If your product will benefit your patient, it’s easy to get your patient’s interest by telling him what your product will do to improve his vision or lifestyle. “Did you know that ________?” Once you arouse your patient’s interest, then you can begin to discuss benefits.
Failure to create interest is the greatest criticism of most selling presentations. Your patient doesn’t want to know what your product is, but what it will do for them. The question the patient is asking you is always, “What will it do for me?’If you don’t arouse interest of your patient about your products or services, they won’t listen while you give them the substance of your presentation.
To help you get interest - and hold it:
- Ask questions to arouse interest.
- Show or demonstrate the product.
- Avoid exaggerated claims.
- Avoid an interest-getter remark to which the patient can say, “I’m not interested.”
- Gain interest by telling a story about a patient who benefited from the product.
- Become genuinely interested in people. The saying, “We are interested in others when they are interested in us, “holds true today as it did when Publius Syrus wrote this before Christ was born.
*thank you to our guest writer, Tom Ford, for this contribution
Recently, I’ve been reading a book titled “The Upside of Irrationality” by Dan Ariely (Harper Collins 2010) and came across an important concept that deserves consideration by practice owners and managers. The author, a professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University, routinely conducts interesting studies describing people’s irrational behaviors at home, as consumers and in the workplace. I highly recommend both his books.
One such study measured the impact of simple acknowledgement about a participant’s work. Three groups of college students were given sheets of paper with a random sequence of letters and were asked to find instances where the letter S appeared side-by-side. Each sheet contained ten such occurrences. For the first page, they would receive 55¢. The next page would pay 50¢, and each successive page would pay 5¢ less. After eleven pages, they would be working for free after earning just $3.30.
Acknowledged Work The first group of students were asked to write their names on each sheet. After they had circled ten instances of consecutive Ss, they gave the sheet to the controller who looked over the sheet, nodded affirmatively and placed it face down in a pile.
Ignored Work The second group of students did not need to write their name nor were their sheets reviewed. The sheets went immediately face-down into the pile.
Shredded Work In the third group, the sheets had neither the participants name nor made it into the stack. They were fed directly into a paper shredder in front of the participant without comment.
Results Unsurprisingly, the Acknowledged Workers were the most productive. About one-half of the students whose work was acknowledged went on to do ten or more pages after they reached their tenth page, and averaged 9.03 sheets. Also not surprising was that the Shredded Workers averaged only 6.34 sheets. But what surprised even the researchers was that the Ignored Workers didn’t fall in the middle, but averaged only 6.77 sheets. Interestingly, the Ignored work group could have easily cheated and collected the full amount of money, but quit at a rate only slightly better than their Shredded counterparts.
Conclusion If you’re a manager whose goal is to demotivate an associate, then destroy their work in front of their eyes. But who would have guessed that ignoring someone’s work is almost identical to shredding it in front of them? Simple acknowledgement of a task completed, even a routine task, with a head nod, a Thank You note, a text message, will pay off in multiples at your practice.
The more you understand your patient, the more qualified you become in talking intelligently about how the product will benefit them. The value of selling is not the article itself, but the use of it. Knowing everything about the use of the product enables you to sell all its uses to the best advantage.
Ask Questions. Everyone likes to talk about themselves. Start with some probing questions about their job, hobbies, families, and while they talk, listen attentively. With a few minutes of conversation, you can quickly assess what add-ons a patient may need with their prescription lenses.
Remember names. Look at the patient chart before you go into a room and use their name as you enter the exam lane. Smile and shake hands for a moment and talk to them briefly about something in which he is interested.
Product knowledge is power.
The importance of product knowledge is not to confuse or impress your patient. It helps to confirm your patient’s confidence that they made the correct decision to come to you for their eye care needs.
Product knowledge enables you to:
- Build enthusiasm. It allows you to talk confidently as an expert.
- Answer objections effectively. Why is the price so high? You can answer this question by proving quality and value. To do this, you have to have thorough product knowledge.
The more thoroughly you know your product, the more advantages you can explain to the patient. The more you know, the more confidence you feel. Know why your product is superior, at least in some respect, to other products.
How to Become A Product Expert
- Read. Make the time to read the trade journals, industry publications; newsletters devoted to the optical industry that you subscribe to. Devote some time every day to keeping up to date on the latest technology.
- Vendors. Give your sales representatives the time they deserve to review thoroughly the information about the product that they represent. If they can’t answer your questions satisfactorily, ask for a more knowledgeable rep that is just as committed to the importance of product knowledge as you are.
- Colleagues. Learn from your colleagues about their experiences with a new product and how their patients are responding to it.
- Patients. Get feedback from your patient. Use that information to determine how the product will be presented to other patients in the future.
- Use It. If you are a good candidate for a new contact lens product, use it yourself and invite your staff to try it as well. There is nothing better than a personal testimony to encourage a patient to purchase a product.
- Remember It. At first, write down what you have learned and file it where you can find it and review it until it becomes familiar. For example, begin a file of index cards with information on each product. Use the cards to refresh your memory or at staff training meetings.
As a Doctor of Optometry, you send out very powerful messages to your patients and to your employees. Patients look to you as the expert in eye care. They expect you to diagnose their problem, and find the solution. They’re confident in your skill and knowledge and when you say, “I can help you see better with this new prescription,” they don’t doubt you for a minute.
When you made the commitment to run a practice, you were given the important role of sales leader. To reach your revenue goals, you need to recognize this important role and become the model of salesmanship to your employees.
In building your practice, follow these 5 principles to selling:(we will dive deeper into each principle in upcoming posts)
- Power of Product Knowledge
- Know Your Patient
- How to Create Interest
- How to Create Conviction
- How to Close the Sale and Get the Order