Physician Relations: Rainmakers... or Noisemakers

Physician Relations Rainmakers... or noisemakersBy: Kriss Barlow, RN, MBA |

These are old expressions with current meaning for physician relations. I recently connected with a group of program leaders. It’s always humbling to hear the everyday realities in business development and marketing. The takeaways were abundant. At the forefront is the question on how to develop talent and… does the current talent want to develop?

Noisemakers are those individuals who are quick to call out what everyone else is not doing, especially within the organization. Sometimes they rely on that “our market is different” theme to validate why the visits and results are not where they should be. Or, they willingly take on other tasks so leaders will excuse their lack of field results. They make noise rather than owning the pressure to meet performance goals.

Rainmakers represent the organization at the right level. They recognize that growth is the No. 1 priority and the reason they are in the role. They commit to earning referrals through a relationship strategy. Gone are the days when a rainmaker was just a good schmoozer. Today’s rainmaker takes the obligation for growth very seriously. They realize the organization depends on them to make the connection to this valuable customer group and that the organization needs the right growth.

  1. Physician relations success depends on the right talent. This is complicated because field staff work very independently. They often work for talented leaders who have never sold, have multiple responsibilities and multitask every day, all day. Multitasking and field sales are not compatible. Even great talent wanders without clear direction from their leaders.
  1. Field talent development is limited within healthcare. Many teams lack in-the-field oversight and are deficient in providing the right training. Field staff rarely feel like they need training. Leaders defer to the field staff and the staff are hesitant to admit that they are not great in the field. Would you?
  1. Patterns develop. Good people start their physician relations jobs with the very best intentions. It’s not about their hearts and their commitment, it’s their everyday actions and attitudes.

Where’s your program? Where are you at a personal level? 

It’s hard to change personal habits. Often, it starts with an assessment. Here’s a simple rainmaker assessment to determine where you are today. I have listed several attributes of rainmakers. Score your program, members of your team, or yourself.

  1. Priority is always meeting program/personal goals
  2. Fishes in the right pond using every tool available to target
  3. Actively engages in meaningful dialogue with the prospective physician
  4. Defines success by productivity goals vs. activity and discovering problems
  5. Efficient and effective in the field
    1. Never calls on a decision maker without a written pre-call plan
    2. Concentrates on the customer, asks probing, preplanned questions
    3. Listens to what the customer says, clarifies, summarizes and progresses
    4. Rainmakers say “you” rather than “we” or “I”
  6. Personally takes the lead in understanding healthcare change and trends. Engages in these discussions with practices to advocate externally and provides strategic intelligence internally
  7. Great communicator internally and with the customer. Uses data, stories, dashboards and special reports to show impact and voice of customer
  8. Does not use excuses when the goal is not met. Rainmakers meet their goals and if not they recognize it was their loss.

How did you score?  Were you able to resist making excuses if the answer did not match what you hoped? Human nature, I get that!  The real challenge for many organizations is that they have invested in this model because they want volume growth.  Success means we deliver what they need.


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