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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
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