You’ve probably heard of the ABC rule, or “always be closing,” made famous in Glengarry Glen Ross, a Best Picture winner at the Academy Awards. Here at YellowTelescope, while we believe in a low-key, customer service based sale, we are firm believers in resolving each conversation with a closing question, or what we call “asking for the order” (AFTO). Regardless of how well you build value, the bottom line is that if you don’t ask for the order, then it is extremely unlikely you are going to help the patient make a confident decision about moving forward with a procedure, and the conversation will be left awkwardly unresolved. Despite this reality, it is common for doctors to fear sales and for patient care coordinators to feel uncomfortable asking the patient to purchase. We argue that if you have built proper rapport, gathered key information and provided key details, asking for the order should feel like the least uncomfortable part of the sales process and likely, the most exciting.
Rejection Helps you Sell
One of the biggest reasons people don’t ask for the order is because they are afraid the patient will say no. Rejection doesn’t mean the sale is lost. If you don’t ask, there will not be an opportunity to address the concern the patient feels is holding them back. A rejection is followed by an objection — not only a perceived reason a patient cannot say yes but a problem for us to solve. Meet their objections with logical solutions and ask for the order again. Repeat this process until you have helped the patient make a decision. We are doing the patient a disservice by allowing them to remain in a decision making limbo and not helping them move from “maybe” to a definitive “yes” or “no”.
If you feel awkward asking for the order, you probably haven’t built enough rapport. If you have discovered her goals and walked her through the details of the procedure, recovery time, realistic outcomes, costs, and potential procedure dates, then the closing question should come naturally.
AFTO by Acting “As If”
Beyond improving the conversation itself, there are a couple of ways to feel more comfortable asking for the order. Put yourself in the patient’s position and pretend you are the one interested in purchasing the product or procedure. If you’re selling a Maserati, act as if you drive one. If you’re selling a $20,000 surgery, act as if you yourself could easily afford it. Most people selling yachts don’t own one, but they understand and empathize with their target demographic. Sales is a transference of feeling. Be casual and professional yet confident in the sale. If the patient senses your confidence and excitement about the procedure, they too will become eager to move forward.
Don’t worry about the wording when asking for the order. If you have done the rest of the job correctly, you should be able to grunt in their general direction to get them to move forward. However, the word track could be as simple as “any other questions before we go ahead and reserve your date?” or “shall we go ahead and reserve your date with Dr. Smith?”
Asking for the order is the most important part of the sales conversation. While challenging for some, focusing on an educational conversation that creates value in the procedure will reduce fear of rejection when asking the closing question. To learn more about consultative sales, or how else YellowTelescope has helped its average practice grow by around $500,000 in 2018, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.