5 Sales Tips for Growing a DPC / Concierge Practice

When you think of “Sales” and “Selling”, what’s the first word that comes to mind? Pushy? Sleazy? Manipulative?  Whatever the connotation, for many people it’s not positive.

For those physicians creating and growing DPC and Concierge practices, one of the biggest challenges can be learning how to sell to patients.  Many dread the responsibility.  But when successful, sales can feel satisfying, even enjoyable.

In fact, physicians by their nature and training are quite capable of being great sales people! 

Effective sales is about connection, collaboration, and communication. It comes down to caring.

Here’s the good news.  Physicians have usually developed a good command of these principles. They just need to learn how to apply them to selling a membership practice.

1.  Sales is serving others. 

Being of service is why most physicians chose to practice medicine.  Helping others by creating value during the sales process yields results. In contrast, trying to convince someone of something they don’t think they want just feels uncomfortable on both sides.  It can leave the patient thinking only how to end the conversation.

The idea is to shift the perspective to a giving, not taking mentality. In this way, the physician instead focuses on the needs of the patient, and a much more productive and satisfying result for both parties occurs.  Honoring the relationship is at the core of the conversation.  Trust is established and the communication channel stays open.

(For a useful book on this topic, I recommend Go-Givers Sell More).

2.  Sales is not about you.

Take the focus off yourself and shift it to the other person.  For example, when talking with patients, keep in mind the “What’s in it for Me?” principle.  As tempting as it is to talk about what your new model means to you, patients want to understand how they will benefit from membership.  Make the conversation easier by giving them specific examples.  Do this not from your perspective, but from theirs.

What's In It For Me?

The same approach can work well when you go out to introduce yourself to potential referral sources. Instead of feeling the need to sell yourself (ugh), approach it as an opportunity to seek out providers you can refer your own patients to.  You’ll be serving your patients’ needs, not your own, and the introduction will feel much more natural. Besides, people much prefer to talk about themselves!

 3.  Sales is collaboration.

Listening and solving problems is often what physicians excel at most.  This creates great value for the other person.  Understand their needs and concerns by asking what they find most frustrating and problematic.  Connect the dots between the stated problem and how your practice can solve it.  Establish an open dialogue and trust that makes it easier for the patient to raise more concerns.  They’ll be less inclined to hide behind possible excuses such as “I can’t afford it” or “I’ll have to talk with my husband”.

By using this problem-solution approach great results can follow.  Joining a membership practice is not the right decision for everyone.  Sometimes the best outcome is to guide the patient to see that it’s not the best fit for their needs.  Help them feel okay about it too.  Often, just giving them permission to say “no” lets them keep a more open mind – or leaves the door open for a later time.

4.  Sales is education. 

Fortunately, physicians tend to be good teachers.  Educate prospective members in how your practice can benefit them.  Explain the value proposition of your practice in simple terms. Passionate teachers are effective teachers.  So be sure to share your excitement of how membership can help patients optimize their health and vitality.

Here’s where things can get especially tricky, however…

5.  Asking for the sale. 

This means talking about membership fees, and asking people for money.  This can be a difficult conversation to have.  Many physicians are either uncomfortable asking people to pay for their services, or just not used to doing so. They’re at ease in their role as service providers, not business people managing transactions.

hands-holding-money

Here are some tips to make the money conversation easier:

  • Know your value.  Learn how to communicate it.
  • Deal with subconscious money blocks.  Reflect on how past financial difficulties influenced you (Med school loans?) and/or what you learned as a child.
  • Understand the financial realities of your business to know what you need to charge.
  • Come to terms with wanting to make a difference AND needing to be financially stable.
  • Keep in mind that if your business fails, you’re not helping your patients.

Build on the strengths you already have. Shape them around a deliberate sales process, and shift your mindset.  Selling will be a lot easier, and you may even find it’s fun!

______________________

Nancy Latady can be reached at nlatady@LatadyPS.com

www.LatadyPhysicianStrategies.com

Latady Physician Strategies, LLC © 2016

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