YES!!! What a great word. You feel so good when you hear it… especially when you hear it from a patient! Conversely, NO is an unpleasant word. It can be hard not to take it personally, or even feel insulted. And when you hear No too often, you — and your staff, by the way — begin to believe that’s just what you have to expect. Wrong! I’m going to teach you how to generate a lot more “YES” from your patients.
The secret to getting patients to say YES is to have a PERFECT PROCESS in place.
And I do mean PERFECT — perfectly planned… perfectly executed… every single time for every single patient. From the moment that person calls and/or walks into the office, until the time they leave the office, everything they see, hear and feel is part of the PROCESS that results in some amount of revenue, based on their yesses or noes. The process repeats itself over and over.
In essence, what we’re really talking about is influencing other people. Learning how to plan and consistently execute a great process will help you become a more effective Influencer —which is something you can really be proud of. When it comes to influencing others, there are three types of people [according to Robert B. Cialdini, best-selling author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, considered one of the “75 Smartest Business Books” by Fortune Magazine]:
- The Bungler — doesn’t know anything about influencing people. As a client of mine, you may have picked up on a few principles without even realizing it, but your staff probably hasn’t. They’ve never been taught, and yet have a huge impact on your patients. Influence either accidentally happens, or it accidentally doesn’t; you must teach your staff how not to be Bunglers.
- The Smuggler — is a thief who uses the power of influence to achieve a one-way gain. You do NOT want to be a Smuggler who “wins” when the patient “loses.”
- The Detective of Influence — is able to use the principles of influence to the benefit of both his Practice and his patient.
It takes focus, energy and practice to become a good Detective of Influence, and there are a lot of elements to be managed. But the effort is well worth it, because a really great process will influence your patients or clients to give you a LOT of “YES!”:
- It gets your patient or client to say YES to treatment
- It gets them to send their family members — which is more “YES!”
- It gets them to refer their friends — more “YES!”
- It gets them to spend money on other services — more “YES!”
- And, it turns a patient into a fan… which means they talk about you to others. How many yesses could that be worth?!
A great process leads to repeat visits, larger purchases, and a continuous flow of new patients through referrals. Bottom line… how well your PROCESS works dictates whether or not you successfully grow your Practice.
Speaking of which, allow me to do a quick refresher on the 3 Ways to Grow a Practice:
- Increase number of new patients,
- Increase frequency of visits (conversion), and
- Increase average purchase size through compliance with recommended treatments.
Another ILL-ADVISED way to grow earnings is to substantially increase prices. It’s a short-term strategy at best, and is destined to backfire over the long haul, especially in this economic climate. Instead, you need to be creative at increasing average purchase size through new services, and new or add-on offerings.
You have to constantly work on all 3 growth strategies, even though you may give a bit more attention to one or the other at times. For example, a few years ago when the economy was really down, we focused heavily on boosting new patient counts. But that was in addition to improving conversion and compliance, not instead of.
Those folks who focused only on adding new patients and didn’t do enough to shore up conversion and compliance, are facing the music by now. Likewise, those who opted to raise prices, or began catering only to their most affluent patients — against my advice in both cases, mind you — well, those Practices are still trying to recover from the backlash of a complete lack of referrals by now!
If your new patient base is dropping… AND conversion is down… AND your compliance rate is dropping, you’re probably blaming the economy, and unemployment, and all sorts of others things you can’t control. You’ve succumbed to helplessness… and that feels even worse than hearing No. So let’s look at what you can control to start getting things turned around.
And speaking of what you can and can’t control — you’ve heard me talk about the “Two-Economy System” before, which dictates you stay rock-solid about all the things you do have control over… and stop worrying about all the things you don’t have control over!
Your PROCESS is one of those things you do have control over — every single piece of it.In contrast, you don’t have control over the economy, the credit situation, unemployment. You also don’t have control over how people choose to spend their money… which means you have to get much better at influencing their decisions.
Now that I’ve whetted your appetite to learn more about just what makes for a PERFECT PROCESS — one that’s effective and influential — watch for upcoming blog posts!