We hear this all day long from our clients, “I need a P.A. with 5 years injectables experience who “can sell!” For so many Aesthetics practices this is like asking for a golden horned unicorn! But it doesn’t need to be so hard. Here are a few tips on how to turn your clinical staff into the best sales people you know.
Start by shifting the conversation away from sales and onto the Customer Experience. By and large, people who get into nursing or a medical career don’t do so to learn how to sell. They are intrinsically geared towards “helping people” and often have a distinct impression of sales people as the worst kind of used car salesman. So, the mere mention of sales can draw out a fear-based response making it hard for you to train revenue generating behaviors.
Here’s how to energize and empower your team with money making talents – Work towards training your team to be awesome client service people. You want the experience of your patients to be world class. You want them to feel heard and understood by a skincare professional that they can trust to make the right recommendation for them to achieve the results they desire. At its core, this “IS” what sales is about.
If you can make this simple shift and begin to infuse your staff with awesome client service skills, you will see the results on your bottom line and you’ll have happier, more productive and loyal staff.
So how do you implement?
If you can teach your staff how to do a great consult, ask open ended “what” and “why” questions until they feel they have really got to the customers’ motivation and clearly understood their desires, that’s the first step. Remember, we have 2 ears and 1 mouth – listen twice as much as you talk.
Once the true goals of the customer are understood, your team can then rely on their “professional experience” to recommend the very best solution. This is easy and natural for health care trained professionals – we all enjoy being recognized as a truly helpful expert in our field.
One great way to communicate and build team experience and culture is to have short 15 minute stand up meetings every couple of days and have a team member describe real life examples of how they got to a patient’s true desires and motivation, the recommendations that followed and how the client reacted. Think of it like a peer review of caseloads in a hospital. Let the team feedback and keep them focused on the customer experience so everyone begins to think the same way.
Here’s the tough part…The money.
This is always the hardest part for a non-sales professional to overcome. Perhaps the easiest way to help people who are uncomfortable asking for the sale / the money, is to develop a price list that can be put on the table between your team member and the client to generate a shared conversation about pricing. De-personalizing this part of the discussion is critical. By putting a price sheet on the table, the client’s focus will naturally shift to the paper diffusing the tension that is normal at this stage of a consult. Your staff should focus attention on no more than two solutions while at the same time telling the client which solution they recommend based on their expertise and their understanding of the patient’s goals, and why they feel it is the best solution.
“My recommendation Ms. Client is that WE go with Treatment X because it is the very best way to achieve your goals. It may not be the cheapest solution, but I feel its best because in my experience it lasts longer and works better that Treatment Y….”
Note: it’s extremely helpful in building rapport and diffusing the salesyness of the conversation is if your team starts using the word “WE” as early in the consultation process as possible. It changes the dynamic from a sales pitch to a common goal approach – way higher close rates.
By providing the client with two options and recommending one of them based on your expertise and your understanding of their goals you let all the air out of the tension around money and give them the option to choose what they feel will work for them. This is commonly known as the “option close.”
If your team member has truly understood the goals of the client and made the very best recommendation based on their expertise and in the client’s best interest, this should no longer be about closing the sale rather it’s about sharing your schedules and picking a convenient time to make an appointment. Something like:
“I think you’ve made the right choice. Why don’t we set up a time for that treatment, let me just get the calendar and we can schedule something when you can come in and be relaxed and really enjoy the experience?”
Don’t ask for payment, ask for the appointment and once its booked then you can naturally ask how they would like to pay or better yet:
“Let me take you to the front desk and they can process payment there. Once that’s done we’ll sit for a few more minutes and go through the pre-treatment protocols so you’ll be completely ready on the day of. And don’t worry I’ll be here to walk you through the whole process.”
When dropping off at the front desk for payment ask if they would like a glass of water or tea so you can get it for them while they make payment. Remember we are trying to relieve stress here so be kind and gentle and generous with your time – create an impeccable experience from start to finish and follow up.
Remember to keep the client’s experience top of mind. Be aware that this is likely stressful for them on many levels. It’s a medical treatment that they may be a little nervous about, they’re spending money that is always a little stressful (unless it’s for clothes), and it may be something entirely new for them. So just stay focused on how they are experiencing the process, look for visual clues that they are uncomfortable and slow down, ask a few more questions, check in on how they feel:
We don’t want this to be a stressful process for you in any way so please let me know if you are feeling uncomfortable or rushed at all, I have all the time in the world for you here today.”
There you have it. Change your internal dialogue and make it about the customer experience. De-stress the words and language around “Sales” that are going to be so antithetical to your staff’s instincts and let them dive into creating an amazing customer experience and sales will flow naturally.