How to barter with a mature medical practice

Let’s face it.  It’s a lot easier to barter with a company that is a little “hungry” than a mature business that has plenty of cash.  As such I’ve run into a couple occasions where it was a little difficult to try to trade with long standing successful medical practices.  That being said, twice I have figured out a deal that worked and I want to share my insights about it with you.  Here are the things I can think of that I did that I think helped seal the deals:

  1. Speak directly with the owner and acknowledge their level of expertise.  Point out that you really want to work specifically with them.
  2. Acknowledge their successful practice and point out that you understand that they don’t NEED to barter.
  3. Here’s the most important part:  Point out that what you are looking for with your barter request is a FAVOR.  You understand that they don’t NEED to barter, but you are also not looking for pro-bono (free) work.  You want to pay them in full for their services, but you need to pay in trade because of your current financial situation.  Most professionals feel a moral responsibility to conduct a certain amount of pro-bono work and it is much more likely that they will consider your offer if they make a connection in their mind between barter and pro-bono. Be sure to actually use the phrase “pro-bono” even though you are specifically saying that you want to pay in full.
  4. Be prepared with a list of the best products/services that you have to offer in trade.  Also be ready to think on your feet and offer different products/services than what are on your list.  On a recent deal when I realized that it was office staff (all women) that would play a major role in the deal, I added a bunch of spa services into my trade list and I think that was what pushed my offer over the top.

Of course after the deal has been made, do everything you can to make sure they are happy with the deal.  Be pro-active and follow through.  It’s very likely that their office will look at your deal like it’s volunteer work and won’t be contacting you to follow through with your part of the trade.  That means you have to try even harder to make sure they get value.  Not only will that fulfill your part of the deal, it will also make it more likely that you (and others) may be able to trade again with them in the future.


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