Excerpted from SEAK’s course, “How to Start, Build, and Run a Successful Physician Consulting Practice”
Julie: We like top 10 lists, right? So top ten tips. We’re talking about keeping your clients happy, satisfied. Well, remember, you no longer have to help everyone. You know, there are some people in this world that can’t be helped. There are some people that are just negative and not happy. And so how can you possibly have a satisfied client if this is a person who’s never satisfied? So you don’t take those clients that, no matter what you do, they’re never going to be happy, so you say no.
Lighten up because doctors, we’re used to being very serious. Well, we should be. I mean, we deal with serious things all day, but when you’re consulting you can lighten up. You can have fun when you work, you can make jokes, you can talk about your client’s cats. I don’t know. You can have fun and not be so serious. It’s okay. Your clients are coming to you because they have problems. They’re worried, they’re concerned, they’re upset, they can’t sleep at night. Do they really need someone else talking to them who is also very worried and concerned? And it’s a serious business, but you don’t have to talk like this to them. They want you to elevate them. It’s not just about solving their problem. They wanna feel better. So if you don’t have that personality where you can appear energetic even if you’re exhausted, where you can make jokes, where you can find the positive and the negative. If you don’t have that personality, maybe you need to think about working on that. Becoming a motivational speaker is a great way to do that. I’ve said it before. I’ve probably said it 10 times. If you can get up in front of a bunch of people and make a few people smile, it’s a great experience. All right.
Promote their independence, and we were just…was I just discussing this issue with…before we started back, but anyway. I tell my clients, my physician clients, “I want to teach you how to transition so that you can do it on your own.” I put that right upfront. “I don’t want you to depend on me forever. I want you to learn to do this.” I’ve found that there are physicians who will transition, and then they kinda get the transition bug and they’re like, “Well, that was fun and that was good. I did that for two years, and now what’s next?” I’m like, “Okay. Let’s go back. Remember the basics I taught you. You can do this again.” Or they have an idea for a consulting business or a product, or they’ve created something. They get the bug. They’re like, “Oh, now I have another idea.” Okay. Remember the steps. I want my clients to be independent, and I think that they really appreciate that. I mean, it shows that I’m genuine. I genuinely care about you and your happiness and your life, not just, like, “All right. Pay me again,” you know. So it shows that you’re genuine.
More top 10 tips. Adapt to your client. Adapt to their work schedule. How do they want to work? Do they wanna work in person? Do they wanna do Skype? Do they wanna…? How do they want to work? What’s most comfortable for them? Adapt their personality. I sometimes have to adapt my personality a little bit, depending on the person. I mean, there are some doctors that I speak with, okay. They’re like, “We’ve got 10 minutes, and I need your top five bullet points. I need my homework. Tell me what I’m supposed to do and then boom, boom, boom, boom.” I have other physician clients who want to discuss ideas back and forth, and so they want an hour and a half call, and they want someone who’s more relaxed and laid back. So I do adapt my personality a little bit, depending on the client. Does that make sense? I don’t pretend to be someone else. I’m not saying that. I’m saying I read the person that I’m working with and how they’re most comfortable.
Steven: Yeah. I agree with that. Some of my clients are what I call “bullet point people.” Don’t give me the long history of Western civilization, just send me the ten bullet points, and let’s move on. Other people have more touchy-feely. Let’s collaborate.
Julie: Yeah. Everyone has a personality.
Steven: Yeah. Let’s talk about it, let’s kick it around, and stuff like that. And I totally agree about being friendly. A lot of people are…you know, they think, “Well, I have to put on the suit when I talk on the phone and…,” you know, “to all business.” And I disagree with that. I mean, I’ve found that people enjoy working with people that are a little bit fun. And there’s nothing wrong with that as long as it’s done professionally. So…
Julie: I mean, I’m not saying you don’t meet them at a bar and have tequila shots. Not that kind of fun, but, you know, lighten up.
Steven: Yeah. The question…so at the end of the consult, I might ask people, “Did you find it useful? Did you enjoy it, and did you find the consultation useful?” Okay. I put in the enjoy it because it should be enjoyable. And did you find it useful? And I want them to do both. Okay. I don’t want it to be painful. You know, this is not like going to the dentist. Okay?
Steven: And he puts out the big pair of pliers. “Did she give you the anesthesia with the needle was, like, this big?” And he’s hiding it behind his hip, so you don’t see it and freak out. And then you turn around and you see this needle coming, and it’s, like, that big. So it really shouldn’t.