Get on the Bus and Ask for the Business

Posted in Business Practices | April 20,2015

Editor’s Note: Before we get into the content below, a quick message about what this is.

Every day, we work with clients across the country to grow their practices. This means we’re constantly researching, testing and iterating on new (and seasoned) ideas. It also means that we ask and answer many questions.

This weekly newsletter is designed to provide actionable tips, encouragement and insights to make your practice more profitable, more effective and above all, more patient-focused.

I hope you enjoy this week’s article.

Let’s get real. Your bank account depends on it.

One question you must ask yourself constantly, without hesitation and without bias, is this…

medical team“Do I have the right people on my bus?”

Because if you don’t, it can be death to your practice. A bleeding bank account. A poisoned staff.

Sound a little dramatic to you? Hardly. Let’s dig deeper.

First of all: what’s the bus?

Jim Collins, renowned author of indispensable business growth bible Good to Great, talks about your bus being your practice. You are the driver, and you have to “decide where you’re going, how you’re going to get there, and who’s going with you.”

The problem is that we spend plenty of time trying to figure out where we’re going and how to get there, without FIRST spending the time, effort and due diligence to make sure we have the right people on board the bus, and that they are in the right seats.

As you know if you’ve worked with Miller PR for any amount of time, our primary focus at the beginning of any engagement is to ensure you have the right people on your bus. The vast majority of our clients have received recommendations from us to… how can I put this…. send certain negative, toxic employees to find another bus.

Every member of your team, from front desk to techs to counselors to staff doctors, needs to be ‘on the bus’ to align with your goals of providing excellent patient care in all facets of your practice.

Today, we’re talking about a very specific trait that essential to the folks you bring onto your bus.

The Art of Asking For the Business

It’s a core skill of a great salesperson (which is all of us). It’s essential to the success of your practice.

I’m talking about the art of asking for the business. Ask a prospect to schedule a consultation. Ask a prospect to spend several thousand dollars on a procedure. Ask a prospect to book a surgery.

It sounds so simple, but the majority of sales engagements do not end with this very straightforward principle, and your practice is hemorrhaging money because of it.

There are 3 core aspects to asking for the business that I will discuss with you today. These all tie together and are directly affected by whether or not someone is truly on the bus with you.

1. To ask for the business, you must believe your product/service is the bee’s knees.

If your team doesn’t believe in the services or procedures you’re offering, they’re going to have trouble asking for the business, and you’re going to have trouble increasing your patient count and revenue.

Here’s the thing – you do life-changing work in your practice. This is true whether you help patients enjoy life with better vision, help them overcome cancer, or even help them enjoy a better and more confident appearance.

Unfortunately, when life-changing experiences become everyday activities (like they do for our team members), it’s easy for staff to become jaded and lose focus on the importance of what you’re doing for patients every day.

It’s easy to believe the lie that you AREN’T changing lives, that your services AREN’T vitally important to your patients. And this makes it hard to ask for the business.

When interacting with your staff, be sure to comment on specific patients’ excitement after their procedures. Commend staff members who create memorable experiences for your patients. Consciously make this kind of “life-changing” commentary part of your everyday conversation in your office. It will not only benefit the team, but you as well.

2. To ask for the business, you must be confident asking for thousands of dollars.

Confidence (and lack thereof) manifests in many aspects of your practice.

We often uncover team members who lack the confidence to ask prospects for thousands of dollars in exchange for a life-changing procedure. It’s a deep-rooted mental barrier that can be tough to overcome.

Here’s what I mean:

Let’s say you perform LASIK at $4000/bilateral. Or breast implants at $12,000/case. Most of the team members in your practice do not have thousands (or tens of thousands) of dollars available to pay for those procedures.

Since it’s a cost-prohibitive notion for your staff members, their tendency will be to treat prospective patients in the same manner.

“$4000 for a procedure is a huge amount of money. It’s a scary and intimidating amount of cash to expend at one time. I couldn’t possibly ask them to give that much money to me…” and the thought process continues to decline. Confidence sinks, the ‘ask’ becomes monumental, and these team members are unable to close the deal.

This cannot happen. Your staff members must first and foremost accept the fact that the prospect wants the procedure.

Because the facts are these: If someone stops what they’re doing to pick up the phone or get on your website to contact you, they’re interested. If someone takes time off work, drives all the way to your office, and spends an hour going through a consultation appointment, they’re very interested.

And you better believe with all the information available online today, anyone calling or coming into your office is already going to have some notion of what they will spend with you.

So give your team members a little pep talk that goes something like this:

Take YOURself and YOUR environment and YOUR circumstances OFF the table when you’re talking to a potential patient. Maybe they’ve saved up for years. Maybe they make $250,000 a year. Maybe someone is buying them a procedure as a gift. Maybe they want to finance. You just don’t know, and it’s not your job to know. It’s your job to help people make informed decisions about improving their lives, and if what we offer can do that, who are you to stand in their way?

How do you know if this is happening in your practice? Simple – your conversion rates are garbage. Tracked leads are down, lead-to-appointment conversions are low, appointment-to-surgery conversions are atrocious.

It’s time to talk to your patient-facing staff members who are responsible for booking surgeries. If this pep talk doesn’t result in drastic change, it’s time to get some new folks on the bus.

3. To ask for the business, you must have earned the right to do so.

We’ve all been in situations where we felt we were being bullied by pushy salespeople. More often than not, these are people who have not taken the time or care to build any kind of rapport with us.

A telemarketer calling during dinner. A salesperson at the local furniture shop. The solicitor who drops into your office trying to sell you a new printer lease.

To ask for the business in a confident manner, a team member must haveearned the right to do so.

This means building trust with the potential patient. When it comes time to ask for the business, it should be a natural move based on the relationship building you’ve already done.

Some questions to ask to be sure you’ve ‘earned the right’ to ask for the business:

  • Is the prospect comfortable with me?
  • Do I know the prospects pain points? Have I confidently addressed those?
  • Have I added value to the prospect’s life in multiple ways?
  • Is this service/product/procedure right for the prospect? Have I helped him/her reach the same conclusion?

Once you can check off those boxes, it becomes not only your privilege, but your duty to ask for the business.

Action Item

Talk to your team this week. Observe them. Figure out who is asking for the business. Who has the confidence? Who believes in what you’re doing? Who has earned the right to ask for the business?

Maybe you’ll need to make some shifts to your bus seats. That’s alright. Better to do it now than continue losing an untold fortune week in and week out.

Questions/thoughts/comments? Contact us. We’d love to discuss this further with you.

To your success,

Troy Cole Director of Account Services Miller Public Relations