Upselling is a marketing term, but we all do it. How you ask? Each time you offer clients a ball, a foam roller, a band, or another tool that they can use at home, you are upselling. Upselling is defined as a sales approach that offers additional items, upgraded services, or other add-on services to make a more profitable sale. In our case, I’m talking about an offer that is beneficial to the client and that creates profit for our practices. Upselling can also be offering service options that perhaps had not been considered by the client previously.
Upselling is not a bad thing, as long as the thing you are suggesting is something of value and is needed. For example, let’s say a client is coming to the end of their initial plan of care. Exploring how we can continue to help them and work with them even though there is not a specific injury can be considered an upselling conversation. This exploration and suggestion process happens often in the chiropractic community and is growing in the PT world. In the PT environment, after an initial care plan, we might begin asking questions about a person’s overall health and overall health goals. Doing so, we might discover that the client has goals that we can continue to support them (provide services) in reaching.
Learning to sell is a part of Upselling
We all got into our practices to help people. Sales skills are not something we learned while honing our technical and therapeutic skills. It used to be in the therapy world that we depended on doctors to sell our services for us, to make referrals, and direct people to us. When the shift away from doctors selling our services happened, we discovered that we now need to develop selling skills. As a result of our circumstances, often the initial selling of our practices and the upselling of our practice products and services can seem daunting.
Think of selling as providing information that educates people about achieving their health and well-being outcomes. The selling process allows you to find out what people’s concerns are for their health and well-being so that you can adequately educate them in achieving those ends and provide them with the best identified, quality service or product to support their goal. Information gathering and solution presentation is followed by simply asking people to work with you (as a client) to achieve their health goals. When selling services like ours, there is not a need for high pressure and high stakes (though the stakes may indeed feel very high to our patient) that makes up every Hollywood blockbuster that involves a sales scenario. We simply need to LISTEN to the patient with empathy, ELICIT additional information we need to ASSESS the right solution, then PRESENT the treatment plan or product and ask them to take the next step. I call this making the LEAP. That simple LEAP from initial care to providing comprehensive health goal achievement for patients has been worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in my practice and to practices of owners I’ve trained around the country. The next time you finish a course of treatment, don’t let them leave, LEAP!
Communication and persuasion skills are a part of selling. You and each person on your team can participate in the sales process by using effective communication skills that share the benefits of current care plans and of other service or product packages.
Maintenance and Performance Packages are Upsells
Once we have completed an initial plan of care set of services, many times clients ask about how to best maintain their improvements. We offer maintenance packages so that clients can continue working with us, their trusted practitioners. Maintenance packages can be specific treatments such as dry needling, or can be a range of services over the period of a set number of months.
We also have a Performance Package. This is for athletes who come in due to an injury. We offer this package after the initial plan of care has been completed in order to support athletes in maintaining and achieving their performance goals. Our Athletic Movement Performance Testing is another package we have offered over the years. If your clinic sells supplements, you could include them in your performance package offering.
Some of you have said that upselling feels like you are offering something the client might not need. Remember what I said from the start, an upsell is something of value and is needed by the client. This is the key. Whatever product or service you are offering, it has to have value and benefit for the person you are offering it to!
Maintenance and other packages benefit the client as a prevention to major problems and/or as an enhancement to their lives and athletic performance. Packages benefit our practices because they provide increased revenue from existing clients.
Timing is Important
When is the best time to upsell, to offer additional products and services? It depends on what you are offering. Here are some of the times and things you might offer during your client interactions.
During the care plan service delivery:
- Suggest tools that can be used at home to continue making progress.
- Preview a package that will support continued improvement or new gains, such as an Athletic Movement Performance test or package.
As soon as the care plan is done:
- Maintenance package.
- Home Kit of tools and exercises that can be used to continue making progress at home.
Wait a week:
- Send a follow up thank you email that includes mentions of your ongoing services.
- Make a phone call to see how people are doing and let them know how your clinic can continue to support them. If they didn’t take the maintenance package or tools you suggested, ask some questions about how they are feeling, talk about what they may be noticing and then LEAP by reminding them how the maintenance package or specialized tool may help.
What about insurance discussions for post-care plan treatment?
Client needs should drive what we offer. If a client has a need, yes we should be looking at what their insurance covers. However, just because insurance covers something doesn’t mean our clients will benefit. Remember, upselling is offering something of value that is needed by the client.
The consistency of what our clinics offer, based on client need, is the key to maintaining and growing our businesses with our existing clients and from their word-of-mouth referrals. Continuing to make sure our offers to clients meets their needs and improves their lives will earn us referrals.
What are you upselling in your clinic? What can you be upselling?
Create a list of everything in your practice that is available for sale: all services and products. Identify how these products and services benefit clients. Identify how the products and services support and reinforce each other so that you can develop packages to offer clients. Once you can identify how each product and service benefits a client, share that information with your staff. Teach them how to share information (sell) and how to share additional information about products and services (upselling) so that clients and your practice see the rewards. Also, spend a little time listening to your patient’s needs and health goals and think about what you aren’t currently offering that you could that would have wide applicability and test offering that product or service. Your ability to upsell is really only limited to your ability to observe what clients may need to thrive again.
Here’s to your selling and upselling services and products of value that are needed by your clients! You’ll all discover benefits.
Ready to explore ideas for upselling and your vision for evolving your practice? Are you ready to participate in the TAPP program? Let’s get into a discussion. I’d like to hear what you have to say. If you’d like to have a conversation, please fill out the Owner’s Profile.