By Freddie Ulan, DC, CCN
I sell a lot of supplements in my practice. Generally, about three hundred and fifty thousand a year on my wholesale bill. But I have a rule: Never sell more supplements than the patient needs to take him or her to the next scheduled visit. There are limits sometimes about the size of a bottle, but taking into consideration the size of bottles available, that is the rule. Never sell more supplements than the patient needs to take him or her to the next scheduled visit.
I know guys who say, “No new patient ever leaves my office without spending three or four hundred dollars on supplements.” I had one of these practitioners call me up one day. He had been getting ten to fifteen new patients a week from a radio show and he finally pissed off the authorities so much they kicked him off of the radio and now he didn’t have a practice. He was asking me how to build a referral practice.
This guy would get ten to fifteen new patients in a week. He’d sell most of them three to four hundred dollars’ worth of supplements. Very often he wouldn’t see them more than one or two times, if ever again.
You never sell a patient more than they need to take them to the next visit. Why? So there will be a reason for the next visit. Even if you know what they need for the next four months. By the way, I’m not that smart. I’ve been doing this work for decades now, I’m not smart enough to know exactly what the patient’s going to need two months from now. I may think I know but I’ve been wrong many times. I’ve learned that this is very important: The worst thing for a patient is for them to have a whole cabinet full of open bottles they’re no longer taking.
If you’ve already sold a patient more product than he needs for the next two months, let’s say next week he misses his appointment. He may think, “Big deal, I’ve got enough supplements.” You miss your opportunity to fine tune that person. You miss the opportunity to verify that they’re actually doing your program. You miss the opportunity to make sure that they are becoming a lifelong patient, adapting to a health lifestyle and actions they need to improve their life.
I know this goes against a lot of what many practitioners learned from other mentors. But always stressing how little we can sell to our patients is important for running a cash practice.
I have surveyed patients and found that there are two things people hate more than anything else. One is dentists. The reason they hate dentists is because of pain. The second thing they hate the most is dentists. And the reason that they hate dentists second is because of money. So, people hate pain and they hate having to pay money. They especially hate having to pay money to get pain.
Fortunately for the type of practice we’re in we’re not giving people physical pain. But, every time they have to pay money it’s painful to them. Especially if you’re in a working community. Selling them only as much as they need to take them to the next visit allows them to do a little bit at a time. It enables them to budget and plan. They don’t get wracked with a two-or three-hundred-dollar bill and then nothing for the next two or three weeks, then wracked with another huge bill.
On the other side, I do have patients who come in from South America. They come in every four months to five months and they literally bring a couple of empty suitcases to bring home a few thousand dollars’ worth of product to their family for the next few months. That’s different. But it’s still on the same principle. We never allow that guy to buy more than he needs, for him or his family, till the next visit. You get it? These are very, very, very important datums.
Here’s a perfect example. The guy needs six Cardio-Plus a day. Do I sell him the big bottle? Or the little bottle? You guessed it, I sell him the little bottle. That little bottle will last him two weeks. And when he comes in that next week, I verify that he still needs that Cardio-Plus. Good, he doesn’t need it this week. But then the next week I verify that he still needs the Cardio-Plus, sell him another little bottle.
Somewhere around the sixth or eighth week, when I’m absolutely sure that he’ going to be a Cardio-Plus patient, I will say to him “It looks like you’re going to be on Cardio-Plus for a while, you’ve been through a couple of bottles. Now I can make available a larger bottle and give you a discount. Because now you get more pills, you end up paying less money.” But you see, it’s a gradient approach. How much is a bottle of Cardio-Plus? About ten bucks. That’s better than forty-three dollars. But it’s less pain. I’m just telling you, it’s less pain.
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