This week on the Dr. Marketing Tips podcast, Jennifer sits down with Christine Lapointe, owner and CEO of Aesthetics 360, to discuss how medical practice staff can overcome sales objections and successfully promote products and service lines that benefit patients.

Christine also breaks down the “FAB” sales technique and how your practice employees can use it to drive success (FAB = features, advantages and benefits).

Tune in to discover: 

  • The difference between selling and educating patients about their options
  • Tips to train your staff to overcome objections
  • What can be done to get patients ready for different service offerings before their appointment
  • A live role-playing FAB scenario between Christine and Jennifer

About Christine Lapointe, BA

Christine Lapointe, BAChristine Lapointe was born and raised in New England and is a graduate of The University of California at Riverside. Her work experience in the elective surgery industry began in 1996, and she has since gained national recognition as a consultant, public speaker and published author. 

Her work experience in this sector has included Sales Director with Modern Postcard, Business Development Specialist with Advanced Medical Optics, Practice Development Manager with IntraLase Corporation, National Sales Manager for The Laser Vision Institute and Area Manager for Lasik Plus and Summit Vision Centers.

Additionally, Christine has continued to work as a consultant for both private practices and nationally acclaimed academic institutions in both the Vision Correction and Aesthetic industries. Christine has a great understanding of both the technical and business challenges facing the elective procedure industry for both physicians and manufacturers. Her intimate knowledge of the vision correction and aesthetic markets provides insight into the intricacies required to successfully introduce and launch new technologies into practices and device companies from the inside out.

Christine also has extensive experience in staff training and motivation, sales counseling techniques, marketing strategies, web strategies, as well as public relations and outreach. In her spare time, Christine volunteers in her community as a Board Member to the COA (Council on Aging in Monson, MA) and enjoys spending time at home with her husband of 24 years, Big G, along with their five dogs and four birds.

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Transcript Notes

Speaker 1: Dr. Marketing Tips, paging Dr. Marketing Tips, Dr. Marketing Tips you’re needed in the marketing department.

Speaker 2: Welcome to the Dr. Marketing Tips podcast, your prescription to the answers you seek to grow your medical practice easier, better, and faster. This show is all about connecting practice administrators and medical marketing professionals with peers working in practices, learning from experiences, making mistakes, and sharing successes. Let’s get started.

Jennifer: Hey there. Welcome to the Dr. Marketing Tips podcast. My name is Jennifer and I’m one of your hosts and today I’m joined by a very good friend, Christine LaPointe from Aesthetics 360. And I had the opportunity to take the entire crew over to a all day bootcamp training that Christine and her team was delivering with a very large ophthalmic practice and invited Christine to be here on the Dr. Marketing Tips podcast. And so I’m super excited to have Christina with us today. I think our listeners will get a lot out of this and we’re going to talk about selling, overcoming objections, and a great acronym that Christine and her team use to train the folks on the frontline that are actually doing sales in medical practices. So Christine, thank you for joining us here today.

Christine: Thanks for having me.

Jennifer: So before we get started, why don’t you give a little bit of background of who you are, how you got started in this industry, how long you’ve been doing this, and then what it is that we were all together this past Saturday participating in.

Christine: Sure. So the name of the practice is Aesthetics 360 which is a little unusual because we were working with an ophthalmology practice, but I’ve been involved in ophthalmology since 1996 with the inception of laser vision correction. And then as I got more involved in ophthalmology I worked in a practice and then I started working for some medical device companies. So what happened was after I was working longterm with different technologies, I wanted to expand into Aesthetics and so we did. So we left ophthalmology and went into aesthetics. But because we are well known in ophthalmology, we got pulled back in because a lot of the things that we do can cross over to plastic, surgical, derm, ophthalmology, even OBGYN.

Christine: What we started doing originally was focusing on looking at practice development, meaning how can we help the practice be better at what they do in educating patients, delivering information in the patient journey, and having higher acceptance rates. But through the years our job has expanded because of the different services that are now provided in practices. So we do anything from observing patient flow to how to help a call center, writing scripts, educating staff. Even what we did was the onsite staff training in the bootcamp. And the reason we were there was because one of our clients is very focused on the customer experience and knew that that was one of our passions so that we created a program just for them on the patient experience.

Jennifer: Yeah and we talk a lot about patient experience on the Dr. Marketing Tips podcast too, so it just makes sense because there was so much synergy. So I think you’re a fantastic person to have here on the show and I think our listeners will get a lot out of it. So at least in the last decade or so, more and more practices have a cash based business that works as an ancillary revenue stream and more and more we’re hearing that we have a need to sell certain services that are outside of what the doctor might be delivering, but something that somebody else in the practice might be delivering. In the case of ophthalmology, maybe it’s optical, maybe it’s a med spa that’s part of it, maybe it’s Botox, maybe it’s fillers, med spas, things of that nature. How involved are you in the training process for teaching people how to sell now at medical practices?

Christine: Oh, we’re very involved and there’s a lot of reasons why. One is, as the practices are expanding and they’re adding services, often they haven’t really changed the job descriptions. So they’re taking someone that either has extra time and they would say, oh that person can do that, they have extra time. Or they haven’t really identified who is comfortable offering those services. And some doctors are comfortable and some aren’t. So we have to go into the practice and take a look at, we actually go in as a patient, and we’ll secret shop to get a real feel for what’s going on. We’ll do it several times because we know everybody has an off day and then we identify if we have to look at the actual process, do we need to find people that need to be trained, do we need to move people around? But we do a lot of training because people in medical do not perceive themselves as salespeople and they are selling.

Jennifer: So what do you do in the case that they only have this one person, that’s Sally. She’s going to be doing the sales and she’s just not comfortable selling. How do you get her comfortable in her own skin?

Christine: What we try to do is explain to Sally that it’s not just about selling, it’s educating people on their options and that we have an opportunity to explain to people that there are options for them. And tell Sally, how would you feel if you went to the office and the doctor didn’t tell you that you had all these other options, you had a procedure, and then you went and you saw your friend and your friend said, well, I had this different procedure. The doctor told me all about this. So we help them in the sense that they doing a service to their patient. It’s not just selling, but they’re educating their patient, that there is more opportunity for them to have a procedure or a service that would suit them better.

Jennifer: So I think that you have a pretty good acronym that you use, FAB, fabulous acronym, and you have an interesting story of how you got into this whole FAB selling. Can you share the story and then explain to our listeners what FAB stands for?

Christine: Yes. I love fabbing. So when I was out of college and deciding what I wanted to do with my life, I took a job as a hostess and I also took a job in retail. And the company that I took the job with had a very specific way in which we were supposed to sell, which was called fabbing. And that meant we had to show the customer a feature, an advantage, and a benefit of the item they were buying. But we also had to go find an unrelated item to the sale to increase the units and bring that to the customer and also FAB to them.

Christine: So of course it’s my first week and I get secret shopped. And I knew immediately I was secret shopped because before I could even get to the dressing room, the lady was already walking out. Next day I come to work and the manager brings me in the back, completely humiliates me, goes over the secret shop and tells me I have to improve immediately or I’m going to lose my job. Well, I’m an overachiever and I’m very competitive. So I became the best salesperson by the way. I didn’t make any commission, I just did it because it had to be the best.

Christine: But it fits in our environment now because again, people don’t understand how to show the patient what’s going to be good for them. And it’s not necessarily what is good for me or how I feel about a procedure. It’s what might benefit the person in front of me. So if I’m talking to someone and they’re telling me that, for example, they want to come in and take care of wrinkles that are on their forehead, I may ask them questions about what it is about the wrinkles that bothers them. I would ask them, is there anything else that they feel affects their appearance. And I might ask them, why at this time in their life it’s bothering them now. Because there could be reasons. They might be trying to get a job and they might feel like that’s affecting their chances of being hired. They may be single. Multiple reasons. So then I can actually think about the features and advantages and the benefits of that person perhaps having Botox that pertains specifically to them and then they see a value.

Cory: Hey guys, Cory here, cohost of the Dr. Marketing Tips podcast, and I wanted to interrupt this episode just for a minute to tell you about Insight Training Solutions. So Insight Training Solutions is an ongoing employee engagement and training platform for your medical practice, meaning employees can log on and take these medical practice specific trainings whenever and wherever they are. And each training is meant to increase employee engagement, improve practice reputation, and develop some patient service mindsets.

Cory: If we’re being honest, something that we all know, some of the employees may lack, not calling anybody out by name, but one of the cool things about Insight Training Solutions is they’re always developing new content and they just released 10 Steps to a Phenomenal Patient Experience where you’ll learn how to create a phenomenal patient experience, strengthen job security, and discover customer service secrets for your entire team. So this course is, in addition to the other ones they already have, which include Communication Across Generations and How to Understand Today’s Multi-generational Workforce, and How to Develop Overall Patient Experience, this is another course, The New Approach to Customer Service. We’ve also got 8 Ways to Wow Patients, and you can sign up for a free trial to see what everything is about at insighttrainingsolutions.io, that’s insighttrainingsolutions.io or just Google Insight Training Solutions. You’ll be glad you did.

Jennifer: I think that’s great and I think that’s a good segue too. So if somebody out there is wanting to implement fabbing into their practice, and I can think of an array of practices it would make sense for, skincare, definitely med spas, definitely optical, ophthalmology. I had a full conversation with a practice today about regenerative medicine and STEM cells and it’s a cash based business, PRP is, and things of that nature, and just there’s a plethora of practices out there and it seems like so many more of them, bio identical, hormone replacements, you name it, cash based out there. So for a practice that’s maybe interested in, they already have the products in place, or the product lines, service lines, what would you tell them that are the first steps for them to start fabbing if they want to bring this into their practice?

Christine: One of the first things we tell people to do is create some kind of very short questionnaire for the patient and actually send the patient some information before they come in. We call that patient readiness. And the reason for that is because people often come in with one thing in mind and then we make a recommendation of something else and then they may be overwhelmed, that wasn’t what I expected, that wasn’t what I wanted. And then they leave without getting anything and they leave with only about half of the information we gave them.

Christine: So we really tell them to focus on patient readiness. How does the patient want to have that information sent to them beforehand? Is it a video? Is it email? Is it a hard copy? Then we would tell them to have a really short questionnaire with, it’s not a questionnaire about their health, it’s a questionnaire about their lifestyle. If you’re asking somebody that’s coming in for an ophthalmology visit, we want to ask them if they work, what type of work they do. Because that’s going to affect how are we going to correct their vision. Are we going to put glasses on them, contact lenses, are they going to have cataract surgery? So patient readiness programs and lifestyle questionnaires would be the very first things we would tell them we do.

Jennifer: That’s great advice. That’s great advice. So sticking to the ophthalmology practice as our case study example. Let’s play a little exercise here. So I’m going to play the patient. You play the employee who’s trying to sell me and I’ll say something and you just overcome my objection and go through the sale and then our listeners can take this back to whatever their specialty is and see how it works for them. So let’s start with the hardest one. You put some glasses in front of me and I tell you I don’t have that kind of money.

Christine: Oh, I love that one. So because everybody says I don’t have the money. And you have to kind of figure out if that’s a true objection or a faulty objection. Right? But most often it’s because we didn’t show the value. But the first thing you need to do is acknowledge to the patient that it’s okay that they feel that way. So you could say to them, I would say to you, you know what, Jen, I understand it. This is probably not what you anticipated today. And have you ever considered payment plans? Because the majority of our patients that get these services in our office like to take advantage of our payment plans and then it’s a smaller amount that you’re paying each month versus one lump sum.

Jennifer: All right, well I only want to do what the insurance covers.

Christine: I understand. Were you expecting that your insurance was going to cover everything today?

Jennifer: Yes.

Christine: Okay, so your insurance is going to cover the basics that you need done, but I want to ask you a question, if you don’t have to make this decision right away, can you do me a favor and go home and just think about what you deserve. And think about what’s valuable to you and think about, I know the insurance only covers this, but longterm, if I were to get the procedure the doctor recommended and. I had to take some money out of pocket, how valuable would it be to me, to my lifestyle, to my work? Can you do that for me?

Jennifer: I can, but I need to talk to my spouse.

Christine: That’s okay. You have to come back in for testing, I believe, anyways. Can we bring your spouse with you?

Jennifer: Maybe. I guess I just need to think about it.

Christine: Okay. I have an idea. I’m going to give you some information to take with you. How about if we set up a conference call with your spouse? We can even do, if you want, a face to face like a Zoom or Skype. And then your spouse can be there with you and you can ask all the questions you’d like.

Jennifer: I like that idea.

Christine: You know what, and Jen, at the end of the day I want you to know something. If you do only what the insurance covers, you still have come to the right place and you have great surgeons that are going to take care of you. But I don’t want you to do just what the insurance covers because you think you don’t deserve it.

Jennifer: Well you know I would just throw my American Express down. I wouldn’t even think twice about it. So I’ve worn glasses for years. I would feel naked without them.

Christine: Lots of patients tell us that every day and are you used to them, right? You’re used to wearing them. It feels like it’s just a part of you.

Jennifer: Yes, and they work just fine.

Christine: Let me ask you a question. Do you remember a day where you never had to wear glasses?

Jennifer: No.

Christine: So you always wore glasses your whole life?

Jennifer: I think so.

Christine: Can you imagine if you were to get up and not have to put your glasses on and turn around and you could read the alarm clock, you get in the shower, you can actually see the difference between the shampoo and the conditioner, and you could get in your car and drive and see street signs without worrying about where your glasses are because I can guarantee you, you’re probably looking for your other glasses sometimes.

Jennifer: You’re speaking my language now. To the point that I can barely read the shampoo glass.

Christine: But you know what, I got to tell you people always say my glasses, it’s a typical excuse. And we have to get them to kind of think about themselves and think about what life would be without them, it’s hard.

Jennifer: So here’s my last one. I can get my glasses at Walmart. I don’t need to spend this amount of money here.

Christine: You absolutely can get your glasses at Walmart. You won’t get the same glasses that you have here. So I want you to know what we offer if that’s okay. Do you have a few minutes to talk to me?

Jennifer: Absolutely.

Christine: Okay. So when you get your glasses here, we do have a warranty that I don’t believe is the same warranty that Walmart has. But what I would tell you is to think about the services that we have in the office and think about all the things that we offer and all the things that you get done and how you can just conveniently get everything done here. It’s okay if you go to Walmart, but we can do everything for you here. We’re going to offer you a better warranty and we have payment plans if that’s something that you need to do.

Jennifer: Alright so that’s a great example of fabbing and overcoming objections. And if it were up to me and I actually needed glasses, which I’m on the cusp of needing, you would have sold me and I would have already thrown down my American Express.

Christine: And by the way, those are really tough questions.

Jennifer: Oh of course.

Christine: We teach people how to FAB. Like we might say to them like this is a pair of Jimmy Choo sunglasses and one of the nice things about them is, and oh my goodness, they go great with your hair color. So sunglasses are easy to FAB. But when people come up with monetary objections or I can go to Walmart, those are more challenging ones.

Jennifer: But those are real objections aren’t they?

Christine: Those are real. Those are real objections.

Jennifer: They definitely come up, I would think.

Christine: Yeah.

Jennifer: No, I think that’s great. And I think that’s probably everything that we’ve got time for today. So Christine, thank you so much for joining us here on the Dr. Marketing Tips podcast.

Christine: Thank you for having me.

Jennifer: And we’ll see you next time on the Dr. Marketing Tips podcast. Thanks a bunch.

Speaker 2: Thanks for listening to the Dr. Marketing Tips.com podcast. If there’s anything from today’s show you want to learn more about, check out drmarketingtips.com for our podcast resource center with all the notes, links, and goodies we mentioned during the show. If you’re not already a subscriber to our show, please consider pressing the subscribe button on your podcast player so you never miss one of our future episodes, and if you haven’t given us a rating or review yet on iTunes, please find a spare minute and help us reach and educate even more of our medical practice peers. Thanks again for listening and we’ll catch you next time. Doctor’s orders.

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