Wilson Cole Shares The Secret to Successful Collections

In the world of medical vendors who service hospitals and nursing homes, collecting on invoices can sometimes be a bothersome task.  Some business owners will tell you that having a client who routinely pays within 30 days is actually a good thing when you consider the fact that it’s normal for some healthcare facilities to stretch out their payables to net-60 or net-90.  (Click here if you would like to read why hospitals and nursing homes have a hard time paying their vendors.)

Wilson Cole, founder of Adams, Evans & Ross (AER) collections agency, wrote an article in Recruiting & Staffing Solutions Magazine (RSSM) which discusses the warning signs oft a company who is about to close its doors.

Click here to read Cole’s article: The Secret to Successful Collection and learn about the four stages a company typically goes through before it closes its doors for good.

You are not on the preferred vendor list: 5 ways to earn their business anyway

Scott Wintrip, Founder and President of StaffingU, contributed an article to the July 31 issue of Net-Temps InFocus Recruiter News Newsletter giving advice on how nurse staffing firms can respond to the inevitable phrase, “You’re not on our list” when calling on new prospects.  Excerpts of the article, “You’re not on the list! Five strategies to earn their business anyway” are written below:

How many times have you heard, “We can’t use your services because you’re not on our preferred vendor list?” Whether you are a small independent firm or part of a larger organization, it is inevitable that you will not be on someone’s list at some time.

The growth of our industry and the resulting number of account managers and recruiters calling on prospects is one reason for the growing popularity of the preferred vendor list. In polling companies that use staffing services, most indicate that it is not unusual to receive ten or more calls a day from different firms. Frank, a hiring manager in Jacksonville, Florida, counted 54 sales calls from staffing companies on a particularly busy day last year.

It is still possible to do business with a company even when you are not a preferred vendor. During my tenure selling staffing and recruiting services, I lost track of how many times I was told we were not on the list. The good news is, I did business each year with at least a dozen or more of these same prospects using the strategies outlined in this article.

In addition to using these ideas to earn their business, you may just find that you like not being on the list. Carla, a staffing professional from Tennessee, found this to be true. “Being on a preferred vendor list comes with a price. Typically you have to lower your price to be on the list. Yet, most often you have to work harder to meet the expectations of these clients to maintain your spot. By not being on the list, I can be there when the others can’t get it done. I get to charge full margin and deal with fewer hassles!”

Used individually or in combination, here are five ideas that may just earn you a company’s business even when you’re not on the list:

1. Spot buys and purchase orders

If ABC company needs a certain type of paper, and their preferred office supply vendors do not have it, do they go without? Of course not. They find another provider who can fill that need.

Carla indicates that this is her number one technique. “I simply ask them a question like, ‘What if we handled this as a one-time spot buy or use a purchase order?’ You’d be amazed at how many hiring managers have been struggling to get something filled and did not think of that one.”

2. Have exactly who they need

A little research goes a long way. On a number of occasions, I kept tabs on how long it was taking the “preferred vendors” to fill positions at a company. How? Both newspaper ads and Internet job postings gave me the insights I needed as to how those vendors were performing.

After a week or two of a position going unfilled, I simply had to pick up the phone and skill-market a candidate who fit the bill. Did it always work? No. However, it was not unusual to get a return call within an hour from the hiring manger who needed that position filled yesterday.

3. Find who’s feeling the most pain

All too often it’s human resources, vendor relations, or a similar department shutting the “you’re not on the list” door. Finding and going right to the manager that needs that person and needs them now can be the key that unlocks the door. If a spot buy or one-time purchase order is going to happen, then it’s typically the person feeling the most pain that will pave the way.

4. Keep showing up
One of the best success stories about lists is Greg. Greg was Mr. Persistence on the sales team I managed. When Greg decided that he was going to break into an account, there was no getting in his way.

At least a few times a month, he would come into my office and say something like, “XYZ Company, 17.” He’d then smile, turn around, and walk back out. What this meant was that after his 17th call to XYZ Company, he landed his first deal, even though we weren’t on their list.

What was Greg’s secret? He knew that if he showed up enough times, chances were the company would have a need that they were struggling to fill.

5. Let it go

My favorite definition is of the word insanity: Doing something over and over again and expecting different results. If you’ve called on a company dozens of times and gotten nowhere, it’s probably time to do something different. Letting go is one option.

Letting go is not a permanent condition. By doing so, you are simply acknowledging that the timing is not quite right for doing business with a company, for now. Your job is to keep tabs on them through networking and research for any changes in your favor. These include a new hiring manager joining the company, a large project being implemented, or any other factors that could produce a strong need for your services.

An additional benefit of letting go is what you gain. Since there are only two types of companies, clients and candidate sources, you’ve now gained a great place to network for quality talent.

So next time you hear those magic words, “You’re not on the list,” remember your options. You can take those words at face value or decide that you will earn their business and do so in a way that works well for you!

-Scott Wintrip

Scott Wintrip, PCC (scottw@StaffingU.net) is Founder and President of StaffingU, the leader in providing relationship-building techniques guaranteed to grow your business. For information on StaffingU’s programs and services, including TeleClasses (live telephone-based classes), Virtual StaffingU (web-based courses), individual and group coaching, on-site training and speaking, and consulting visit www.StaffingU.net or call 866-SU-WORKS (789-6757).

Net-Temps: Three Questions for Every New Client

This brief article was featured in the August 7 Net-Temps: Infocus Recruiter News. We thought the Three Questions for Every New Client would be interesting to our readers:

The client called me and said he wanted me to fill a position in his firm. “Hey, cool,” I thought to myself. “This business really works.” I tried not to sound like a babbling idiot and attempted to shield my excitement so I came across like these types of calls happen to me all the time. When you do get this type of call, it’s important to quickly and smoothly bring that call to the next step: taking the search assignment and confirming the fee.

But before you can make that transition, you need to keep your composure. How do you respond when you get this sort of call, or when a client you are talking with about other candidates tells you, “We’re not looking for someone like that, but we are looking for a . . .” When the client tells you that, yes, they have a search, and yes, they want to give it to you, make these three questions your ‘automatic response’ so that you keep your cool and keep that warm relationship moving forward.

This is how you respond. “Bob, that’s great. I’m glad you would think of me to tell me about the search. Let me ask you three questions. . .”

What steps have you taken to fill the position?
This question determines whether or not you are wasting your time or investing it wisely. Did they give the search to fifteen other firms and post it on Monster? Or did it just come open yesterday? I remember spending three weeks recruiting on a search and wondering why the client never returned my phone calls when I had candidates to present. I finally figured out that he had given the search to about seven other firms. Each call I made to candidates for the position was almost a total waste of my time. Once you spend your time in an area that fails to yield fruit, you will never get it back. It is gone forever. Think strategically when you spend your time and you will increase the likelihood of getting a return. This one little question can save you three or four weeks of agony and bitterness.

What are the events that led up to the position being open?
Have they cycled through four managers this year in that position? If so, there could be a leadership issue up the food chain that you don’t want to have result in a problem search for you. I’ll never forget a search I took for the worst company in the world, one with rumored ties to the Russian mafia. Every candidate I spoke with about the job responded with a mix between a chuckle and a groan when I told them who it was. It was no wonder that the three people I placed there lasted no more than a year. If I had asked this question and probed a little further, I would have avoided the misery of having this client’s bad management problems become my frustration.

What is the criteria of a search firm that you would want to partner with?
The first time I ever heard this question was at a Gene Rice and Jeff Cohen seminar. It was probably the turning point for me on my desk when I learned to find out why the client would buy, and sell to that. This is like getting the answers to the test. You are finding out from your prospective client what is important to them in choosing a search firm, and you just sort of go down the list when you tell them about yourself.

This business is tough enough. Don’t risk those precious few search leads by not preparing to sound like a professional. To help you integrate these questions into your desk, practice using a role play with your peers in your office at your next meeting. Just like in sports, you always perform the way you practice. If you follow these three questions when dealing with new clients, you’ll always sound like a professional and always get the business.

-Scott Love

Copyright © 2007 Scott T. Love

Scott Love improves the performance of recruiters and the margins of search firms. His recruiter training site, www.recruitingmastery.com, has become one of the internet’s largest free training resources for the search and staffing industry.


Noted presentation at 2007 Healthcare Staffing Summit

 Although there a lot of intesting presentations at this year’s Healthcare Staffing Summit, one in particular stood out to PRN Funding’s president, Philip Cohen.  He asked that we share some details of Verne C. Harnish’s presentation for our blog readers.


Harnish is the CEO of Gazelles Inc., which is an outsourced corporate university for midsized firms.  He’s also the founder of the Young Entrepreneurs’ Organization and the Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs among many other accolades. Click here to read more about Verne C. Harnish’s bio.



His presentation revolved around four simple questions that any business owner should be asking their clients on a weekly basis:


How are you doing?

What’s going on in your industry/neighborhood?

What do you hear about our competitors?

How are we doing?


The answers to these questions will help you get to you know clients more on a personal level so that you can adapt and serve their needs in a more professional manner.  Philip Cohen thought this was a great concept to share with our business owner blog readers.



Five Trends to Watch in the Medical Staffing Industry

At this year’s Healthcare Staffing Summit, Barry Asin (EVP & Chief Analyst of Staffing Industry Analysts Inc.) shared five trends to watch in the healthcare staffing marketplace for the upcoming year.  We’ve decided to share his points with our readers:

  1. There’s a limited supply of practitioners, but there’s a modest increase in the number of nurses.  New grads, male nurses, foreign-born nurses and older workers who are interested in a career change.
  2. There’s ongoing growth and demand.  Since 1992, there has been a 50 percent increase in healthcare employment. 
  3. There’s a healthy competitive environment.  In 2006, 21 medical staffing agencies were over the $50 million mark, and 13 were over the $100 million mark, and the top ten firms owned 40 percent of the market.  There is a lot of growth in specialty industries such as radiology, pharmacy, CRNA and international recruiting, but nursing is still the largest.
  4. Regulations / government intervention is portrayed in a positive light because it helps with nurse-patient ratios, overtime restrictions, licensing, immigration reform and visa shortages.
  5. Technology trends are both good and bad.  About 12 percent of facilities have adopted a VMS and another 44 percent plan to adopt them in the future.  This is a slow train coming for the industry as a whole.  It’s only a matter of time before everyone’s using a VMS.  The internet has helped keep recruiting costs down with the rise in company web sites, job boards and the social networking.

In general Barry said that the public medical staffing company results were positive in the second quarter, and the trends are remaining very strong.  Net income and gross margins continue to grow.

Barry also mentioned that a good opportunity for medical staffing agencies is to look into non-healthcare-related positions within a hospital, which are usually filled by temporary workers. Examples of some of these positions include: janitors and cafeteria workers.

Thoughts on the 2007 Healthcare Staffing Summit

PRN Funding’s present had the opportunity to attend Staffing Industry Analyst’s 2007 Healthcare Staffing Summit in Chicago last month.  Written below are a couple of thoughts he wanted to communicate with PRN Funding’s blog readers:


With over 500 attendees, this was by far the largest Healthcare Staffing summit of all time.


The majority of attendees were involved with the per diem and travel side of nurse staffing.


As locum tenens and allied health staffing continues within the industry of healthcare staffing, these companies were well represented at the conference as well.  In fact, some of the presentations were geared specifically for these industries.


The depth and breadth of the speakers were impressive.


Overall, the conference was very well attended and very well-run.  It was a real learning experience for everyone.


We look forward to attending the 2008 show in San Francisco!

Challenges for the Medical Coding Vendor

There’s a lot of buzz these days going around about the growth of the medical coding industry, especially the concept of outsourcing what was once a predominantly in-house service. Of course with any change comes a certain amount of worries and questions.

Gone are the days when a health care facilitiy only calls on a medical coding vendor when they need to catch up on a back log. Health care facilities are now starting to use medical coding vendors to meet all of their coding demands.

As this trend continues to grow, and it will, the key for medical coding service owners is to minimize the perceived risk associated with outsourcing. The medical coding services who will succeed in the marketplace are those who understand how to stop the preception that outsourced work is less quality work. It’s a very different way of selling compared to traditional sales. We highly recommend the book Crossing the Chasm: How to Win Mainstream Markets for Technology Products by Geoffrey A. Moore as a good guideline for how to sell to physicians.

Take-aways from 2007 AHIMA Meeting

Philip Cohen (president of PRN Funding, LLC), traveled to Philadelphia, PA for the 2007 American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) Meeting earlier this month, and he wanted to share some of his general observations about this year’s conference for our medical coding blog readers.


Overall, Phil said that he was overwhelmed by the number of medical coding software vendors exhibiting at the show.  Much like the concept of outsourcing medical transcription has grown rapidly over the past decade, outsourced medical coding is well on its way.


It appears as a whole that HIM Directors are more willing to outsource a portion or all of their in-house medical coding.  However, perceived risk of using an outsourced medical coding vendor continues to remain a top worry for HIM professionals within a hospital setting.  Much like in the medical staffing industry or in the medical transcription industry, it will be up to the medical coding vendors to reduce the perceived risk.


Outsourcing medical coding is just one way that a medical facilitiy can cut in-house costs.  Given the current health care cash flow crunch, it will most likely take a long time for medical coding vendors to get paid by these facilities.  Therefore, it might be in their best interest to look into factoring their receivables with a funder who specializes in the medical coding industry.


Either way, medical coding is an industry is getting ready to explode.  PRN Funding will definitely be at the 2008 AHIMA Meeting in Seattle, Washington next year, ready and willing to learn about how we can help this growing industry become even better.



2007 NNBA Charlotte

Last weekend, PRN Funding had the opportunity to exhibit at the National Nurses in Business Association’s (NNBA) 18th Annual Conference in Charlotte, NC. This was the first year that Pat Bemis (president of the NNBA) chose to have breakout track sessions, and it proved to be a good decision. More than 50 nurses attended the meeting this year, and we had the opportunity to meet a number of them.

PRN Funding’s president, Phil Cohen, was also invited to give a presentation entitled, Nurse Staffing Funding: How to Locate Money Sources for your Business, including accounts receivable factoring for a startup health care staffing business.

All in all, this was a good show for networking and catching up on nurse staffing industry news.

Staffing World 2007 San Antonio

Last week, PRN Funding exhibited at 2007 Staffing World conference in San Antonio, TX. Overall, the show was slow for us exhibitors, but we did notice a couple of things during our stay.

There were a number of accounts receivable factoring companies on the exhibit hall floor, so the attendees we met were very interested in learning about how PRN Funding differed from the other factoring companies in the room. So we told them…

PRN Funding is the only factoring company who specializes in funding the medical staffing industry, and we are the only factoring firm who has medical staffing industry expertise

– has no monthly minimums or maximums

– has no term to our contract

– is extremely flexible when it comes to factoring because PRN Funding offers our clients the freedom to factor what they want when they want

We look forward to Staffing World 2008 in San Diego next year!