I’m writing now from beautiful (and breezy) Charlotte, NC where I managed to convince the hotel to give me a mostly undeserving room upgrade, and so I have a rather spectacular view of downtown right now!
This is our third consecutive year showing at the AAOE Conference (it used to be called BONES). This is basically the premier conference for the administrators of Orthopedic practices around the country. There are around 500 administrators total, and at least 50 different vendors.
A simple but meaningful thing kept happening to me today: I ran into people I’d met before, or clients of ours, or people I knew, or people I didn’t know but recognized from previous years. First of all, it dawned on me that running into people you know and had fun talking to is FUN! Some kind of neurochemical is released when it happens because it just makes me feel happy to catch up with people even if we’re only mildly acquainted. There’s something wonderful about strengthening a human bond; it’s very fundamental to our existence.
The week before last we began a new project with a 3-physician pediatric group in Scottsdale, AZ. I’d met the practice manager over a year ago and she expressed a strong interest in working together. She still researched us along with two other companies, and it still took a year before she was ready to sign a contract. At the end of our first meeting — which went very well and was also fun — we had an interesting exchange:
Her: You know, I actually compared you guys to two other companies. Do you know why I chose Omedix?
Me: Charismatic personnel?
Her: Haha, well, you were still around 1 year later. Both of the others had disappeared.
How does this all tie together? The “Life Truism” I referenced in the title is that business is built on relationships, that relationships are built on trust, and that trust takes time to build and is very precious. It’s so easy to look from afar at a company and try to see why they’re business strategy made them so successful and completely miss the point that if your clients don’t actually like you and trust you, nothing will ever happen.
Initially, our company is almost always evaluated based on price, quality, and features. But I feel like whenever I have a really good personal connection with a prospective client, we wind up getting the business. I feel like I enjoy my work so much more when I have a good personal relationship with our clients. It just makes the world such a happier place.
So, here at the AAOE Conference for Year #3, it’s kind of a cool feeling because we’re not strangers here anymore. People know us. People know we were here last year, that we’re here this year, and that we’ll be here next year. That kind of thing is powerful and builds trust.
I’ll write another conference post probably by the end of the conference — talking one-on-one with so many practice managers is incredibly enlightening — but for now it’s time to get some sleep!