Healthcare consultations: The critical first 5 minutes

The first 5 minutes of the ideal healthcare consultation represent our only chance to make a first impression. Reduce the prospect’s tension so they will open up to us. When meeting with new patients for the first time, here are the four important things we need to remember in the warm-up:

  1. Let the prospect talk about himself. They don’t want to hear about you – they hardly know you. Ask them about themselves, and that will get them talking.
  2. Find something to genuinely like about them. Anyone can love the lovable, but it is the superstar that can love the unlovable. I’m not asking you to be fake. However, it is important to find something that you can authentically like about someone. They will pick up on this and hopefully like you back.
  3. Find a commonality that is important to your prospect. Commonalities are everywhere. You just need listen for them. Remember to talk about anything but the product at this stage.
  4. When lost for words, ask about FORL: family, occupation, recreation, location – anything that isn’t related to the sale.

Four things to do during during the first 5 minutes of the healthcare consultation

  • Be yourself – remember, people buy you, then the company, and then the product. This is your opportunity to build rapport – sincerity sells.
  • Keep a transition / exit line in mind – i.e. “well, let’s get started shall we?”, “we’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get started.”, “well, thank you very much for coming – do you have any idea of what we’re going to be doing today?”, “so tell me, what were your expectations of our time together today?”
  • Keep it clean – avoid discussion topics surrounding religion, politics and sex.
  • Keep it accessible – avoid focusing on things that only interest you. Rather, be curious about what interests them.

Four things NOT to do during the first 5 minutes of the healthcare consultation

  1. Sell – When we get down to business before we make a friend, this increases tension in the prospect – make a little small talk. How can we possibly discuss the advantage of the product without understanding what’s important to our prospect?
  2. Interrogate – A common mistake salespeople make is to confuse the warm-up with the discovery by interrogating their customers in the warm-up. They may go on the defensive, or not open up.
  3. Prejudge – How often were you certain that someone wouldn’t buy, and they did. Most people will say they don’t want to make decision today. If we assume people will not buy today, we will treat them like that, and they don’t buy today. Treat everyone as a buyer today, and prejudge no one.
  4. Let it drag on for more than a five minutes – The warm-up can be fun, especially when you’re getting on with someone. Resist the temptation to linger on the warm-up for too long. First, it will take up precious time that you need to get productive information from your client, and second, the client may start to wonder if you’re prepared to confidently conduct your presentation.

Teaching warm-up skills are a part of our healthcare consultation skills and teamwork course – please contact us if you’d like more information about this course, which can be delivered on a custom basis for your clinic or hospital.

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Rod Solar

Founder & Fractional CMO

Rod co-founded LiveseySolar and acts as a Fractional CMO 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