The aging population and expanded benefits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are creating a tsunami of opportunity for BSCs and jan/san distributors. The $20-plus billion health industry is America’s largest, and it’s expected to grow more in the next decade than any other sector.
Healthcare spending accounts for 17.5 percent of the national economy, says the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and that should reach nearly 20 percent by 2024. The impressive growth also benefits industries that complement medical services, such as jan/san.
If you haven’t yet broken into the healthcare market, the statistics may have you feeling left out. Never fear: It’s not too late to expand into medical services if you follow these smart marketing tactics.
Step 1: Understand the Industry
Most important to breaking into any new market, but particularly one as regulated as healthcare, is to do a lot of research. Learn as much as you can about your target clients, including who makes up their client base and how they make their money. Invest most of your energy, however, into fully understanding their special needs when it comes to cleaning.
Medical facilities work with fragile communities, so disinfection plays a bigger role than in perhaps any other market. Many in this industry also receive much of their income from government reimbursements, which may result in greater concern for environmental regulations. It may also mean a strong focus on the bottom line, despite the industry’s $20 billion worth.
To learn more about healthcare cleaning, read jan/san and healthcare facility trade magazines and spend time on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) websites. You can also read about how the ACA affects cleaning here.
Step 2: Tailor Your Messaging
Once you have a firm grasp on the industry’s needs, create marketing materials that show off your knowledge. For example, add content about cleaning for health to your website, share healthcare-industry news via social media, and create a specialized brochure for your sales team.
Generic messaging about cleaning or about your company won’t set you apart from the competition. By showing the healthcare audience you understand their unique challenges and—better yet—that you have solutions to help them will help you stand out from the crowd and win that all-important first client.
Step 3: Define Your Market
Trying to nab your first medical-services contract from the largest player in the game is a sure way to end up disappointed. Focusing instead on smaller facilities is a more realistic way to break into the industry. Once you land your first client and knock their socks off, you can earn a recommendation that will help open more (and bigger) doors.
The healthcare industry goes well beyond your area’s hospitals. It includes dozens or hundreds of long-term care facilities, medical office buildings, outpatient facilities, hospices, surgery centers, dialysis centers, ambulatory centers, blood labs, fertility clinics, dental offices, and more. Make a list of these companies and search their websites to find the appropriate contacts—likely the facility, maintenance, housekeeping, or EVS managers.
Step 4: Think Outside the Box
There are many ways to reach out to prospects, including requesting an introduction from a shared connection (LinkedIn can help you find one), attending a networking or other industry event, reaching out via social media, or cold calling.
Ask current clients that may be tangentially related to a healthcare facility for a referral. Or, reach out to a complementary business, such as a window-cleaning contractor, that’s already made inroads in healthcare and suggest a mutually beneficial referral network.
Step 5: Make an Impression
When you’re able to speak to the right person, be prepared with a strong, custom sales pitch. You should already have some industry-specific marketing materials you can share, but it’s also important to be prepared to discuss your offering and answer questions.
Rather than focusing on your healthcare experience (you don’t have any yet, after all), shift the focus to your deep understanding of the industry. Discuss how patient safety and satisfaction are directly tied to profits, and explain how your products or services can have a direct and profound impact on those issues.
Also, offer up anything about your products, processes, training, certifications, etc. that bridges the gap between traditional housekeeping and the healthcare client’s specific needs. Do you have eco-friendly products, hospital-grade disinfectants, color-coded equipment, or HEPA filtration? For BSCs, do your employees receive Hepatitis B vaccines? Are they trained in infection control, waste disposal, bloodborne pathogens, cross-contamination, or CDC cleaning standards?
When marketing to healthcare facilities for the first time, remain laser focused on their unique challenges. Learn their “language” and speak it throughout the sales cycle. By making every interaction about them, and by offering solutions they need, you’re sure to win your first (of many) medical-services clients.