OVERLAND PARK, KS – When providers asked for new private pay billing/collections solutions at last month’s Medtrade, Bruce Gehring went heavy on the show and light on the tell. As a result, the on-screen demonstrations at the A/R Allegiance Group booth (pictured here with Gehring in the middle) ultimately helped to satisfy an attendee base that was arguably more focused than ever.
“We’re seeing a trend where people are coming to Medtrade looking for specific things,” muses Gehring, vice president, Ancillary Division, A/R Allegiance Group, Overland Park, Kan. “They are not just browsing. They are there to solve a problem, find a solution, get new resources, or make new connections to help their business. People are a lot more serious about surviving in this particular environment.”
A/R Allegiance will be chatting with more of these motivated providers next year at Medtrade Spring, scheduled for March 30-April 1 in Las Vegas. Medtrade Monday caught up with Gehringer last week to get his take on the industry, and the evolving needs of today’s DME provider.
Medtrade Monday: Tell us more about the “new” mindset of Medtrade attendees.
Bruce Gehring, vice president, Ancillary Division, A/R Allegiance Group, Overland Park, Kan: There are a lot more engaged people at Medtrade. If they come to the booth and they are interested, it’s not just a courtesy. They are there because there is a need.
The follow-up I’m doing is leading to more sales from our perspective, because people are interested in the solution we provide, understand what it does for them. They are willing to go through whatever steps to get the product or service into their operation, because they see they have to do something. It’s a big difference from Medtrades past.
Medtrade Monday: If we assume the mindset of provider attendees has changed, how would you describe the mindset of exhibitors?
Gehring: Long gone are the days where you could go to a trade show as a vendor and expect people to walk up and buy your product. You have to do a lot more homework going into it. You need to know: Who’s going to be there? Who do you need to see? You should set up a lot more appointments, and make sure people are going to stop by your booth to meet them.
Medtrade Monday: How valuable are face-to-face trade shows in today’s world?
Gehring: Trade shows such as Medtrade are not just valuable, they are invaluable. If you are talking about prospecting, you have about 30 seconds to interest somebody before they shut you out and turn you off, or you interest them in what you are providing and perhaps can take a next step.
People don’t have the time to waste. You cannot replace the fact that you can connect with people personally, face to face, and get to know them and their business. That goes a long way. People do business with people they trust and they like. You can sell the best widget, but if you don’t have a personal relationship with them you really don’t have a long-term strategy with that client.
Medtrade Monday: Do you see more new prospects or existing customers?
Gehring: It’s both It’s a chance to meet new prospects and an opportunity to see customers who you haven’t seen for a while and maybe in person for the first time. In our business, we can do so much through technology without having to be there in person, but it’s always good to connect with providers face to face and get to know them and their business better. It’s all a springboard that you can build on.
Medtrade Monday: What was the foot traffic like at your booth?
Gehring: We were extremely busy on Tuesday. Wednesday morning was busy, and then it died down a bit in the afternoon. Thursday was considerably less busy, but I don’t think you can reduce the show hours.
Medtrade Monday: You have already signed up to exhibit at Medtrade Spring in Las Vegas next year, and for Medtrade in Atlanta next year. Why did you decide to do this?
Gehring: We have partners, and one is the MED Group. We are going to anchor around their booth so we’ll be close together, creating more of a synergy with them. Being close to them as an exhibitor helps bring more people to our booth. We decided to commit to 2015 with that in mind.
Medtrade Monday: What does A/R Allegiance Group do for its customers?
Gehring: We are a private pay billing and collections solution, so we are a service, a billing service that people look at to assist them in their private pay billing and collections follow up. We integrate with a number of the billing software platforms, so our solution is not only endorsed but integrated with well-known software companies. Our partners really look to us to help them innovate with the platforms they have, and create a solution that is theirs—meaning that we will do more integration with them.
Medtrade Monday: What specific types of solutions do you offer?
Gehring: Through our online payment portals, we have been able to have patients pay directly online, and those payments go directly into their bank, and can auto-post back into their billing software system. We can use technology and leverage it to provide more operating efficiency. This is useful because people have less time to handle accounts, whether it be cash posting or follow-up phone calls. We can provide all that for them in a one-stop solution that allows their billing staff to really focus on other things that will have a better return.
Medtrade Monday: Why is this kind of operating efficiency so important these days?
Gehring: They need to do that because it’s taking so much time to follow up on patient bills, and when it comes to private pay, a lot of times they are smaller receivable amounts, and on the surface it looks like you can’t afford to spend a lot of time going after this. You can’t ignore them any more because that’s the profit people have built in because reimbursement cuts have really gouged into margins. The private pay becomes a profit on the service and equipment they are providing to begin with.
You have a lot more engaged people. If they come to the booth and they are interested, it’s not just a courtesy. They are there because there is a need. The take-away is that the follow-up I’m doing is leading to more sales from our perspective because people are interested in the solution we provide. They understand what it does for them, and they are willing to go through whatever steps to get the product or service into their operation because they see they have to do something.
Registration for Medtrade Spring, scheduled for March 30-April 1, 2015, is coming soon. Check with next week’s Medtrade Monday for full details. If you missed last month’s Medtrade in Atlanta, click here for a photo collage and click here for the Digital Conference.