Demand For Diagnostic Imaging Systems Growing Rapidly In Africa, The Middle East And Eastern Europe – Will The Systems Be Purchased?
The demand for medical facilities and related diagnostic imaging systems is growing at a tremendous rate. There is a strong need for x-ray and fluoroscopic systems as well as CT, MRI and ultrasound systems. There is an adequate supply of used and / or refurbished systems worldwide to meet the demand, however there are two major problems – available budgets and distribution sources. Although it appears funding is becoming more available, little can be done to improve funds availability.
The real problem lies with the growing number of potential suppliers in these areas. Many inexperienced players in Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe also have recognized the potential of this growing market and are attempting to jump in and become suppliers. Unfortunately very few understand the systems, the market or the concept of sales. They believe a sale can occur if they identify a general need, inquire as to what general equipment is available inexpensively and then present this inexpensive solution regardless if it accommodates the buyer's specific need. Generally, what then occurs is that the buyer lets the sales representative know what he has offered is too expensive and does not meet requirements that were not discussed previously in detail.
The reason the system and application were not discussed in detail initially is that the sales representative is not familiar with the application or system and therefore can not discuss the details associated with the requirement. We get many inquiries from representatives from these areas. Their initial request is usually so general, we can not offer a response. For example, a request will be "Please send price for an x-ray system CIF Nigeria". This is like writing, "Please send price for a car CIF Nigeria". Without make, model, year, features, condition and available budget, we have no idea of what is required and unfortunately neither does the requesting sales representative. He simply spoke with a physician at a medical facility and the physician indicated they needed an x-ray system and they had funds. The sales representative immediately runs out and begins emailing agents around the world, hoping to identify a system he can purchase inexpensively, inflate the price drastically and then sell to the medical facility. He can not discuss the details of the x-ray system because he knows nothing about x-ray systems. He believes if enough resellers provide him systems to offer, he will present them and his prospect will purchase one allowing him to make a handsome profit. He is hiring, like a novice car salesman, if you put enough cars in front of someone they may buy one eventually.
As diagnostic imaging system resellers, we continuously receive these inquiries from international agents attempting to sell equipment. But as soon as we respond back and ask for specifications, application details and / or available budget, most disappear. Solving the problem is not that difficult. First and foremost these representative need to learn and understand basic sales. The key to working with a legitimate prospect is communication. If the representative is able to engage in a dialogue where his prospect will discuss details of the acquisition, then the chances of making a sale increase significantly. The most important questions are: When does the system need to be delivered? Is the funding available now? How much is being budgeted for this purchase? If the prospect will not or can not answer these questions, then he will not or can not make a decision to purchase. A lot of time will be wasted and most suppliers like ourselves will not respond with an offering because we are also convinced a sale will not occur. There is no reason to get into a discussion about system specs or applications, if the prospect will not discuss basic purchasing information.
Let's assume for a moment that the prospect has cooperated and provided delivery, funding availability and budget information. How do you now engage in a discussion about technology, applications and system nomenclatures of which you are totally unfamiliar? There are a number of general questions that can help you understand what is needed. Age – how old of a system will they consider purchasing? Used systems can range in age from 5-25 years old and most facilities have a threshold as to how old of a system they will consider. Features- what specific features are required? Often facilities want to have certain features that are important to them. High powered system, digital system, analog (film) system, etc. Preferred manufacture – like GE, Philips, Siemens or that's not important. Condition – as-is in good working condition or fully refurbished or new, each has its own price level. Shipping – air (fast and expensive) or sea (slow and less expensive), import clearance and destination ground transportation.
If the majority of this information is obtained, the chances of a reseller working with an international agent will increase significantly as will the chances of a successful sale occurring.