How to Go Beyond Selling a Product with Matt Weismiller

Matt Weismiller

CEO, Champion Manufacturing
 

Daniel Litwin:

Right. Then looking internally, how do you achieve that kind of product to solution shift as a company, changing the culture, the literal skillsets, hiring new people, getting your people in the mindset of being consultative and not just suppliers of products?

Matt Weismiller:

I think it starts with a pretty significant shift in culture and that shift is really moving away from the culture that says, we want to win every deal that's out there. And that's obviously a competitive and kind of high volume culture and it shifts to, we actually want to win a client one at a time for the longterm. So it's not just a deal based culture, but it's really about securing the trust of significant clients one at a time and sort of building that wall one brick at a time with multiple clients. That's really the shift that's required, I believe.

Daniel Litwin:

Yeah. Well, and I know you have a lot of experience doing this. You've done it at least twice before. Now you are with Champion Chair, really helping them embody that vision of being more than just a product but an expert supplier. Give us a little context on your career and some of the lessons that you learned taking your previous companies that you worked with and turning them from a product oriented company to a solutions oriented company.

Matt Weismiller:

So first of all, I am a healthcare lifer, so I've never worked in any industry other than healthcare. And my experience is there and. I believe that most companies are at their best form or their finest form when they're really not just producing a product as a commodity focused on cost, things like that. But I think that they're at their highest level of maturity is when they're providing the product but then they surround it with certain capabilities and services that basically makes it a turnkey for the client to where the client doesn't actually have to go seek knowledge about the task at hand because they can turn to this expert supplier who's does it four or 500 times a year and has seen everything that's out there in terms of new ideas, new capabilities and really different ways of driving internal processes.

Matt Weismiller:

And so that expert supplier really brings that to bear and the customer, the client, gets to take advantage of that high volume, high diversity mix of projects that their partner company has seen over the last year or two. Previous to my joining Champion, I spent a number of years in the operating room space in healthcare. And this is actually a really good example of what I'm talking about because operating rooms are quite complex, the technology is changing every day. And I think it's pretty challenging for health institutions and ambulatory surgical centers to really keep up with the technology. So one of the things that we commonly discussed with clients is for example, hybrid rooms, where an operating room would have a piece of imaging equipment in it, which 10 years ago was really a very emerging idea, using computer aided image guided basically technologies to supplement surgeries.

Matt Weismiller:

What we did in that particular company is we served as a conduit to any client who was building a new set of surgery units or operating rooms and we could bring to them kind of the latest that we had been working on over the last year or a year and a half in the area of hybrid surgical suites or work flow or other aspects of the room design. While we were not really ultimately the arbiter of the room design or basically the origin of the room design, we did bring a lot of feedback to the process on what typically worked and what did not work.

Daniel Litwin:

Let's turn now to Champion Chair specifically. I know that you all consider yourselves an expert supplier, or at least you're on the trajectory to really embodying that in every aspect of your company motto, your company culture and how you interface with clients. What do you feel like you're doing specifically to achieve that expert supplier status and what makes that distinction when you are in healthcare space for specifically for a product like yours, which is turnkey chair solutions for healthcare organizations?

Matt Weismiller:

Well first of all, I would describe Champion as on the trajectory. I think that this is one of those journeys that is actually never really over. You're always continuing to learn what sort of knowledge or expertise you can bring to your client base. And I think that we're relatively early in our journey, but we're quite knowledgeable about things like products and processes that lead to a higher degree of comfort. So this is a specific example for Champion. We're strongest in environments that I would describe as treatment, where a patient would actually sit on our chair platform. It could be four or five hours at a time, receiving chemotherapy, dialysis, some other type of interventional medicine. And it's very common for people to feel uncomfortable, cold, all of the above. And I think that we have designed a number of layers of comfort providing technology into our platform. And we've also learned about not just how the platform provides it, but how process does as well. So there's a good example. I think others that we're quite well versed in that we're continuing to learn about is really customer satisfaction and how the chair really factors into customer satisfaction metrics for our clients.

Daniel Litwin:

When you're working with these care centers and hospital systems, if you're looking big picture, do you have to get down to that granular level for each hospital itself to really understand what their needs are? Or is it a broader journey of understanding the needs of the industry as a whole, just because most care organizations have similar needs? So you don't necessarily need to go to XYZ hospital and ABC hospital to really get in the weeds. Or is it a mix of both? What are you seeing?

Matt Weismiller:

I think it's a mix of both. What we typically see is there are some clients who are very organized in their approach to capturing their requirements. So they know exactly what they want to do, what they're thinking. They then ask a lot of questions about, okay, so what are you seeing out there about this particular topic? What are you seeing in public? What are you seeing in private teaching institutions? So I think that, that's one group. Then there's another group who is thinking about some of the products that they're going to acquire, maybe as a little bit more of a commodity. And you have to remind them that there are a lot of different options out there and that we are very capable of working them through those options so that they can identify the path that they'd like to take.

Daniel Litwin:

So what are some of those specific returns on investment that come from having an expert supplier guide their product decision-making when it comes to their chairs and their seating solutions in the entire healthcare system or healthcare network?

Matt Weismiller:

So first of all, I want to be clear. I'm not talking about clinical outcomes here because really none of what we bring to the table is significant and materially changing the clinical outcome for a patient or patients. This is really kind of the nonclinical metrics. Some good examples are, again, I mentioned customer satisfaction is something where comfort is very important to that. Their connectedness, so our chairs are well connected in a number of different ways. You can charge your digital device. We have basically arms and storage modalities that are actually built into the chair so that you have your tablet, you have your phone. That's another aspect that really leads to customer satisfaction. And then just the overall visual experience that you have. So you feel like you're really sitting in a premium seating product that is not only beautiful but very functional and basically allows you to adjust to whatever position you want to.

Matt Weismiller:

Those are several examples of the return that a client can see. Now, of course, ultimately those are secondary metrics. What clients are really looking for is the building of a reputation or a brand in their local market over time to be the best, to be the most comfortable, to have the highest satisfaction, to be connected, all of those sorts of things. So you're really looking for market share or improved competitiveness in your local market. And I think that, that's where ultimately really where the return on investment is going to come from.

Daniel Litwin:

Interesting stuff. Yeah, I know in general healthcare experience, the aesthetic value of the space that you are being cared in might go a longer than people would even realize. There's something special about seeing color, about feeling comfortable in the waiting room or when you are literally being treated. If it feels sterile in the kind of negative connotation of the word, not the positive connotation of keeping your healthcare organization sterile, that I think impacts how you perceive the care itself. And though it isn't 100% linked to the literal outcome of the quality of the care, I think it is to just general perception, especially if you're there consistently. Consider going to your hospital for chemotherapy treatment. I'm not sure how often chemotherapy treatment actually happens, but regularly, right? And you're sitting in that same chair.

Daniel Litwin:

You would hope that it's a comfortable chair. You would hope the room is inviting. You would hope the general attitude of the place and the aesthetic of the place is inviting if it's going to be a staple of your foreseeable future. I really do think it goes a longer way than people outside the industry might realize. So I guess it's good to hear from you that hospital systems understand that dynamic. And yeah, it's more than just like a differentiator to make yourself a better hospital versus the competitor. It really is part of the customer care journey.

Matt Weismiller:

I think that it's absolutely an aspect of the quality of care that you receive because I think that when patients come into a space where they're going to be treated and it's warm, it's inviting, it's beautiful, it looks organized, there's a level of trust that comes from that and the patient feels a lot more comfortable about the journey that they're about to embark upon. And I think that hospitals absolutely understand that as well as clinics and all other forms that the challenge is really how do you provide a warm and inviting environment that's also clinically competent and also cost effective.

Daniel Litwin:

Right.

Matt Weismiller:

That's really the challenge that our clients are typically faced with.

Daniel Litwin:

Being in an industry like healthcare, providing products and solutions that are guaranteed safe and that exude an aura of safety as a company both internally and externally is a must. So break down some of the work that Champion Chair does, either in its internal quality control that ensures safety or in its external delivery of product or just interfacing with the client that promotes safety as an important part of getting your product installed and effective in the healthcare system.

Matt Weismiller:

This could be a long conversation.

Daniel Litwin:

Let's do it.

Matt Weismiller:

But I'll keep it nice and brief. There's a number of important vectors around safety. One of them is first of all really knowing how users interact with the product. And you make sure that any core activity is easy to do and easy to understand, almost to the point where you almost feel like you don't have to train people on it. Now of course going to train them, but it's so intuitive that you can just do it. And then I think the second piece to it is doing the analysis on while a user is activating functionality, like what could go wrong? For example, where is something that sticks out down by your feet that you might not see that you could trip on? I'm getting pretty specific here.

Daniel Litwin:

No, I appreciate the specifics. Go ahead.

Matt Weismiller:

But I think this is really the role of good design early on in the process as you need to be aware of all the things that can go wrong through a comprehensive risk assessment and then make sure that's designed out of the product as much as possible. And wherever it is not designed out of the product, it's included in the training.

Daniel Litwin:

How do you find that, that alleviates some of the stress of care for the physicians and the healthcare professionals that are interfacing with patients day-to-day?

Matt Weismiller:

I think it's pretty simple and I'm going to repeat it.

Daniel Litwin:

Yeah.

Matt Weismiller:

It's keeping it simple.

Daniel Litwin:

Nice.

Matt Weismiller:

That's what really alleviates the stress because these caregivers, whether it's a physician or a physician's assistant or a nurse, these are highly, highly trained people that interact with lots of technology all day. And trust me, when they interact with a product that is so simple that they feel like they can't make a mistake or they don't have to worry as much about it, that's really big. Keeping it simple and uncomplicated and you know you're going to get positive outcomes with the product with really no or very few negative interactions.

Daniel Litwin:

Yeah. What was the phrase back in the day, was is KISS? Keep it simple, stupid.

Matt Weismiller:

This is very true. Most of the time in healthcare, the devices, they're doing something pretty complex. So it's only so simple that they can get.

Daniel Litwin:

Right.

Matt Weismiller:

But with the case of a piece of clinical seating or what we call a healthcare recliner, it is possible to keep that product very, very simple and very easy to interact with. So we really work very hard to make sure that we do that.

Daniel Litwin:

Champion Chair also creates and manufacturers chairs for the doctors and the physicians themselves that they sit in, in a treatment room, right?

Matt Weismiller:

Yes.

Daniel Litwin:

Yes. So that is another layer of interfacing with and creating a positive relationship with a health care organization because just as it's important to keep the patient comfortable and enjoying their time in the space, the only people that are there more often are the professionals themselves. And there are several trends that show that physician burnout is something that continues in the industry. It's pushing a lot of nurses, a lot of doctors away from the industry and yeah, at the end of the day, that's not because their chair isn't comfy, but that does add a layer of comfort to their day-to-day. I'm sure it doesn't help if they have a chair that they sit down on and the wheels bust off or their back hurts because they're sitting in it all day. So those little things I think ripple out as well. Tell me a little bit about that dynamic as well, on how Champion Chair tries to be an expert supplier for the physicians and their experience as well.

Matt Weismiller:

I think it's important to, you really recapped it effectively, in that these are people who are working long hours under a lot of stress and they're seeing a lot of patients. There's a lot of complexity in their world. And everything you can

Daniel Litwin:

Love it. All right. We've been chatting with Matt Weismiller, CEO of Champion Chair. Matt, thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate your time.

Matt Weismiller:

Thank you. I enjoyed it.

Daniel Litwin:

And thank you everyone for listening to today's episode. I'm your host, Daniel Litwin, the Voice of B2B. Till next time.