Are You Ready to Close: Handling Patients at the First Appointment

One of the most important aspects of refractive surgery is helping people adopt the surgery. Because if they don’t adopt the surgery, then you don’t have the opportunity to transform their lives.

I believe that every single conversation that you have with a prospective patient is an opportunity to either transform their lives or to lose them to continued ignorance or a life of fear and regret down the road because they didn’t achieve the things they wanted to achieve.

Importance of Refractive Surgery Consultations

That’s really underscoring the reason behind why we created a course specifically around refractive surgery consultations. Because we believe that while many people get to the consultation stage, they should be suitable and they should be motivated.

For many reasons, we don’t have a 100% conversion rate, right? We don’t have a 100% close. And so what is it that holds people back? Apart from unsuitability? Apart from all of a sudden being very surprised because they can’t afford it?

That’s a very small number of cases in my experience. It’s usually one to 2%. So that means unless you’re scoring a 98% closure on every single patient that you see, and you’re only saying no to people who are unsuitable, or they’re saying no to you because they don’t have the best possible outcome available to them, then you’re really missing out on a huge amount of time spent and also opportunity cost.

Because it costs you an enormous amount of time to see these patients in clinic. That’s all costing you money to where you could be seeing other patients and treating other patients. And it’s also creating a tremendous opportunity cost because there are so many patients that you could be treating that aren’t getting treated simply because you weren’t able to close them. So that’s what this course really aims to address.

Refractive Surgery Sales Process

The process of refractive surgery consultations: having observed thousands of these consultations myself in typically the most successful settings and doing a lot of trial and error between what works and what doesn’t work, shaving times down to the minutes, identifying the right flow that makes sense, not only for the supply side to keep costs down and time down but also to increase the value for the patient and engender the highest likelihood that they’re actually going to close.

We’ve actually mapped this process in such a way where we’re not just giving a course on consultation skills generically. We are providing you with our process that we have learned and implemented in now over a hundred practices over the last 20 years with great success.

So when you take the course, you learn also the best practice process to run consultations. And that in itself is probably worth the value of the course.

What this will allow you to do is by utilizing process and by utilizing skills, combining that to generate the right experience will enable you to close more cases more routinely and generate much more monetization from your advertising efforts.

Course Content

So in a nutshell, what’s included is I provide you with the context in terms of how patients are arriving at consultations. I give you a really good sense and you and your team can learn a little bit more about my experience of how I see patients’ psychology when they enter a clinical environment like yours in order to undergo a consultation that could very much change their lives.

They have a lot of fear, they have a lot of issues, they have a lot of concerns, and I just teach you what all those things are so that you can short-circuit the process and address them as time goes on.

I give you a sense of what type of staff need to be in what stages of the process, and also what kind of infrastructure needs they have, what kind of rooms they need, what kind of technology they need to have at their disposal in order to run effective, high closing consultations.

And then we really specify the goals of the first appointment, and we help you overcome biases, to the typical kinds of biases that really get in people’s way when it comes to offering refractive surgery, as an elective procedure. Because there’s a lot of concerns and real misapprehension and misunderstanding as to what is required in order to increase an adoption rate. And a lot of issues around sales and marketing get confused with the actual aim and intention of what you’re aiming to do at a consultation.

And then we give you some strategies to overcome those challenges and all the different types of challenges that patients present. So with that, we get into the sales techniques.

Sales Techniques

And the sales techniques themselves, what we do is after you do a successful greeting, we teach you how to do good warm-ups.

Warm-ups are something that needs to be engineered into the process. They don’t always occur naturally unless you happen to be one of those folks who is naturally very warm and friendly, and you might be. But sometimes we want to ensure that these aspects are proceduralized so that everybody knows the expectations and performs them routinely without relying on having a good day or a bad day.

Understanding the patient

We then guide people through the process of conducting discovery conversations.

We lay out a series of 10 questions that are absolutely basic and then a whole bunch of follow-up questions that follow that so that you can really discover what the needs of the patient are, what their desires are, and really address what their emotional dominant buying motives are so that you can use these to help identify a solution that really would fit and serve those needs.

I give you lots and lots of smart questions to answer that, in fact, have been tested over time to yield the best results from these conversations.

And then I enable you and give you instructions on how to take those patients and hand them over to the rest of the team. So I introduce the concept of a patient liaison and how to hand them over to a surgeon or an optometrist and how the optometrist should hand it over to the surgeon.

I appreciate that there are lots of different varieties and different types of structures in refractive surgery clinics. Some have optometrists, some don’t. Some have patient liaisons, some don’t. Some offer the surgeon at the consultation, some don’t. But my course really entertains all those scenarios. I give you the principles of how to follow and enable you to plug in the right people that you have in order to make it all work.

Handling Objections and Finances

And then importantly, we also help you understand how to handle objections. There are some specific unique objections that are specific to refractive surgery that I teach you how to handle. I give you extensive examples and role-play opportunities for those.

And then I think the most common objection that most people have or fear that they might have is the cost objection. So I give you loads and loads of examples on how to address a cost objection so that you feel confident having that price conversation and feeling like, you know what, your thing is worth it. And that people should be happy to pay as much as they can because what we’re not doing here is selling discount parachutes. We’re offering a life-changing procedure that will have non-monetary benefits that far exceed the amount of money anybody would spend.

So I’m able to give you that kind of confidence and conviction to be able to communicate your price and also handle common objections like money in such a way where you are having not arguments but rather productive conversations that lead to closed sales.

And then of course, I talk a little bit about earning patient reviews, ratings as well, testimonials, and referrals, those things that really will build your practice in the long term. How to actually turn an interesting consultation that potentially ends up in a yes into such a great event that you can get a referral from people even after the consultation itself because it was so valuable. Even before the procedure has actually happened. It’s been known to happen if you do it right. So that’s how we go about doing the consultation.

Course Summary

So in summary, what we do is we provide all of these things that I’ve just shared. We summarize the key concepts as well. There’s lots of different quizzes take place after every lesson, so that we ensure that you’re not just absorbing material, but you’re also repeating it back, so that we can ensure there’s some learning taking place. And then when you get to the consultation itself, you’re able to execute on the procedures in such a way where you’re confident that they’re going to work.

It really should enable you and your team to more confidently close refractive surgery cases.

At the end of the day, small changes in conversion rate and close rates have a massive leverageable impact on the rest of your practice. It can mean the difference between sometimes 20% profit and 50% profit. It’s just enormous in terms of the value that can be provided by a course like this.

Really, the reason we created it was just because we want to help you. We want to help you transform more lives through improved vision without relying on glasses or contact lenses. That’s our mission. That’s your mission. We have a shared mission. So let’s get to it with all the information that we have to share with you in the course. You really can’t go wrong, and it’s almost untenable that you won’t inevitably increase your close rate and therefore your practice growth.

NOTE: The best way to answer that nagging question about practice growth or marketing or patient volume in the back of your mind is to book a free 15-minute compatibility call. Get some options and go away with a clear idea of what’s possible.

About the author

Rod Solar
Founder & Scalable Business Advisor / fCMO

Rod Solar is a co-founder of LiveseySolar and a Scalable Business Advisor for its customers. Rod mentors and coaches eye surgery business CEOs/Founders and their leadership teams to triple their sales, double their profit, and achieve their “ideal exit”.

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Meet our Founders

We’re passionate about helping leaders of high-quality, growth-minded practice owners double their practice revenue

Rod Solar

Founder & Scalable Business Advisor

Rod Solar is a co-founder of LiveseySolar and a Scalable Business Advisor / fCMO for our customers. Rod mentors and coaches CEOs/Founders and their leadership teams to double their sales, triple their profits, and achieve their “ideal exit”.

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LiveseySolar completely transformed the way we were approaching this… We’ve gone from having just the dream of having a practice to having a practice up and running with people making inquiries and booking for procedures… It’s extremely pleasing. We feel lucky we connected with LiveseySolar.

— Dr Matthew Russell, MBChB, FRANZCO, specialist ophthalmic surgeon and founder of VSON and OKKO

Laura Livesey

Founder & CEO

Laura Livesey is the co-founder & CEO of LiveseySolar. She has developed powerful refractive surgery marketing systems that increase patient volumes and profits for doctors, clinics, and hospitals, since 1997.

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Rod and Laura know as much about marketing surgery to patients as I know about performing it. They are an expert in the field of laser eye surgery marketing. They know this industry inside out. I believe that they could help many companies in a variety of areas including marketing materials, sales training and marketing support for doctors.

— Prof. Dan Reinstein, MD MA FRSC DABO, founder of the London Vision Clinic, UK