Getting patients to arrive is not a price issue, it’s a value issue.
Yes, we owe it to patients to let them know how much they’ll pay, but before the price conversation happens, they need to know WHAT they are paying for.
If a patient doesn’t know what they’re paying for and how much it costs, they’re unable to decide if they value what you offer.
And if they don’t have the opportunity to make this choice, it’s not likely they’ll arrive, let alone pay, and stay at your practice.
Let’s take a look at what your front desk needs to be doing in order to reduce the risk of your patients not arriving and why you must have a conversation about value before price.
Understanding the Value Equation
The value equation is simply this:
Quality (the care you’re providing) / Price (what you charge) = Value (what the patient perceives as value)
Notice that value isn’t the value you think you provide. Value is formed in the eyes of the patient.
So, how does this relate to mitigating the risk of patients arriving?
In order for a patient to arrive, they must value what you’re offering. And to value your offering, they first need to know exactly what they will get and how much they’ll pay for it.
All elements of the equation are needed for the patient to make their decision around value.
It’s your front desk’s job on that first call to make sure the patient has the information they need to decide if they value what you’re offering.
Importance of a Managed Conversation
When a patient calls in asking if you take their insurance, their call is not about price. They’re actually calling because they think you may have a solution to their problem. They’ve just been conditioned from other healthcare or PT experiences that the insurance conversation usually comes first.
When they lead with this question, it’s a good thing. Usually, this means they don’t have a clue about what they should value and gives you the opportunity to provide the necessary information they need to deem their visit to your office as valuable. It also gives you the chance to describe what PT will entail because if the patient thinks all PT is the same, cost is the only thing that would need clarification.
This is the time to take control and have a managed conversation. You take control by acknowledging what the patient is saying and asking the right questions.
Acknowledging the patient’s concerns immediately distinguishes you from their prior healthcare or PT experiences, and allows you to show empathy toward the patient.
This sets the foundation for you to begin asking questions that will give you the information you need to help the patient form their judgment around value.
All of these questions should lead you to answer the 4 Ws which include:
- What do they want?
- What do they expect?
- Who are they seeing?
- What will they get?
The answers to these questions all relate to quality, and when shared with the patient, it gives them the ability to decide if they value what they’ll get. Ultimately, what they’ll get is the expertise of a provider who will provide a plan of care that will solve their problem. It’s also crucial to share the answers to these questions with your providers.
By making this known, it sets the provider up for success and promotes buy-in from the patient upon arrival.
Once the conversation around value has taken place, then it’s time to talk about price. As mentioned earlier, we owe it to patients to let them know the type of care they will receive and how much it will cost them.
Waiting to talk about price until they arrive or after an evaluation is a risky business model and a clear path to low arrival rates.
Maintaining Consistency and Persistence in the Sales Process
You need consistency in delivering this front-end sales process because there’s no way to reduce the chances of your patients not arriving if you don’t.
Having consistency in how you guide the patient to making their decision around value also prevents you from commoditizing your offerings… Let me explain.
There are so many providers that complain about patients commoditizing their practice, but when the front desk is asking patients about payment and insurance within the first three questions, they’re actually commoditizing themselves. Without being diligent about focussing on value, it’s easy to fall into the trap of commoditization.
Another benefit of delivering a consistent process is that it’s way easier to manage price objections when the patient knows what they should value. Talking about price without the foundation of value won’t incline patients to part with their money.
Get Patients to Arrive, Pay, and Stay by Focusing on Value
Starting today, I challenge you to put value at the forefront of your front-end sales calls.
You do this by learning what the patient wants and expects, telling the patient what they will get by coming to your practice, and sharing how much they’ll pay for it.
With this information in hand, your patient can then decide if they value what you offer.
It’s really that simple.
For more guidance on this sales process, check out the 10 Point Checklist which serves as the structural framework for managing sales calls rooted in value.
If you have any other questions or comments on this topic, feel free to reach out today.