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6 Reasons for the Fear of Selling in Healthcare

Last week I ran my first webinar in my Health Business Masterclass series. We had over 70 registrations which I was pretty happy with considering it was the first time we were educating healthcare and wellness industry professionals on how to grow their business.

I’d also received some good feedback about the content that I presented and received interest from a few people who wanted to talk to me further about my Health Leaders Mastermind program. It’s a program that coaches CEOs and business owners on how to maximise their opportunities and help them deal with the challenges in their business, under my mentorship.

It’s incredibly powerful, especially when other members help each other.

For some people, after listening to the webinar, you may be at a fork in the road. Go left, and you stay on the path you’ve always been with your business and expect the same results. Go right, and you explore the benefits of joining a Mastermind group, to help you accelerate your personal development and business success.

Either way, you live and you learn. And so I offered 30 minutes of my time to freely coach anyone with a health & wellness business, on opportunities to immediately improve their fate. And I know I do this very well.
One of the major issues I’ve seen in healthcare though is the fear of selling. Very often, practitioners are often reserved and almost apologetic when it comes to asking for a sale or even asking for payment.

There is a belief that “Selling” is inappropriate in healthcare, even when it clearly is not.

You see, in my opinion, we are selling all the time.

Selling, in a manner of integrity, is merely influencing another party to make a decision that you honestly believe is right for you and right for them. It is a win-win.

These situations occur all the time, every day, and we are constantly getting by in our daily routines, being sold products and services, etc. and buying those we need or want. We almost don’t give it a second thought when we go to the local supermarket or fuel station and the person at the counter asks us if we want to buy another item from the counter.

So why does this become an uncomfortable decision in healthcare? Especially when you, the practitioner, knows that your health solution can solve the problem or illness that your customer, client or patient may be suffering from?

I was speaking to my personal trainer the other day, and she said she found it difficult to ask for more than $65 per hour. She didn’t feel confident she was worth it. Even though, I mentioned to her that she was doing a great job and $70 per hour was the minimum I had seen other personal trainers charge in the local area.

So here are 6 of the main reasons I find some people fear “selling” in the healthcare and wellness industry:

1. Fear of rejection

Many people fear rejection and fear the client saying “no”. This fear is so bad that it stops the practitioner from even picking up the phone. In the practitioner’s mind, they have created every reason possible, why they should not be selling, why their product or service is not good enough, why something can go wrong in the call or they may offend the client by calling them.

This is sometimes reinforced by a past experience of rejection, perhaps in another context. Sometimes the fear of rejection is so strong that some practitioners choose to outsource the sales function, perhaps to a receptionist.
This is a good idea if the receptionist has a stronger sales background, but not a good idea if they too have a similar fear.

Other times some practitioners fear that they will lose the relationship with the client forever, if they called them out of the blue to inquire if they want to make another appointment. What these practitioners should realise is that additional sales (products consumed or services utilised) by your client, patient or customer actually strengthens the relationship and bond with them.

2. Lack of self worth

In certain cases, the fear of selling comes from a lack of self worth or self confidence. This occurs when the self esteem of the practitioner or health entrepreneur may be affected for any particular reason, such as a personal crisis or illness.

Or it could be a function of upbringing. This may then translate into inability to sell their service, even though it may be a great health service.

3. Poor History with money

There are some practitioners, CEO’s and even entrepreneurs who are unfortunately not very adept at managing money. Perhaps there is a history of struggling to make ends meet, bankruptcy, constantly being cheated financially or paying excessively for unnecessary items.
You usually know if you are or if you aren’t good at managing money. When this is the case, there is usually an underlying emotional charge attached to money, and it is a negative one.

This has to be dealt with, either through psychological coaching or energetically, to remove the limiting beliefs around money.

4. Lack of proper training

Certain healthcare practitioners who are not keen on selling have often been turned down many times due to their lack of ability in communicating the benefit of their service, in a way their patients or customers can understand.
Sales is a skill and it can be trained.

You can improve your communication skills and there are specific techniques you can use to open a call, close a call and make a sale. Your personal development in the area of sales and marketing is one of the greatest investments you can make in improving your communication with your patients.

5. Overextension of the “Self –sacrifice” mentality

Workers in the healthcare sector do sacrifice a lot to help others. It is commonly acknowledged that doctors and nurses work long hours and aren’t always highly remunerated, especially in the early years – I’ve experienced this first-hand.

This becomes a self-perpetuating prophecy in healthcare, where we actually start to believe that we have to sacrifice our livelihood or wellbeing or even personal relationships, etc in order to do our jobs.

This is not an accurate reflection of how it needs to be when it comes to the financial aspects of your health business. There are many healthcare businesses with owners that thrive, personally and professionally, and with plenty of free time to enjoy life. It does start with changing your mindset.

6. Conforming to social standards or peer pressure

One final reason some people fear the selling process is because others have told them it is not the right thing to do. It becomes almost a cultural industry understanding, that it is “not cool”, “not appropriate” or “not meaningful” to sell a health service.

I disagree with this notion completely – if you are genuinely wanting to help someone and know you can do it with your product or service, you should be able to sell well, and I would even argue that you are wasting your time and that of your client or customer if you have not learnt to do this properly.

If you are in a social circle that reinforces negative beliefs about selling, and there is a collective financial distress, I strongly suggest exploring if that social circle is right for you.

In the last Health Business Masterclass that I did, I pitched our Health Leaders Mastermind program. Whilst I did provide a significant amount of free education, at the end, I also ensured I SOLD the program and interestingly some people were interested in buying. It is the nature of providing a service, sales is a critical element to get right.

To me, I am comfortable knowing that my Health Leaders Mastermind program is one of the best solutions to help grow a business in this sector and I have absolutely no problem “selling it” because my program helps people. And it does it well.

Bottom line, is that we have to overcome these issues because as they say FEAR = False Expectations Appearing Real. Most of the time, we set false expectations of what other might be thinking without actually knowing what they are thinking.

And if we can actually summon the courage and overcome that fear, we not only help others, we also help ourselves.
What about you, have you ever experienced the ‘fear of selling’?

About the Author: Dr Avnesh Ratnanesan

Dr Avi is a medical doctor with broad healthcare sector experience including hospitals, biotech, pharmaceuticals and the wellness industry. He is a leading expert who coaches and consults to senior executives, entrepreneurs, practitioners, organisations and governments.