Thursday, November 28, 2013


We set aside only one day a year for Thanksgiving. It has always been a wonderful day. I know, because Thelma and I again will be flying up north to be with our children and grandchildren. 

We, as citizens in the United States of America, have more to be grateful for than those in any other country. We can express our opinion on any subject; we can be a Republican, a Democrat, or stand by ourselves. This is a luxury and when you see what happens in many other countries, say, “Thank you.”

The Houses of Worship all set aside this day for special services. We understand and appreciate the many blessings of being a citizen in the United States.

My wife and I are octogenarians. We have lived through a severe depression in the 1930s, World War II and several minor wars. I have questioned why we were involved in a few of these, but never have I failed to support the country. I am a WWII veteran, and I can only praise our military for how much they have accomplished. I do think that we have prevented WWIII, and pray that it will never happen.

Our country has gyrated financially through many smaller “depressions” and now we are watching the stock market explode.

Please use Thanksgiving for the purpose it was intended. Be grateful for what you have. Be satisfied that no matter what happens, your fellow citizens will be there to support you.

Yes, there are still many people seeking employment. Yes, we still have troops in foreign countries. But YES, the United Sates is still the home of the free and the brave. AMEN!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Customer Service

Customer service is more than just saying “Please” and “Thank you”! It is a reflection of everything your company does. You have to train every member of your staff how to work with your customers, be it in person or on the phone.

You and your employees are under constant scrutiny. Your clientele all carefully review each transaction, every conversation, and every phone call. It is incredibly important that your company develop customer service as its primary objective of achievement. This cannot be purchased. It must be developed!

We have spoken with many providers throughout the country about customer service and it appears that the further a company has developed the fine art of customer service, the more successful that company is.

When we broached this to dealers on the Medtrade floor in Orlando, we recognized what separated the more successful operations from the others. The more successful principals all made it a point to hold regularly scheduled meetings with their employees, including the vehicle drivers and the clean-up people - everyone! The topic of each was Customer Service, and as a consequence, they developed a real team attitude from their employees.

The continued growth of your company depends on you and everyone on your staff!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Cash OTC Sales

Somehow the term “cash sales” seems to have vanished. I know I use this expression often in these blogs. So here is a reminder: “A cash sale is when the customer purchases the product they need and cash exchanges hands.” Simple, isn’t it? No paper work, no CMN, no prescription! The customer walks out happy and the dealer smiles and says thank you.

Target and Walmart stores are great examples of pure OTC retail operations. Every item on display is in an identified section of the showroom with an affixed price tag. The customer does not have to seek out an item; the signs are like magnets drawing the shoppers to make a purchase. 

Here is the challenge: Visit all the local supermarkets in your community and see how they display their wares. Find the time to walk through the other retail stores on Main Street or in your local shopping mall. How does your company stack up against what they offer?

Your company has an excellent reputation in town. You belong to the Chamber of Commerce; you are a member of Rotary, Kiwanis, or other civic club. You support many church activities. You work with the schools and libraries, and you personally are recognized as a leader. All of this helps develop good will that will enable you to make many additional OTC cash sales.

I would like to hear from you. Please tell me about some of the programs you developed to build OTC cash sales. Most of the marketing ideas I have reported in these blogs were from dealers who used them to succeed.

Please E-mail them to me (  Thank you.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Job Descriptions

We recently wrote a special blog entitled “Write A Business Plan.” I am adding another few words to that which I neglected to include. As an industry, we have done everything possible to get new legislation passed and the “competitive bid” eliminated. However, if we are unable to accomplish this, then we will just have to change how we operate and solicit new business. 

Since my business history goes way back to post WWII, I realized that I was constantly changing my approach to the market. The country has always been in constant rotations, and I experienced several downturns and a few wars, all of which made a big difference in how businesses stayed solvent. But no matter what happens, currently I see many opportunities in 2014 to grow and flourish.

As you prepare your operation for next year, take a very good look at each of your employees, including your driver! Be honest with yourself. Are your employees being paid a salary that reflects their value to your company? Every time I visited a dealer, I brought this subject up. To make my point I will quote Elbert Hubbard: “People who never do any more than they get paid for never get paid for any more than they do.” 

I recognize this as an appropriate comment to report as a result of two conversations I had with company principals I met at Medtrade in Orlando. They had each taken my suggestion about writing job descriptions for their employees. It got them good results! 

Prepare job descriptions so each employee is aware of his or her specialty. They also must be prepared to assist in all operations. When this survey is completed, you will then be able to appreciate their value. Those who exceed your expectation should be rewarded with an increase in salary or two tickets to a theatre or dinner at the best restaurant. 

So here is the dilemma. Is everyone on your pay-role doing all that you expect? Are the self-limiting employees salvageable? Should they be replaced? When we spoke about this problem, each principal decided to have a talk with those employees. They would discuss the growth plans of the company. They would outline rewards if the employee contributed to their success and to leave the unspoken threat of dismissal on the table. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Older Clientele Again

On October 30th, I wrote a blog about the potential of servicing senior citizens, "Older Clientele". Today I received a call from a dealer who assured me that the interest is definitely there. I agree! Building additional sales by working with senior citizens is correct.

The provider who called me operates a company in a midsize town in New England. He asked me what I thought would be the best way to reach this market?

Older clientele are a little different, so the best way to cater to this segment of the market is to change a few things in your showroom. These potential customers are probably peers with your parents, so when you see what your folks like and do, there is some of the answer.

Most senior citizens are members of a house of worship senior group. I never realized before I looked into this that there are so many “elder” clubs and they all have a large number of attendees.

Make contact with one and offer to sponsor the “coffee and doughnuts” at a meeting. This is a rather a small investment, but it develops a fine ROI. Tell them you would like to speak about products and some ideas for safety and comfort in the home. Bring speakers from the various companies whose products you handle. 

I also suggest you run a special advertisement in your local newspaper for 12 weeks. Arrange to have your ad always appear in the same place. When I was a DME dealer, I always placed my ads on the obituary page. Those ads were always successful. Each quarter, I offered a different comfort item. One quarter we featured a Ride-a-Stair unit, another time a great hospital type bed, then a new tub, and even an exercise bicycle. They were all OTC cash sale items!

There are so many similar comfort items, all comparatively inexpensive and are over the counter cash sales. Very often, some of our senior citizens told us about an item they saw and we followed all these up as leads. We ended up selling very expensive mattresses. Via word of mouth, we developed a very excellent following. Our store became an attractive place to see what we displayed.

When I or one of my staff went to a meeting, the comments were always “great ad” and became a trademark for my company. By always having our advertisement placed on the obituary page, it was seen by all the readers.

Monday, November 11, 2013

All Alone

Today DME/HME is looking at a new industry. What you did yesterday may no longer be applicable anymore. Reimbursements for services provided by CMS and Medicare are greatly reduced and they want to chop them down even further. Very often, the profits are so small that it becomes ludicrous. They are opening new “territories” via the “Competitive Bid” and many more dealers may be forced out of business.
But you are not ALL ALONE! DME/HME will continue to flourish, and you will always stay in business, solvent, and growing. You will become a marketer. You will take the role of a leader, and your company will be at the forefront of change.
Look around! Are the automobiles being sold the same way they were 10 or 15 years ago? Basically they are, but the manufacturers are offering them very differently. Price has always been a factor for any product but never has that stopped someone from purchasing the vehicle they like and want.
The grocery super-markets address this problem in an interesting fashion. Buy one – get one (BO-GO)! This is really new, with a history of perhaps only five or six years.  Now they want you to purchase two of something when you only needed one. I approve of this because it makes you think about how, why, or where to shop.
Special sales running from midnight to 9:00 AM or similar hours are also effective. These attract shoppers and give the impression they are giving away the store - they aren’t! They want you to come to their showroom. I spoke with a manager at one of the local department stores and he told me that for every “bargain” item purchased, two or more other items were also sold.
Don’t stand all alone. Work with your vendors and prepare better and bigger promotions. Look for new items that will fit your company, as we have been saying - OTC CASH SALES. Become the leader in your community and become the BEST marketer possible.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


We are so close to getting the obnoxious “competitive bid” legislation changed, but we still must rattle every congressman’s office. There is only a short period of time remaining before Congress leaves DC and the legislators return home for the Holidays. Yes, tempus fugit.

Our voice must be heard NOW. I am frightened when I think of the alternative. The existing Competitive Bid is now beginning to cover the country. It must be stopped!

Henry Kissinger reminded me that, “The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously.”  If we fail in our efforts to get HR1717 onto the floor of congress and passed, what is the alternative?

I will not answer that question! You each must! As far as I am concerned, I will never slow down or cease my activities to get the yoke currently around our necks changed to the fair MPP legislation (HR1717). WE CAN ACCOMPLISH THAT!

I refer you to the recent blogs which I called “80/20” and “This Very Moment!” I sent them as a call to arms. If everyone who reads these blogs will do as I ask, make those phone calls, our voices will be heard.

I am confident that we can win. As I see what dealers and providers are doing, I get very excited. A group of dealers in Jacksonville got together and met with both Senators and their Congressman’s staff to present a list of the difficulties for the recipients and beneficiaries of Medicare - I am sorry to say that it is a long list. The problems experienced by the seniors, the infirm, and bed ridden American citizens who depend on Medicare is a nightmare. The legislators were not aware of most of this, therefore to succeed we all must continue our efforts to make these issues known to our elected officials.

Vince Lombardi said “Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.” Therefore, we must score now and then we can relax.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

This Very Moment!

The previous blog we posted (80/20) asked that we ALL work together and do everything in our power to get

out of committee on to the floor of Congress and passed. 

When you finish reading this blog, please pick up the phone and call your Representative, STAT.  The local address and phone number is listed in the telephone directory. Let his staff know how upset your customers are and how they are grumbling about the problems the Competitive Bid has created, the difficulty all your patients have because of the lack of service, and the time spent traveling or locating a vendor. It is imperative that these issues be reported.

Ask them to support HR1717. 

Congress will be closing their doors in a very few days for the Holidays. They must be informed how the average senior citizen and bed-ridden folks will be affected. They all vote, and you would be proud to announce that their Congressman is on their side. You will become a “cheerleader” and will let all your clientele know that their Congressman supported HR1717.

They vote, you vote, your employees vote! You will see to it that your customers, patients and family caregivers will also be their supporters. 


Monday, November 4, 2013


There are only a few days remaining in 2013 to reach your Congressman. It is imperative that you contact your elected representative in Washington before Thanksgiving and Christmas. We failed dismally last year to get the bill to replace the Competitive Bid legislation passed on the floor of congress. 

Certainly AAHomecare, the state DME associations, HMENews, HomeCareMagazine and VGM, worked as hard as they possibly could last year, but we all failed to get the new legislation out to become the law. This year they are working even harder. They are the 20% who try and the other 80% who sit and watch must become active.
Today we have a major challenge! There are only a few weeks remaining to get
out of committee and to Congress to be passed.

As I view this situation it becomes more clear that the 80/20 count seems to dominate. Out of every 100 DME/HME dealers who should be battling with every bit of strength they have, only 20 are truly fighting. The other 80 must get up and speak up to get HR 1717 passed.

This is directed to those 80 dealers who are sitting back and waiting. Become active STAT. Don’t wait until you are driven out of business. Get on the phone and call your Congressman ASAP. Speak to the local office manager. Leave a message for the HLA and to the team in DC.  We must work hard to pass this legislation.

It is vital that every Medicare or Medicaid recipient and senior citizen is able shop where they wish. As the balance of the country is added to participate under the Competitive Legislation, it will be too late.

Need I say more?