At your service Featured

8:00pm EDT May 31, 2007
While it’s not a slam dunk, selling new services to an existing client could be a pretty easy task if you’ve maintained a good relationship.

Scott P. Seidelmann, president and COO of Franklin & Seidelmann Subspecialty Radiology LLC, says that when his company — a provider of teleradiology interpretation — is developing a new service, it’s because a client asked for it. And that is a result of good communication, which is key to any successful aspect of business.

“It is just listening,” he says. “I’m not sure we are being too entrepreneurial in investing or building a new service that we aren’t sure if they would accept it. We have a good test market right there. It’s very easy to get a phone call that says, ‘Do you offer this?’ or for us to call a few others and say, ‘If we did that, would that be something you would like us to do?’”

The challenge is in deciding if a new request is worth the investment.

“There are times we hear about things that sound crazy,” Seidelmann says. “We chew on that for a while and, if we ever deem it worthwhile, we will assign someone to go do some homework, see what it will take and put a plan together. Or call 20 more clients and find out if this is something they have interest in. That’s the best part about having an existing client. We have the test market right there and can call and ask how they are doing and how they would react to a new service.

“We have a call center, and it’s easy to ask our call center, ‘Hey, when you are chatting with clients about the more mundane dayto-day things, ask them a question about it, or are they interested in that.’”

And even if the company declines to pursue an idea now, that doesn’t mean it is dead. For example, Seidelmann said there was a request the company researched a couple of years ago and then declined to try, but earlier this year, it revisited the idea and decided to pursue it.

He says that at the time, he and his team declined the idea because it took the company in a direction they didn’t want it to go, and they needed to focus on other aspects of the business. But Seidelmann says they knew they would try it eventually.

“It was definitely the demand and that competition had started to offer this service,” he says. “I don’t think it’s a differentiator. I don’t think someone else is going to go to a competitor because of this service.”

Seidelmann says it’s important to watch what the competition is doing, but you shouldn’t add a service only because your competition is providing it.

“What’s important is keeping an eye on why you are different than your competitors,” he says.

Seidelmann says you should acknowledge how you are different from your competitors and continue to invest in accentuating those differences.

“Focus a lot of resources there,” he says. “I’ve got to weigh the fact that I have X resources to invest and I can invest it in the things that are making me different or invest it in the other thing the competition did. It’s still going to make sense for me to invest in what I am doing and not make an investment in something else that will make me just like a competitor.

“You do your homework and create your charts and do your analysis, and at the end of the day, I think there is a significant portion of a judgment call you have to make.”

HOW TO REACH: Franklin & Seidelmann Subspecialty Radiology LLC, (216) 255-5700 or www.franklin-seidelmann.com


Use your sales staff effectively

When trying to sell existing or new services to clients, it’s vital to have the right number of people on each job.

Scott Seidelmann, president and COO of Franklin & Seidelmann Subspecialty, says at F&S, it takes four employees chasing new clients to garner the same results as one person offering new services to existing clients.

“Our sales group is literally focused on new clients, he says. “Now, they are integrally involved in product management, which is essentially, ‘Prospective client X is asking for Y, etc.’ and they provide that feedback. But, we have a totally separate group responsible for maintaining the relationships with existing clients and delivering and selling these new services.”

Seidelmann says it’s easier and cheaper to sell a new service to an existing client than it is to sell a new service to a new client.

“Launching a new service to an existing client means you have fully tested that service and have a good sense they are going to buy it.

“If you have a great product, I’d rather develop one product and keep selling it to more and more customers than I would to sell one product to the customers and then have to come up with another product to sell to the existing 10 and hopefully an 11th.”