How to build patient relationships by applying the Art of Persuasion.
6 months ago we ran a workshop “The Art of Persuasion” which is about the psychology of building relationships. The Art of Persuasion is great because it teaches subtle ways to build relationships and turn potential patients into regular patients. Persuasion is a very powerful tool and the form of persuasion has been studied for decades. During our workshop we had great feedback and group discussions about how these 6 steps can be applied by health professionals and have provided examples in this article. These steps are based on the research in Dr. Cialdini’s book, Influence.
Step 1. Reciprocity
It is human nature to give back when you receive something (people tend to give what they owe). When you give your patient something small they will feel the need to attend your clinic when they require chiropractic or dental services again. Make sure you give things in an unexpected and personalised way.
Send patients a free toothbrush and toothpaste when sending out their recall letter. When you order from Colgate, they will personalise the toothbrushes with your brand. Visit: http://www.colgateprofessional.com.au/products/Colgate-Personalised-Range/details
After they have finished their consultation appointment give them a $20 massage voucher or depending on the treatment they are receiving offer a branded hot/cold pack with instructions on how to use it to relieve pain.
Both are low cost and easy ways to give your patient a personalised gift. It not only makes them feel appreciated but it also builds a stronger relationship for the future. Other ways you can give to your patients is by being generous with knowledge. The easiest way to share knowledge is through the form of blogs, such as tips and how to’s; e.g how to brush children’s teeth, how to choose a suitable backpack for children.
Step 2. Scarcity
Scarcity can work when you recognise your Unique Value Proposition and create a limited time competition. Point out the benefit of it and what the patient will lose it they don’t enter.
UVP: Cure for headache and migraines.
Limited Offer: Competition for the month of June (National Migraine & Headache Awareness Month.)
Benefit: Free Treatment for 5 winners.
Lose: Miss out on your chance to win.
UVP: Teeth whitening using Zoom.
Limited Offer: Enter the competition before the end of 2015.
Benefit: FREE 10 Teeth whitening treatments to give away.
Lose: Miss out on your chance to win.
Step 3. Authority
Reputation is extremely important and by presenting yourself and your clinic as knowledgeable and credible it builds your authority and encourages patients to trust you and your services.
How: Put certification and diplomas on the wall, ensure every profile on your website includes the person’s qualifications and include how many years you have been operating on your website and how many patients you have treated. Having a well trained receptionist at the front desk will also help build your authority, training them to say phrases such as “I have booked your appointment with Dr Smith for Monday 11am, he has over 10 years experience treating lower back pain/sciatica/migraines or cosmetic dentistry/extractions/dentures.
Step 4. Consistency
Target small initial commitments. This is the process of leading potential patients to become regular patients by getting them to commit small steps at a time. The example in the video used was “Reduced missed appointments by 18% simply by asking the patients rather than staff to write down the future appointment dates”. This can be easily implemented in your clinic or you can also opt to offer a offer a 10% discount if they book their next appointment on that day.
Step 5. Liking
It always important to show personality. People tend to say yes to those who are similar to them. Did you know that the About Us pages are often the most visited pages of websites?
Example: Have your clinics personality reflected on your website through
- Photos which show your clinic and staff.
- Team bio’s which include personalised quotes.
- Content. Ensure the content is written in a style you want your clinic to reflect whether it’s formal, relaxed, corporate or family friendly. Ensure when writing content it shows that you are both working towards the same goal, optimising their health.
Step 6. Consensus
Consensus is about social proof and having a good online reputation via multiple channels such as Google+, Facebook & LinkedIn. For example, if you say you’re good at something and people advocate this by also saying you’re good at it, then you have social proof and a general consensus is formed. LinkedIn is a good example of social proofing because you can endorse people for their skills. Another form of social proof is having a lot of positive reviews.
Example of social proofing on LinkedIn
Example of social proofing based on 35 Google Reviews
Have you implemented all of these 6 techniques into your clinic? If not, we offer this challenge to you, try to implement at least one of these techniques by the end of the year… That’s 6 weeks, plenty of time! If you have any questions about how to begin implementing these or want to find out more about our workshops please feel free to contact us.