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Maxim: Develop your patient base with the puppy dog sale.

Posted on: 16-Jan-2008

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How to increase your patient base
to bring in more billings.


The puppy dog sale is one of the oldest selling strategies known.  The idea is that the deal will be sealed much more easily if they take the puppy dog home for a trial period.  Its evolution in technology goes back to the days when RCA was trying to insert color television into the mainstream.  Surprisingly, their best penetration was coming from a small store in a tiny town in the mid-west.  It wasn’t New York, Chicago, or L.A.  A lot of people would look at color, like it, but then would opt for Black and White.  After all, there was only one show a week that was in color.  So, RCA dispatched a marketing team to find out why this little store was having so much luck.  The owner of the store reportedly said something along the lines of, “when a customer comes into the store, they immediately go over to that color TV, then back off towards the Black and White, then waver back and forth.  When they’re over at the color set, I walk over and say, ‘You know, a lot of people have a real hard time with color.  They get it home and after a few days just can’t stand it.  I just don’t like that to happen, so if you’d like I’ll let you try it out for a week or two.  Our guys will deliver it and set it up so it’s working well.  Then after a week or two, come in and tell me if you like it.’  They always jump and then come in after a few days, asking ‘how do I pay for this damn thing, my wife and kids have had the whole neighborhood in to see it.  There’s no way I can send it back.’  It works every time.”


So how does it work for the doctor trying to develop their practice into a larger patient base? Probono work is one of the best ways to approach this. But you can’t do it in a foreign country. You must do it locally. One doctor I know donates two days a year to her church. At church festivals, sees patients free of charge and answers their questions and an occasional treatment.  Some she never sees again. But many become patients for life. Another version of the same thing, reaching out to small companies and organization with an offer to give a  health talk and then offer for a free 1st evaluation. In both cases the free treatments lead to  thousands of dollars of future billings for each new patient gained.


Your new patients win because they have developed an relationship with someone they can trust. It’s not just about a free treatment. It’s about finding a good doctor from the myriad they can find in a listing. Of course, this assumes you are good at what you do and can thus, develop this trust.

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About weQuest:
weQuest's are written by G Dan Hutcheson, his career spans more than thirty years, in which he became a well-known as a visionary for helping companies make businesses out of technology. This includes hundreds of successful programs involving product development, positioning, and launch in Semiconductor, Technology, Medicine, Energy, Business, High Tech, Enviorntment, Electronics, healthcare and Business devisions.

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