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Sales Skills in the Doctor's office?

A friend of mine called me yesterday with an interesting problem. He does a lot of marketing for naturpaths and chiropracters. Since their service aren't covered by insurance, they get a lot of calls with the person starting out with, "How much is this going to cost"?
We developed 5 easy questions for the receptionist to ask to get the 'patient' to stop thinking about cost and start thinking about the reason they called--chronic pain, have a medical problem 'conventional' medicine can't solve.
It will be interresting to see if their close rate (booked appointments) increases after trying this approach.

Thoughts anyone?

Susan - by susana
We developed 5 easy questions for the receptionist to ask to get the 'patient' to stop thinking about cost and start thinking about the reason they called--chronic pain, have a medical problem 'conventional' medicine can't solve.
It will be interresting to see if their close rate (booked appointments) increases after trying this approach.

Thoughts anyone?

Susan
That will be interesting. What were the questions? - by Jolly Roger
That will be interesting. What were the questions?
Once the interview has been released, I can post the questions. We also had a naturopathic doctor on the line--and he was interested in trying this method as soon as he could get the questions.


Susan - by susana
It is a good idea to have a script to but between the question about price and the answer. But you risk seeming evassive and dishonest--and honesty is a key attribute of complimentary medicine.

Other approaches would be to offer short free consultations and methods for phrasing prices to put them in context. If it costs $200 and the person has only $20 in the bank there is little point in further wastig their time. - by theglyphon
It is a good idea to have a script to but between the question about price and the answer. But you risk seeming evassive and dishonest--and honesty is a key attribute of complimentary medicine.
This is very true in many areas of sales. For as many people as it will be successful with, there will be those who are already not trusting and a blatant attempt to sway them will have a hang-up. I'm interested to see the questions, too, when you're able to post them. - by destiny
Hi Susan,

I do encounter at times when the doctors are convinced about our products but they have problems convincing the patients to "fork out" their money. I suppose now we have to train the doctors to be fantastic salesperson........The "tools" again is very important to assist the doctors. The materials to assist the doctors would be of the "implications" for not having those products, like aggravated/chronic consequences, cost saved, better quality of life, more income generated by not being sick (avoiding downtime) etc. I have been in the pharmaceutical industry for 15 year and now a Training Manager. Hope this will assist you. thmbp2;

Roslan - by Roslan
Hi Susan (and others)
This is an interesting dilemma. All of us have been subject to “leading” questions by salespeople “If I could show you a way to…?” “If you had to choose between…?” They can be obviously, transparently unethical and self-serving for the salesperson. (I suspect a lot of us tell salespeople like that to “Get lost.”)

On the other hand, what is the cost/value tradeoff in relieving one’s self of chronic pain? How much might someone pay to be able to get out of bed without feeling like nails were being driven through his back? Questions like the ones Susan will post can help customers make better decisions for themselves. There’s a difference between a genuine question and a manipulative verbal trap. (I’ve consulted for years in the pharmaceutical field, and I like what Roslan has to say. It is a role shift for doctors – consulting with patients a little more − but one that seems useful.)

So I wonder if the real point is not what’s said (or in this case asked) but the intent behinds the words. 90% of the real messages we send customers are communicated not by what we ask (or say), but by what we’re feeling when we ask those questions. If the genuine intent is to see if a more expensive option might offer the customer a valuable choice to consider, that’s a big difference from trying to fool the customer into saying “yes.” - by tom behr
We have two clients that are Naturopaths.

We also have two clients that manufacturer naturopathic supplements, which they sell through Naturopaths and retail outlets.

They all get the best results by telling their pricing and then asking a question about why the prospect called.

One of the most effective ways to arouse sales resistance is by not answering a direct question.
- by JacquesWerth
One of the most effective ways to arouse sales resistance is by not answering a direct question.
Hi Jaque-
I respect that the kind of directness you describe with your Naturopaths works well for them.

My experience has been a little different. There are a lot of ways of sincerely and respectfully responding to a direct question (especially the first time it’s asked). Often an honest clarifying question can be a very helpful response for me and the customer, especially if the question is one of price. Price is always a function of perceived value gained, so until customers have a sense of value gained, I’d be concerned that I was competing on a commodity basis.


Plus the verbal conversations with customers represent only around 10% of the total messages being exchanged, so a direct question “What’s your price?” may not be the customer’s real “question” at all. - by tom behr
The naturopath I was working with had people calling in simply asking the price of a consultation. many times, after hearing the price, they'd just hang up.
As with any product, if the price doesn't have any value attached to it, it's just a dollar figure hanging out there.
The purpose of the questions was to begin attaching value to the price. If people are reminded WHY they called in the first place (chronic pain, etc), and told everything invloved in a consultation, then the value increases.

Susan - by susana
Hi Susana
Yup!
I know the continual challenge for me is to be politely assertive while still wanting to make a sale.
Thanks
Tom - by tom behr
We get a few calls ever day from people who ask the price of our sales training courses. Here is how we respond.

Is the training for a single individual or a group?

Do you mean the interactive Instructor Led Distance Learning Teleclasses or the on-site classes, where you can look at an instructor in front of the room?

Do you want just the High Probability Prospecting course, which consists of nine, 90-minute sessions? Or do your want the entire course including both High Probability Prospecting and High Probability Selling, which consists of twenty-one, 90-minute sessions ?

Note: We do not deviate from a discussion of price, but we do ask questions that focus in on what the prospect wants.

By that time, over 60% of the people who call about price are asking a lot of questions about how the courses are conducted, how much can they expect to retain and utilize, how much memorization is required (none),what kind of results can be expected, etc.

Very early in a conversation we get most call-ins to go to our website (almost 40% are already there) and click on the "sales training" pages where the pricing options are clearly delineated. And, we answer their questions without trying to "build value."

Our closing rates are very high.

The name of our company is "High Probability Selling." That means we do not do what we strongly believe is logical, reasonable and really should work very well. It means that, we keep statistics, we know what works best and that is what we do. - by JacquesWerth
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