Before a team goes into a game, they spend time going over the tendencies, strengths and weaknesses of their opponent. Before a student takes a test, they hopefully, I say hopefully because I have two kids trying to be students, study the material that will be on the test. So why should you be any different when you are calling on customers? Having as much information as possible about that customer will allow you to show them you cared enough to be prepared. It will allow you to have answers to questions that may come your way. It could, however, provide you the opportunity to learn something about your customer that they did not know about themselves.
In the case of the Hospital CEO, they may not be aware that their re-hospitalization rate for a particular diagnosis is above the national average. They are also probably unaware that your SNF just happens to have an extremely strong program for that particular diagnosis and that your re-hospitalization rate is well below the national average because of all the programs you have in place to guard against it.
You are probably thinking, how can I find such information? There are a number of ways, but one is to go onto the CMS Hospital Compare website. You will be able to select individual hospitals and download information on patient experiences, readmission rates, number of Medicare patients and the Medicare spending per beneficiary (MSPB). There is also a similar website that looks at Nursing Homes if you are curious what your own scores look like. A tip here, look up your scores. If someone is interested in working with you, they are most likely doing their homework on you. If you desire more information, there are several data analytics firms around that can provide you with the depth you desire.
When trying to form a partnership with a customer, you need to ask questions to really find out what they are wanting in a partner. This will also help you to try to know as much as possible about the customer.
Let me warn you though, you must have the statistics/outcomes to back up your claims or your message will fall on deaf ears. So the next time you have a meeting with a customer – do your homework!