Crocodile EHR Sales – All Mouth, No Ears

Posted on April 18, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’m a regular reader of a number of venture capital bloggers. I love entrepreneurship and consider investing a hobby that I love learning about. One of the best VC bloggers out there is named Mark Suster. I recently saw one of his posts titled, “The Danger of Crocodile Sales.” While Mark takes his post in a few different directions I think we have our fair share of Crocodile Salespeople in the EHR world.

Before I get into some thoughts, here’s how Mark describes a crocodile salesperson: “My favorite was when a guy told me to beware of Crocodile Salesmen. What’s that? ”You know, big mouth and no ears.””

I know I’ve been in some EHR sales presentations that were off the charts good at selling and demoing an EHR product. Based just on that sales presentation I could see how a physician would be very interested in buying that product. Everything went like clock works. They hit so many of the buzz points for doctors that make for a really compelling sell.

The problem comes that with half of the things that are said, in the back of my mind I’m thinking…and now let’s hear the rest of the story. Or the related…what about this, this and that nuance?

Don’t get me wrong. I think there are a lot of really good EHR salespeople who have the best interest of the physician at heart. Plus, there are a number of EHR companies that support this type of sales process. The challenge as I see it is helping the doctors to ask the right questions so they get the right information.

A crocodile salesperson, as described above, makes it a challenge for a physician and their practice to get the information they really need. In some cases you can see why an EHR salesperson exhibits the crocodile characteristics. Some of them just don’t have the in depth knowledge of their product to be able to veer off their sales demo script. They’ve nailed the sales demo, but fall apart when you veer into uncharted territory.

This is exactly why a doctor should make sure to take the EHR salesperson off script. You don’t have to be a jerk about it in the process. You just need to make sure that the sales presentation covers the points that you need covered. Do it in a polite and appropriate way and great EHR salespeople will be happy to go the direction you want to take the presentation. I know doctors time is limited, but it’s worth taking the extra time to get the right information. Ask any physician who’s switched EHR software if they’d wish they’d spent a little more time understanding their first EHR selection. I argue that it is the most important part of an EHR implementation.

My best suggestion to a doctor is to always consider how the EHR software being demonstrated will work in their office. Don’t get so caught up in the bells and whistles of what the product could eventually do in your office that you forget about how you’re going to do your regular tasks. Another common error is for physicians to be so rigid in their requests that they’re not open to any deviation from the processes they’ve used for the past years. No EHR will fit every physician workflow in every way. Consider whether you can see reasonable alternatives to your current processes.

If you want some other suggestions on asking good questions during your EHR sales demo, check out my e-Book on EHR selection. There’s a whole section of it devoted to the topic.

Selecting the right EHR is a hard thing to do. Getting the right information about an EHR and how it will work in your practice is critical. So, be sure to ask the right questions and don’t let crocodile salespeople waste your time and theirs. Make sure that they understand the specific needs of your practice before they start showing you how their EHR software solves those needs. You’ll both be better for it in the end.