Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Shelly Looks Back: Opportunities

It’s fascinating how one thing can lead to another. Previously I wrote briefly about “opportunities” for DME/HME providers and when it was completed, I realized how big the potential market could be for your company. So along the same idea of soliciting new sales, here is another “door opener".

At one time, in my more than 65+ year career, I was a partner in an Ambulance and Oxygen Supply company.  Our company was awarded the bid to supply and service oxygen cylinders for the police and fire departments. The empty cylinders were brought in once a week, refilled and exchanged the next trip. The best thing that happened was that the various related OTC items they purchased brought in as many dollars as did the contract.

My company built these sales into a major new source of income: EMT squads. Most policemen and fire fighters are trained to give emergency medical treatment and so they, too, are EMTs. Most of them purchased their supplies from a catalog. I obtained a catalog and it was very obvious that we handled nearly all these products. 

This is why we very aggressively jumped into this new segment. We went to the local college and, with their help, hired a very fine young person. We offered an entry-level job and it very rapidly grew into a career.

In our showroom we scheduled a monthly Saturday morning demo. The new “hire” invited the vendor sales reps to set up displays.  It was wonderful to see how quickly this caught on and word of mouth brought more attendees each time.

Once every quarter, we made arrangements to offer a training class for the EMT’s at a local hotel. We charged a modest fee which included lunch. We learned that the fee made it important to attend (no cost=no value). The meetings were scheduled from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.  The average attendance was more then 120 policemen, firemen, and EMTs.

What was so rewarding is that we had no problem obtaining speakers. We invited emergency room physicians, nurses, and officers from the squads. They were delighted and we developed a list of professionals who were very pleased to be asked. We even made arrangements for a local company to sell appropriate books.

Yes, marketing EMT supplies became one of our best sources of sales and brought us many “thank you” comments. The local newspaper wrote an article about our classes, which pleased us very much.

This is just another way to develop OTC cash sales!

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