We get it. You don't like to use the "s-word" at your practice, and for good reason. But the fact is, "selling" is part of the process. The good news is, if done with integrity and a little bit of finesse, it doesn't need feel like a "sale" at all.
Take a look at our tips for mastering the art.
The two ears metaphor
Often the most neglected link in communications, listening provides essential insight into your patients value system. The value of listening cannot be overstated. Make sure you understand what is important to them and how they see their problem.
Don't recommend what the patient isn't asking for
There are times when the results the patient is looking for cannot be achieved without an additional procedure (e.g. they came in for a breast augmentation but would also need a lift to get their desired result)—in these cases, making a recommendation is perfectly fine. What you DON’T want to do is make recommendations for things that don’t bother the patient. Patients who leave their consultation feeling overwhelmed, not listened to, and ugly will likely not be returning to your office any time soon! Avoid the “tell me what I need to have done” from the patient by redirecting the conversation to the things that bother the patient the most.
Describe the benefits, not the features
Medical professionals are trained to diagnose problems through a scientific process, but patients’ value systems are different. In other words, talk less about the journey and more talk about the destination! Use the patient’s own terms when revealing a clinical solution and avoid medical terminology. Most patients just want to know how happy they’re going to be with the end result.
Conversation vs. Presentation
No one wants be sold. Patients, like all consumers, reflexively defend themselves against sales pitches. Disarm the barriers by having a friendly chat. Aim for sincere two-way communication. Getting rid of the “presentation” will disarm your patients and make them feel more confident in their decisions.
Make Sure Your Patients Know the Drill
Make sure your staff is knowledgable about your past accomplishments and recent successes. Have them prepare a “stump speech”. A stump speech is a short standardized “speech” that is repeated verbatim to each patient. For example, “Dr. XYZ has really great outcomes! He’s done over 10,000 of these, and he’s double board certified.” Having these important points communicated to the patient who otherwise might not know could be the difference in whether or not they choose you.
Storytelling with a purpose
Telling a story with a clear point or sharing a personal anecdote has a persuasive effect on the listener. The human brain is wired to more readily hear, understand, and retain information that’s in story format.
Provide low-cost visual examples that are instructional, insightful, or educational. Show them before and after photos. Give them something to take with them with they leave the consultation such as an informational brochure, what to expect prior to, during, and after surgery, etc. Knowledge is powerful, and patients will be comforted in knowing they have all of the information they need to make their decision.