Healthcare Consultations: Elements of the intent statement (part 1)
As discussed in our previous post about communicating your intent, telling your patients what is going to happen during and at the end of the consultation is critical to reduce tension and enable prospects to open up to you.
So, what are the five essential elements of a good intent statement?
- The agenda
- The empathy statement
- Setting up the discovery
- The takeaway
- Setting up expectations
Let’s get a little deeper into the first element now. The Agenda serves two purposes: it reduces the prospect’s tension and it forces the prospect to listen. Because prospects don’t know what to expect, they often feel a certain degree of anxiety, therefore it is our responsibility to put into the agenda:
- the duration of the appointment
- what they’ll be doing
- who they’ll be seeing
It’s axiomatic to tell your audience what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them. When we take these a step further and number these items, it captivates our audience even more. As professionals, we need to do everything we can to keep our audience listening and excited.
Four strategies to get your prospects to listen
Foreshadowing: Whenever possible, tell your prospects what you’re about to tell them, show them, and number things (i.e. let me share with you the 3 major reasons we’re different from other clinics; you have 2 different treatment options here)
Dangling carrots: Tell them about some fabulous event, or information they’re going to get in the future, and how it will benefit them; without telling them what it is. This is called a teaser, or a carrot. For example
“after the optometric exam, I’m going to share with you the most exciting part of our clinic; in fact it’s this concept that is the number one reason that people want to become patients…”
Using superlatives: Use superlatives when preceding a concept, for example
“the most important concept I’m going to share with you is; the greatest thing about our service is; or the biggest mistake prospective patients make is; the number one reason people have laser eye surgery is; the biggest misconception about cosmetic surgeons is…”
Telling third-party stories. Facts tell and stories sell. I’ll write a whole other blog post regarding third-party stories, because they are so important! They add the colour to your consultation.
The Empathy Statement
Next, comes the empathy statement. We need to put ourselves in our prospects shoes and let them know we are sensitive to their concerns. What are the possible concerns of our prospects as they walk through our doors? They may have a concern that there may be high pressure, either throughout the process or at the end. They may be concerned that they’ll be need to make a decision about something they know very little about. Or they might be concerned as to the length of the consultation. An empathy statement can acknowledge and addresses these concerns. An example of an empathy statement may sound like this:
“Now, I understand how some of this information will be new to you. Don’t worry if you have any questions throughout the consultation… that’s what I’m here for, so don’t be afraid to ask.”
Setting up the Discovery
Third, we need to ask them and get their permission to ask them questions. It is essential that we let the prospect know why we are going to be asking them a series of questions, so that they feel comfortable answering them.
We need to assure the prospect that the questions they’re going to answer will benefit them, by allowing us to tailor-make the presentation to fit their needs. Or, we will share with them, by understanding their particular needs will reduce the time of the consultation. An example of setting up the discovery may sound like this:
“The first part of the consultation will involve me asking you many questions regarding your relevant medical history, your motivations for treatment, and any concerns you may have. Answering these questions as fully as possible will help me tailor the remainder of the consultation to ensure you get everything you need out of today, in the shortest possible time.
We’ve just discussed the first three elements of the intent statement – the agenda, the empathy statement, and setting up the discovery. In our next post, we’ll describe the other two elements in greater detail.
Failure to include these last two elements in the intent statement is the number one reason that health care sales people fail to close the deal at the end. So don’t miss them!
And remember, we cover this and every other aspect of delivering effective healthcare consultations to get more patients committing to treatments after consultations in our healthcare sales training courses. Contact us today to learn more.