Are You Failing The Hearing Impaired?
Steve Eagon guest posted the last article, I would like to thank him for his excellent article and for reminding me of something important. I had forgotten to some extent the debate that exists in the Audiology world in the US in relation to the dirty, dirty SALES word. I said in the preface to that article that I wholeheartedly believe that sales strategy should be an integral part of what we do.
I also said that “If you do not do your very best to encourage the person in front of you to move forward with amplification there is a good chance that they might not do so for many years. You have failed that Patient and possibly failed them badly.” I do not retract that statement at all, if you have not taken every opportunity to arm yourself with the best knowledge to motivate people with hearing loss to get treatment you are failing them. Not just that, you are also failing in the duty of care that you hold so high as a medical professional.
I was searching the web recently and I came across this priceless statement:
Reputable hearing professionals don’t sell, they serve
What utter rubbish! Oh its a nice touchy feely marketing phrase, but if you believe this you are drinking your own cool aid. Reputable hearing professionals can best SERVE the hard of hearing person by learning how to SELL to them. Because if they can sell amplification to them, they will be doing them a great service and possibly safeguarding their neuro-cognitive health.
Less than thirty per cent of the people who need amplification have it. That is a failing by our industry, we can’t blame anyone else for that figure. Let me put it in a starker manner, we as a profession failed to motivate seventy per cent of the people who need hearing aids to get them. Makes you proud doesn’t it.
Sales Strategy & The Psychology of Consultation
I have said before, a sales strategy is not a bad or immoral thing, in particular when that sales strategy is based on consultative sales skills. In fact with the change of demographics that is occurring now it is imperative that we understand consultative sales. The famous boomer generation is a massively different animal than the Patients we have been used to dealing with. The boomer wants a purchase to be a collaborative process. They will not brook paternalistic sales processes or advice, in fact they will rebel and bring their business elsewhere.
If we are to make sure that we see an increase in the uptake of amplification in this generation, we need to be able to understand them and deliver a sales process that works. Given the information we now know in relation to the correlative link between untreated hearing loss and a host of cognitve dis-orders, it is incumbent on us to act. Otherwise, we are again failing the hard of hearing, failing them because we are afraid to admit that we sell.
If you want to reach the most Patients possible, you need to ensure that you have a strategy that allows you do this. This strategy is a sales strategy. You can call that strategy whatever you wish, whatever terms you are comfortable with, whatever helps you sleep at night. Because, put simply, your commitment as a medical professional is admirable and your prospective Patients need you. I for one will sleep happier knowing that we are using every tool possible to ensure that they are motivated to get treatment.