How do you explain to your client their pet needs therapy, surgery or hospitalization that may imply a considerable bill? Discover with us 7 tips to master this difficult situation.
You spend six to ten years of your life studying to become a vet, but you were never taught to be a shopkeeper or an entrepreneur. You have a perfect command of medicine and you naturally empathise with your patients, but alas, you have a problem that no one warned you about: Toby has an owner who has to pay the bill and now you’ve got to convince him of all your professional decisions.
The consequence is that you get home mentally exhausted from having to justify all your decisions. For most vets, this is the worst thing they have to deal with, isn’t it?
As we said in the post “Learn to Charge, Without the Guilt”, the very first thing to do is be confident that you deserve proper pay for your work. Now that you understand that, we are going to give you some tips on explaining budgets to Toby’s mum or dad. We are sure that at least one of these tips will surprise you!
How to explain a budget and not die while trying
Did you know that our shopper’s brain sees vet bills as a negative thing? It’s not that the client dislikes you, doesn’t value your work or is a cheapskate. It’s a psychological reaction: when we pay for something we can’t touch or use, according to neuromarketing, our instinctive brain makes us feel bad, even if we know we are avoiding greater perils for one of our most loved ones.
Our shopper’s brain sees vet bills as a negative thing because when we pay for something we can’t touch or use it makes us feel bad.
But it’s not all bad news. The negative feelings that your fees may represent can be counteracted by your tone, the quality of your language and by taking charge of the subliminal messages sent by your attitude and your body.
Communicate positivity by following these 7 tips
The best way to counteract a negative experience is with positivity. Let’s see how this can be done.
- Focus on the benefits. The entire treatment regimen should revolve around the benefits to the patient. Instead of focusing on the problem, focus on everything that can be avoided with the tests or treatment you need to do, and explain specifically the list of ways these expenses are going to benefit Toby.
- Convey confidence and use simple language. Explain the reasons for the tests in plain language that is understandable to the client, but be confident about your decisions. How often do you have clients who are more knowledgeable in medicine than you? Not many, right?
- Of course, always talk to your patient as if you were talking about your own pet! Clients are very appreciative of affection towards their dog, cat or other non-human family members.
- Convey confidence and control with your body language. Keep the palms of your hands in view, avoid crossing your arms (no one’s going to attack you!), steer clear of playing with your pen or stethoscope when talking about money, smile when it’s appropriate (whether or not you wear a mask during the visit, your eyes don’t lie), maintain eye contact with the client and listen patiently without interrupting.
- Don’t be imposing! After this assertive conversation, the client will be more receptive to the approach you propose. Even so, offer alternatives without being judgmental if you detect any reluctance or financial difficulties.
- Don’t rush! Sometimes the client may need some alone time to process bad news or to talk it over with a family member. Use these minutes to go to the toilet or take a break.
- Offer the possibility of financing. Installment payments are always less painful to the customer’s brain. Besides, how did you pay for your car or house?
Cheer up! If you follow these guidelines, getting paid for Toby’s treatment will certainly be easier from now on.