Dealing with tough customers in healthcare consultations

Sometimes you can do everything right, but still find yourself in front of a customer that either blocks you, or resists your attempts at understanding their needs. When this happens, you can either think on your feet, or have a plan of options that you can use when you’re dealing with a tough customer. In this post, we share our four methods to deal with the tough customer in the sales consultation.

Ask easy questions first

First, make certain to ask first-level questions earlier, to prying into second and third-level ones.

Sometimes I’ve found that salespeople can become so enlightened with the concept of deep questions, that they make the mistake of getting too deep too fast.

For example, they might ask initially: “How would you feel if you weren’t found suitable for the procedure?” before asking why they want to have the procedure in the first place.

Getting to the third-level before asking first-level questions is kind of like meeting someone new and asking all about their marriage and other personal matters before finding out where they live and what they do for a living.

It’s a little too personal; too fast. Remember to ask first-level questions first, and earn the right to ask second and third-level questions later.

Follow the process

A second technique you can use is to simply follow the process I’ve suggested, step-by-step. All too often, we’re not able to open up our prospects in the discovery simply because we didn’t reduce the tension in the first place.

We didn’t do a proper greeting, a good warm-up, an intent statement, or a correct discovery, so the customers never feel relaxed enough to open up during the discovery.

No step in the presentation can be missed. I’ll repeat: No step in the presentation can be missed.

Use the Take Away

A third method of dealing with a tough customer is to try a takeaway and compliment them. This is useful when a prospect enters our facility and tries to block us. They may say things like:

“I’m only here to see if I’m suitable.” Or, “I’m only on the first step of my journey here”.

What I find amusing, is very often, I’d start the sales meeting with a perfectly open-ended question such as:

“So, tell me Jack, tell me about yourself – what’s the problem and why are you here?”

And Jack responds instantly:

“I’m only looking for information now and besides my problem really isn’t that bad”.

I find this amusing because this response is usually indicative of a prospect who is simply putting up his defenses so as not to be sold. I have found that the best way to handle a prospect that is blocking you is simply to take it away, and maybe compliment them.

“Wow, that’s great. Well you know, since your problem is perfectly acceptable for you now, I may not have anything to show you here today. What do you think we should do then?”

The takeaway, and a sincere compliment will usually ease the toughest of prospects.

Ask them for help

Fourth, you can simply ask your prospect for help. What happens when you’ve been at it for nearly ten or fifteen minutes and we still can’t find a Dominant Buying Motive? We can simply ask the prospect for help, i.e.

“Tell me, I’m kind of new at this, what would I have to show you today for you to be interested in our treatment?”

Change something

Fifth, if nothing you do is working, you may want to change something – the room, the representative, bring a manager or one of the doctors in, anything to change the flow of the interaction that may jolt the prospect out of his mood and into a more receptive state.

Many people think that their problem is closing. But you see, if we do the right things all along and ask the right questions in the discovery, we can begin closing on our prospect’s Dominant Buying Motives throughout the presentation and eliminate objections. Very often through the questions we ask, the prospects will sell themselves on the notion that a particular surgery or treatment just may offer the solution to their unfulfilled needs.

So remember, ask first-level, second-level and third-level questions in the discovery to uncover your prospect’s Dominant Buying Motives. Third-level reasons like: hopes to gain attractiveness, safety, convenience, fears of loss such as the fears of losing attractiveness, adventure or fun.

Ask the right questions to chart your course for satisfying the four basic conditions and personal prospect objections.

And remember, work smart when dealing with the tough, defensive customers and you will have paved the way to close more sales, build better relationships, and have a greater sense of satisfaction in your work, and in your life.

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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 co-founded LiveseySolar and acts as a Fractional CMO and Scalable Business Advisor for our customers. He’s on a mission to help transform the lives of 10,000 people with vision correction surgery by 2024. To achieve that, he inspires his customers to make confident decisions that will help 50,000 people take the first step towards vision correction.

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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