Choosing a Nursing Home: Trust But Verify

“Trust but Verify”

President Ronald Reagan

The ‘Trust’ Factor

I’ve contemplated this concept my entire working career thus far. Some years ago I was invited to write a lengthy article on this topic in an authoritative and prominent journal for the diamond and jewelry industry. The article was very well received and I actually received a citation for my contribution to the field.

The principles which I addressed in that sphere can be equally applied to the Senior Healthcare industry.

There is an old proverb about a lazy or unremarkable marksman who figured out an easy method for ‘hitting his target’ all of the time. Rather than create the target and shoot for it, he would simply shoot the arrow first and then paint the target around it.

This story is properly applied to a lazy or uneducated salesperson, who would sooner paint a target around an uninformed customer than invest effort into educating the customer (and perhaps even himself) to shoot his own arrow into the target.

It is certainly true that there is an element of trust when selecting a nursing home or rehab facility for an elderly loved one. The trust factor which is important and present in any ‘purchasing’ decision is not exclusively applied to an educated or uninformed consumer, nor is it exclusively applied to a specific industry.

All types of consumers need to develop trust. However, trust works both ways. In the same way that customers will ultimately trust the facility to supply them with the right nursing or post acute rehab program according to their needs, facility representatives need to trust themselves (and their own knowledge) to work in the best interests of the customer.

It is insufficient to state that you have the “best” nursing and rehab program in the area. You have a responsibility to quantify what ‘best’ means in your lexicon and to prove to the consumer that your program is indeed superior to those of your competitors.

Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers, consistently receive accolades from all corners of the Healthcare industry and within our respective communities, because we back up the rhetoric with facts.

We aren’t simply the ‘best’ because we say so. We are the best because the industry watchdogs say so and because the standard bearers for industry oversight have consistently awarded us the highest grades for excellence!

Yes, we are proud of it too.

Thoughts & Recommendations

Any and every business or organization, shares more in common than a mutual goal of making sales and profits. They also share the responsibility and task of consumer empowerment. Empowering the consumer doesn’t mean dictating to them to make a decision of any import or consequence, without the facts. It doesn’t mean dictating to them to look for the variables which the vendor feels are most important. It means educating them on all aspects and factors related to choosing a perfect nursing home or in-patient subacute rehabilitation facility and relying on the customer to reach his or her own personal decision.

I would like to make several recommendations and suggestions which I believe will benefit all types of salespeople in helping them to earn the respect, trust and ultimately the business of the consumer. Although these are assuredly not the only recommendations, it is nonetheless a good place to start.

Educate yourself, so that you may educate the consumer.

  • Be familiar with the latest healthcare education, initiatives, advancement and technologies.
  •  Instead of summarily and superficially promoting your facility, articulate your positions clearly.
  • Empower the consumer to reach his/her own conclusion.
  • Empowering the consumer, means providing information and opinion with the expressed appreciation that these two elements can be mutually exclusive.
  • Satisfy every single customer (“there is no competition when you go the extra mile”).
  • Place yourself into the shoes of your customers and treat them as you wish to be treated.
  • Present with enthusiasm. If you are passionate about what you do, prove it.
  • Give the consumer some space. Do not be an overbearing and pushy salesperson.
  • Leave your personal life at home. Your customer is not your shrink…or your punching bag.

About Judah Gutwein, L.N.H.A.

As a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator, with additional years of experience as an Admissions and Marketing Director, I am intimately familiar with the challenges of building and maintaining a vibrant census in nursing and rehab facilities. Regency Nursing Centers has a well deserved reputation for excellence in healthcare and I'm extremely proud of our achievements! Thanks for reading our Regency Blog!
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