Out of my endless screening stories, I have to say, almost getting punched in the face was the most memorable!
I have been everywhere to screen prospects, in some of the oddest places, meeting some of the most interesting people! But, seldom have I met anyone quite like this guy: the guy who almost punched me in the face! I am not exaggerating. I truly believed this guy was about to haul off and sock me in the jaw. As always, however, it was a learning experience. I took from it what I could to forward my progress of research into how to create quality arrivals in-office who know why they are there and are interested in what they are about to find out.
I got burned but, it wasn’t my fault, I swear!
I always govern my screenings with an iron fist. But this was ridiculous. In retrospect, there were several ways I could have handled the situation with slightly more eloquence. Hindsight seeming to be 20/20, it so often afterward that we think of that right thing to say. Confronted with a pressing or hostile situation, it is not easy to come up with an apropos comment – real zinger.
My immediate assessment and handling of the situation aside, I was blindsided from a completely different direction. There was a third influence on the “grassy knoll” so to speak: the doctor herself. Comments from her poured the accelerant onto the circumstance, creating a most flamable situation. My words merely ignited the flame which caused the resultant explosion. I still take full responsibility. This was a situation I could have handled better. After all, I smelled the gasoline yet still triggered the igniter.
Extreme new patient profiling, the likes of which I had never seen!
This was the first event I worked for this doc. Finding out that it was her city’s largest event of the year, with thousands in attendance, I brought a 3-screener team and planned to put up big numbers that day. In setting up, the doc was there briefly. The first prospect walked by as we were setting up and, of course, I engaged him and had him fill out a survey form. I spoke with him briefly and put him on the bilateral scales before he completed the survey. I had made my first mistake just then. I decided I would close him before really assessing his qualifications.
What happened next was a shocker to me. I had been around chiropractors for more than a decade at that point and had never seen anything like it. The doc pulled me aside, right out in the open and started talking to me about her “ideal” patient. I expected to hear something about insurance. What I got, instead, was an earful about how she didn’t want anyone “elderly” or even middle-aged. She wanted the 24-36 year-olds common to her area. She said she wanted the “beautiful” people as she described it. She used a few other adjectives. Keep in mind this was within “ear-shot” of my middle-aged, tough-guy prospect who already had a slight attitude when he walked up to me. I’m sure he heard at least some of what she had to say. How embarrassing.
What’s worse, I had prematurely started my close. Now what?
It is what it is… or so I thought!
This isn’t just a philosophical statement. It was my statement and the one that almost got me punched in the face. It didn’t matter that I didn’t get hit at that moment. I was already punch-drunk from the blow dealt by the doctor telling me to “demographically profile” (to put it eloquently) prospects and not close many people who needed legitimate help. Never in all my years…
I finished screening my lead, uncertain where to go. I started by foreshadowing a need for chiropractic care and needed to end by cutting the guy loose. Looking back, had this side conversation never happened, this guy wouldn’t have closed. After all, he told me the cause of his back pain was because of getting in and out of his Porsche which was low to the ground. His attitude reflected this statement. Nevertheless, far be it from me to deny anyone the right to care, even this guy. So I gave him the results of the screening and, not knowing what else to say, said “it is what it is” and left it at that. There was the spark…
“You must be a freaking idiot” (except he didn’t say “freaking”)
I jumped out of an airplane on my 30th birthday and was strangely calm as I was at the door of the plane looking down 6,000 ft to the ground. Watching this guy’s face was terrifying. I kept getting that almost flinch you get when you think someone is about to punch you. I was convinced I was in for the first left hook of my life. I was not strangely calm.
He went off about how I must be an idiot and even spoke up to the doc who was standing in the background, my new client who had never seen me in action, all the while using expletives liberally. This was my first impression on the doc? A very confusing time for me. Not only was I not going to get the volume of closes I had planned, I was going to need a steak to put over my black eye and potentially lose a client in the process!
I know, what a story, right?
What did I learn about screenings from almost getting punched in the face?
Hindsight reported to be 20/20, I stopped working for this doc. Her profile of the “perfect patient” I could not reconcile. But then I sat down and reviewed the events that occurred including this guy’s reaction. I realized that hindsight is not 20/20, but that foresight is just too slow! You really need to be sharp and assess situations before drawing conclusions and taking action. And, I had not done that. Instead I was caught up in surprise from the unexpected attitudes and situations with which I was confronted. It was crazy and so was I in my reaction instead of planned action. So, you have to keep your cool regardless any circumstance. This was the first lesson.
What I should have done was, first, pull aside the doc and have a talk with her and tackle the profiling thing on the spot. Second, I should have closed the guy fair and square, regardless of what the doctor wanted.
Perhaps the most important lesson was something that became a watchword of my coaching: you can’t decide to close someone before you have all the facts. A profile, one greater than what they tell you on a survey form, has to be formulated. Lots of questions must be asked and a profile constructed, one which you consult and measure against what you have to offer. A rule of thumb came from this which has never since let me down:
NOT EVERYONE IS QUALIFIED FOR CARE, REGARDLESS OF INSURANCE OR FINANCIAL QUALIFICATIONS, NO MATTER HOW TEMPTING!
Following this my numbers improved, not declined. And, when I say numbers, I mean arrivals, not booked appointments.
Go get punched in the face – trust me!
Okay, for liability reasons, I don’t advise you to go get punched in the face or provoke the possibility of it. What I am telling you is that you can learn from the worst of experiences. Take from them what you can learn and turn them to your advantage. Don’t keep making the same error. That is one of the definitions of insanity. Rather, predict and create a better future by using mistakes and mishaps to make things better. Even watching someone terrible at it can be a learning experience for you. By making or watching mistakes, you can shape yourself into the ultimate. Just ask me. I almost took one for the team to prove it. And, it proved valuable in the end!
You’ve got mad skills. Don’t be afraid to use them!
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