• By: Kriss Barlow, RN, MBA | kbarlow@barlowmccarthy.com Right wrong or otherwise, we all make snap judgments when we meet new people. Last week I needed help from an airline gate agent and here’s what happened: I approached the counter ready to beg, cajole and flaunt my frequent flyer status as I wanted to get home on an earlier flight. As I approached the counter, the gate agent looked up immediately, smiled and asked how she could help in a warm and engaging way. She listened fully to my request and then said, “Let’s see what we can do to make that happen.” The interaction was all of three minutes and yet, it left me feeling positive, I know her name

    Feb 01,
  • By: Jeff Cowart, MAH | jcowart@barlowmccarthy.com The beginning of a new year, the launch of a new goal, a significant change in direction – all of these are opportunities for reflection on where we’ve been and where we’re going. Usually, this reflection is accompanied by resolutions, declarations of new direction, and a burst of new energy. Too often, however, this process quickly devolves into disruption at the hands of the mundane, the heavy tug of the status quo, and the loss of traction toward our new goals. Then the malaise and disappointment of failure starts to hover and nag. Why is this cycle so familiar? The truth is, the cycle has nothing to do with our good intentions nor our

    Jan 25,
  • By: Susan Boydell | sboydell@barlowmccarthy.com The Head Coach of USC’s football team once said, “It’s not about telling a wide receiver how to run. He can do that on his own. It’s pointing out open spots on the field to run to of which he might not have thought” It’s a perspective you get only from the sideline. Managing any team requires work.  Some might say the work involved in managing a sales team is among the hardest. So, what makes a great field manager?  Great question.  Think back on all your great teachers, bosses, leaders – you know, the ones you will always remember.  What made them great?  What made them memorable? The answer is probably not the same

    May 25,
  • By: Allison McCarthy, MBA and Mike Harristhal, MBA “To study the abnormal is the best way of understanding the normal.” -- William James Determining demand/supply is still relevant in today’s medical staff development plans.  But, this is only one set of analytics used to determine the organization’s recruitment needs. The medical staff development planning process can include additional components, beyond the community need analysis, to bring greater precision to the final recruitment recommendations.  Among these can be: Physician Alignment: Determining the proportion of practices “owned” by one entity over another within a market region can help to assess the organization’s ability to drive referrals and market share. This can be particularly important in highly competitive markets within in the primary

    May 25,
  • By: Kriss Barlow, RN, MBA | kbarlow@barlowmccarthy.com "One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say." - Bryant H. McGill The very best tool of a field rep is their ability to effectively initiate, guide and manage a conversation toward the desired outcome. Conversation is not a one-sided monologue; we get that. But, many field reps do love to talk and likely do a little more of it than they should. Experts suggest that in a sales call you should talk about 20 percent of the time. I suspect many field reps would be doing well to talk only 40 percent of the time.  Add to it, most people underestimate their talk

    May 25,
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    Apr 25,
  • By: Kriss Barlow, RN, MBA | kbarlow@barlowmccarthy.com It’s not about having the right opportunities. It’s about handling the opportunities right.” -Mark Hunter Creating and growing physician relationships is not for the faint of heart and all signs point to a more challenging future process. Leaders and field members alike look for ways to be motivated – to enhance the experience of the practices and maintain personal energy amid routines and recognized barriers. Consider motivators in two categories. First are those that must be in place to feel value and work-life equity. The second category includes more innovative energizers. These can be customized to the individual, team and your environment. Foundations for a motivated team Compensation. While money will not fix

    Mar 29,
  • By: Susan Boydell | sboydell@barlowmccarthy.com “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra I want you to think about your average week in the field. You’re in your car driving from one office to the next. Some visits go as expected, others go better than expected, and then there are those loser visits. When you get to the end of the week did you accomplish what you planned to accomplish? The answer is probably not. It’s funny how things happen on Monday’s that completely derail what we planned the rest of the week. If this is you (I believe it’s the majority of us!), take yourself through the following three steps to

    Jan 31,
  • By: Kriss Barlow, RN, MBA | kbarlow@barlowmccarthy.com “Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.” -- Tony Robbins “I just want a precious few minutes…” Field staff crave time with prospective physicians and it gets harder and harder to come by. When the meeting happens, you generally have two choices: 1) Tell them all you want them to know, or 2) Ask a good question and hope for a meaningful conversation now or later. Which choice defines you today? The internal pressure is to tell. But, we need a little information gathering to uncover what they want to know. Think back to your teenage years to recall a parent telling something we did not much

    Nov 23,
  • By: Ruth Padilla Portacci, MA | rpadilla@barlowmccarthy.com “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself.” – Peter Drucker Recently we consulted with a large physician group who asked for our expertise in evaluating their current marketing direction.  While they were doing a lot of things well, two of the more obvious issues centered on their deeper understanding of the marketplace and the relevancy of their current marketing campaigns. No one underestimates the fact that practice life is busy and, more often than not, hospital marketing teams are trying to take on that function for their physician groups on top of already full plates. Marketing campaigns

    Sep 26,
  • By: Susan Boydell | sboydell@barlowmccarthy.com "We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are." - Max de Pree I almost hate to start this article out with the word “change” because it seems to be all we hear about in the world of health care these days.  In fact, the words “change” and “health care” sort of go hand-in-hand. Having just attended the 2016 SHSMD Connections conference in Chicago, everyone is talking about change.  As our organizations are deep into transforming the way health care is delivered, we must engage in the same transformation to remain relevant.  Just about every session I attended at SHSMD started off with the need to do things differently.  So, what

    Sep 26,
  • By: Kriss Barlow, RN, MBA | kbarlow@barlowmccarthy.com Our culture is all about shallow relationships. But that doesn't mean we should stop looking each other in the eye and having deep conversations. -Francis Chan As physician relationship specialists you’ve heard it or maybe even said it: “We are just not getting quality time with our doctors.”  Even the very best field visit might not be one where you get the kind of time that you want. Sometimes it’s because what we’ve been talking about lacks relevancy for the party on the receiving end. Too much telling may mean too little listening and a failure to hear their needs and aspirations. At a time when physicians need to maximize their efficiency, here

    Sep 26,
  • By: Susan Boydell  |  sboydell@barlowmccarthy.com "The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been." -Henry A. Kissinger One of the toughest parts about physician relations is managing a field team. Or, to be more specific, how do you get better results in an increasingly difficult field environment? You’ve got talented, experienced field staff, but you just aren’t getting the big wins that you used to. The first question to ask is whether or not it’s time to change your field approach. Is the team doing the right things to get the right results? Start by doing a quick and easy assessment of your field strategies. Here’s a simple checklist

    Mar 28,
  • By: Kriss Barlow, RN, MBA | kbarlow@barlowmccarthy.com “In a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.” -Warren Buffett Healthcare is changing. Tell me something I don’t know, right! We strive to stay in step as physician relations grapples with market alignment and the impact of population health. All eyes are on defining a model positioned for the future. But a bigger challenge might be the people.  After all, this is a people-driven role. At a personal level what is your aptitude to change? Here are some key elements: Manage your lizard brain. I am referring to that part of us that is most concerned with survival. We are comfortable and

    Mar 24,
  • By: Susan Boydell [box] "Live begins at the end of your comfort zone." - Neale Donald Walsch [/box] For all of us who have been doing physician relations field work for a while (it’s good for the newbies too) routineness is a reality! In spite of all the pressure to produce results, we tend to fall into a pattern of doing what we’ve always done. This is the year to rethink our field approach and move out of our comfort zone. What worked in the past might still work but is it still going to get the best results? Here are five areas to consider as you look closer at your physician conversations. Think about what you might want to change

    Jan 25,
  • By: Kriss Barlow, RN, MBA [box]"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." -Benjamin Franklin[/box] I suspect everyone who has spent time in a growth role – relations, recruitment, marketing or business development – has energetically gone to market only to find out that the internal team was not quite ready to respond to the new business. Oh, sometimes they can respond in “their time frame.” Or perhaps you have an internal audience just jazzed about a new product, but none of your practices have any interest. Best-practice organizations employ operational readiness tools to ensure the product is vetted and internal players are committed before time and energy is expended. In today’s environment you may only get one chance

    Nov 19,
  • By: Kriss Barlow, RN, MBA [box]“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs is making a chore for the reader who reads.” -Dr. Seuss[/box] Logically, we recognize the best way to capture an audience’s attention is to craft a message that resonates. Clearly, our advertising partners have “mastered the message.” Professional promoters know how to deliver the right message with the right medium to the right audience in a way that grabs and sustains interest. Why not use the same approach? As we work to connect with our medical staff and referring physicians, we can take a few pointers from the pros. Here are five tips to consider as you craft your communications or design your physician relations conversations.

    Sep 23,
  • By: Susan BoydellIt’s not that physicians don’t want to meet with you; it’s that they have too many competing priorities. The only way to get to the top of the list is to provide value.Lately, when I talk with physician liaisons about the most difficult part of selling, the consistent response is “getting time with physicians.” In the past I expected that response from new liaisons in the early stages of building relationships and establishing trust with physicians.  However, today, I hear that response frequently from well-established field reps (who may not have had that issue in the past). What’s changed?  Well, you can probably answer that in two words: Employment and Productivity. Think about it. Because more physicians are

    Sep 23,
  • By: Kriss Barlow, RN, MBA“Being aware of your fear is smart. Overcoming it is the mark of a successful person.” --Seth GodinIt’s human nature to want to feel respected and valued for the work we do. However, for some physician strategy roles, positive affirmation is hard to get!  Let’s face it: Working with physicians can be rugged, and yet the bigger challenge often ends up being relationships with the internal team or leaders. Perhaps it’s time to change it up and create a plan to define or (re-define) your internal image.How am I perceived?Take the time to do a personal assessment.  If you have 360’s at your organization, use them to help you jump-start the process. Consider the categories of

    Mar 17,
  • By: Susan Boydell“Learning from mistakes and constantly improving products is a key in all successful companies.” -- Bill Gates“I would love to use you, but you just make it too difficult.” I’m guessing that all of you have heard that at least once, and some of you may have heard it all too often.  Is it possible to turn a problem into an opportunity?  Absolutely.  In fact, I would recommend you embrace the chance to turn a negative situation around.  Every time a physician takes the time to share what’s not working and why, it’s a gift of insight that can help you improve operations.  Now you know what they need and how you can meet that need -- even

    Mar 17,
  • By: Kriss Barlow, RN, MBA | kbarlow@barlowmccarthy.com I just heard it from a Vice President this morning, “The pressure is on to make sure physician relations is delivering the right results.” Teams are fine-tuning their analytics, field skills, and metrics and really ratcheting up the talent. The result? We’re ready for success- or are we? Maximum field effort gets business to the door. But, have you ever crossed your fingers or said a little prayer that someone answers and tends to their referral needs when your prospect calls? We all have. Granted, physician relations staff can’t over-promise, yet internal obligations can make or break the difference. Here are a few of the tried and true internal alignment needs that support

    Nov 08,
  • By: Kriss Barlow RN, MBA | kbarlow@barlowmccarthy.com As summer wraps up we have fresh memories of getting in and out of very hot cars, people you need being away on vacation and the daily distractions of summer. We all have positive and not so positive things about our jobs. But these are not necessarily the same as feeling unhappy in the job. Forbes reports that three of four employees report that their boss is the worst and most stressful part of their job. Doing sales calls in a hot car has nothing on this stat! This is a tender topic to even write about. No leader sets out to demotivate their staff. Managers want to be successful and they

    Sep 13,
  • By: Kriss Barlow, RN, MBA | kbarlow@barlowmccarthy.com No doubt about it. Today’s gatekeepers are more impenetrable than ever. We can blame it on pressures in the practice, or more “office visitors” than they can manage. But, let’s face it, their issues become our issue. Most field staff need to get past a gatekeeper to get to the right audience, so it is part of the job. Take a minute to consider your track record in the last six months. What’s a Rep to Do? Step one is to recognize that getting through is your obligation. Your organization has hired you for meaningful conversations with doctors. If you are working on leakage, referral growth or market softening, the physician is the

    Jul 26,
  • By: Kriss Barlow, RN, MBA | kbarlow@barlowmccarthy.com The word “sales” has a negative connotation for many.  That disappoints many of us who work so hard to do it right. Having said that, I suspect we can all share a time when we were on the receiving end of an individual who totally owned the phase “slimy sales.” Think, “What would it take to get you to drive this car off the lot today?” Nobody intends to be a turn-off, yet not every field approach creates a positive feeling or trust. As I share a few of the sales styles that go too far, take a minute to examine your approach. Are there times when borderline approaches creep into your conversations?

    Jun 13,
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