Originally printed in HME News.
By Lalaina Rabary, People for Quality Care
Anne called our Medicare Complaint Hotline with a complaint that had absolutely nothing to do with DME, competitive bidding or audits. She wanted to talk about health insurance and prescription drugs.
If you were in my position, would you have responded with, “I’m sorry, that’s not something our organization handles,” and politely closed the conversation. Or, “Questions regarding health insurance and prescriptions aren’t something our organization focuses on, but let me know what’s going on.”
The second response is in line with marketing guru Jay Baer. In his book, “YouTility,” he highlights real examples of companies that focus on helping versus selling and are winning in the marketplace. That is why I am convinced that doing good and being helpful builds business.
Anne shared how she was confused about why her Medicare insurance company was charging her more for her medication. I listened to her frustration and told her I did not know the answer, but I shared a similar personal experience that sparked some ideas.
I advised her to do some more research by contacting her doctor and insurance company, and provided her the number for the New Jersey Pharmacists Association. After I offered her resources, she inquired about VGM. Naturally, I let her know that if she ever had any medical equipment needs to contact me and I would connect her with one of our caring members.
“That’s wonderful,” she replied. As I get older, medical equipment needs will come up. I will definitely contact you in the future and tell all my friends about you.”
I want to highlight this part of Anne’s sentence, because it’s crucial: “I will tell all my friends about you.”
These eight words are what every business owner wants to hear, but it’s a struggle with traditional marketing strategies. Businesses pour money into product advertisements, with hopes of tapping into the market, but they are frustrated when they don’t seem to be attracting more customers.
What they fail to see is that product messages are becoming a way of the past. Product messages simply cannot break through the noise in a saturated market, but helpful information can. With this said, flip your idea of traditional marketing on its head—because it’s not about selling, it’s about helping.
Why should your business be helpful? Because customer connections aren’t created and sustained on product and price anymore. According to Baer, “My family is useful. My friends are useful. Companies can be useful, too.” Companies that prove to be helpful will show up on Google searches and be bookmarked on the home screens of potential customers. Your company has to offer more than products to cut through the noise.
Your business thrives when you execute elevated notions of friend-of-mine awareness. In plain language, Baer tells us that to succeed, our customers and potential customers need to consider us as friends. This means our businesses must focus on the foundational elements of friendship: active listening, honesty, trust, dependability, service and communication.
How are you displaying these characteristics to your customers? How can your business be helpful?
Remember: “If you sell something, you make a customer today. If you help someone, you may create a customer for life,” says Baer.