Welcome to this week's edition of It's Not Brain Surgery.
If you've been following me on Twitter or LinkedIn, you may have noticed I've made some important changes to my content strategy lately. An obvious one, is the amount of content I'm producing. For the past 107 days, I've written –and posted!– an essay on the topics of physician entrepreneurship (you can read them here.)
But since I'm posting daily what used to be my Sunday newsletter, I've had to rethink my strategy.
And here's what I've come up with: I'll continue posting a short essay every day (300-500 words) and every other Sunday, I'll write a deep dive like this one.
The question now is, do you want me to email you every day when I post a new essay? Just on Sundays? Never? 😢
I'd hate to spam you if you don't want daily emails, but I also don't want you to miss out on the short posts that could help you out!
Could you please hit reply and let me know?
If I don't hear back from you, I'll assume you don't mind the extra emails.
Either way, I hope you enjoy this first deep-dive!
Welcome to It's Not Brain Surgery.
No matter what your field or specialty is, you need to create an offer to differentiate yourself and avoid commoditization.
But creating an offer is something that eludes every healthcare professional. Early on in our careers, we are conditioned to value training, processes and certifications above everything else. So it only makes sense we try to sell our services in the same manner.
Unfortunately (for us), patients don't think this way.
But in today's deep dive, you'll learn the 7 ingredients to crafting an irresistible offer and I'll share with you examples of how we implemented each one in my own stem cell practice.
Let's dive in
Before we begin, I'll ask you to put your marketer hat on.
As we explore each of the 7 ingredients, I'll explain what they are –in marketing terms– and how we applied them at Rehealth and World Stem Cells Clinic. At the end of this deep dive, I'll share with you some additional resources for you to continue down the rabbit hole should you feel so inclined…
The promise is by far, the most important part of your offer.
If I had to assign weight to each of these ingredients, I'd give the promise at least 80%. It's that important. And I strongly advice you spend at least 80% of your time eliciting and articulating it.
In short, the promise is the benefit your patients obtain from your offer.
In my practice
This was the first eye-opener for me as a physician.
And it is an eye-opener for my clients now as well. It's so simple, yet so powerful. Instead of spending so much time trying to explain our treatment to our potential patients, we focused on helping them understand what was in it for them.
Now, this does not mean you don't explain your treatments or your processes!
It simply means you place the emphasis of your offer on what's in it for them.
We went from talking about stem cell therapy, its benefits, safety, etc. To talking about quality of life, regaining mobility, less pain, and other benefits which reflected what our patients wanted out of stem cell therapy.
The mistake every healthcare professional makes –myself included–, is present the process as the most important part of an offer.
Often, it is presented as the only part of the offer. That was what we were doing at my stem cell clinic. The entire lead generation and sales process was built around our process.
Needless to say, we were not as successful as we could be.
In my practice
We kept all the information about stem cell therapy available in our website.
And we certainly kept addressing every question our patients had about it. But it was no longer what we were selling. I recall telling our team we were not in the business of providing "stem cell therapy". We were in the "changing lives" business.
We just happened to do it through stem cell therapy.
The price of your products and services is part of your marketing.
And, as such, is an essential component of every offer. You cannot expect someone to determine the value of your service without knowing how much it will cost them. And here's the trick: the price has to match the promise.
A big promise with too small price is perceived as too good to be true.
In my practice
Have you ever been told by your patients you should be charging more for your services?
We certainly did. All the time. But we were scared of raising our prices since so many of our patients already complained and asked for discounts. *In my experience coaching independent physicians, this is a common concern.
However, the moment we raised the price of our offer (we went from $18k to $25k), our fears went away.
Suddenly, our therapy and clinic were perceived as what they were: top-of-the-line medical treatments.
We began receiving more inquiries, our sales cycle (the time it took from the moment someone inquired to the moment they became a patient) was cut in half, and everything got easier. And here's the kicker: we set aside some of that extra cash we were getting and created a fund with which we sponsored treatments for children of families who could not afford it.
The more money you make, the more people you can help.
4. Bundles & Bonuses
You use bundles or bonuses to "sweeten the deal" and make your patient's decision much easier.
But there's a trick to offering them. It has to be something related to your promise. Ideally, they'll help your patient achieve the promise faster or with less effort. Also, the best kind of bonuses directly address objections.
In my practice
Instead of focusing on the stem cell therapy, we made it part of a complete package (or bundle).
Which meant our offer was no longer a stem cell reinfusion. It became a 5-day therapy which included visits with 3 different medical specialists, lab tests, bone marrow aspirate, 2 or 3 cell reinfusions, cell banking, physical therapy, after treatment directions, and 3+ virtual follow-up visits with our physicians.
Now, while our competitors offered a stem cell reinfusion, with us the stem cell reinfusion was just part of the package.
The next thing we changed based on this ingredient were the bonuses.
Our patients had to travel to Cancun, Mexico for treatment. That in and of itself brought up objections. Objections like: travel requirements, choosing the right hotel, transportation within the city, food choices (for patients with food sensitivities), etc. So we included transportation to and from the airport, as well as to and from their hotel for every appointment at the clinic. We also included support when booking a hotel, flights, and even helping them with requirements for things like getting a passport, or travel permits.
This was all included in their quote and it was often quoted as the best part of their trip…
5. Risk Reversal
Also known as a guarantee.
And yes, I know we can't guarantee any clinical outcomes. And you don't have to. All you have to do is reduce or reverse any risk your patients perceive about doing business with you.
In my practice
Patients saw two risks in coming to our clinic for treatment.
The obvious one had to do with clinical outcomes. Not much we can do about "reversing" or eliminating that one. But the other risk they saw was the financial one. "What if we invest the money and it doesn't work?"
When faced with this question most doctors will go on a lecture about how medical outcomes can't be guaranteed, how every person is different, how most patients improve, etc.
Instead, we decided to offer patients a new treatment, for free, if they did not improve in any of a few predetermined (and objectively measurable) clinical metrics after 12 months of the original treatment.
This turned out to be a win-win since it required patients to submit their progress and check in with our medical team, improving adherence. And it helped them make a decision knowing they'd get another treatment if the first one failed to deliver improvements.
6. Scarcity & Urgency
When we don't have a deadline, we put off making decisions.
And if there is one thing that's true across all medical fields and specialties is earlier treatment has better outcomes. So, if you want to serve your patients in the best possible way, you'll present your offers with some urgency. And no, I don't mean you should make up some phony scarcity tactic. But I know for a fact that without a deadline, they won't take action.
If you don't believe me, just look at your Amazon wishlist.
In my practice
With a 5-day protocol, we had a very limited number of patients we could see at any given time which created this scarcity component.
In a similar manner, most of the conditions we were treating had an innate urgency component. The longer you wait to treat, the more the symptoms progress. And patients knew this. They wanted to feel better ASAP, not in 6 months. But they still needed to be reminded of this.
So what we did differently was make sure to bring both of these up during our conversations with patients.
Studies in behavioral psychology have proven humans are more likely to follow directions when given a reason why.
And the interesting part is, the actual reason does not matter. All that seems to matter is having a reason. And so, when you create your offer, you'll be more successful when you give them a reason as to why you're doing it.
In my practice
The mistake is thinking you have to give them a reason why they should get the offer.
But all you need to do is give them a why for any of the other ingredients. In our case, we shared how we came up with our 5-day protocol while every other clinic was offering one-off stem cell infusions. We brought it up during our calls, and added it to our website, our email nurture sequences, and even to my in-person presentations.
Frankly, if you just implement the first 3 (promise, process, and price), you'll be shocked at the difference it makes.
My recommendation though, is take the time to think through all of them. Start with your promise and work it through as seen by your patients. Try to put yourself in their shoes. What is the problem they seek you out to solve? What's on the other side of solving that problem?
If you don't want to use any of these, you don't have to.
But before you skip any of them, ask yourself: how could I make this work in my practice?
If you're struggling to wrap your head around this concept, you're not alone.
At first, it feels against what we observed from our mentors through our medical training. But allow yourself to be uncomfortable with it for a moment. Let it simmer a bit in your mind and I promise it will not only start making sense, but you'll see how it is in fact, in the best interest of your patients as much as yours.
If you need more help:
Feel free to DM me on Twitter or LinkedIn and I'll do my best to help you out.
And, if you've begun creating your own offer and want to make sure you're doing it right, book a 1:1 coaching call where I'll be happy to help you put it together.