Thursday, June 27, 2013

Over the Counter Cash Sales

What percentage of your daily sales are OTC cash?  I hope a great deal.  I wonder how you monitor and control your cash flow; you should have a record of every sale and how the funds were handled.

Does the customer use a credit card?
Do they pay by check?
Was it a cash sale?

How is each transaction entered? Does the salesperson ring up each sale in a cash register? Was the customer provided with a receipt? There has to be a record showing how the money was handled.

My recommendation is that each salesperson working in your showroom should have a book of numbered invoices. Every sale, even if it is for a single cane tip, must be recorded. The original invoice is given to the customer.

The register should record all sales, whether OTC, charge account or cash! (I visited with a dealer who uses a cash box!).  It has to be capable of printings receipts of all transactions in duplicate. Then, your record of every invoice or receipt, cash sale or other, can have a copy stapled to it.

Each evening, the books must be reviewed to be sure that every transaction has been recorded. If it was a credit card transaction, that is easy to follow. If paid by check, no problem. The number of the check must be shown on the invoice. If you were paid with cash, be sure that was recorded as such.

I realize that if you have a dishonest employee, this person will find a way to fleece you, but by putting in checks and balances, you remove the temptation.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Customer Service

I often write about customer service from a dealer’s point of view. Today, I will speak about this from the customer’s vantage. Does your customer see you as a friend or as just another merchant?
While waiting for the principal of a DME company one afternoon, I witnessed an irate customer complaining to a sales clerk about a product they purchased. The item was not satisfactory and it did not do what they anticipated from the advertising. The sales clerk was adamant. He said they do not guarantee the product and that the customer should contact the manufacturer. The customer felt that the dealer should stand behind all products they sell.
How would you have handled this situation?
A dealer is not responsible for the manufacturer’s claims, but the dealer has to be sympathetic to the customer. He wants them to come back again.
Thinking about the customer, this salesperson then offered to contact the manufacturer on behalf of his customer. He called while his customer waited.
Explaining to the person who answered the phone who he is and the name of the company. He said he was calling on behalf of his customer. In that fashion he changed the direction of the customer’s ire. This phone call provided the customer with the directions to return the product.
I was impressed by how this clerk handled the situation and congratulated him. The principal said that all of his staff members have the ability to make a decision and he would always back them up. Their object was to maintain the goodwill of the customer.
How you look from the customer's perspective is important. Do they see you as just another merchant or are you looked upon as the professional you are? When you have satisfied customers, they spread the word and there is no better advertising then that for your company!

At last year's Fall Medtrade I sat in on seminar about customer service. Several speakers offered that topic and each had a full house. I anticipate you will be able to learn a great deal from seminars such as these at Medtrade in Orlando, October 8-10.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Note today’s date, June  20, 2013.

On behalf of every HME/DME dealer and provider, AA Homecare has filed a lawsuit asking that the scheduled July 1 expansion of the Medicare competitive bidding program be stopped!

In the laws, there are serious licensing irregulations.  The list goes on and does an excellent job showing many reasons why this must happen and the expansion must be stopped.


The future for every DME/HME provider is at stake.  Get behind AA Homecare now.  Become a dues paying member, contact your representatives, share your patients' stories.  It is the only way to protect your business.

I repeat this is CALL TO ACTION!  Do it now!

Your New Salesperson, Part 2

This post is a continuation of the previous blog, Your New Salesperson, Part 1.

In order for your new employee to be successful, they must know everything possible about the company.  Knowledge is power! This is imperative and must include meeting and working with each current member of your staff. What has always made me proud is when someone new joins the team, and every one on staff wants to share their role with them.

As the principal of the company, you must be fully aware of the job descriptions for each employee. However, there are also many small skills they have of which you may not be aware. When they are given the green light to help train the new associate they become a superb and effective teacher.

Be sure you meet with both the staff member and the new employee regularly to review progress and determine how quickly they are qualifying!  Another important step is for you to personally bring your new hire to meet several of the company’s major accounts. This reflects well on the company!

If you have any sales people currently on the road, arrange for the new hire to ride shotgun with them (listen and learn). This is a vital step in training. This increases the ability for them to meld into their role and demonstrate how to make a call (education). I have not spoken about reimbursement. Work with your accountant to develop an equitable salary, etc.

The balance lies on your shoulders. You must prepare and assign a territory delegating whom to see and where to go. The next major problem is providing literature, price sheets, and sales material. I recommend that you ask the various manufacturer reps to meet the new member and travel with them. After that, watch the sales and profits grow!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


It appears that a great many of us are looking at LinkedIn and other similar programs as a source for information. They are! I look into these daily as well. I make sure I read nearly every question and thought sent by DME/HME providers. However, I only respond to a very few.

It is much easier for me (and for you) to use the tools that are readily available. When Homecare Magazine and HMENews arrive, I read just about every word they publish. To me it is like attending two different classes in school. I save them and constantly find myself looking back at them to find the answers I seek (prepared by recognized experts).

One publication (HMENews), reports current events with details about things you must really be aware of. The other (HomeCare Magazine) is like a textbook prepared for a university, chock full of articles that are guides to use in your location! Each provides you with much information and many good ideas.

Our industry is fighting many battles and in order to be victorious we must all work together. I receive the e-mail bulletins from many state DME associations. They are superlative and provide a great deal of advice. I know how much they mean to their members. They have made our industry move forward, for which we must all be grateful. Yes, ours is a fortunate industry!

In a previous blog, Your New Salesperson, Part 1, we spoke about other readily available resources. They all are there for you. Participating in these will help you reap many benefits! Also, don't forget to make plans for this fall's Medtrade in Orlando. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013



I once eavesdropped on a conversation at the next table to ours when we stopped for a cup of coffee and heard two women discussing their experience at local DME dealers. It was very embarrassing listening to someone else’s conversation, but I learned something I want to forward to you.

What does a potential customer see when they walk into your showroom? The first impression is the one that lasts the longest, and if it is a negative one, you may not have a new customer. I slowly drank my cup of coffee and it took a great deal of patience not to make any comments to them.

What they discussed: Apparently, one shopped at a large chain DME and the second at an independent local dealer. The first said it was so nice going into a brightly lit store where every thing was nicely displayed with clearly marked pricing and signs inviting browsing. 

The other said that when she went to her dealer’s show room, she was always greeted by name and asked how she felt and how things were at home. She had the feeling that she was a “friend” not just an account, and she felt very comfortable.

The little I overheard made me realize that whether you have a large or a small location does not make a difference. As long as your customer is satisfied. Why anyone would shop at your DME location is based on their first impression! When they enter any showroom there has to be lights. The showroom must be bright and cheerful. There should be signs directing customers to locate what they seek and most importantly there has to be someone to offer service.

At Medtrade in Orlando, there will be several professionals offering classes on marketing. Be sure to attend these and bring as many members of your staff as possible.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Yes, LinkedIn is one of the best ways for DME/HME dealers and providers to communicate with one another. I have signed on with a few different groups just to see what they do. I found a great deal of talent that is very active, and dealers working with one another. This is a very positive accomplishment. At my advanced age, I can only look and very occasionally add a few words. LinkedIn is not for me; it is for each of you! 

It is so imperative that we, as an industry, serving the ill and needy with supplies, must actively join forces. The weekly reports sent by Medtrade, HomeCare Magazine, HMENews, AAHomecare and many state associations should each be carefully studied.

The willingness of the participants who share with others on LinkedIn what they have accomplished is amazing. Rather than keep a successful program or idea a secret, they are passed on to others. This unselfish approach is typical of the average DME/HME dealer. 

The time is NOW for all of us to join hands and communicate with every member of the House of Representatives to get the proposed MPP bill (HR1717) out and voted into law. Tempus fugit and if we delay any longer the opportunity to get the crushing Competitive Bid legislation replaced will fade away.

We can do it! I monitor Florida District 15, where I live and I see how the DME/HME dealers and providers work as a team. They have had fabulous success. Our representative Bill Posey has proven to be a true friend. He has become fully aware of how detrimental the current Competitive Bid is to his constituents. He worries about all the citizens, and is doing something to try and make a change.

There are more than 500 districts in the United States, and each of them has a Representative and many DME/HME providers. I ask that they all get together on the bandwagon before it is too late!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Your New Salesperson, Part 1

Now that our economy is starting to upturn, I would suggest that this is when an additional salesperson should be hired. A good sales force will attract more people and develop additional referrals to your company!

I am aware many of our readers probably already have someone out extolling the virtues of their company. The addition of another outside employee will open new doors! In a very short period, the new hire will replicate what the first has already accomplished. Together, the sky is the limit.

Locating the correct person is never a problem. Go to your local community college to inquire about interviewing interested graduates and students.  Explain that your DME company has an opportunity for an entry-level job, which has the potential to develop into a good career. They will send a few interested students in your direction for an interview.

Let each applicant know about your company. You are seeking an outside salesperson to carry your message. They will bring it to the attention of physicians, nurses, hospitals and other facilities. Be sure they understand that as the company sales grow and profits increase, so will their salaries.

When I ran a branch for a major company, two of my salespeople, via salary and commissions, were earning more than I. That was why our branch was successful. 

In my next blog I will write about training this new hire.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Plan for Tomorrow

It is with a great deal of satisfaction that I am now able to say, “The country is returning to normal.” What is normal?  Perhaps since "normal" does not exist, I should say that we all feel a bit more comfortable for the future of DME/HME.

I see the stock market has reached new heights, homes are beginning to sell again, and new homes are being built. These are positive signs!  There is only a small amount of inflation (and I am watching this), and most important jobs once again are being filled.

I anticipate the banks will soon be loosening up loans to small business, and so it is time to take a good review of where your company stands. Do you want to stay at your current level, or are you looking for a new period of growth?

In the financial magazines and business journals, it appears that everyone is contemplating and preparing for a brighter future. Every DME/HME proprietor must do the same. Now I am being redundant and repetitious, but if you get prepared for the future STAT, this will help aid in your success.      

Review where your profits come from and based on this information see how you can expand these disciplines. Examine what each employee contributes to your company. Determine how all efforts can be improved. If sales have slowed down, consider hiring a new outside sales person. I know many dealers have gone to the local community college to offer an entry-level job. Many of these candidates proved to be winners.

It is not too early to make your plans for Medtrade Fall in Orlando. Registration is open. TODAY is when to plan for tomorrow.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

"I am the HME Industry"

This phrase should be on the lips of every DME/HME dealer or provider. If you do not think that you “Are the HME Industry,” how would you be able to run your company successfully?

We recall Kristi Warner from Ohio and her words (see our May 28 blog). Now Laurie Bachorek from MetroCare Home Medical Equipment in Grand Prairie, Texas, echoes her comments.
MetroCare Home Medical Equipment Team
Laurie pointed out something that happened in round one that not too many providers are aware of: In 2011, MetroCare’s patient census was about 350. In 2012, the first full year of the round one contract, that number jumped to 3,500 Medicare patients – with no up-tick in revenue.”

Every DME/HME provider should study her words: “We are using 75% of our human resources to realize 30% of our revenue.” Can you live with this? Thank you, Laurie Bachorek and Kristi Warner.

Here is something you all should do. Every village, town, city or county has a local newspaper. Just about every word published in these local papers is read by someone. I am suggesting that everyone sit down and write a “Letter to the Editor.” THEY WILL BE PUBLISHED! These types of letters get attention!

If you need any help in preparing your message, please contact your State DME association or AAHomecare.  They will be delighted to provide you with facts and figures. When your clientele sees your “Letter”, they will respond.  They are the soldiers you require in the battle against the Competitive Bid legislation, and will help get MPP passed. DO IT NOW! ! ! !

Monday, June 3, 2013

Does Crime Pay?

"Whistle Blower Earns Almost a Quarter Million Dollars"

I know that crime does not pay;  however, when you report a criminal act, there are rewards.

ADMEA (Alabama Durable Medical Equipment Association) sent this as a message to their members. When I received it, I called Michael Hamilton, ADMEa's Executive Director, to ask if I might share this with our readers.

I will just give you a brief summary. The office of the Inspector General reached a settlement with the company in Illinois and South Carolina that was billing and being reimbursed for TENS units, and other similar products.

I do not know how many dollars they billed or for how long this was going on, but when the whistle blower reported it, this was discovered on the invoices submitted for reimbursement:
  a.) they lacked physician orders
  b.) they lacked the required supporting documentation
  c.) and/or they lacked medical necessity
This whistle blower was rewarded!

I am very aware that the vast majority of DME dealers follow the letter of the law. I have a great deal of pride in our industry. We provide service and care, and a great deal of it is pro-bono! It is the very few “quick buck” operators who are destroying our reputation.

I agree that crime does not pay, but certainly reporting crime does pay. There is nothing to be ashamed of when you do. Speak up; never be hesitant when you discover any dishonesty. Blow the whistle!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Ideas for Developing Sales

I am always delighted when a successful DME/HME entrepreneur shares with me some of his ideas to develop sales. Most of these are very original, based on where the business is located and who their customers are.

I know if you are in Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, or Miami the clientele may seem different. But basically they are all the same; bed ridden, senior citizens, handicapped, and I remind you that many have discretionary dollars available for obtaining comfort items.

I have a friend with a Southern drawl whose company is in a small community in the midst of the Kentucky countryside. On a small local radio station, he bought advertising time. To hear how he sounded please read this sentence with a strong southern accent: “Things mah momma taught me.” This was broadcast during breakfast, lunch, and dinnertime. I listened to several of these and I want you to know that they were a big score for him. All he talked about was basic common sense. His “momma” was the star, but it built his company, as customers from all the outlying communities came to his DME store for their purchases.

From the countryside, let us now move to a DME provider in a suburb of Philadelphia. He realized that there were many churches in the vicinity of his business. To approach members of this market, he prepared a series entitled “How to Do Things” to offer points for discussion.

At first he went to see the local ministers to ask their permission. This was offered with a smile! He was told to work with the head of the men’s or lady’s club. His topics were based on what should be done in a home safely, such as bathing a baby, lifting something heavy or just moving a patient - all simple and basic. He always included emergency first aid, and one that was a real hit: “fixing a boo-boo” when a child took a flop.

These went over so well that he received many invitations to be a speaker at other churches and synagogues. He brought handouts, many he prepared and others from his manufacturers.

It costs very little money to do this type of marketing, and it has a great ROI. The sales people of the companies from whom you obtain your supplies will be able to provide handouts and sometimes they will provide little “goodies” to give attendees. They often will volunteer to demonstrate any items they market.

As you travel to give these talks, the bonus you receive is that the attendees get to know you and your company, and are more likely to return to your business for their DME needs.