Friday, January 30, 2015


HME Expert and Medtrade Ambassador, Shelly Prial
I have personally been involved with the Medtrade Convention, conferences, and meetings since the very first one. I have watched and seen how these grew from “social” get-togethers into the most important meeting that every DME/HME dealer or provider should attend.

This year, we have more threats hanging over the industry than ever before! I will not list them; because if you are not aware of what they are, I shudder at what may happen to your company

But… and this is the key: At Medtrade Spring, you will hear and learn about every threat our industry faces and then how to respond to them. You cannot stand alone any longer. The entire industry must work together or there may not be a tomorrow!

At Medtrade Spring, you will meet the leaders and associations who are fighting diligently on your behalf. They will succeed when all the dealers and providers understand what is happening. Now you all must reach for your checkbooks and give them (AAHomecare and your state DME association) some much-needed support.

My message to you is: “They need your dollars and you need them to speak on your behalf.”

Why Medtrade? Because it is survival!
To get a complimentary Expo Pass, please use the promo code SHELLY at registration. Click Here to Register for Medtrade Spring.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

When Disaster Strikes

The largest blizzard! That is today.
In the past there have been floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and many other unhappy circumstances, which have always been disastrous for a great part of our population and the local businesses.

Photo from
There are a few steps that every dealer must take to protect their companies:

You must protect your records, customer lists, accounts receivable, and accounts payable. List all of these on your computers and maintain an updated backup. Do not keep that disc in your office - bring it home! Keep it updated at all times. A few moments a day will save you many hours of aggravation.

Important documents such as insurance policies, leases, titles for vehicles, etc., should be safely stored in a safe deposit box. One of the DME dealers I have worked with told me he keeps these papers in a fireproof box as well at the bank. My preference is to keep them at your bank!

Have you devised a plan to reach your employees in the event of a disaster? Prepare a communications plan to alert managers and staff.

It is equally important to make sure you have a disk with the telephone number of important clients and that you know where your equipment is being used. Make arrangements to contact each and everyone who has your equipment in the event of an emergency. This will keep them apprised of the situation and make it easy to continue their care while you reestablish your location.

As we said when we were Boy Scouts: “Be Prepared.”

Monday, January 26, 2015


In just about every community, there is a branch of the VNA (Visiting Nurse Association). The nurses who are affiliated should all be your friends. They travel throughout the community, and the service they provide is superb.

One of the DME/HME providers I know shared with me how he was able to make several dozen friends in the VNA. It is a simple means and it does two things: It creates new sales, and generates goodwill.

What he did was obtain a nurse’s over-the-shoulder leather bag. He filled it with an otoscope, an ophthalmoscope, a sphyg, a stethoscope, Taylor and Buck hammers, different size bandage scissors, forceps, a flashlight, thermometers, nail nippers, and so forth. He worked with his vendors and received a variety of product literature to include in the bag. The cooperation and ideas these vendors provided helped him make this bag into a salesman!

He prepared a schedule comparing the price he offered the VNA nurses to the manufacturer’s list price. He then made the rounds of the VNA associations within a close radius to his office.
Upon making these appointments, he left the bag with the office secretary (who agreed to be responsible and monitor the bag) and sufficient order forms. He returned at the end of a week and picked up orders from more than seventy-five percent of the staff, each with a check attached. These orders were all personally delivered.

His only competition for these sales came from “mail-order” companies. He now had a great number of new friends who often stopped by to say “hello” and usually bought something. This dealer made it a point NEVER to ask them to make referrals to their patients, but somehow they always did.

You can do the same with EMT squads, police, and fire departments. At Medtrade Spring in Las Vegas (March 30 - April 1, 2015), at Mandalay Bay Convention Center, you will be able to find many specialty items that will produce more sales and profits.
If you still need to register for Medtrade Spring, use the promo code SHELLY to receive a complimentary Expo Pass. Click Here to Register.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Pending Legislation

Pending legislation does not count! But when we work hard and change “pending” legislation to “passed” legislation, then we will assure ourselves of a better future.

There are two bills pending (once again this word), one in the House of Representatives and the other in the Senate. They MUST be passed. To accommodate this, there has to be a great deal of effort by every dealer.
Your employees, your customers and their family caregivers, should be invited to work with you. They have as much at stake as you do! This is necessary so that we will not see anyone being forced to close their doors!

AAHomecare is leading the effort. Tom Ryan and his team, joined by VGM, are an the forefront. The state DME associations are all on board, and now I ask that every single dealer and provider join in this effort. It is early in the year, and if we all work together to give a 100% effort, we will succeed.

H.R. 284 and S.148 must be passed!

I do not have to repeat the details of these bills. We have all been receiving the same messages from AAHomecare, the state associations, and VGM. Join the team so that they will be passed STAT!

Simply stated, "WE MUST REFORM THE MEDICARE COMPETITIVE PRICING PROGRAM." We must not fail in this effort! I am afraid of the consequences if we do.

You all have a telephone; you all can send an e-mail, and both you and your clientele must get the congressmen to vote! AAHomecare, VGM, and your state DME association will provide you with all the information necessary.

Tom Ryan (AAHomecare), John Gallagher (VGM) and many others have been working about 24 hours a day. So must you! It is vital that your voice is heard and the necessary support is shown to them. This will work, and we will succeed!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Your Delivery Service

Delivery personnel are a reflection of the company they represent! They must be trained in the manner you expect them to perform.
From the very moment your delivery person leaves your premises, they become your personal representative to the public. All interaction with the customer must be conducted in a polite, clear and concise manner.

When making deliveries, they can also be a salesperson for your company. Without overstepping the bounds of their assignment, they can discreetly recommend the use of other equipment that can be advantageous to your customer such as a commode, a walking aid, or some bathroom assist devices. The “inside” ability to offer these ancillary items can mean bonus sales that would otherwise be overlooked.

Are your delivery personnel properly attired? Uniforms are an important option. Although the initial investment may seem high, the benefits will more than offset the cost. A uniform imparts the air of importance for your delivery person, which is reflected in their attitude. They also assure you a favorable first impression upon the customer.

Assist your delivery person by preparing a checklist to offer to the caretakers or the patients when making an installment. They should cover such items as raised toilet seats, commodes, trapezes, over-bed tables, etc. This is another means for additional sales and goodwill. It demonstrates your staff’s efficiency and caring.

One word of caution: If your delivery personnel earn a commission, you must be sure they are not overly aggressive in their efforts to earn that bonus, thereby diminishing the good will of your company. Therefore, establish strict parameters, which will maintain both an incentive for them and increase in sales for you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


There are many places to find opportunities for additional sales as you begin this New Year. In today’s message I will remind you of a few sources which you have and should exploit for larger and more profitable sales:

1. Your Local Chamber of Commerce: A good dealer in the Midwest told me about what he calls “a hidden resource for business”! Since he opened his company, some 20 years ago, he has always been active in the Chamber of Commerce. He said that he was elected President twice! Guess how many members use his DME/HME for all their supplies? They all do! He made it a point to tell me that members were never solicited at a chamber meeting, but when his outside sales people made calls, they were well received.

2. Promote Compliance with the ADA: Another active dealer in upstate New York has prepared a sales program for his outside team explaining some of the requirements of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). Any place where people congregate has to know what is required. These all can lead to many new sales, as well as making your company recognized as being so professional. This is a very subtle approach, but it is most effective. Click Here to view the full text of the ADA.

3. Nurture Relationships with Nursing Homes and Hospitals: Of course I have always spoken about offering supplies to both nursing homes and hospitals. The purchasing agents love knowing they can pick up the phone and get needed supplies that afternoon or in the morning. Thy also appreciate that they can order how much they need and not have to purchase by the case.

At Medtrade Spring in Las Vegas (March 30-April 1, 2015), you will find many new opportunities. Register with the promo code SHELLY to get your Free Expo Pass.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Saying "Thank You"

“God taught us about unlimited love! His love is so great, there is never any shortage.”

I recently received a message from a very dear friend. He is going through some very trying times right now. But, despite all of the really severe problems he has to resolve, he has never lost track of who he is, what he has, and what the future holds for him. I opened this blog with his words.

We are just beginning a New Year. It is the time that you should dismiss any of the past and make specific plans for the future. No matter what has happened yesterday, it should stay there because the time has come to reach for new heights.

Study carefully each of your employees, and when you do that, you should be able to realize how vital they have been for your success. Make the time to sit down with each privately and review the last year, and then together plan what can be done to increase sales and profits. Put an apple on a stick and when they have accomplished what you both decide, award them with a pay raise!

All the many years that I ran different companies, invariably my staff knew their responsibilities and contributed so much to the operation! You have a team; recognize each as the valuable and important person they are!
One of the awards that I gave to deserving members of my team was a trip to the Medtrade Exhibitions.

Always say, “Thank you.”
If you have not yet registered for Medtrade Spring, do so with the promo code SHELLY to receive a complimentary Expo Pass.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Basic Marketing: Sales Training

I have sent blogs about education (Education - Part 1, and Part 2). The next step is to show your people how to become a salesperson as well. Would you go hunting without bullets for your rifle? Of course not! Yet, how often do you send out your sales team without sufficient ammunition?

The company principal (you) executes the bulk of the education of the sales force. Call the manufacturer when you need backup. They are eager to have their sales rep involved in training. Anything they can do to increase your sales will also benefit them!

A sales person will get his foot in the door more readily by creating interest through the innovative products he presents. Photos are acceptable, but the “real thing” gets the customer involved. Clients appreciate something they can physically touch and inspect.
Show only one product when calling on a customer. Too many items confuse the client and occupy too much of their valuable time. Showing only one product will leave a positive lasting impression.

Send your rep with a new updraft nebulizer or a concentrator, Choose products with which the prospect is familiar, but needs to be apprised of current market changes. The idea is to reach the referral source or “decision maker”. Then, talk about the company.
Get the A-Z of HME at this year's Medtrade Spring, scheduled for March 30-April 1 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. Click Here to Register, and don't forget to use the promo code SHELLY to get a FREE Expo Pass!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Education - Part 2

Seminars and lectures are offered at every Medtrade Exposition as well as by the state DME associations and AAHomecare. There are also classes offered by HMENews and Homecare Magazine. When your company attends as a group, assign specific seminars to each. Compare notes and share your experience.

Your team members should also take advantage of the training classes offered by your preferred vendors. Usually the only cost you will have is transportation. Over the years, these have proven to be excellent and the company earns a good ROI.

Manufacturer reps welcome the opportunity to meet with your employees and they will always give a superb in-house training session. If some of your sales people cover a large territory, hold a breakfast or lunch meeting or a late afternoon session, which can be quite effective.

The best instrument to educate your staff is the most often overlooked, and yet the closest at hand. It is YOU! Share the knowledge you have accumulated through years of experience; take them into your confidence and watch the response.

Having an educated staff is a surefire element for company prosperity.
If you have not yet registered for Medtrade Spring (March 30 - April 1, 2015), use the promotional code SHELLY at registration to get your FREE Expo Pass! Click here to register.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Education - Part 1

Staff productivity increases relative to specific education. Employees who attend a class, school, or training develop an “esprit de corps”. This attitude becomes contagious and encourages a more positive work element for your employees.
Acknowledging that education is an integral part of your business, each employer must address:
  • Should I pay for college courses?
  • Should I send members of my staff to manufacturers’ training courses?
  • Should I hold in-house training sessions?
The answer to each of the above questions is an emphatic YES!
Chances are, your outside sales force consists of professionals who have some medical background. Their professional accomplishments immediately give them credibility; however, their marketing skills may have need of some improvement. Enroll these individuals in marketing or sales courses offered at local colleges and universities.
These classes can be attended as non-matriculate; or if the employee prefers to accumulate credits, encourage them to work towards a degree.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year

Welcome to year 2015!
This is a new start, a new beginning, and will be the new opportunity to accomplish every goal you have.

This is when every DME/HME dealer or provider should join together to eliminate all of the unsavory problems which hurt our business. Not only do we have to correct them for our employees and ourselves, but also we owe it to all our clients and patients. Yes, we do not stand alone!

I looked though the last few issues of both HME News and HomeCare Magazine and saw that I am not the only one sending this message!


Be sure that you belong to AAHomecare and your State DME Association. They work for you and require the support of every dealer.
Register now for Medtrade Spring. This is where you will find the answers you seek.

Thelma and I are sending to every dealer and provider our very best wishes for a HEALTHY and HAPPY NEW YEAR!