It’s a real irony! Human beings do not like to be sold. But, all of us want to BUY things…whether we really need them or just as an impulsive buy.

Look at the plight of Insurance agents.  Insurance is a must for every individual.  But Lo! When a responsible agent approaches them, they just do not want to buy.

So, now we realise SELLING is not marketing.  It’s much more. Every owner of an organisation must be a good Marketer, before he is a good Product / Service provider.  We have seen, only great Marketing persons can be a successful entrepreneurs.  Yes.  Marketing is the Backbone of a profitable organisation.

Apollo Story!

When I was working for Apollo Hospitals – a very high-end Finland based Physiotherapy Set-up was installed with very heavy investment.  It was truly a boon for patients with Back & Neck pain.  But, day by day, it was going down in its sales.  It was becoming a sick unit.  When I entered that unit as a Business Development head, I too got scared to see the most sophisticated equipment with well trained SMART Physiotherapists from Finland.  Honestly, it was too much for me to handle.

Basically I’m a very enthusiastic person.  I get excited for anything and everything in life.  But, here I had to gather all my enthusiasm to make it work.  I was actually irritated to work in that new set-up till one day a patient who was distributing sweets to all Physiotherapists and a trying to forcibly gift an expensive saree to her Physiotherapist.

When I went near her (I was not at all recognised there.  I was an intruder in the celebration), I could see joy in the patient’s face.  I could feel that she had overcome a much worrying problem of her life – her Neck Pain.

This created a spark in me. I started observing all equipment, procedures, patients who have come so far, all Physiotherapists.  I took Charge with passion.  If a Marketing guy takes up charge, it means it is going to be a great success.

Step #1 : Selling vs NEED creation

“Finland technology, the latest equipment, Documentation based Care (DBC) , Evidence based improvement” – I removed all these jargons  from everywhere.  Instead I used words that patients wanted to hear.  As simple as possible.  I remembered those days I used to suffer from “Backpain” after my 1st delivery.  More than pain, it was the fear that was gripping me then.  I could bring all those feelings into my mind and said,
“Do you have Back & Neck Pain?.  Get yourself assessed.

Period.  Advertise in FREE neighbourhood papers.  We received calls from all directions.

When a trusted brand talks to people, they take it very seriously.

Step # 2:  Identify the NEEDS 

We used to get “n” number of calls after every advertisement release. I had given a very strict order that every single call would  be routed to me.  Every day, I would attend to at least 100 calls.  I could understand all that every patient was telling – from a teenager to an old person, men, women, urban to rural patients.  We could identify their needs., analyse  and come up with solutions that would suit them.

Step # 3 : Tailor-make “care” through counseling (addressing the NEEDS)

WE realised that once a patient gets in after fixing up the appointment, he was intimidated by the look of the technology.  The ambience scared him.  He was mentally off when he entered into the system.  So we set up an excellent counseling counter.  Either I will sit or one more colleague (Sridevi – name changed) who had an Excellent “caring” mind would sit there.  Depending upon the patient, we used to change our accent/tone/examples/testimony everything.  If it is a Tamil patient, we would speak Tamil.  We will show patients who are simple middle class Tamils.  If the patient is a high Net worth individual, we would show them “celebrity” testimonials with stylish English accent. We would make them at ease and say it is just a Physiotherapy center.  But with APOLLO’s Promise.

Step #4 :  Physiotherapists needed to know Marketing

Out of 5 Therapists we had, I found one therapist was able to convert patients for 12 week session.  (which gave profound outcome on patients).  Some therapists were convinced by patients  and reduced the number of sittings.  This resulted in poor outcome.  This made us think…& we got our CEO to address these therapists on the importance of 12 sitting, importance of this unit itself, how it was going to circumvent surgeries on patients, (even though it was going to reduce revenue for Apollo) how it was going to improve the quality of  a patient’s life.

The best results came only when patients came out with great results.  There were several hardships we had to encounter still (like almost all  Orthopaedicians were against it, they did not believe in it, they were convinced of surgery).  Collectively when we worked on the needs of our patients, we saw remarkable success.

We never looked back after that.  The unit grew steadily…

The aim of Marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself.

Peter Drucker