For many manufacturers and retailers in the mobility industry, engaging and forging relationships with occupational therapists is a must and often, it is at events such as OTAC where companies look to reach out to the healthcare professionals. In his OT’s Perspective for September, Stuart Barrow gives his top tips for successfully connecting with OTs.


As you probably know, in addition to our OT practice, we run events all over the UK, all with the aim of helping to upskill occupational therapists and help make them aware of products and services that can help them and their clients.

They’re known as OTAC (Occupational Therapy and Adaptations Conference) events, and after running one successfully in 2016, we ran four in 2017, and this year we’re running 10!

Anyway, one of the most common bits of feedback that I get from the OTs who attend is around how helpful and beneficial it is for them to meet with manufacturers and understand how their products work – it broadens their horizons and helps them to specify the correct equipment and adaptations for their clients.With that in mind, I just thought I’d put together a quick five-step guide for manufacturers looking to engage with occupational therapists at events:

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    1. Understand the world of occupational therapy

Obviously, you know how your product helps the end-user but one of the things I would urge you to do is develop your understanding of how occupational therapists work and how you can make their jobs easier.

Talking to OTs at events can give you an insight into how products and services are specified and funded, which in turn can help you to get your product into more homes and help more people.

     2. Show them how it works

We’ve all seen enough shopping channel TV to know that people are natural sceptical of ‘gadgets’ and the like, and that’s why it’s crucial for you to make sure that you can communicate the power of what you sell to OTs.

One of the best ways to do that is via live events – take your product along and you can provide them with a live demonstration.

    3. Build relationships

Everything is easier to sell when you’ve got a relationship with the person you want to sell it to and getting face to face with the people who can buy your product is the best way to build that relationship.  That’s why it’s so vital for manufacturers and retailers to get out of the office and along to events – it allows you to really build relationships with people and reduces the friction in between you and the sale.

    4. Be visible

You might have the best product in the world but if no OT in the world is aware of its existence, you’re unlikely to sell that many, and the knock-on effect is that you’re not helping as many people as you want.

Getting along to events and building your brand visibility can ensure that people know who you are and what you do, which gives you far more chance of making the sales you want.

    5. Capture data

One of the biggest mistakes I see at events is exhibitors not collecting the data of the attendees. They’ll have a great conversation, but without data it’s impossible to follow up on that person, and all of the hard work you’ve put in is lost.

Whether it’s a straight forward ‘give me your email address and I’ll send you some more information’, or something more subtle like a business card draw, getting the data of the people most likely to buy from you is a vital step of all successful exhibiting.

I hope these tips can help you at your next exhibition, and remember, if you’d like to talk to us about exhibiting at OTAC, just give us a call on 02921 900402 or email stuart@promoting-independence.co.uk


Stuart Barrow image

Stuart Barrow of Promoting Independence is a member of the British Association of Occupational Therapists panel and a recognised contributor in the field of home adaptations. His experience is sought by manufacturers and service providers looking for an expert opinion. He also runs the Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference


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