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The Top 10 Mistakes Salespeople Make at the HIMSS Conference
By Beth Friedman
A vendor’s sales staff is one of the company’s most important assets. While marketing, PR, and events management put it all together, the sales staff determines whether or not the HIMSS conference is a success.
Is your sales team engaged, interacting with prospects, and busy with pre-scheduled appointments? Or are they sitting around the booth, eating dinner together, and looking like Las Vegas wallflowers?
Here’s a Top 10 list of sales staff mistakes at HIMSS derived from our 30+ years of combined experience. Avoid them and you’re golden. Make them and you’re history. It’s that simple!
Mistake #1: Sitting Around the Booth
Your booth is crowded with salespeople, but no prospects. This is the most common mistake at any trade show.
Prospects must be enticed to enter your booth. They won’t come into it willingly. It is the job of your sales team to get them in. Yes, that means standing at the edge of the carpet and greeting attendees. A simple “hello” and smile works wonders. Multiply your smiles and see how many you get back. Hey, these guys and gals are competitive – have a contest!
Secondly, ask attendees easy, friendly, open-ended questions as they pass by. Get them engaged in a friendly conversation to start. Before you know it, you’ll be giving a demo! For example:
- How are you enjoying the show so far?
- What did you think of the keynote this morning?
- How are you finding the educational sessions this year?
- Did you go to HIStalkapalooza?
Mistake #2: Smart Phone Syndrome
All year you’ve made cold calls, left messages, and begged for appointments. Guess what? The same folks you’ve been trying to reach for six months via phone are here at HIMSS, live and in person. Dump the cell phone and talk to everyone in real time.
Avoid e-mail or any other electronic-based interpersonal avoidance. This includes time spent in the booth, between exhibit hall and hotel, in the elevators, during lunch breaks, and at the roulette table. Attendees are everywhere. Be “on” and smile at all times.
Mistake #3: Selling Too Much
Keep the sales pitch in the booth. If you meet attendees at events, poolside, or at the casino, keep conversation fun, personable, and low pressure. People are people. Everyone likes to meet someone personally first, professionally second. Overselling is one sure way to drive people away.
Mistake #4: Having Dinner Alone
Even if your company is small, make the most of having all your customers and prospects in one place. Arrange a dinner. Invite customers for cocktails. Host a small reception, focus group, or breakfast.
Breaking bread with fellow employees only is an opportunity lost. Make sure every meal includes a customer or prospect. You’ll be glad you did!
Mistake #5: Assuming One Size Fits All
Sales staff often uses a “one size fits all” approach to HIMSS attendees. Take a moment to ask questions and better understand your audience. See what problems they are trying to solve. If your company can solve it, great! If you company can’t solve it, don’t waste their time. Refer them to a company that can, and remember that smile!
Mistake #6: Avoiding Sessions
HIMSS offers a huge educational opportunity. Hundreds of sessions are offered and your prospects are sitting in each one!
Take the time to attend sessions. Sit next to someone interesting. Introduce yourself. Attending educational sessions is the best investment sales teams can make at HIMSS. Plus, it might make you smarter.
Mistake #7: Negative Selling
Talk your company up, not others down. Negative selling never works. And it especially doesn’t work at HIMSS. Enough said.
Mistake #8: Keeping Your Company’s Presence a Secret
You’ve invested time, money, and effort into HIMSS. Why not shell out a few more bucks to let everyone know? Direct mail is back. E-mail campaigns and promotions help. Unless attendees know you’re there, you’ll get lost in the noise.
And remember to attach promotion to your HIMSS efforts, and some emotion to your promotion. Give attendees a reason to visit your booth. And have some fun!
Mistake #9: Confusing Signage
OK, this mistake is usually made by the marketing folks and not sales. But confusing signage is a nuisance to everyone. Your company has less than three seconds to tell HIMSS attendees what you do. Make those three seconds count! Keep signage brief and communicate in familiar industry terms.
Mistake #10: Not Making Appointments
Failing to make one-on-one appointments with customers and prospects at HIMSS is inexcusable. Even if your company doesn’t have access to the pre-show attendee list, just call them! See if they are going. If your direct contact is not going, chances are that someone from their organization is. Call and introduce yourself. Schedule a cup of coffee or have a drink.
Reach out and touch someone before the conference. Because once everyone is in Vegas, it is too late.
Good luck. Have fun. Make the most of HIMSS. It only happens once a year!
Beth Friedman, RHIT is president of The Friedman Marketing Group of Atlanta, GA.
EHR Systems Can Be “Genius” to Use
By Seth Henry
In proper accordance to government regulations, approximately 50% of doctors’ offices nationwide have implemented some form of electronic health record (EHR) system. However, of these, only 25% have adopted the technology to serve in a meaningful and useful way. Most managers understand the mandatory changes that are underway, and in many cases, have begun the critical transition to these systems. Even if users have implemented the proper technology, they may be unsure of how to effectively incorporate it into their daily protocol or how to operate them with maximum benefits.
Compounding the financial investments required to implement an EHR system, there is an average of 1,000 hours of data entry required within the first year of adoption. Doctors and their staff are already pressed for time and money and do not have the proper resources to accomplish this tedious but crucial task. Moreover, they need to be focused on their real job – providing quality healthcare to patients.
The good news is that EHR systems can become user-friendly with the addition of proper infrastructure. Comparable to personal technologies, EHRs originate as a generic platform, with the responsibility of the owner to engage with the product to create a usable, tailored system.
Compare your iPod to that of your friends. No two are exactly alike after you each have the opportunity to personalize and import desired features and applications. Electronic health record systems are similar. They start with standard capabilities and can be uniquely personalized and adapted to meet individual facility requirements. The EHR technology requires applications to make them accommodate the needs for users to engage with the system on a daily basis to further benefit patients.
The most formidable part of any technical change is the actual use of the product and gaining consensus amongst the staff to implement it accurately and consistently. EHR professionals are constantly looking for better ways to educate, counsel, and instruct their client facilities on the technology as together they identify the most meaningful way to apply the tailored applications.
Taking a bite out of Apple’s famously coined “Genius Bar,” functional, hands-on training and support is the cornerstone to the successful use and implementation of any new product integration. The “Genius Bar” adapts the concept found at global Apple retail stores: in-person assistance for product-related education. Technology providers are retaining onsite, dedicated experts equipped with the skills, solutions, and passion for information sharing to guide facility staff through the program until they are 100%autonomous.
A single-style teaching approach is not an acceptable resolution to ensuring total integration of these technical upgrades. Thoroughly educating users in a personalized method, void of time constraints, will enable them to be properly trained to engage with the systems. Not everyone responsible for use will learn in the same manner or adapt as quickly as others. Therefore, the “Genius Bar” solution allows hands-on training and a continuous resource for resolving practical issues encountered as they implement the systems.
When the facility staff and doctors are comfortable with using the products, they are more inclined to incorporate the processes into their daily routines. In-person, ongoing support from their “Genius Bar” representative will help facilitate a smooth transition and implementation process.
The real benefit of an EHR system lies in generating, analyzing, and, ultimately using patient information to directly improve overall patient care. Tailored applications that enhance the EHR technology allow facilities and users to employ the appropriate features and accommodate their needs without the high cost of in-house IT infrastructure and staffing.
With the value of applying customizable, intuitive features, internal office support, and the help of the “Genius Bar” staff, facilities can succeed in long-term implementation and meaningful use of electronic health records.
Seth Henry is founder and president of Arcadia Solutions of Burlington, MA.