Cost-conscious Doctor

If you have done your pre-call plan like most medical device representative should. And you know that the doctor or group practice you are about to call on is cost-conscious and will base its purchasing decisions on how much your system costs, then it is important to first get away from cost and then talk about value. I have been fortunate or unfortunate to have represented best-in-class products, which is turn meant that I was usually promoting the most expensive medical device out of the several vendors they were evaluating. I have been successful because I talk about value and about cost savings, but not about the price of my product.

If I am first confronted with "how much does it cost?" I usually respond with something along the lines of: "Let's see if my medical device will be able to solve your needs before we get into price." Normally, I will be allowed to continue with my presentation. I count myself to be fortunate in that I am supported by a great technical support staff and a great customer service team. Because we also have best-in-class service and the shortest turn around time for repairs, my job is much easier. I present the cost of down-time based on the current reimbursement rates and calculate that with only a 3 day turnaround time, by purchasing my device the customer will minimize any lost revenue.

Several sales books that I have read suggest that you dollarize the value. So I also use an excel spreadsheet that takes the cost of the medical device over the average useful life (which is usually five years) amortized the cost over that time. I then take the current rate of reimbursement for the procedure (include both the technical fee and the professional fee) and the costs of the procedure (this may include supplies such as electrodes or the hourly cost of the technician to scan reports) and give the doctor the break-even point. I can do this in the number of years or by the number of procedures. Usually, I will break it down even further and say how many procedures they need to do a month or a week to break even. Usually, the break-even point is much lower than the current workload, so all the procedures after the break-even point is revenue for the practice.

Please post any other suggestions in the comments. If you need help formulating your own spreadsheet, let me know and I'll do my best to help you.

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