How is YT like Geico, you ask? Great question. Unfortunately, we do not save you any money on your car insurance, and in general, we do not believe in selling based on discounts. So what do we have in common with our friend, the green lizard? We keep preaching the same very simple concepts (like how to increase consultation conversions) and statistics for years until our clientele finally reaches out.
Once you really stop to digest that essentially every “Long-Term YellowTelescope consulting practice consistently schedules 60% to 95%+ of surgery consultations same-day, before the patient leaves the office, since 2008” the gravity of that statement provides the much-needed wake-up call to give us a dial. Quite simply, these patients do not call back to book their surgery. They do not go home to “speak to a spouse,” “check a work schedule,” “meet with a couple of other options first to complete due diligence,” or “think about it.” They place a deposit immediately after the consultation, in your office, and leave with a surgery day scheduled. And they are happy and get a superb outcome because we work with many of the world’s very best doctors. Boom!
This increase in consultation conversions doesn’t happen by accident, and everyone in your office plays a part – your patient care coordinator, front office coordinator, and of course you, the doctor. There’s some psychology and strategy behind it. It is truly a process that’s been perfected over the last 13 years, 100s of practices, and over a half-billion dollars in practice consulting oversight. We won’t go into all the details now (if you’re interested, we teach the building blocks at the Annual YT Training Seminar, taking place at the 5-star Mandarin Oriental Miami this year!), but today we’ll share just a few consultation touchstones that you, the doctor, can implement right away.
Tip 1: Get Prepped
If you don’t have a world-class patient coordinator, call us so we can help you get one. If you do have a superstar, then ensure they debrief you after pre-meeting every patient live, in-room, before you go in. Learn about their goals for surgery, interests, personal items and more so you are in the know before you shake hands.
Tip 2: Sit the Heck Down!
Not what you were expecting, but it’s an essential first step to increasing consultation conversions. Do not immediately approach the patient and start evaluating them. They literally just met you, and in any other setting that would be *highly* inappropriate. Take it slow. Let them have a chance to breathe and get acquainted first.
The patient is more likely to open up if you create a relaxed environment. Don’t be afraid to get a little comfortable—lean back, check out their chart for a moment, and start with something easy to get them talking.
Our script: “Hi____, how are you? Great—it’s a pleasure to meet you. Let me just take a seat here. Your Patient Concierge, Suzy, has walked me through quite a bit based on your discussion, but I was hoping to ensure I entirely understand your goals. Would it be ok if I reviewed what I understand then have you fill in any blanks? Wonderful. Let’s dive in.”
Step 3: Ask Permission to Begin the Exam
We call this “asking permission to land”. When all of the patient’s goals have been thoroughly discussed, and you repeat them all back to confirm you’ve been listening, it’s time to ask if you can begin the examination.
Our script: “Perfect. Everything you’ve mentioned sounds sensible and doable. Now that we’ve discussed your goals, would it be alright if I take a closer look so I can explain what’s possible? It’s just a cursory examination, so it will be completely painless.
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Besides just being polite, asking permission and reassuring the patient that the exam will be pain-free helps ease potential anxieties or fear. Also, if the patient is especially self-conscious about the area to be examined (which they probably are considering they came to you in the first place), asking brings a sense of comfort and security. You’re more likely to be perceived as caring, intuitive, and sensitive.
Step 4: Directive. Not Aggressive. Not Passive.
This is one of our favorite mantras. You’re the expert here. Ambiguity is off-putting and so is pushiness. State the facts clearly and focus on being as straight-forward as possible.
Our Script: “Based on my 15 years of experience and getting a sense of these things after performing thousands of procedures, it’s clear the best approach here is…”
Or: “In your case, you do have 2 options, which would all work well. [Explain the first option, then second, etc.]. If you were my son/daughter, I’d really recommend option 2 because…”
Confusion automatically leads to “no”, so don’t leave room for any. Remember that the patient came to you because they want clear direction. For instance, in Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell, a study conducted by Sheena Lyengar found shoppers given the choice between two product choices made more purchases than those presented with 24 choices. Also understand we are not buying groceries so in medicine 1 option is much more effective than 2.
The decision should be easy if they feel you’re a trustworthy, reliable source of information and knowledge.
Step 5: Accommodate Final Questions
Make sure you finish the consultation by asking (a few times) if the patient has any more questions. Let them know that if they have questions later, they can always email you personally or contact their patient consultant. It’s a great opportunity to build in some urgency too.
Our script: “Do you have any other questions you can think of? Great—are you sure? Wonderful. My team is always around, so feel free to email me directly any time if you think of anything or if there’s anything else we can do for you. Our schedule is quite full most of the time, but my staff can definitely try to work with your schedule if you want to move forward. Thank you so much and it was great meeting you.”
The interest you exhibit for your patient here feels warm and authentic. Plus, reminding patients that you are actually quite busy gives the patient even more reason to select you as their doctor due to your “honest urgency.” That’s just human psychology.
So, any questions? Are you sure you feel you can convert 90% of your patients from consultation to surgery? If not, contact us here or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our Annual YT Training Seminar, consulting options, or to just get a few questions answered.