People are people, whether they are identified by their career or their role in the healthcare process. So, whether you’re working with a referring physician or a patient, it’s important to consider emotions, their role in the sales process and how they drive and destroy value. One of the most valuable emotions to have in our business is loyalty. Loyalty is what providers work towards with referring physicians and what they’re trying to earn from their patients. In a society where healthcare is catching a lot of heat for a lack of transparency, loyalty and honesty are key.
Lloyd Banks said, “I take things like honor and loyalty seriously. It’s more important to me than any materialistic thing I could have.” It’s funny when practices think that the best way to attract referrals is to give gifts and tiptoe along the shades of gray in Stark Laws. Matt Schneider says that when your relationships are built off of gifts you’re only as good as your next present. Don’t think about your service from a strictly monetary scope, consider your value, because it’s more important than any materialistic thing you could provide, as long as you’re not handing out keys to new Ferraris.
In Colin Shaw’s program Beyond Philosophy, he points out that in sales, professionals brand their customer experiences with their own emotional signatures. Over 50% of a customer’s experience relies on how they feel, which will either drive or destroy their decisions. With 20 emotions ranging from happy to disappointed to neglected; your perception of value hinges heavily on your customers’ emotions. In healthcare it is hard to look at patients as “customers” but their emotional drive is intrinsically the same. It makes sense that in healthcare, more than in any other industry, emotional-selling plays an important role.
From a patient perspective, the healthcare industry is a confusing, money-hungry monster that is supposed to be able to fix the illusive medical issues they face. They are operating in a state of flat out fear. Transparency in the system is a good start to helping patients sort through their emotions and confusion. This is why it’s important for physicians to enter the conversation that patients are having in their minds about price and quality.
The jump from making an impact on referring physicians is not all that far off as emotions go. Doctors have their own set of worries, whether it be about patient loyalty, patient wellness, staff happiness or time management, all while making money and keeping their practice alive. This is especially challenging for independent physicians that don’t have the support of a hospital system. Trends towards hospital-owned practices have perplexed independent physicians, but the root of all patient and physician decisions resorts back to loyalty. They want emotional and financial support and security. We predict the rise of patient loyalty to independent physicians in the future however, due to their ability and freedom to adopt transparency and patient-focused quality care.
Matthew D. Rifkin is a radiologist and advisor for Save On Medical.