According to Jerry Vass, author of Soft Selling in a Hard World, “the Buyer forgets 40% of what you say in thirty minutes, 60% in twenty-four hours and 90% in one week.”
For most chiropractors, the Report of Findings is your time to help a new patient understand how your services are going to benefit their health and life and either commit to your recommended care plan or politely turn you down. Anyone that leaves saying “I’ll get back to you” or “Let me talk to my husband (or wife) about this,” is politely saying “No thanks” to your care.
Why do I say that? Well, in most cases the patient that states they will ‘get back to you,’ will take at least 24 hours to do so. If Mr. Vass is correct, they will have forgotten 60% of the valuable information you shared with them by that time. The odds are quickly dwindling that they will still see the value in following your recommended care by that time.
So what does that mean to us as chiropractors.
It means it is imperative that the patient completely understands and agrees with the treatment plan we recommend during the Report of Findings. Otherwise we run the risk of a clinic that is required to constantly have new patients through the door as the existing patients fade away once the pain begins to do the same.
To significantly increase the chances that your patients will be excited about your care, agree with it (verbally and mentally) that day and not need to ‘go home and think about it and get back to you,’ incorporate what I call the 3C Communication Principle and you will ‘see’ your patient response to your recommended care begin to improve many fold.
The Principle is simple but very powerful. It says:
Clear, Concise and Convincing Communication results in
Better Case Acceptance and Follow Through.
Let’s look at the 3 Cs a little deeper.
You are no doubt familiar with the KISS (Keep It Simple Silly/Stupid/Seller/Etc) formula of presenting a message to someone. That is the principle you want to follow here. Don’t take the chance of losing your audience with technical terms or any other impressive words that are unnecessary to get your points across.
There is only one time you want patients to hear words they do not understand…the examination. It is only during this part of any time you spend with any patient when they get to marvel at your exceptional intelligence level. Any other time, they need to understand your message or else you are reducing the odds they will believe and accept your message.
Learn to talk less and listen more. The reality is that patients want what they WANT and not what they NEED. The more you listen to their pain and what their concerns are about the affect it is having on their life, the better you will be able to determine what they are trying to accomplish.
By finding out what they hope to achieve by coming to your office, you can now better position your recommended treatment plan to be in line with their goals. You will find it is much easier to get the patient to understand and agree that they do need to see you 3 times a week for the next month when it will help them accomplish their goals…not just yours.
Don’t let this term throw you because you feel it has a sales-ish connotation to it. People want to be convinced that they need something so that they feel good about committing to it and purchasing it.
This is the most important aspect of helping a patient commit to your care and where most doctors fall flat on their face! The way this works best is really pretty simple but as doctors we tend to complicate because our brains are bigger or something – not sure. But either way, we tend to screw this up.
Nonetheless, the way to help patients understand or ‘convince’ them that your care is what they need, it is essential they hear
1. The BENEFITS
2. The CONSEQUENCES
Remember that their care is about them and not you. Well, at least in their mind it is. By wrapping the benefits to getting your treatment and the very real consequences of not getting it around your recommended treatment plan, you will drastically increase their emotional understanding of why this makes sense for them.
When you don’t do this to a level where they feel that emotional desire to commit to your care, they just hear 30 visits and $1000. Not so sure that’s convincing anyone!
As chiropractors, we know that everyone ‘needs’ our care but the reality is that a patient that is not convinced of the benefits will never be able to justify the cost of care or the investment of time required to make chiropractic an integral and long term part of their health improvement plan.