Countering the cost barrier challenge

LASIK can be an expensive elective procedure. If a patient believes it is necessary they will be more willing to pay the price. In order to persuade potential patients to pay attention to value and benefits over price, though, you've got to invest time and research into understanding their motivations and coming up with solutions to make refractive procedures more attractive and affordable.

Vision correction is a one-time, elective procedure not typically covered by insurance. Prospective patients may be choosing between a vision upgrade and other discretionary purchases like a vacation, new vehicle, or home improvements. Or they may simply be trying to find a way to fit a non-essential expense into a tight budget. So it should come as no surprise that cost is the number one reason why calls and consultations fail to convert into scheduled procedures.

In order to persuade potential patients to pay attention to value and benefits over price, though, you've got to invest time and research into understanding their motivations and coming up with solutions to make refractive procedures more attractive and affordable.

Begin by evaluating common cost barriers in a problem/solution format and identifying ways you can overcome price objections successfully. Address the price issue with prospects before it has a chance to turn a future patient into a failed conversion. For instance, make sure that your external marketing and your internal patient intake protocols all include financing information.

Once you've convinced a patient your practice not only provides top-notch care, but is also "pocket-friendly" thanks to competitive pricing and great financing options, you hopefully have won a new patient for life. And because most refractive procedures are one-time surgeries with follow-up care rolled into the global fee, your marketing efforts should also promote comprehensive eye care services that lead to repeat visits.

Cost and fear

While price is the convenient answer for not moving forward with vision correction, it is widely believed that fear is actually the culprit standing in the way of many conversions. Overcome fear and you kick the cost barrier along with it. Trust is the main component here-aim to create a high level of trust by stressing expertise, benefits, and highly personalized care. Discussion of viable financing options should also accompany your "trust" approach. With this practical combination, your potential patients are simply out of excuses to say no.

'Priceless' angle

Take advantage of the "your vision is priceless" angle to take the focus off the bottom line. Prove to prospective patients that you understand the value of their eyesight, and that it is in good hands with your practice. Educate consumers on the unique attributes that make you trustworthy, including experience, skill level, technology and level of personal care. Be direct about why you deserve their business. Be so enthusiastic about the possibility of clear vision that your prospects will begin to notice the everyday annoyances of glasses or contacts on a larger scale and daydream about life after the procedure.

As the former executive director of a busy Las Vegas practice, I try to convey a comprehensive message of quality, safety, and value to take some of the heat off cost. The focus is on preserving the integrity of the procedure and finding a formula that works. It's the overall message that keeps patients fixed on what's really important-the life-changing results. Infuse this message starting with the initial phone call and carry it throughout the patient experience.

Counter cost challenges with these strategic tips:

Remember, your ideal patient is one who has realistic expectations, trusts you to make eye-care decisions based on safety, is comfortable with your financing options, and highly recommends you to family and friends. Getting prospective patients over the cost hump can be done with open communication, a strong trust bond, and a direct refocusing on value and benefits.

References

1 Mahdavi S. Building the foundation for a successful lens-based refractive practice. Cataract & Refractive Surgery Today. March 2006.

2. Seeing is believing (in the free market). Marginal Revolution. http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2004/11/seeing_is_belie.html. Posted Nov. 23. 2004. Accessed on Aug. 1, 2007.