Hello, my friends. It’s your boy Troy welcoming you to a fresh episode of the Practice Growth Machine podcast, where we teach you the persuasion tips and tactics you can use to command higher prices for your premium procedures and fill your surgery schedule. The topic of the day is decision making. Specifically, your patient’s decision making.
Now, I read and study a ton about persuasion and influence. It’s one of my favorite topics because it has so many applications in marketing and in sales that most folks just overlook or they never even consider.
In episode six, we talked about how your main job on the phones, and even in consultations, is to help your patients make the decision that’s right for them. But, how do you do that? Let’s talk about it.
Helping the patient make the right decision for them comes down to helping them create a decision framework. A decision framework. Think back to buying your first car or your first house, or maybe even a smaller decision like which new cell phone to purchase.
In any of these situations, it’s common to try to gather tons of information so you can make an informed decision. But, information is only half of the equation. We need a framework to actually make the right decision.
If you think about building a house, all the bricks, the paint, the wood floor planks, all those different parts are like the information. But, you need the literal frame of the house so you have a place to put all those things. That’s the framework. Without that, you just have a big pile of stuff and you don’t know how to arrange it or where it goes.
This is how people get into information overload. Research is so easy now that we all have this supercomputer in our pockets, but then we have all this information we’ve gathered. We don’t know what to do with it, we freeze, and we don’t make a decision. Or, we decide to stick with whatever we’re already doing.
This is especially true when we’re faced with a new kind of decision, something we’ve never made before, like the decision to have a vision correction procedure or cosmetic procedure.
How can we help create a strong decision-making framework for our patients? This is something we get deep into when we do our client trainings. The mindset, the different types of patients who come see you, how to read them and their personalities, and then how to create specific frameworks for engaging and connecting with them. But, I’m going to share a few of the big concepts with you today.
Number one: Explain the why. Explain the why. This is a very simple but powerful principle, and that’s to explain the why behind what you’re doing. It’s so easy to go through the motions of your normal medical history and doing the scans and doing the tests and all that.
You may even explain to your patients, “Okay, now we’re going to look at the front surface of the cornea,” etc. But, what’s even more important is explaining the why behind what you’re doing:
Here’s why we’re looking at the corneal surface. Here’s why we want to know what your hobbies are. Here’s why we recommend procedure X instead of procedure Y. Because, most patients aren’t going to understand the science behind an orb scan, for example.
But if you can say, “Hey, here’s why we’re doing the scan,” in very plain terms, they can quickly gain an understanding of why it’s important and how it benefits them, which becomes part of the framework for the decision.
Number two: Share anecdotes of other people like them. Storytelling is a concept that comes up a lot on the podcast, and that’s because it has so many applications in marketing and sales. For creating the decision framework, you want to show your prospect that others like them have traveled this road before, they’ve made a similar decision, and they are better for it.
If you’ve personally had the procedure, great. Talk about your story too. If your surgeon has had the procedure, even better. Talk about that.
Talk about other patients like them. Don’t mention names of course, but you can say, “Yeah, I had a patient just the other day who was a young mom and she was just so excited to be able to splash in the pool with her kids.” That’s something that seems really simple, but she could never do it before with her contacts.
Stories like this are a highly effective way to get your prospects thinking about how their life is going to be different after making this decision. Again, it’s part of that decision framework.
Number three: Arm them with questions that reinforce you as the obvious choice. When someone contacts you about booking a consultation, just go ahead and assume they are also looking at other practices around town. If someone tells you they are shopping around or they have another consultation somewhere else, this is a big opportunity for you.
You can either be the practice to build the decision framework, or you can leave it up to the patient, or worse yet, the competing practice to build that framework.
This is where folks get into a lot of trouble because they try to apply familiar frameworks to an unfamiliar decision. I’m talking about your prospects and your patients. This is how pricing can become a deal maker or breaker for folks. When it comes to the decision framework, people don’t know about technology or experience or outcomes or surgical planning. But, they know about money and they feel like they know about pricing.
In many cases, people think the best price is the lower price. If we don’t create a decision-making framework to correct that assumption and people are left to their own devices, you’re left competing on price. Which is what you don’t want, especially if you’re doing what I’m telling you to do, which is to charge a premium price for your premium procedures.
All right, remember, the most robust framework is going to win, and we want to be the ones to create that framework. This is why I encourage you, if someone is telling you they’re going to shop around, this is the time to arm them with questions and knowledge so that you are the one controlling the decision framework.
This is where I like to have a simple one page PDF quality checklist to go through with a patient. This is a very practical thing that you can create for your practice. This would have questions that your practice can answer affirmatively, but perhaps other practices cannot.
Some examples: Did my surgeon have the procedure himself? Will I meet my doctor before the surgery? Do you offer more than just LASIK? Will you work with my optometrist?
If you can answer yes to these questions, and other practices either can’t answer yes or there’s a big fat question mark as to whether or not it’s a yes for them, then these are the kinds of questions that you want to share with your prospects, and of course you want to make sure that they understand why each of these questions are important. Going back to point one, we want to explain the why behind it.
When you frame this up and you share these questions and you tell your patient, “Hey, you know what? Here are some important questions that you need to ask, you need to make sure you have the answers to these before you decide where you’re going.”
When you come from that angle, that puts you in the seat as the educator and the advocate for your patient. You are the authority. In many times, even bringing up these details and these questions can be enough for someone to say, “Yeah, you know, I can see why I should just trust you guys. You’ve got it all together.”
To recap, providing patients information is not enough to win their business. You must also help them create a decision framework. Patients need this because this is a new decision for them. You want to be sure to explain the why, share other patient stories, and arm them with questions that show you are the obvious choice.
Remember, if you don’t create the framework, someone else will. The most robust framework is going to win. Go out there and win today.
I will see you on the next show.
For more persuasion tools and scripts, click on the free resources tab at troycole.com.