s name on the front of the envelope and just ask anyone at the front desk to put it on the doctor’s desk. Tell them it is a small gift for the doctor and they won’t think of opening it. With consistent, automated follow-up you can keep your name at “top of mind” so that if something changes in the office and they start thinking about outsourcing their billing – you want them to think of you. Repetition and exposure to what you can do for them will lead to clients if you nurture them.
Think of it as if you were raising tomatoes; with consistent exposure to the sun, proper nutrients and lots of water, you can be sure when you plant a tomato seed that, in time, you will get tomatoes. The same is true of your marketing efforts. Nurture your prospective clients properly and it is just a matter of time and you will reap rewards.
You do that with what is called “drip marketing”. Just “touch” your prospects with a call or a card or some educational handout, and you will find that some of them will respond, in time. It’s the competition in your area that will reach those same prospects just one time and then move on to other “low-hanging fruit”. You, on the other hand, remind your prospects that you are always there wanting to serve them and waiting for them to reach out.
We’ve trained hundreds of people over the years and that includes many who have been in sales or consulting for years who say that seeing doctors and their office managers is tough. Yes, it is if you don’t know the secrets we have learned from over 25 years in training and supporting people who want to start their own medical revenue management companies.
So what would it be worth to you to learn from someone who has been teaching and writing on this industry for over 25 years who claims he has a guaranteed way to get an appointment to speak to the office manager and/or the doctor in any practice? If you are in a business that seeks to do business with doctors, you should have just answered “priceless”.
Well, here’s one way that works: just walk in an introduce yourself and ask if they have a “lunch n learn” calendar (sometimes referred to as the “vendor calendar”). Most medical offices have a calendar of vendors wishing to bring in lunch and share their products and services with the office. It will cost you $75-$100 to bring in sandwiches or some other food, depending on how many are in the office. Just prepare a Powerpoint or some handout about you and your company to show and discuss while they are having lunch.
You can ask the staff questions about their practice to find out if they have any needs for your services as part of a “practice analysis”. Things like “what software are you currently using to do your billing?” (they will tell you if they outsource their billing already). “What percentage of claims are rejected upon first submission?” … and other questions that will help you determine if they need help with their revenue management. Here are some more ideas and questions to get you started:
Number of full-time and part-time physicians on staff?
Anticipate growth of providers or locations within the next year?
What practice management / scheduling software does your office use?
Do you have a patient portal? Is it integrated with your scheduling system?
Do your patients have the ability to obtain their medical records online?
How often do you have patients NO SHOW?
Do you have an automated way of verifying insurance eligibility prior to a patient showing up?
How many staff hours are spent daily on verifying eligibility?
Does your practice currently use an EHR? What do you not like about it?
Do your patients have the ability to check lab reports online?
Do you currently send prescriptions electronically?
Take some time and give some thought to these questions, as they can give you a great insight into the practice, and the staff/doctor will sometimes give you huge clues that they are not happy with their revenue management and payments from patients and insurance companies. This “free” practice analysis can open their eyes to a lot of leaks in their cash flow.
Next, join a medical society in your area. You can find any in your area by just searching for “medical society YOUR COUNTY”. Most of them have “supporter” membership levels, which means if you support the society and its members (by paying an annual membership fee), you are in.
Get to know those who run the society. They are always looking for ways to connect their vendor supports with members and they are always looking for speakers to share information with their members. You can also have a booth at most of their meetings, where your prospects will come to you and you can meet and discuss what you can do for them and their practices on a one-on-one basis.
What better way to connect with doctors than by just jumping right in amongst them. You will be invited to all of their golfing functions, awards banquets, conferences, trade shows, etc. where you will be right smack dab in the middle of a bunch of physicians.
One way to keep your name in front of your prospects is to create and send out a monthly (quarterly?) newsletter. Yes, a physical, printed newsletter that shares some good information and subtly reminds them of what you can do for them. This creation process is daunting for some people, but it is worth the time and effort put into it because your competition won’t do it! For online newsletter creation, editing and publishing, go to www.lucidpress.com and click on Tours>Templates>Newsletters.
As for content, here are some online resources that will provide you with up-to-date content that you can share with your readers / prospects.
Just be sure to include a link to any article you copy and paste into your newsletter. This is how information is shared in today’s digital world. The content creators want traffic to their website and linking to them in the article is all it takes to make them happy. Some sites may have a specific notification about sharing the content, so look for it.
Don’t try to place “ads” for your services in the newsletter. Just tie in and mention some of the things you can do for your readers in your articles. Keeping your name / logo and contact info in front of your readers is what will lead to business somewhere down the line. You just want them to think of YOU when they do start looking for help with their cash flow.
These are just a handful of the successful marketing methods taught in our live 5-day workshop held in Dallas every so often. Check out the curriculum at www.absystems.com .
If you own (or want to own) a medical billing company, you might know how hard it is to get in front of a doctor and explain why he or she needs to outsource their billing to you. Sure, they can save time and money by utilizing an outside billing firm that is focused on getting every penny that is due to the practice. And even if they already outsource their billing, you may have unique ways to save them even more money and collect even more of their hard-earned dollars.
But how do you get past the gatekeeper to present your value proposition to the doctor? Or, how do you work with the gatekeeper to help them realize the reasons why you could make their life easier and show them to be the hero by introducing your outsource services to the practice?
After working with hundreds of billing company owners and helping them to sign up hundreds of doctors from coast-to-coast, I want to share some of my secrets with you that will help you get as many physician clients as you can handle.
The first thing that will help you is pretty obvious: doctors want to do business with professionals. Are you presenting yourself and your company as someone that a doctor would want to do business with?
For example, let’s start with your marketing materials. Are they professionally designed and written? Or did you write them yourself? If not, start with a search for a copy writer (www.fiverr.com, www.freelancer.com). Find someone that has a proven history of writing advertising and sales materials that are convincing, factual and that provide valuable educational information for the office manager and the physician. Make sure they can provide examples of their past work and see if they have what it takes to engage and convince someone of what they are selling.
Next, search for a graphic artist who can take the finished copy and turn it into a professional-looking brochure or flyer. If you have designed your own material and had it printed on your ink-jet printer, I can assure you that it is not making a good impression on the medical staff.
Spend the money to have your marketing materials designed and printed professionally. There are many online printing companies that can take a pdf and print it in full-color on nice paper stock and beat anything that you can produce yourself. (www.vistaprint.com, www.overnightprints.com).
This advice applies to your business cards as well. I can’t tell you how many people try to save money by designing and printing their own business cards and they look like it! Remember, this is the first impression that prospects have of you and your company. Make the first impression a good one.
Now, assuming you have professional-looking marketing materials, what is the thrust of your marketing message? Are you just letting medical practices know that you are in the area and have some medical billing for sale? It’s like selling popsicles in the Artic. “No thanks, I already have some ice!”
There are only two situations out there: 1) the practice handles the billing themselves in-house, using their own staff and software; or 2) the practice already outsources their billing and think they are happy with it. I say “think” because they probably don’t know whether they are getting the maximum amount of revenue that is due the practice – they just assume that everything is fine because they receive checks in the mail each week and so the billing company must be doing a good job, right?
Not necessarily. Depending on whether they use the latest technology, whether they are using the best clearinghouse, and whether they are using best-practice in the follow up of denied claims … all these factors determine whether the practice is receiving every penny that is due them. In many cases the billing company is only collecting 70% or less of the money that is being billed, which means that the practice is leaving 30% of their revenue on the table. They may think this is “normal” because they have heard similar figures from other practices. And, they may justify this because the doctor can always “write off” some of this lost revenue on their income taxes each year.
This is why you must adjust your marketing to the reality of what offices are actually facing and make sure that your message addresses these factors. Why would someone change spouses when they think they are at least as good as all the other spouses they know? You must create at least a question in their minds that maybe there is a better spouse out there that could bring them more satisfaction and happiness. Well, anyway, you get the point.
Just because what a practice is currently doing is what they have “always done” does not mean that their billing is what it should and could be. Your message needs to break through that mindset and help create just a tiny bit of doubt in their minds about what they are currently doing.
And this is your greatest obstacle to marketing to medical practices: contentment with what they are currently doing. No one likes change. And especially if it involves something that could disrupt the workflow in the office.
Look, every medical practice has a lot going on every day. Probably the last thing they want to think about is changing their current billing arrangement. Besides, anyone involved in the billing, if they are doing it in-house, is going to be concerned that their job might be in danger. If the billing is outsourced at some point, don’t they become obsolete?
So this is another hurdle you must figure out how to overcome. What I call the “fear factor”. Not just a fear of losing their job but fear that someone might find out what a poor job they have been doing of collecting all the revenue that is possible.
So address those fears right up front. Let the office manager know that you are not there to eliminate someone’s job. You are there to increase the practice’s revenue, save time and allow those who are doing the billing in-house to reallocate their time to helping the doctor see more patients more efficiently.
After all, seeing patients is the only way that the practice can generate revenue. The more patients that can be seen on a daily basis, the more revenue that is generated by the practice. More revenue means everyone is happier since cash-flow is the life-blood of every business. Happier employees means happier patients. And increased revenue means happier doctors (and their spouses). And happier doctors means happier employees. More cash-flow means new equipment, nicer waiting room, more employee benefits, etc. Every challenge in every business can be solved by improved cash-flow. And you are the one that can help make that happen.
Now, how can you convey that you are the person, your company is the company, that can help the practice increase their revenue and make things go smoother in the day-to-day operations? It all starts with utilizing what I call “educational marketing”. Don’t just “sell” your advantages over the competition. Give value in your marketing efforts. Share news and information about the medical industry, about the changes coming, about the advantages you can offer the practice. Send out a newsletter, create educational handouts to drop by, mail the doctor a book, give the office manager some reprints of articles you have found on things that are happening in the industry.
Set up Google News alerts on medical topics and stay up on what changes are happening (www.google.com/alerts) and you will never be without something of value to share with the office managers and doctors you are targeting. As long as you give a link to the original article, feel free to share any pertinent information with your prospective offices. In today’s world, it is all about traffic, so news sites and authors want you to share their articles with others.
Be sure to include your contact information on any handouts you give out so the staff sees your name/logo over and over. It is repetition that will insure that you are the one they call if and when they do decide to look into outsourcing. You want to make your name and your company name “top of mind” at all times. This is key to a professional image.
Another key to a professional image is, of course, your own appearance. Never go out to offices without dressing as professional as possible. You cannot spend too much on your clothing. Having said that for emphasis, here’s a tip: go to an upscale department store and ask for the business consultant. Have them show you what you need to dress professionally … and then go to a store you can afford and buy the same type of clothing there.
Make sure your personal hygiene is appropriate for close encounters with other humans and then put on a smile (see chapter 2 of How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie if you don’t know why a smile is vital to your success. Now read the rest of the book).
In Part II, I will go into detail on ways to engage with doctors and blow away any competition from other billing companies in your area.
American Business Systems offers aspiring individuals another option – business ownership with minimal downside and maximum training and support, so that hard-working people can achieve success on their terms.