Although these seems to be a Taboo around selling in the world of therapy, my recent presentation on ethical selling at Therapy Live was well received. You can hear Phil and I on our podcast discussing our experiences of Therapy Live  here.

The fact that actually we are not selling we are just offering to do our best. We are identifying the needs and wants of a customer and facilitating their journey back to their desired outcome.

Therefore this article looks to identify answers to 4 questions:

  1. Why do we need to sell?
  2. What do we sell? (What is the product of therapy?)
  3. How do we sell?
  4. What are the benefits of what we sell?

Why do we need to sell in the world of therapy?

Surely this is obvious? If we own a therapy business the only way we can pay our bills is to sell a product in return for money. A therapy business that does not charge for their services will not survive long. Furthermore, as a business your aim is to create a profit. Profit is money that is left over once you and all your other overheads have been paid. This profit can then be reinvested into further developing the business. By developing the business you can help more people. Investing in new technologies can help improve your customer service. It can also improve customer outcomes! Isn’t this why we became healthcare practitioners in the first place?

I would hope that most of your reading this became a therapist to do your best for your customers. To provide the best customer service you can. The more you can invest in your business, the better the service you can deliver. 

Therefore, the more you sell the better the service you can provide. The better outcome you can get and the more customers you can help!

The key is to also make sure we are doing things ethically and professionally. Customers come to us for support. They trust us when we give our opinion. So as you read on consider that most therapist undersell rather than oversell. This is just as unethical in my opinion. 

What do we sell?

I love this question. Have you ever stopped and considered it. What is the product of therapy? By this I do not mean the up sell of foam rollers, spikey balls etc.

It is a tough consideration. Although for you I want to explain how I see the world. I believe that what we ‘sell’ is the journey that the customer needs to go on to achieve their desired outcome. We are there to facilitate this journey and support them physically and emotionally. BUT what does a journey look like? That depends on what is needed to overcome the issue they are currently presenting with. 

The only way we can understand what the journey looks like is if we are up to date with evidence based practice. In this modern world of video CPD, online therapy conferences  and social media there is not excuse for failing to be up to date. This allows you to apply your clinical based reasoning together with a good subjective and objective assessment to identify the correct journey.  

That journey may contain hands on therapies and manual therapy. It may contain exercise rehabilitation, shockwave or acupuncture. How you apply your skills is not the debate for this article. The message is if you believe and the evidence supports it then recommended it. Even if that journey is longer than the customer wants its to be!

How do we sell?

We actually don’t! There is no selling needed. We just present a series of facts, educate, facilitate and coach. To simplify this I have created a 3 step process.

  1. Consultation
  2. Education
  3. Plan
Consultation

In this part you must identify the present state of the customer and seek to understand the desired outcome. This means asking great questions. Then doing a physical assessment to gain further information. The information gathered helps you make an informed decision on what the journey will look like for the customer to return to their desired outcome. This MUST be based on evidence based practice. It also must reflect your own clinical reasoning. Plus include your personal experience of similar journeys. 

Education

This is where we educate the customer on what you have identified in your consultation. Be focused upon their desired outcome. Use the science and evidence to support your decision making process.  Talk about the anatomy and physiology of the body. Don’t be afraid of this step. Especially if delivering news which may not be well received, like telling customers of long term reductions in activity. Accept that how the body repairs/heals/adapts is NOT YOUR FAULT. There are rules to recovery. These are set by DNA not you! It is often helpful during this stage to use props, technology, apps, white boards to help develop clarity. You may even wish to direct them to some self reading at this stage.

Plan

This is where we identify the journey. We explain timeframes and outcomes. DO NOT MISS THIS STAGE OUT. Failure to be honest or ‘undersell’ a journey here will only end up causing more upset. If you have done step 1 and 2 well, then the plan should not come as a surprise (if its bad news). I must also state that most journeys can often veer off plan. This means you must also highlight what might happen if that does happen. There are many variables in a recovery journey in acute or chronic conditions. Attempting to identify these and what solutions you will have IF they occur. 

The plan can be also used as your ‘sales pitch’. Facilitation by you of this journey from start to finish is what customers will pay for. 

So, as you see we are not ‘selling’ we are just telling the truth. Failing to tell the truth is failing to be a great therapist!

What are the benefits of what we sell?

This can be broken down into 2 parts:

  1. Benefits for the customer
  2. Benefits for the business
Benefits for the customer 

The customer achieves their outcome. They return to the life they want to live, in the way they want, with whom they want, at the intensity they want. The benefit for the customer they have the confidence to enjoy their life again.

Benefits to the business 

This is an article on its own. So lets just highlight few:

  1. Great reputation as you have a happy customer 
  2. Successful journey, if you have good control over your overheads means you should have made a profit from this journey
  3. You have someone who will actively encourage others to use you
  4. You have overcome your fear to ‘sell’
  5. You understand that telling the truth is profitable.

Conclusion

If you are up to date with your clinical evidence then all you do is tell the truth. The key is to understand that everyone is different. How you deliver any information to a customer should be individualised to them. It’s your responsibility to adapt to their world rather than expect them to adapt to yours. 

So next time you see a customer for the first time, smile and embrace the journey.

If you have any questions, comments or feedback please feel free to get in touch Andy@elevateyourclinic.com.

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