Provider Workshop: How to Guide Patient Conversations, Put Value Ahead of Price, and Overcome Objections [Key Notes]

Written by Oli Luke

On May 19, 2020 – Phil M Jones presented a special workshop to the providers of our “Inner Circle” members.

Here are the key notes from the 60-minute workshop.

A sales conundrum

The hearing care industry is fraught with potholes. We’re selling a product that patients fundamentally don’t want to own. And when someone does commit, it’s more expensive than they imagined, and they don’t want to tell anyone about it.

This can make your job really challenging, especially when awkward conversations arise surrounding a purchase. But the way you mediate this discussion can make a huge difference. Now more than ever, it’s essential to master your selling strategy.

Lead from example

An effective seller has to earn the right to make a recommendation in the eyes of their patient. In simple terms, they need to be seen as an expert.

You can find an example of this within the medical industry. Here they say: “Prescription before diagnosis is malpractice.” This means doctors have to run tests, ask questions, and produce a detailed summary of their patient’s condition before advising treatment.

As a baseline, you need to achieve the same level of integrity before you discuss options with a patient. Once you’re seen as an expert who others can trust with their decision-making process, then your guidance will hold weight.

Let’s talk money

Commonly, providers will offer patients a choice of three different levels of treatment. But if you do this, you’re forcing them to make an uninformed decision. The only real difference they’ll see? The price.

Instead, we have to ask patients a series of questions that ensures the value of the product featured in a discussion before its price.

Two questions will help you reach this position:

The first is, “How long do you see yourself wearing hearing aids?”

The only rational answer they can share with you is, “For the rest of my life.”

This means they’ll recognize that their hearing aids are an essential item, which they can’t do without.

The second is, “What do you know about buying hearing aids compared with the work a provider does?”

They’re most likely to answer, “Not a lot.”

This allows you to show, with examples, how a comprehensive service option goes beyond what they might find online or at a drug store.

Now, you’re in a position to take everything you’ve learned about them, along with their answers to these questions, and make a single recommendation.

A model way to phrase this would be, “As you’ve said you’d like to hear better in a range of different environments, and you want this to last a long time, then my best recommendation would be this.”

As experts, you can expand on why the features of this package will fit their specific needs – demonstrating the level of technology, service offering, and length of warranty.

Only now do you slot in the price. This ensures that all the value sits well ahead of the cost they have to pay.

What if they don’t accept this?

If you follow this process, a lot of patients will accept your first recommendation.

This is because you’re operating as an expert, giving a diagnosis, and then offering a prescription that treats it.

But some will still say, “Do you have any other options?”

And that’s completely fine. If they feel the price is too high, which is often the case, you can ask them, “Did you have a number in mind?”

This is when you introduce another package sitting within their range, usually below the price point they’ve indicated. You now unpack the differences in its features between this and your initial recommendation.

It’s now the patient, not you, who decides which option is best.

By moving slowly in this scenario, you’re setting up two separate gateways and helping them to make the best choice in real time.

The “next steps” conversation

A point of friction often arises as soon as we tell the patient the price of a package. This number lingers in the air, and awkwardness can grow between you and the other person.

The solution to this is to have a “next steps” conversation ready and waiting, which you can deploy as soon as you’ve given your primary recommendation.

This will give them details about a potential date of their fitting and the point when they can begin their journey to improved hearing. In an ideal scenario, it might go something like this:

“If you’d like to move forward with that package, we’re going to order your devices from the custom manufacturer, have them programmed to the results of your audiogram, and arrange a first fitting. That whole process could take as little as 48 hours. Which day suits you best?”

Once they say “yes” to this proposition, you know they’ve agreed to the terms you’ve laid out and they’re ready to complete the deal.

Learning to navigate

The process of selling is about shaping a conversation. You have to know the direction you’re embarking on with your patient from the start, otherwise you’ll lose them.

Once you’ve created this framework, equipped with excellent recommendations, then it’s up to them to decide which avenue to turn down.

Throughout this process, you’ll be on their side – an expert companion whose job it is to help them make the very best decision.

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