Who Moved My Cheese? is a popular business book written as a fable about change. Four characters are living in a maze and are feeding on cheese. One day, the cheese disappears. Two characters rant, rave and complain about the cheese being moved. Two others set out to explore the maze and find new cheese. One of the complainers finally decides to do the same, but when he does find the new cheese, he discovers the other two characters have already found it. The message of the book is simple: things constantly change so we must adapt before our competition does.
Nothing in our lifetimes is causing as much change as we are all experiencing today as we attempt to navigate our way through the COVID-19 pandemic. For some people, the result has been sickness and tragically, even death. For others it is the difficult economic challenges they now face as the country works through lock down to prevent the spread of the virus. At some point, this will pass but we shouldn’t expect to get back to “the old normal.” COVID-19 is creating changes that will never allow us to go back to exactly the way things were before. The big question is, who will best be able to adapt to the dramatic changes that lie ahead?
Finding the response is particularly crucial for those in the healthcare industry including those selling health technology products. Most of your accounts are hunkered down, focusing the vast majority of their energies on dealing with the pandemic. A story one of our clients relayed to us perfectly illustrates the current dilemma for anyone selling healthcare technology products. They called on a prospect and were told, “If this involves purchasing something, call me next year.” No doubt you have experienced similar rebuffs in your current selling efforts.
So how do you proceed? Here are four things to consider doing now to prepare for a post-COVID-19 landscape.
- Keep Your Sales Team Motivated
Specifically your top reps. This could be a time to reevaluate your entire sales team and perhaps develop performance plans for some of your low performers. However it is more critical to ensure that you keep your top sellers’ heads in the game. Some ways to do that include:Reset your quotas – Most companies aren’t used to resetting quotas, but desperate times call for desperate measures and you need to make it possible for your best people to succeed. If they’ve lost a hundred days selling, even your top performers aren’t going to be able to have the same level of success as they would have with a full year of selling.Provide a higher commission rate – That means you will be paying more for a unit sold this year than you did last year, but that’s the world we are living in and it is critical to land sales coming out of this situation.Offer short term bonuses – There is no better way to jump start your sales efforts than by offering immediate compensation for quick wins.
- Revisit your business strategy
Take advantage of the extra time on your hands to review your overall business strategy and how it applies in a post COVID-19 environment. That could involve:Doing more homework on your prospects – This is more important than ever. Before you begin your sales process in the “new normal,” you need to be respectful of what your clients and prospects have been going through. For example, with the halt to elective surgeries, business for radiologists is down 50 to 70 percent over a three to four month period. Sales techniques and strategies that worked before may not work anymore with prospects who have suffered these kinds of losses. Being able to relate to where your clients are now and showing them how your product helps them is critical.Review your pricing strategy – I’m not talking about gimmicks, but simply new ways to offer your products. Sharpen your value proposition and focus on your ROI benefit to clients.Expand your market – If you are selling strictly to the B2C market, now might be a good time to determine how to reframe your product for a B2B audience. Use the current lull to develop and refine an enterprise offering through pricing, positioning, and messaging.
- Adjust to telehealth
Since first arriving on the U.S. hospital scene in 1989, telehealth is finally having its day. Telehealth/virtual medical visits of all types are here to stay and have fundamentally changed the patient entry point into the health systems. The use of remote video to treat patients has been bubbling under the surface for decades but it took the shock of COVID-19 to bring it to the surface in full force. Medicare has fueled the change by expanding the use of telehealth that was previously restricted only to remote areas. The Cleveland Clinic logged more than 60,000 telemedicine visits in March. Prior to that, they averaged about 3,400 virtual visits a month. If you don’t have a telehealth component as part of your offering, now is the time to begin thinking about developing one. The pandemic has highlighted the need to deliver healthcare remotely and to be relevant in the expanded virtual world, your products need to be able to meet that demand.
- Develop Your Remote Selling Skills
Anyone who wasn’t familiar with Zoom teleconferencing prior to March has no doubt been involved in dozens of online meetings since then. This will definitely result in more remote selling even when the pandemic passes, so you need to be prepared.Designer Jonathan Adler has developed an acronym for proper remote presentations called LAFFF.
L – Lighting. Make sure you use soft lighting coming from in front of you
A – Angles. Stand while you deliver your message and place your camera at a high enough angle so you are not looking down and creating multiple chins and sagging flesh
F – Fashion. Dress for a power meeting for better focus and effectiveness
F – Festoon. Decorate your background in a professional way.
F – Face. A reminder to force yourself not to have a grumpy resting face. Look interested and engaged when not speaking.
We can all agree that the world has changed, and we are hopeful that we come out of it sooner rather than later. Most healthcare businesses are on their heels because their clients and prospects are busy saving lives. We must respect that. As you prepare to come out of this difficult time period to resume business, now is the time to be doing things that will ensure you have the most effective company in the future, post-COVID-19 world.
 The Economic Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Radiology Practices, by Joseph J. Cavallo and Howard P. Forman, RSNA, April 15, 2020.
 Telemedicine Surges, Fueled by Coronavirus Fears and Shift in Payment Rules, by Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health News, March 27, 2020,
 You’ve been framed! Tips on how to improve your video conferencing skills at home, by Susan Welsh, The Press and Journal, April 6, 2020.