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.

Get your Practice Marketing Score

Take our FREE “Practice Marketing” quiz. Get your score and benchmark yourself to practices around the world.

Find articles on:

What our clients say…

“In a matter of weeks, we already saw results with LiveseySolar. Far before we were even finished with our project.”

Erik Chotiner, MD, FACS, Ophthalmologist

“The whole group has been very, very professional. We’re quite early in the stages, but we can see the benefits.”

Dr Nick Mantell , MBChB FRANZCO

“They’re very professional. They know what they’re doing, but they also put us at ease. This helped us to cut through what’s needed to get what we want.”

Mr Praveen Patel, MA (Cantab), MB BChir (Cantab), FRCOphth, MD (Res)

“It’s wonderful to work with an agency that engages on our level and understands our market.”

Dr Anton Van Heerden, MBChB; FRANZCO, Ophthalmologist

Get your Practice Marketing Score

Take our FREE “Practice Marketing” quiz. Get your score and benchmark yourself to practices around the world.

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 triple their sales, double their profit, and achieve their “ideal exit”.

Read more

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.

Read more

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