By Rich Obertots
The 3rd Rule of Outreach;
“Be The Resource of First Choice; The Trusted Problem Solver.”
Some Drummer Guy
[This is a small excerpt from the soon to be published: The Book of Outreach 2019]
Everybody has problems. Every customer has problems. Many kinds of problems.
The problem is – when somebody is in sales – selling something specific – like a helicopter, or a medical device, or CRM software – they focus in virtually 100% on selling that to the customer. As they should – that’s how they get paid.
However – in Outreach what is your focus? To understand and astonish the right customers consistently – using two-way Human and Digital methods. Yes – you – like a sales professional ultimately have something you want your customer to utilize – however – your bandwidth and patience to accomplish this is much wider.
Remember – this is not about a quick transaction. It’s about establishing and securing a critical mass of authentic appropriate relationships. One at a time. It all starts with the 1st and 2nd Rules of Outreach. Then The 3rd Rule of Outreach can be activated.
Because you shut up (The 2nd Rule of Outreach) and applied AIL™ – you now understand a wide range of problems your customer has. And – you can apply AIL™ more to help prioritize the criticality and urgency of these problems according to the customer. BINGO! You have all you will ever need to begin.
Now – as an example.
You learn that there is a new physician Emergency Department Director that is working at a community hospital that you have been trying to jump-start to utilize your flight program. This physician has moved here from another part of the USA and has no local family or connections. You have a casual meeting with her to welcome her to the area. During this – you discover that she is really struggling and anxious that she and her spouse cannot find trustworthy child care for their two pre-school children.
BIG PROBLEM: HIGH CRITICALITY AND HIGH URGENCY
It just so happens that you know that one of your flight crewmembers has a solid and long-term relationship with the Executive Director of the most award-winning and recognized Children’s Early-Learning & Creativity Center in the region. This flight crewmember’s children are enrolled there. And, it is located two miles from where the ED Director resides. You take the initiative to synchronize with your team-mate and the Executive Director to schedule the physician, her spouse and their children for a tour. Ultimately – they enroll.
Big problem of high criticality and urgency solved. You are now her resource. And beginning the flight trajectory to earn her trust.
Did you “make a sale”? Is she immediately going to be requesting your flight program with 100% frequency and loyalty? That is not the immediate goal. It will help. But in Outreach – the goal, intent and spirit are more meaningful than just a transactional “sale.” It is so much deeper and nobler. It’s about authentically helping an individual and progressively earning trust.
What did you do “Outreach Right?” You asked. You shut up. You listened authentically. You identified a problem of high impact. You acted. The customer’s problem was solved. You are on the flight path to becoming a first-choice resource and trusted problem solver. That’s Outreach Right!
Now – you keep connecting – you keep repeating this process. Be her resource. And yes – you keep it up-front that there is an expectation that as you continue to devote your energies to be a trusted problem solver that you will appreciate her requesting your flight service.
But – know this. You cannot rush or force earning trust. As Stephen R. Covey so eloquently states throughout his works, [I am paraphrasing] “One can’t rush the farm. One cannot ‘cram in a crop’ like cramming for an exam. Farming has rules, process and ways that must be respected and honored.” So, honor each customer with your diligence, patience and authenticity to solve problems for them that may not be directly related to what you ultimately desire to accomplish.
Yes – there are limits to how many problems you solve before reciprocation happens and your flight service is being requested. But – first, you sustain your effort – because few competitors will. Most will believe they can earn trust with a T-shirt. You are in an entirely different league and stratum of Outreach professionalism. Not a SWAG Pusher but a Trusted Problem Solver and the Resource of First Choice. Make sense?
Would you ever not document an intervention with a patient? Of course, you document everything. Similarly – can you imagine ever not documenting every intervention with a customer? Of course not.
So be sure you document all of this in your emsCharts.com Outreach Module or whatever CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform you are using. It’s 2019 – CRM for Outreach is every bit as essential as EMRs/PCRs for patients.