A Round To It

News and Comment from Roy Lilley.

It’s a circular beer mat.  A freebie from an exhibition.

On one side, the company blurb.  On the other, one word; Tuit.  It was a round-tuit.  Get it?  One of these days, I’ll get around to it…

It amused me.  Anyway, it’s disappeared.  One of these days I’ll get around to it and I’ll find my round-tuit… my anti-procrastination device!

Something else I confess putting off at the end of last year was to read a report, by the Nuffs.  Sophie Castle-Clarke, Helen Buckingham and the National Treasure, Nigel Edwards.  

I’ve just got a round-tuit.  

It was written at the behest of the association representing the British Healthcare Industries; the gizmo and geek brigade.  They wanted to know why we don’t buy enough of their stuff.

The answer is obvious; they don’t sell it well enough.  They give us the steak but not the sizzle. 

Think about the bloke who sold us a lap-top, with no keyboard and charged us three times the price.  How did that happen?  

Mr Jobs, at Apple;  he knew a thing or two.  He knew what computers did and how they did it… more important, he knew why we bought them.  He got into our heads then he got into our wallets.

The medical device industry doesn’t sell enough of their stuff, because they can’t sell.  They turn up and expect us to buy.  ‘It’s  clever and whizzy and does… whatever… you must order it’.  

‘NICE says it’s good’… yeah, yeah… the death knell.

They need to make friends, tell stories, give us testimonials, connect with our needs.  

Nurse Smith says; ‘we bought this thingamabob and from week-one we noticed the difference… we we able to…. and because of that it helped us…. and we saved… and everyone was a lot happier about doing the job…’

The Association of British Healthcare Industries have forgotten the first rule of selling; people-buy-people-first.  Can you name anyone in the healthcare device industry?

And, ‘British‘ healthcare industries?  Really?  Doesn’t the good stuff come from the US, Far-East, Germany?  The report says no…

This fascinating report is built on a round-table discussion; ‘Why is the NHS struggling to make the most of new innovations‘.

Note the emphasis; NHS/struggling.  Not; industry/struggling.  The pungent odour of arrogance wafts across the table… hangs heavy.

I can feel the pain of the National Treasure and his musketeers. Wading, knee deep, in organisations, funding, research, AHSNs, AARs, procurement.  Eye-glazing… no fault of the authors.  The world of devices and kit-n-caboodle is a labyrinth.  

The industry has wrapped itself in a bureaucracy, thinking; the only way to sell to a bureaucracy, is to invent a bigger, more important one.

They’ve forgotten how to knock on doors, train salespeople, prospecting, closing-techniques.  Exciting us; ‘roll-up, roll-up you’ll want to see what we have here!’  Building relationships.

You’ve seen expensive, lifeless exhibition stands staffed by the distracted and disinterested, spending their days fiddling with mobile phones, emailing.  Standing, sentry-like, arms folded, on the edge of their stands, daring passers-by to step onto the carpet.

They mumble, ‘Can I help you’, when they should be saying; ‘It’s good, isn’t it.  Let me show you.  How do you think this might work in your organisation?’

They forget to make friends before they try and make a sale.  They hand out business cards instead of invitations.  The NHS needs all the friends it can get.  The frontline needs help to buy the stuff the boardroom have to authorise.

We are at an impasse.

The Musketeers bravely battle on.

No one is in charge of innovation, no one the boss of a digital future, no strategy.  The NHS has no front door for salesman to knock on.  The only decision maker worth talking to is the chief executive.  They never talk to anyone!  For the industry, the report makes dismal reading.  For the NHS it’s depressing.

There are interesting conclusions, not least of which; lets sort out the stuff we’ve got before we buy new stuff.

The NHS are busy drowning.  Too busy to see the boat salesmen.  There’s always something else on their do-list.  We need innovation, efficiency and new ideas more than ever before.  

It’s up to the industry to help us get a round-tuit.


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