Updated: Jan 4
How Best to Help Them Achieve Them
Your patient's goals are why we are here.
They are why your staff came to work today and why you went to your last licensing seminar.
Your patient's goals are why you have a practice and are in business.
So … what are your patient's goals? What do they want?
On the surface, it is usually to relieve discomfort or pain.
So, like you do, after your initial consult, exam, and imaging, you tell them the cause of their pain and present your treatment program. They nod in agreement, and you begin care.
But when the patient sees the staff member to work out their finances and scheduling, they may have a glazed look and not be too sure what you just told them. Something about submarines, or joints, or spondy low dices.
The next week you wonder where they are. Your front desk does recalls. You spend money on more marketing to get more new patients.
You may have experienced a version of this in the past.
And at home, the patient may even feel that they got what they wanted or thought that they wanted. Maybe they feel better. But did they really get what they wanted?
There is a quote questionably attributed to Henry Ford: "If I'd asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, 'A faster horse!'"
I get the point. But -- what people wanted, though they did know about a Model-T, was to travel faster with less horse poop.
You know that four adjustments, in most cases, won't provide the health solution that the patient needs. But your patients don't know what you know!
Was that why they didn't come back for another visit, because you didn't educate them enough? No.
Was it that you did not motivate them enough? No.
An excellent book on sales that I recommend is by Harry Browne, The Secret of Selling Anything. Brown points out that people are already motivated.
You don't have to motivate your prospective patient when you initially see them. You just need to see what is already motivating them.
This takes place in your initial consultation and history, which I feel is the most crucial part of the new patient onboarding process.
Brown offers these three steps.
1. Discover. Discover through intense listening what they want. For example:
What do you consider most important for you about your health?
What do you think is the biggest problem regarding your health?
These questions, and others, open the door to understanding what the other person wants. And if they know you understand them and are authentically interested, they will be more inclined to listen to you and trust you.
2. Summarize. The second step is to summarize what the patient said about what they want. This brings out what they said on the table so that you both can agree. For example:
So, as I understand it, you are looking to get rid of the pain, not for just a week, but altogether so that you can get back to playing polo with your grandkids, correct?
Now you both can agree on what they want.
3. Solve the problem. The third step is educating them on what you have found after your exam and imaging. But you direct the education to exactly what they especially want. Now they are interested because you are addressing the motivation that they already had.
This is a simple procedure that is genuine and caring. Not always easy to find these days, so you will stand out from others by using this method.
I would even spend time now and then rehearsing this—even the pro's practice.
Brown is not the only person who has offered this procedure as it is so fundamental. But we can never be reminded of the basics enough. He also said:
…the secret of success is:
Find out what people want and help them to get it.
Help your patients achieve their goals in 2023, and they will help you achieve yours.