Healthcare consultation skills: The 4 whys required to make a sale

What are the four conditions that always must be satisfied to make a sale? Some people call these conditions the 4 whys.

Low investment or straight re-buy products and services (like a bottle of water on a hot day or going for an annual dental exam) need only a perfunctory approach to answering these conditions. High-investment products and services (such as elective health care) may need a considerably more thorough approach to answering the four whys. This an illuminating part of our consultation skills and teamwork training course so pay close attention to what we reveal here, because it can really help you understand what your patients are thinking during a medical consultation.

The 4 Whys

The four conditions (or four whys) are:

  1. Why fix the problem?
  2. Why fix the problem with this solution?
  3. Why choose you to fix the solution?
  4. Why fix it now?

Think about it. Whenever you’ve bought anything, you’ve satisfied these four questions.

Usually, by the time a prospect has called you, they have answered the first condition for themselves. Often, you’ll have to start answering some of the other three conditions on the phone. But the heavy lifting will come in the consultation, therefore you and your staff must be ready to answer these tough questions, if you want to close the deal.

For example:

  • Why vision without glasses? Why look younger than I am? Why whiten my teeth?
  • Why should I have laser eye surgery instead of wearing glasses or contact lenses? Why should I choose cosmetic surgery as opposed to engaging in an exercise program? Why go for whitening at the dentist when I can pick up a whitening kit at the chemist? Why surgery, instead of spending the money on a vacation? Why surgery, as opposed of keeping the money in the bank?
  • Why choose you to do it, instead of any one of your competitors that are closer, cheaper, or more famous?
  • And lastly, why do it now? It’s not an appendicitis you know… why not wait for your product to get cheaper, safer, or more acceptable?

As a professional seller of elective health services, you and your staff must become experts at helping your prospects answer these conditions completely and convincingly.

What’s worse, is that most prospects will never be that direct with you. They will need these questions answered, but will rarely voice them, and will sometimes not believe you when you try to answer them, if they do!

Selling can be a tough game sometimes.

If you say it, it’s selling. If they say it, it’s true.

We may find a great Dominant Buying Motive: like convenience. But unless our prospect feels like they won’t get enough convenience without your offering (as opposed to its alternatives), then why should they buy your product?

It is up to you to ask the right questions to understand your prospect’s present situation and show a problem with it, so that our product becomes the solution.

But is convincing your prospects “why your solution is better” enough? We must also convince them “why your particular company?”

You may do a great job of convincing someone who your offering is a fantastic alternative to what they’re doing now. They may believe that your offering is both safer and even more cost-effective that their current solution. They may feel convinced that the problems of old truly are a thing of the past, and that surgery is truly a logical alternative. They may even feel that life without their problem will give them the self-esteem they need to break out of their shell. You may even hear them say: “Hey, what you’re offering sounds great” and they still may buy from your competitor down the street. So, we must also satisfy the second condition, why your practice or company?

And finally…and most importantly for making a sale: Why now?

The best advice we give is to not attempt to force a customer into buying anything. Instead, help them become clear on WHY they should do this now. You can do this asking questions about timing. For example, how long have you been frustrated by this? Why have you held back to date? Is there anything you’d be looking forward to do afterwards? When would you like to have that become real?

This way, the customers who really have a need for your service or product will practically sell themselves. Let them. The best salespeople are those that enable customers to sell themselves. In a way, if you say it, it’s selling. If they say it, it’s true.


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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