Question #1: What If The Patients I Work With Are Not Willing To Pay Up Front?
This is something we hear often. Most practitioners think that their patients aren’t willing to pay out of pocket, especially up front. I completely understand why doctors think this way, it’s because the only thing that most patients know is the insurance, and fee per service model. Most patients have been trained to believe that their insurance is supposed to pay for services…period. It’s not uncommon to get some moaning and complaining from many who distaste even covering the co-payment.
Let’s break this down.
First, if most of the patients who come to you for a first visit believe that they shouldn’t worry about the bill, it’s your responsibility to re-educate them and communicate a different message. You need to show them that there are the two different worlds of healthcare. The First world is sick-care or symptom management where insurance will pay for you to you see relief for your symptoms when you are sick. The second world focuses on true optimal health, this is where you get breakthrough results and get to live a much higher quality of life.
It is possible to achieve this second world, but insurance doesn’t pay for it so it takes a personal investment on the part of the patient. Once you’ve painted the picture of these two different worlds- the patient who isn’t looking for a quick fix will make the choice to invest in themselves.
If you don’t educate them on these two worlds, then of course they won’t invest money, because everything they’ve learned up until this point has told them that insurance will just cover it.
Let’s be perfectly clear, it’s not that they don’t have the money- and it’s not that they aren’t willing to invest into their health.
They simply must see the value in where you intend to take them, rather than in your services. By packaging your services, you create an all-inclusive journey that helps them achieve their health goals. Patients are willing to invest in a packaged program because they understand it’s true, long-term value. We’ve proven this out through 100’s of doctors serving literally 100’s of thousands of patients. It’s that patients don’t want to pay for something they’re used to getting for free or that they don’t see as valuable.
So, we’ve made it clear that most of the time it’s not the patient’s issue with paying money. The Real Problem is the practitioner isn’t clearly communicating the value of what they’re offering.
So how do you fix this?
How can you communicate in a way where your patients do see the value in what you’re offering?
Pay attention because this is where it gets interesting. If you haven’t been packaging your services and haven’t yet received my guide to “packaging your services for better patient results and higher profits”, you are likely trying to communicate value through your services rather than on the results your patient will receive. This means you’re asking your patients to justify a personal expense on a service rather than investing into a long term goal.
As long as you only offer services covered by insurance you are setting yourself up as a commodity, influencing your patients to price shop.
Packaging your services keeps the focus on all-inclusive program that includes everything that’s needed to reach their ultimate health goal. For example, your package will include an educational curriculum that is really mandatory if your are truly attempting to empower your patients to take control of their health. This is not a service covered under insurance, so their is no conversation regarding insurance coverage. It’s a necessity for the outcome and part of the package.
In summary, your patients will be willing to invest into themselves when they recognize those particular services, treatments and supplements that are necessary for true resolution are a part of the second world, the one that leads towards optimal health- not just symptom management. They’ll know by this point that it’s not covered by insurance. When properly explained and a easy to understand solution is offered, most of your patients will choose the long-term investment.
An example I like to use of a universal willingness to pay for health services is the correction of crooked teeth.
Can you imagine an orthodontist trying to offer a solution through insurance? Of course not…everyone knows that insurance doesn’t cover corrective or preventative care. Can you imagine an orthodontist not fully disclosing the time frame for care, what is expected of her patient and the total investment? What kind of integrity would this doctor have. But there are thousands of doctors proclaiming to be proactive wellness doctors, yet try to fit their patient’s care into an insurance model that isn’t designed for proactive care. Furthermore, they ignore the responsibility of doing what the orthodontist’s do correctly, and that’s laying it all out, up front so the prospective patient can make a decision. No transparency equals no integrity. You owe it to those who trust you to listen to them, understand what their ultimate goal is, evaluate their case and put together a complete program that will address all that is necessary to reach their goal. Anything less will eventually turn into a temporary fix and thus an expense. Laying it all out up front, creates a tremendous sense of trust with your prospective patients. I promise you, those who you develop that trust with would much rather invest their hard earned money with you even if they’ve turned down other practitioners.
Question #2 – Will this model work for me, even if I’m not a good salesperson?
This is a question we hear a lot, and we get it, no one wants to come across as a sleazy car salesman. We don’t advise that, and there’s a much better way to educate patients in a way that’s enrolling. But, first we have to get one thing straight.
Anytime there is a value-of-exchange, something has been sold.
It fascinates me how so many doctors don’t believe they are selling anything when they are just playing doctor. This doctor consults with his or her prospective patient, evaluates them and then gives recommendations to include particular services…services that come with a price. If the prospect moves forward then there is an exchange of value, whether insurance or cash. When the services are covered by insurance, this doctor feels they did no selling, just offered recommendations as a professional.
It’s quite a different story when insurance isn’t covering the tab.
Why? If you, the practitioner, are giving your best advice to move past temporary symptom relief and into an complete program that can help them achieve optimal health, why would your conversation change whether there is insurance coverage or not? Why do you feel your recommendations are “selling” when the patient is required to cover your time and services. Same recommendations, right?
The truth is that these same practitioners who state, “I just don’t like to be salesy” are really saying, “ I’m just uncomfortable asking for money”.
I get it, nothing in your training as a doctor prepared you for this real world scene where you have to be confident in your true value and ask for what you’re worth. Furthermore, the insurance companies and big pharma have mind warped practitioners to believe that the doctor is to disregard the money and simply focus on his patient. And, it’s proven to be a quite effective system for filling the coffers of these big conglomerates. But, in the end, this mindset is not serving, you, your practice, your family, and it’s not serving your patients.
If you believe in your value and what your services can offer in regards to changing people’s lives, you should not be embarrassed or uncomfortable expecting an exchange for your value.
When it comes to the actual money conversation, our recommendation is to educate the patient first so they understand that this is the best logical choice and make up their mind on their own. No need to add unnecessary pressure.
To learn more about how to package your services, click the banner below to get my Ultimate guide on “How To Package Your Services for Better Patient Results and Profitability”. Get this guide, and you’ll quickly understand why this really is the best model for the wellness based practice. An accompanying audio will take you through, step-by-step, every facet of how to design your own, unique wellness packages.
Question #3 – How should I price my packages?
This is a great question, and one that we get quite often.
One of the biggest mistakes that you can make when packaging your services is pricing your packages too low, because it could leave you with little profit, forcing you into running a patient mill/ or having to see too many patients, which will bring the quality of care down.
To answer this question- every practice is unique, and therefore I won’t go into exact formulas here. But, there are 3 main rules that apply to every practice when it comes to pricing, and I’ll walk you through this.
Pricing Rule #1 – Don’t Underprice your services.
This is a very common mistake, because there’s a false belief by many practitioners that patients aren’t willing to invest very much for their health. This just isn’t true, and I dispel that myth in more depth in my first video in this series at the top of this page. If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure go back to watch it. The big issue with underpricing your services is that it will force you into running a patient mill just to keep your doors open. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t work with as many patients as you can, but you don’t want to stretch yourself thin that it starts impacting your quality of care. The most important thing is to make sure that everything your patient needs is included in the package to ensure the patient reaches their goal, and to price it appropriately.
Pricing Rule #2 – You must Know Your Hard Costs
There are parts of the health package that cost you money (Labs, Supplements, etc). You don’t want to price your package without taking into consideration the fact that you’re going to be paying money out of pocket to deliver it.
In order to ensure you price the package appropriately, you’ll first need to determine your desired gross margin, and then factor in all of the hard costs to make sure you reach that goal.
Pricing Rule #3 – Know the man hours involved
You should have a rough idea of how many hours you, the practitioner will spend serving one patient through the length of their package. This includes both time spent with the patient and time reviewing the case. In addition to that, you should also know how much time your staff spends with each individual case. These hours must be taken into consideration when finalizing your pricing. This will also give you a better understanding of how many total patients you can accept per month with your current team.
Introducing a packaging model and pricing it the right way can be a game-changer for your practice. We’ve seen dozens of practitioners who introduce this model double their income in the first 2-3 months.
To learn more about how you can transform your practice through the packaged service model, click the image below to grab your copy of “The Ultimate Guide To Package Your Services for Better Patient Results and Profitability” for FREE, today!