Effective Consultation Techniques By: Wayne Jacobson, BC-HIS

Effective Consultation
By: Wayne Jacobson, BC-HIS
Who am I and why
should you listen
Over 56 years selling experience
38 years in the hearing aid profession
Started my own practice from scratch and
owned it for 22 years before selling it and
semi-retiring at 57
Practice Development Consultant for
Trainer and Open House Consultant for
WOW – Right Hear
Author: Book and numerous articles
Sell more hearing aids –
help more people
56 years worth of selling
38 years with hearing aids
Just one binaural you would have
missed will pay for the book 50 –
100 times over
Why selling hearing aids is
Nobody wants to buy a hearing aid, but they do
want better hearing
Considerable expense for small product
Numerous confusing ads
People ask two things: How small, how much
It can be the easiest hard job or hardest easy
It is an awesome responsibility – you can
dramatically change lives
The benefits can be
Very rewarding to change lives
Very good income potential
Your patients become more of a friend
than a client
Freedom to move wherever you want
Numerous work environments and
options to choose from
SELL is a four letter
What is your definition of
SELL is a four letter
Selling is nothing more than a transference
of feelings – If I can make you feel about
my products and services the way I feel
about them, you will want my products and
SELL is a four letter
Selling is nothing more than a transference
of feelings – If I can make you feel about
my products and services the way I feel
about them, you will want my products and
Nothing happens until someone sells
SELL is a four letter
Selling is nothing more than a transference
of feelings – If I can make you feel about
my products and services the way I feel
about them, you will want my products and
Nothing happens until someone sells
If you interact with people, you are
SELL is a four letter word……
Selling is nothing more than a transference
of feelings – If I can make you feel about my
products and services the way I feel about
them, you will want my products and
Nothing happens until someone sells
If you interact with people you are selling
Selling is simply finding out what the patient
wants and then showing them how to get it
Who is the REAL winner?
How long will your part of the sale last (commission,
salary or bonus)?
How long will the patient use the hearing aids?
Who is the real winner?
You don’t have to feel
guilty selling better
The patient
When does the “selling”
First impressions: phone call, reception,
waiting room, practitioner introduction,
consultation room…….
Waiting room forms
Hearing loss history/case history
Hearing evaluation (not just spinning dials)
Audiogram explanation
Specific recommendation and ask for order
Who is most important?
$5000 ad promotion: 50 calls
40 appts. 50% closing 80% binaural and
$2000 ASP 20 sales 36 aids equals $72,000
6 appts. 50% closing 80% binaural and
$2000 ASP 3 sales 5 aids equals $10,000
If you can’t talk with them, you can’t sell
First Impressions are
Studies have shown that in a TV commercial
the sale is made or lost in the first 3 – 5
For print ads, 75% of the buying decision is
made based on the headline alone
Sales presentations are made or lost in the
first 3 – 5 minutes
First impressions are very important
Before you
can build a
sale, you
must have a
Hearing aid sales need a
blueprint to build from:
six essential steps
What do you want to accomplish
Ask open ended questions - discover their needs and wants
(wants will give them a reason to buy, needs let them justify it)
Sell yourself – people enjoy doing business with people
they like (have some fun with them)
Sell your practice and the manufacturer (why is this not just another
hearing aid or you not just another hearing aid salesperson)
Make a recommendation that fills a need, satisfies a want
and show the benefits
You must “earn” the
Ask for the order
right to ask for the order
A simple case
history is a
valuable tool,
if you use it
Patient_________________________________________ What do your friends call you___________
Spouse____________Male___ Female___ Family Physician______________________________ Date of birth__________
Address___________________________________ City__________________State___ Zip__________
Occupation________________________ if retired, what was your occupation_____________________
Which is your better ear? Right
Both about the same_____
Do you ever ask others to repeat? Yes No
Do you ever have difficulty understanding your spouse? Yes No
Do you have difficulty understanding conversations in noisy places? Yes No
Do you have difficulty understanding on the telephone? Yes No
Do others complain about the TV being too loud? Yes No
Do you hear voices loud enough but have trouble understanding the words? Yes No
If a hearing loss is discovered that can be helped, are you ready for help? Yes No
Have you ever had your hearing tested before? Yes No
Where does your hearing loss bother you the most? __________________________________________
On a scale of 1 – 10 with one being no motivation and 10 being very motivated, how motivated are you to correct your
hearing problem __________________
Have you ever worn hearing aids? Yes No
Left ear
Right ear
Both ears
Do you currently wear the hearing aids? Yes No How many hours per day? __________
What problems are you experiencing with the hearing aids?
Some sounds too loud ________
Things sound tinny _________
Hearing aid whistles _________
Wind noise ________
My ears feel plugged up ________
My voice sounds hollow ________
I can’t understand in noise ________
Telephone is difficult __________
I can’t tell what direction sound is coming from _________
When did you get your last hearing aids? _____________________Where? ______________________
Does your partner have difficulty hearing while driving? Yes____No_____
Does your partner have difficulty hearing in noise? Yes____No____
Does your partner have difficulty hearing on the telephone? Yes____No_____
Do you think your partner’s hearing is getting worse? Yes____No____
Does your partner turn TV up louder than you like it? Yes____No____
Does your partner accuse you of mumbling? Yes____No____
Do you ever not say something because you figure you will just have to repeat it? Yes____No____
Are you ever embarrassed by your partner’s hearing loss? Yes____No____
Do you think your partner needs hearing help? Yes____No____
Would life be more enjoyable if your partner wore hearing aids? Yes____No____
How long have you been trying to get your partner to do something to improve their hearing?_____
Find your starting point
How important is it to improve your hearing
“Why isn’t it a 1 or 2?”
How confident are you that hearing instruments are the
right choice?
5 or lower: “So you are still a little hesitant, why is
Use the questionnaire
Go over the responses with the
Dig deeper into problems areas
NPR (Nod, Pause, Repeat) to open them up
Establish rapport
Creates the proper professional
If all the answers are NO, you really
have your work cut out for you
Sell the sizzle – not the steak
You can not
create NEEDS
and WANTS,
they must be
uncovered using
a needs
case history or a
Hearing Loss
Why dig for their NEEDS and
People buy because they need or want something…1/4” drill or 1/4”
How many computers were sold last year?
Our job is to give them a reason and an excuse to buy (They
love to buy but hate to be sold)
Wants are actually more important than needs (how big of a
house, how many shoes or how many airplanes)
Why dig for their NEEDS and
People buy because they need or want something…1/4” drill or 1/4” hole?
How many computers were sold last year?
Our job is to give them a reason and an excuse to buy (They love to buy but
hate to be sold)
Wants are actually more important than needs (how big of a house, how many
shoes or how many airplanes)
You have to “help” them spend $6000, give them reasons, or even better,
an excuse to spend it
Get excited and have some
People spend more money when
they’re having fun
The evaluation:
Make it a selling tool
It is not just spinning dials
Explain what you will be doing
Use a bold pen or marker, let the
spouse see
Explain in terms they can understand
and tie their problems back to their loss
Help them understand WHY they have
Explain the
Explain how the ear works (again and again)
Explain the concept of hearing with the
brain, not the ears (use it or lose it)
Explain the PB max and/or high freq.
word scores
“What I hear, I forget. What I see, I
remember. What I do, I understand”
Confucius, 451 BC
I say YES, but not everyone agrees
They will hear your explanation
They will experience the difference
“Don’t believe everything you hear”
You bring another sense into play
Use sound byte demonstrations
Make a specific
They came to you for a professional opinion
and recommendation
Too many choices will just overwhelm them
You must make it easy to decide
The natural tendency is to do nothing and
“think about it”
Feature – Function –
Sell the sizzle – not the steak
Twenty digital bands – feature
Allows a more precise prescription – function
You will hear your granddaughter more clearly now as well as
in the future when your hearing changes –BENEFIT
Now what?
A few people may say, “OK, let’s get
hearing aids”
Most have to be helped or at least want
to be helped make the decision
Now is the time to sell the “SIZZLE” as
well as the steak (bands, noise reduction, multiple
memory, automatic features etc., “but will I hear better?”)
Speak in their interest areas (case history
Determine what you
are selling
They won’t say, “I want a twenty band,
multi-program canal instrument with
automatic directional microphones”
Determine size (manual dexterity, battery
insertion and cost, wind noise, ear canal size…..)
Level of technology (you choose or have them
Price…..at the beginning or end?
Ask for the order
Closing the sale
Not as difficult as it used to be
High pressure is not necessary (but you still have to
help them make a decision and even work through three or four “NO’s)
You are merely helping the patient make up
their mind
It is the natural progression of all that has
gone on up to this point (think of it as a date)
Either ask a question or take action, DON’T
Ask for the order
63% of all sales situations ended with no
attempt to close (a recent survey of sales people)
Excitement sells
Make it easy for them to buy
When you “close” you become part of the
solution rather than the problem – become an
assistant buyer
Ask easy questions make it easy to say yes
Either/or: CIC or BTE; Color to match your hair or a
flesh tone; do you prefer the 20 bands of adjustment or
do you feel 16 will be sufficient?
You wear it for 30 days, if they do not do everything you
want just bring them back and the only cost will be a
minor fitting fee. Does that sound fair enough?
What it comes down to is this: Would you like to start
hearing better?
Do you feel it is time to start hearing your
Assume “yes” and proceed
Not all questions are
Will they fall out of my ear?
Can I sleep with them in?
Will I be able to use the telephone?
Do you accept credit cards?
ANSWER AND PROCEED (or they will
keep asking questions)
The “assumed close”
The easiest and most natural
Move right into the impressions or
paperwork, if they don’t stop you – keep
“Physical action” as the close
Money motivator
Double binaural discount, “would you like to take
advantage of the extra savings?”
Single appointment discount (test and impressions during
the same appointment, better than a limited coupon)
Second (or third) year warranty for one appointment
(they are used to appointments costing extra $)
Cash discount or spread the payments out? (in order
to get the cash discount, they have to buy) COD/FOD
Most important
Not if you get help but where you get help
Good product can give bad results
Hearing help is a long term relationship
I will be a part of your life for a long time
If I do my part, we will become good friends
Could you stand me as a friend and not
dread coming in to see me?
OK my friend, lets get started
Does that sound fair
People want to be fair
30, 45 or 60 day trial
Full or almost full refund
Satisfaction guaranteed
Does that sound fair enough?
Use it or lose it
Hear with our brains, not our ears
PB word list (heard them all but only understood ? %)
I can not bring you back to 100% but I
want maximize the hearing you do have
and to try and protect what you have left
Arm in sling example
You would like to try and protect the
hearing and understanding you have left
wouldn’t you?
What happens when they
say, “NO”
Rarely is the first reason for not buying the real reason
The patient really does not want to say NO it is too final
Some patients have even fibbed about the reason for not
Based on what you have told me so far, the answer is NO
When they say NO they really are saying, “they don’t
KNOW enough to say yes”
Acknowledge, agree and continue
Common objections
That is too much money
I can’t afford it
I have to ask my spouse
I want to think about it
I want a second opinion
Four times to answer
an objection
Before they occur
When they occur
Never (if it comes up a second time, you better answer it)
What do you say to an
Acknowledge, Agree and Continue
(they want to be right and they want to be understood)
Try to uncover the REAL objection
Give additional information
Give them another opportunity to make a new
decision based on the new information
There are five main reasons your
patients will not buy
No DESIRE (want)
Trust & Charisma
What is it?
Who has it?
Can you develop it?
Ideas from Influence: the
Psychology of Persuasion by
Robert Cialdini
10 ways to get people to want
to do business with you
People tend to do business with people they like
Likeable, polite and patient
People are attracted to people who keep their
word If you tell them something, make it truthful or follow through
People trust people who have their best interest
at heart Give advice that benefits them more than you
People feel comfortable giving money to people
who are honest, ethical and above board Don’t lie or
mislead in your marketing. Do what you say you are going to do
People are attracted to people physically
attractive – or at least not repulsive Eat right, exercise, be
well groomed and pay attention to personal hygiene
Charisma continued
People want to do business with people
who are experts in their field Become an expert, write
articles, give speeches put on lunch and learn events and talk at local service groups
People feel better doing business with
people who seem “real” Be cordial, friendly and genuinely
interested in others
People respond better to people who listen
and pay attention to what they say The old two
ears and one mouth adage
People feel comfortable with people who
are like themselves Identify something you have in common:
gold, kids, pets, photography, aviation, boating, bird watching etc
People are impressed by people who are
busy Never complain about things being slow, set an actual appointment instead
of saying “come in anytime today”
That is too much money
This is a very easy objection to give, but usually is not the real
Typically you have not sufficiently sold yourself, your company
or the product – value does not yet equal or exceed the price
Be careful not to drop the price too quickly by offering either
discounts or lower level technology
Payment plans, especially interest free, can often save the
We would rather explain price once instead of having to
apologize for lack of quality, performance or service forever.
Do you think we made the right decision? (trial close)
Your price is too high
•There is no question, the price is high. But when you
add the benefits of quality and subtract the
disappointment of cheapness, multiply by the pleasure
of hearing better and divide by the number of years you
will enjoy these, the arithmetic definitely comes out in
your favor.
*I agree the price is high, but good things are not cheap
and cheap things are not good. We made a decision to
only provide quality products and services to our
patients so in the long run you are much more satisfied
and the costs are lower. My goal is to provide you with
the best hearing possible. Do you think this was the
right decision?
I can’t afford it
Very similar to the “too much money”
“Can’t afford it” and “don’t want to
afford it” are two completely different
Time payments can be helpful
A lower technology level may
have to be offered
I have to ask my spouse
This objection should not come up since if at all possible, the spouse
should be present
If the spouse is not present and you elect to proceed, confirm the spousal
interest in the beginning of the consultation
Tell the patient that there definitely is a problem with the hearing. Since
the hearing loss effects the spouse as much or even more than
themselves, you would like to schedule another appointment so both can
understand the problem and solutions. When would be a good time?
Call the spouse and explain the hearing loss and solutions and confirm
attendance at fitting
I want to think about it
This is probably the most frustrating objection but
usually is not the real one
Acknowledge, agree and continue
I agree, it is certainly something to think about. What is it you want to
think over? (don’t wait for an answer before continuing) Are you
not convinced you have a hearing loss? (if the answer is no, go
back over the audiogram, pb test, and hearing loss inventory)
Are you afraid the hearing aids won’t work? (if the answer is yes, go
over your trial and return policies) After explaining the trial, ask
“Does that sound fair enough?”
Are you concerned about the price? (discuss payment options and if
necessary, less expensive levels of technology)
I want to think about it Feel - Felt - Found
You’re right, it is something to think about
I know how you feel
Many of my patients have felt
same way
But what they found is……….
Our patients want to be right and
want to be understood
Should I or
shouldn’t I
order these
I want a second opinion
They are not convinced you offer the best
product, service and/or price
They like your product and services but want
to negotiate the price
This could just be another stall
Resell, reinforce then give another opportunity
to make a decision
How do you present your
pricing and tech levels?
Top down advantages: less confusing,
may say yes, it is the best we have
Top down disadvantages: You may scare
them off and they will tune you out
Bottom up: This is just a bad approach,
don’t do it
Offer more than one price and explain the
difference: it allows an either/or close,
people usually choose the middle option,
the lower prices are even lower when
compared to the top price
Dropping to a lower
technology level
Don’t make it demeaning
Speak in terms of what is being given up for the
price reduction – use a talking pad, seeing is
Compare value, choose between technology/price
levels instead of yes/no
Effective selling will focus on the patient’s needs,
wants and what they are able to purchase
Talking Pad
(Don’t believe everything you hear, but seeing
is believing)
*Discuss 4 automatic
prescriptions and 20 bands
of adjustment
*Compare to 3 automatic
prescriptions and 16 bands
*The basic model has only
2 prescriptions and 6 bands
(It is not always necessary or
even wise to present all three
or even four levels)
Talking Pad
If they still can’t decide,
the bands of noise
reduction can be
brought into the
equation. This lets
them decide on
something other than
Yes or No
Talking Pad
If they say it is too much
money, ask how much too
much. If it is $1000 too
much, break it down into bite
size pieces………… Would it
be worth .55 per day to hear
your granddaughter and have
the best hearing money can
buy? It now has become a
$1000 decision instead of a
$6000 decision
Three question close
Can you see where this would help you
hear better? (especially if you have demo’d)
Would you like to start hearing better?
If you were ever going to start hearing
better, when do you think would be the
best time to start?
Things that don’t always
Would you please do me a favor
Keep them talking
Think outside the box – get
Would you do me a favor?
After you have given up and accepted the patient’s “NO”, start
putting things away then stop and say, “Could I ask a favor of
you? You obviously need these hearing instruments, I suspect
you could afford the instruments and yet you are not getting the
instruments. I feel terrible that I missed something that I should
have covered. It would be a big favor to me and would allow me
to not make the same mistake with other people if you could tell
where I went wrong or what question I did not answer” This
won’t always work, but often enough to try, they will tell you
exactly what the problem was. At that point say, “Well of course,
no wonder you were hesitant to make the decision. Let me
answer that question for you right now.”
Keep them talking
After they have said
“NO”, keep them talking.
If they don’t get up to
leave, you still have a
Tell a story
But recognize when it is
a lost cause
Don’t over answer an
This could indicate to the patient that you
are overly sensitive to this issue. Or you
could overwhelm them to the point they
feel stupid for even bringing it up.
Scripture says Sampson killed thousands
of Philistines with the jaw bone of an ass.
Every day thousands of hearing aid sales
are killed with the same tool. (Constipation of the brain
and diarrhea of the mouth)
Important points to
An objection is just a request for more information
When you get an objection – Acknowledge, agree but
immediately follow up with more information and another
opportunity to decide
If you are getting the same objections all of the time, you need
to change something in your presentation
If you drop to a lower technology level, give
a chance to move back up
Effective Selling
It is not so much the “How to”
overcome objections as it is the
“Heart to” overcome objections
A closing thought
You can get everything you
want out of life if you just
help enough other people
get what they want.
Zig Ziglar
If you sell your next door
neighbor, make sure they are