I had a patient recently that came in for their initial evaluation and they were already complaining about the cost of hearing aids before I even tested their hearing. I dreaded having to explain the hearing loss because I already knew the outcome. It’s never easy to tell a patient that they have lost a valuable function that they will never regain naturally, but it’s even harder when you think you know their response to your recommendation to pursue amplification is going to be a big “No”!
Most patients don’t jump up and down and say, “That’s awesome news” or “Oh boy, I can’t wait to spend thousands of dollars for the help you suggest that I need.” Unfortunately, it’s a fact that many of the patients we see won’t actually want the help we recommend. Hearing aids aren’t something people usually want but since 90+% of patients with hearing loss have sensory loss, the only way to actually Help them is to convince them to get hearing aids.
Unfortunately, the most common response from patients that can benefit from hearing aids is that the solution costs too much money. The fact is that the average “Help Rate” of a hearing
healthcare professional is less than 50%. If someone takes the step to make an appointment to confirm what they already feel is a problem, wouldn’t you think they wouldn’t be surprised when they learn they have a hearing loss? I myself don’t make an appointment with a health professional unless I feel there is a problem and I know I need help.
So if industry numbers hold true and less than 50% of patients that visit a hearing healthcare professional are convinced to get the Help they need, then perhaps we need to work harder at overcoming the objections and improving our ability to convince a patient that better hearing is worth the investment. It’s not the price they have to pay but it’s the value they will derive from the benefits of being able to understand their loved ones and every day conversations.
It shouldn’t be a surprise when someone says, “Hearing aids are too expensive.” The real question is does the patient not have the money, not want to spend the money or are they not convinced that the aids are worth the money. The more questions we ask, the better the chance of getting to the core of the objection. Most of all, we can’t be intimidated or surprised by the objection. We need to be prepared to respond in a way that convinces the patient to take action to get the Help they need. Developing better ways to respond will take time and practice. It can be beneficial to record what you actually say to a patient and then review it to see how you can present information in a way that is more convincing. It’s also important not to run and hide at a patient’s first “No”.
The satisfaction of giving more patients a better quality of life should be reason enough to improve the way we share the information and make our recommendations. Beginning today, track your Help Rate and then set a goal to improve it. Stay tuned to DrGyl.com for more on this important topic and if you would like to have access to many resources for building your practice including scripts for objections like “Hearing aids are too expensive” then join my DrGyl Sapphire Society for only $99 a year!
It consistently amazes me that patients will come in for regular appointments and assure me that they are happy and have no interest in new technology and then they will surprise me by returning for a “special event” a month or two later and then despite what they told me two months earlier, they decide to purchase new hearing aids. What happens in that short period of time to change their minds? Perhaps it’s the “One Day Only” event or being enticed by the lure of “Special Pricing” that is available during the event or possibly it’s the allure of feeling special because not everyone is invited. Whatever the reason, I have found that patients are always looking for ways to hear better and if I’m not sharing the benefits of new technology every one of my competitors is.
I have had great success inviting patients to Upgrade Events which we hold quarterly. Invitations to these events are sent in the way of a letter and we send these to patients that have hearing aids three to five years old and we also send to patients who were tested within the past six months and chose not to purchase aids. Great care is taken to ensure the letter arrives on a Monday ten days before the event. Surprisingly enough, patients with aids three to four years old are the most likely to respond to the letter. Our Upgrade Events have consistently shown that patients want to hear better and will replace their current technology if the benefits are significant enough to improve the quality of their lives.
Communication is key to make this type of program a success. We have never found that it has been necessary to become a loud pushy salesperson to convince patients to upgrade. Our protocol includes asking questions to get patients talking about their lifestyles, their desire to hear better and their expectations for possible improvement. Then armed with this information we relate the potential benefits in such a way to address all of the patients concerns. Our first step is to demonstrate the new technology and then to simulate environments that the patient encounters daily. It’s not enough to simply tell a patient how good the new and improved hearing aids are. Patients need to listen for themselves while they are in the office. You may want to include some of the more advanced features like compatibility with Apple products but I have found that the simpler the demonstration, the better and if you focus on too many advanced features, patients may become overwhelmed and want to go home and “think about it”. While we don’t want to be pushy, the fact is that most patients that delay the decision won’t purchase after they think about it. It’s best to try to give patients an incentive to do something while they are in the office. Patients that want to upgrade pay for the aids up front before leaving the office and we explain that while every sale comes with return privileges, this is not just a trial of new technology. It’s a step towards a better level of hearing that we will both work together to achieve.
We have discovered that patients appreciate our Upgrade Events and appreciate that we keep them informed of the latest technology. These events are also great for business.
Members of the DrGyl Sapphire Society have access to Our Upgrade Letters. Why don’t you join and you can have access to all these resources for only $99 a year! Join DrGyl Sapphire Society
I would venture to guess that every practice owner struggles with developing an effective pricing strategy. After reviewing the stats for my business for Quarter 1 in 2019, I noted that our ASP was down $200 a unit which caused a HUGE reduction in profit in a business of my size.
I watch my numbers carefully so what could have caused the change? Some colleagues make the mistake of setting prices based on what the competition is charging. It’s easy to get intimidated by price ads run by
competitors and then to react with your own price reductions. Patients certainly are concerned about the cost of hearing aids but cheaper prices have never translated into more sales. Many of you may have heard me talk about Predictably Irrational Pricing, a strategy that is based on Dan Ariely’s book, Predictably Irrational.
When you have two options, people are forced to make a decision between the two. They can choose the option for less money, or the other option for more money. It’s a tough decision. Consumers want better products, but don’t want to spend more money. So what do the majority of people do? They generally spend less money.
Predictably Irrational Pricing involves adding a third option that is priced close to the more expensive option, suggesting that the more expensive option is actually better. It’s kind of like a middle option, but it’s so skewed that it makes it seem ridiculous not to choose for the higher-priced option.
According to Ariely, this predicable effect is a result of “cognitive biases.” A cognitive bias is the tendency of the human mind to make inaccurate judgments, or believe distortions or other fallacies. Cognitive biases have their impacts in every arena of life, but they do so without most people being aware of them. Patient’s reactions to pricing of hearing aids is one such issue.
In the case of the Q1 ASP in my practice, the uncertainty caused by the addition of so many TPAs in my community caused me to change my pricing structure. The success of Predictably Irrational Pricing is based upon only having THREE levels of pricing – no More and No Less. I added two more pricing levels which caused more patients to choose cheaper options. Not good for business and not good for patients!
So what’s the moral of this story? One small change can mean A LOT to your bottom line and you have to keep an eye on your numbers. When you see a change in your ASP, act Fast and determine what made the change and then Fix It!
Want to know more about specifics of a Pricing Strategy that Works? Join DrGyl’s Sapphire Society. For only $99 a Year, you will receive monthly resources to grow your practice. Where else can you get business consulting services for only $99 a year?
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I have a fabulous seminar coming up May 16 and 17 in St. Joseph, MI. Go to DrGyl.com to find out more. https://drgyl.com/2019/03/28/drgyls-two-day-seminar/
This is the last day to get $100 early bird discount. Use the code EARLY to get the discount when you sign up at DrGyl.com https://drgyl.com/2019/03/28/drgyls-two-day-seminar/
My business (and I) are out of shape! I’ve had the luxury of living three months in Florida and it’s been wonderful BUT… I have gotten a bit out of touch when it comes to business and my life. It’s not that I have spent the last three months just eating Oreos and watching reality TV but I wasn’t as focused on business as I typically am and it shows!
My business is 35 years old and we have a large staff and a HUGE payroll. While I know everyone works hard and is busy, I also know there are processes that are antiquated, procedures that are out of step with the times, employees duplicating efforts and too much time spent on the internet. I also haven’t spent enough time meeting with employees individually to set Very Specific Goals and Measureable Expectations.
Well, not one to sit and just think about things that need to be changed, the business and I are going to Get in Shape. The first step is reviewing job descriptions and analyzing how employees are spending their time in anticipation of adding an additional professional to the staff. We have made lots of changes in the last year but I have neglected to update the job descriptions to reflect the changes in responsibilities. I will keep you updated along the way as to the changes we make.
The focus is going to be on Working Smarter and Not Longer, but I can’t do that if I don’t know how employees are spending their time. Once I have determined that, I will create new job descriptions with very specific expectations that can be measured easily and then setting new goals for the business.
Have you set new measureable goals for 2019? If not, don’t wait. Start today by recording at least two goals that you want to achieve this year. They can be something as simple as “Increase gross revenue by 5% over 2018”; or “Gain one new referral source that refers at least two patients a month to the practice”; or perhaps “Hire a social media firm before June 1, 2019”. Said it before and I will say it again Goals Help Drive Business to a New Level of Success.
I am sending members of the Sapphire Society a sample job description for a Patient Care Coordinator. If you would like to receive monthly resources to help you run your practices, join my Sapphire Society https://drgyl.com/subscribe/sapphire-society/.
AND…. If you want to be inspired by experienced experts like Drs Paul Pessis, Alan Freint, Nichole Kingham and more from ME, sign up for my Kick Butt in Business Weekend May 16 and 17 in beautiful St. Joseph, MI. You will obviously get information from me all year long, but this is an opportunity to learn from others in the field. You can see firsthand how my 3.5 million office operates and how we Make it Happen. If you sign up before March 30 and use the coupon code EARLY, you will receive $100 off. It’s filling up quickly and I limit these meetings to No More than 40 Participants. Don’t Wait. Sign up Today at DrGyl.com.
Thanks for following and Have a Great Week! If you are going to Columbus, stop into the Plural Publishing Booth on Wed from 6-7 for my Book Signing.