Danielle Garcia is not about to make assumptions about the needs of her referral partners. When asked how she and her team have adapted their work with clinicians and other behavioral health professionals to the COVID-19 pandemic guidelines, she made it clear that their number one priority is to ask and really listen to what they need at that moment.
When stay-at-home orders were first issued, a barrage of Zoom invites inundated all of our inboxes. Recognizing this, Garcia, who is the regional business development manager at FRN and Black Bear Lodge, asked a simple question of her clients, “How do you want to communicate with us?” She notes, “Regardless of COVID-19 or not, that’s just the trajectory for every single meeting and every single contact we have.”
Business Development as Support
With COVID-19 being such a sensitive time for our healthcare professionals, Garcia and her team wanted to know how they could support them as they are going through so much in their clinical practices, hospitals, and treatment centers. “That’s the first concern during something like this,” Garcia emphasized, “What can we do? What was the worst part of your day today? How can we make that better?”
Sometimes they don’t need anything, and other times they open up and say how overwhelmed they are and Garcia and her team can do things like send over a hot meal, help with discharge planning, or reach out to any patients to help save time for their staff. “Some people say yes, some say no, but being willing to listen to what they need is the most important way to connect,” she assures. It’s always worth asking the question.
“I’ve found that the quality of our conversations have been higher than ever before.”Danielle Garcia
Business Development as a Tool for Growth
Now that the “new normal” of life in a pandemic has been established, Garcia and all the business development representatives at Foundations Recovery Network help support professional goals, which has always been part of their role. “Because of the way FRN is set up, we have a lot to offer,” she assured. She recalled the webinars that FRN holds quarterly, and other opportunities that have allowed professionals to keep up with their continuing education requirements. As Garcia states, “We like to lead with education and things that help [professionals] enhance their clinical practice and also help them with their personal goals.”
Business Development as Community Outreach
No matter the kind of establishment your organization is, it’s part of the community, and communities have needs. “We often ask, ‘What needs have you been working to fulfill within the community, and how can we support you in that effort?’” Garcia adds, “Some organizations have food pantries. During this time [of COVID-19], food pantries are really dry. So we ask, ‘Can we deliver food to your food pantry?’ Then they can continue the work that they’re doing in their communities with people who need help.”
Other times Garcia and the team at FRN find ways to help organizations reach families with resources. Garcia recalls how she and her team had sent hundreds of books for children called Pirates Have Feelings Too, “It’s a book for anyone with younger children whose parents have mental health issues, or have been hospitalized, or are going into a program. Being able to give our clients something that they can give to the family to use as a resource has been a great way to support them in connecting with their communities.”
“We’re big fans of sharing resources with other facilities, with hospitals, and definitely with therapists and their practices.”Danielle Garcia
Business Development Meets You Where You Are
COVID-19 has definitely put an emphasis on valuing your time and personal connections, but for Garcia and her team, it’s always been that way. “Though,” she notes, “I’ve found that the quality of our conversations have been higher than ever before. We’re learning more about their educational background, their families, what matters to them, what they’re motivated by, and what their long-term goals are,” She continues, “And that’s really important to understand. If you’re going to have a genuine relationship with someone, you need to understand how they’re motivated and what their goals are.
Garcia is passionate about her role, and you can tell she loves what she does. She emphasizes, “If you’re a true BD rep, your goal is to help that person meet their goal. So when we hear things in the field like, ‘I want to grow my practice, we’d like to add another program to our hospital,’ How can we help with that? How can we supplement them with the resources we already have?” She also adds, “We’re big fans of sharing resources with other facilities, with hospitals, and definitely with therapists and their practices. So how can we help them not have to reinvent the wheel if they’re doing a new initiative?”
The Value of Your Time
When someone meets with a business development representative, a good question to ask is, what did you and your patients get out of it, and what will future patients get as a result of your time meeting with them? As Garcia passionately concludes, “The most valuable thing that anyone can give us is their time. And we want to be very cognizant of that time when we meet with people and truly value it to the level that it deserves.”
Black Bear Lodge: A Safe and Healing Experience for Patients
June 2020 Webinar
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Presented by Nick Jaworski