We all know the basic truth that challenging times are also times of opportunity. It’s very easy during crises like one we’re facing to duck and hide under the covers. With news of many providers and hospitals closing or postponing non-essential procedures, many in the industry are speculating that the equipment business will not come back to normal until the end of summer, late September, or later.
I see it differently. Yes, right now we’re all focused on supplies and equipment used to combat COVID-19. And many doctors’ offices may not be fully operational. But there’s one constant that doesn’t change: people get sick, and they need help. I spoke to a few doctors this week and they told me that they’re still seeing patients via phone and web meetings at home and only going into their offices by appointment.
I believe sooner or later, almost all doctors and hospitals will find creative ways to continue to diagnose and treat patients, as they should. And as soon as lockdown is lifted, around end of April to mid-May, they’ll be back at their offices. Once they return, they’ll be needing fresh supplies to get things moving again. Equipment needs will not only go back to normal but should see a significant increase due to the following reasons:
- Doctors who needed or wanted new equipment have already been in holding patterns since earlier in the year (even before COVID-19 started to spread in US).
- Much of the equipment will not get maintained during the lockdown and will require maintenance, creating shortages of service personnel and parts.
- Offices with equipment needing servicing may choose to trade in and upgrade their equipment if they cannot get it serviced in a timely manner.
- Increased caseloads with fully booked schedules will allow many offices which were hesitant before to be able to pull the trigger on equipment upgrades.
Every reason above points to one thing: increased demand.
So, what should imaging dealers be doing right now? Many are busy trying to get masks, ventilators, and portable X-ray systems. Scrambling and crossing fingers to get some inventory in time and be able to sell it quickly. Short term gains like this are great for business—if you prepared for this few months ago and have things ready to go.
If you are busy playing catch up, perhaps it’s a better use of your time to prepare for what’s to come.
If you’re familiar with how Post and Kellogg’s responded to the Great Depression, then you know what I’m going to say next (If you’re not familiar with their responses, check out this story: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2009/04/20/hanging-tough).
Hospital Admins, Private Practice Doctors, Surgeons, any many other doctors who are not in part of response team for COVID-19 are now locked away at home, just like you and most of Americans since mid-March. Did you know:
- There has been 29% increase in website traffic in the industry?
- We’re also seeing 10% higher phone appointments with decision makers
- Podcast listeners are booming!
- Number of minutes spent by readers of online articles have increased by 46%
- Overall website traffic have increased by 57%
Yes, these doctors, admins and professionals who you typically have hard time getting in touch with are not in surgery all day, but sitting at home, browsing the Internet, and taking care of their families. And yes, you’re right, they’re not going to buy a C-Arm, CT, or Ultrasound from you right now. But if they were to make a purchase decision after they are back in the office, who do you think they will choose?
Those who’ve been in contact with them throughout the COVID-19 crisis? Or some company they spoke to once before the whole crisis but never heard from until summer, when things are back to normal?
If you’re thinking: “But it’s not like we can call them every week to say, ‘Hi!’”, you’re absolutely right. And we’re here to help point the way.
Here are things you can do for the next couple of months to prepare for what’s to come.
- Content Strategy: You should be working on creating informational content that your viewers could utilize & learn from during this downtime.
- Update or Upgrade your website: Remember, your website is your face on the web! Most clients visit your website before making a purchase decision.
- Start Social Marketing Campaign: Everyone is browsing social media more than ever. We are, after all, locked away at home, right?
- Prepare Marketing Collateral: You do want to share stylish and easy to read flyers and spec sheets when they are ready to learn about what you can offer, don’t you?
- Start Email & Content Marketing Campaign: Now is time to share your expertise and product offerings to your potential clients when they are at home with time to read.
- Discuss Sales and Marketing Strategy with your team: This is time for brainstorming and planning out a successful 2020!
If you don’t have full marketing team ready for action, well, we do! We can help with our full-scale Subcontracted Marketing Department Program, Content Strategy & Creation, or just facelift your website with our #SocialDistancing Website Package! (Reach out to us here)
Times like these always test our ability to come together and face challenges together. And, call me optimistic, but I have no doubt that we’ll go through this faster and better than any of the other countries out there. China took 90 days before they started to re-open; Korea took little over 60 days. We will probably get through this in 60 days or under, maybe slowly at first, but we are, after all, the United States of America.
We’re ready for the fog to clear!
Call us at 913-622-1405 and we’ll make sure you are, too!