Article provided by: behavioralhealthnetworkresources.com
Addiction professional conferences can have benefits for addiction treatment centers, detox’s, sober livings and ancillary service providers. As behavioral health industry professionals we are experiencing moments of change on how we operate. However, when attending mental health conferences there are several key areas to focus on to get much-needed business and marketing tools. There are several goals to bear in mind when attending addiction professional conferences and networking events. These goals vary depending on the position you have with your behavioral health organization. CEO’s, Executives, Directors and Outreach professionals, by design of their role, have different objectives. However, getting out of your comfort zone can pay great dividends if done strategically.
Getting ROI on Your Mental Health or Addiction Professional Conferences
The addiction treatment industry is experiencing many different changes on the business and marketing side. It is vital that you walk away with new business strategies, marketing plan ideas and drug rehab lead generation sources. The behavioral health industry has several critical pain points that CEO’s and Owners are experiencing. New operational and marketing laws as spreading across the nation thanks to the new “Florida Model” paving the road with their new patient brokering and operational laws as of July 1, 2017. Getting educated on ethical business and marketing strategies at addiction professional conferences is paramount at this critical time to survive. Some centers that continued with laissez faire strategies, resisted change or did not seek the proper education and tools have not survived the red ocean. It is paramount for behavioral health organizations attend Addiction professional conferencesto get specific and strategic intelligence.
CEO’s and Executives Focus on the Big Picture
Drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers, detox’s and sober homes owners have a difficult job. They need to focus on the business, marketing and clinical side of their organization. Many addiction executives are strong on the clinical aspects and addiction treatment in general. Most have started their addiction treatment center because of their strength in this area and their passion to help others struggling with addiction. However, this is only 1/3 of what it takes to run a successful center.
When CEO’s and addiction Executives attend addiction professional conferences their conversations are much different than the conversation of let’s say Outreach professionals. According to the Harvard Business Review article, “Sales People Need a Strategy for Selling to CEOs,” CEO’s are focused on business outcomes, how decisions effect the entire organization and maximizing their time. The upper management Executives have a much wider business education. They are looking for business and marketing solutions to their pain points. Accreditation, billing procedures, collections, a decent EMR (electronic medical records system,) admissions processes, effective marketing strategies, legal aspects, new revenue sources, aftercare opportunities and many more. They generally are not there to network, but to find proven and ethical solutions.
Directors are Guided by CEO’s and Executives Vision
Directors are also focused on the same areas as the CEO’s and Executives. The difference being is that they put the CEO’s and Executives vision into play. It is vital that they get better educated by the conference presenters, exhibitors a few select attendees that are specialists in what ever is on their plate at that time. While most Directors in the behavioral health industry have in-depth knowledge in many areas, they need to be experts when leading the company in new areas. They also should be evaluating current procedures and ancillary providerson a regular basis (at the very least every year) to save or generate new revenue. All of these carries great responsibility and consume great amounts of time.
Addiction professional conferencescan provide knowledge and experience from proven thought leaders to assist drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers, detox’s and sober livings Directors in their roles. However, this can be difficult at times because at many mental health conferences there are several presentations going on at the same time. It is impossible for the Directors to be in two places at the same time. Directors need to pick and choose based on their priorities or rely on another employee to attend the other presentation.
Outreach Professionals and Business Development; Obtaining Tools is Critical
Outreach professionals for addiction treatment centers, detox’s, sober homes and service organizations have an extremely stressful position. Unfortunately, the average Outreach position lasts for about 6-12 months. They can no longer just rely on their personal connections. We have seen this on LinkedIn with our 30,000 addiction and behavioral health level one connections. Viewing these LinkedIn profiles while we are growing our tribes it is very concerning. One of the main reasons is this role has traditionally lacked in gaining useful tools to assist them in their daily jobs.
It’s obvious that Outreach professionals are constantly obtaining new clinical knowledge. However, many are not getting the tools on the business and marketing side of behavioral health that are now paramount in their success. They need customer relationship management (CRM’s,) networking tools and strategies, call center training, overall marketing, branding, social media, email marketing, closing techniques and more.
Addiction professional conferencesshould be providing some of these tools. Many owners and operators do not realize that one employee turnover costs about $20,000. Owners and Outreach professionals should aggressively be seeking these tools. Two of the biggest areas are marketing and establishing new referral sources. Marketing is such a vast area that there are always new strategies and techniques to be learned. One of many examples is Business development professionals need to intimately understand the power of social media. How they portray themselves and what they put on social media is a direct reflection of their organization’s brand. It also affects establishing new referral sources.
Preparing for Addiction Professional Conferences
In any job, position or role getting out of your comfort zone enables you to grow personally and professionally. This can be difficult because human nature gravitates us towards our comfortable circles. At many substance abuse conferences, you see the same professionals forming in the same groups. Yes, it’s wonderful to chat with our familiar circles, however it should not dominate your time at these events. Getting outside of the comfort zone, obtaining new tools, business education and forcing yourself to meet everyone in the room is paramount in the state of our industry.
This can be an overwhelming experience and non-productive if you are not prepared. Preparation, maximizing time and follow-up can make the real difference when attending a substance abuse conferences. To truly get all the benefits the preparation begins far before the event.
Effective Addiction Networking Starts Weeks Before the Addiction Symposium
When preparing for the event you should vising the conference website. For most addiction professional conferences, you can get an idea of what organizations that will be there. Some event websites only list the sponsors and exhibitors, while others will provide a list of everyone including attendees.
Examine the list on the event website and write a list putting them into categories like A, B, C and D. The A’s are the organizations that are new start-ups, you have been targeting, or must chat with at the event. The B’s are your second tier and so forth. Prepare before you attend the conference. By writing the list and bringing it with you to the event you will not miss any opportunities.
Try to connect prior to the addiction conference. Most professionals in our industry do not do this. You should at least reach out to your A’s and B’s through LinkedIn prior to the event. Say you want to visit their booth or meet with them at the conference. This soft introduction says you are a professional and you are interested in meeting them. You will also get an idea of who this new potential referral source is and have some background information to reference when you chat at the event.
Make sure your organizations brochures, business cards and exhibitor materials are up to date. Many addiction treatment centers, Detox’s, Sober homes and ancillary service providers do a poor job of keeping these items up to date. The products and services often change, and the marketing materials do not reflect those changes. We see this all the time at the Addiction Executive conferences that we hold in our industry. It was an issue until we found a promotional products vendor to work with providing these services for our sponsors and exhibitors.