A five-step process to embed and own physical therapy value within your community
Tannus Quatre, PT, MBA
CLOSING THE DEAL
[This article is part 4 of a 5 part series on building PT ambassadors in communities throughout America]
PULLING THE TRIGGER. MAKING THE SALE. CLOSING THE DEAL.
Call it what you want, but call it something. It’s a momentous step. You’ve worked hard to get here, and you’re not going to blow it now – at least not if you’ve been following along.
Step one was about awareness – you’ve got to be seen before all else.
Step two was about engagement – once you’re seen, you have to become likeable.
Step three was about education – once you’re likeable, you can guide the conversation toward the value you have to offer.
Steps one through three made you known, trustworthy, and knowledgeable to your target audience. It’s a hard earned equity, and step four is when we’ll convert that equity into an actual sale.
The good news is, this is the easy part – as long as you stay the course.
This step is about a conversion. A marketing term, yeah – but for good reason. This step takes your target audience across a line which separates those who merely like you, to those who will buy from you. This conversion from prospect to client is an important distinction, and one that should be acknowledged. Respected.
It’s a different relationship on the other side of the sale, and constitutes a commitment from both parties which is less fluffy, more direct, and all about value. You can still derail your sale as you attempt to cross the line, and the steps below will help you avoid doing just that.
LOOK IN THE MIRROR.
Skipping this step is a dealbreaker. Don’t do it. I see it happen time and again.
To take your prospect across the line, you are asking them to trust you. Depending on the nature of the sale, your client will trust you with their money, body, reputation (in the case of a referral source), or all of the above. It’s a big ask, and if you have ANY doubt that what you are selling is of value, it’s time to pump the brakes.
You’ve absolutely, completely, 100 percent got to believe in yourself before you ask it of your prospect. Your sincerity in this moment will do the selling for you, and it can’t be faked.
As you look in the mirror and do this final gut check, remind yourself that you’ve successfully walked alongside your prospect through steps one through three. They know you, like you, and have learned from you. You can help them and it’s your obligation to do so.
As you tell yourself you’re ready, make sure you agree. The mirror will be honest with you.
SPEAK THE TRUTH.
If you passed the mirror test, then you’re darn-near home free. Have some fun with this part because it’s easy. Just tell the truth.
I’ll start with a few examples:
“John, you know something? You really don’t have to live with the neck pain you’ve described. You’ve got lots of options, and I need to make sure you’re aware of ‘em.”
“Calvin, your posture sucks. I’m telling you because I care about you. You may be getting by with it for now, but it’s gonna cause you problems down the road. There are some things that can be done to help you.”
“Lisa, incontinence isn’t something you have to live with. It’s prevalent but correctible. It’s something that a lot of people just deal with, and it’s tragic. I see it all the time, and it can be treated.”
“Dr. Walter, the geriatric population you’ve described needs to be exposed to the benefits of a fall prevention program. Most falls are preventable, and fall programs can make an impact.”
And there are a zillion more.
You’ve laid the framework necessary to allow these truths to fall on receptive ears. Remember, you’re not laying down crappy-posture honesty on day one.
You’ve established a relationship through steps one through three, you’ve gut-checked yourself with the mirror test, and now you’re simply done beating around the bush. You’re not going to offend your prospect at this point. And if you do, retrace your steps – it means you’ve missed something.
You’re telling your friend they have food in their teeth, not the stranger you’ve never met.
Clearly make ‘the ask.’
You’ve been honest with yourself and with your prospect. You’ve let them know what you know, and what can be done to help them. But you’re not done yet.
The final step is a powerful one, and you can’t leave it out. You must NOT assume your prospect will cross the finish line until you ask.
Here, you bring together your concern for your prospect and your respect for the value you offer, and you ask your prospect – specifically – to do something: schedule an appointment, refer you a patient, sign up for a membership.
Let’s go back to John with the neck pain.
“John, I can help you, and this needs to happen. I hate to see you in pain like this, and I know what to do to help you. I have a packed schedule, but I’m going to make sure I can get you in next week. I’m going to let my scheduler know that you’ll be calling, and he’ll make room for you. If he doesn’t hear from you by Monday, I’m going to make sure he finds you [wink].”
Too direct? Too strong? Nope. I believe in myself, and I know John needs me. I have a relationship with him, and he knows I care about him. If I have to walk him through the door myself, I need to do it.
That’s closing the deal.
And with Dr. Walter?
“Dr. Walter, I’m committed to improving the safety of our geriatric population in our region, and I’m dedicating my life to doing so. I care about your clients even BEFORE they enter my fall prevention program, and I want to expose them to what I have to offer. I know you have options here in town, but I want to prove to you that I have value to offer. I’d like you to commit to refer me three clients that qualify for my program over the next two weeks, and then I’d like to meet with you in a month to review their experience. I’ll make a believer out of you.”
What do you think? Is Dr. Walter gonna ask me to leave? Not at this point. She knows we’re on the same team, and I’m confident I can help her clients.
That’s closing the deal.
So that’s it. Done deal. Easy-peasy, right?
Well, we’ve crossed the finish line – converting a prospect into a customer – but we’re building PT ambassadors. The sales process is straightforward, but it’s not easy, nor is it cheap. It takes time, and time is money.
If only there was something that could be done to take that one customer and turn him into five. And then if we could just turn those five into 25. And then…well, you get the point.
Converting prospects to clients one at a time isn’t bad – we’re making sales after all. But it’s certainly not GREAT, and it definitely doesn’t create an armada of ambassadors within our communities who will preach physical therapy from the mountain tops.
There’s one final step. We’ve got to amplify.
Stay tuned for next week’s final issue of this five-step series, and let’s get to building PT ambassadors throughout America.
About the Author:
Tannus Quatre, PT, MBA, is a physical therapist and entrepreneur dedicated to improving the profession through innovative business and marketing solutions. His work can be seen in such projects as PT Pub Night® and BuildPT.com, as well as through numerous speaking and authored contributions to APTA and PPS.
Part 1: First, Make Them Aware
Part 2: Engage Your Audience
Part 3: You Have Their Attention, Now Educate
Part 4: Pulling The Trigger: Converting Education into Clientele
Part 5: Feeding Yourself for a Lifetime: Amplifying your Conversions
This article is brought to you by PREFERRED Therapy Providers Inc. PREFERRED is the nation’s leading payor management services network. Our expertise is working with physical, occupational and speech therapy practices – from single clinics to multiple clinic locations.