What can podiatrists learn from the fast-food industry? It seems a lot.
About 30 years ago, McDonald's employed a new strategy to consistently offer every customer an add-on to each burger item on their menu. There was no customer assessment or thought process as to would the customer say yes or no, or can they afford the add-on, or even if they wanted it; instead, DO YOU WANT FRIES WITH THAT became the mantra for every McDonald’s employee taking an order.
The reason this worked so well was that it was so simple, and this strategy netted McDonald's millions of dollars in additional revenue every year, and this is why every fast-food franchise now adopts a similar method of upselling or upsizing to the detriment of our waistlines.
If you ever catch yourself saying that won’t work, please give yourself a light uppercut and then ask yourself, how can that work for me or my business?
Is One Bag Enough?
My good friend, Dave Frees, tells this great story of visiting a local service station to buy some ICE. On one particular visit, Dave noticed the owner had added a sign on the freezer door, which read, IS ONE BAD ENOUGH?
Dave found the sign interesting and asked the cashier if there had been an increase in sales since adding the sign to the freezer door, and the cashier replied, ice sales are up by 60%.
Can you believe that? By simply adding one sign with one simple question, there was an increase in ice sales of 60%.
How can YOU make this work in your podiatry business?
I’ll give you a simple example:
A patient wants to make an appointment, and your receptionist asks all the right questions, as they’ve been trained to do, and after confirming everything, date, time, fees etc. they then ask the patient:
“While I have you on the phone is there anyone else in your family that needs an appointment?”
BOOM! It’s as simple as that.
Just like McDonald's, your receptionist is not judging or qualifying the patient in any way; they’re simply asking this question to each patient and then letting them decide yes or no.
And a percentage will say yes, and be very appreciative that you asked the question, and if they do say NO, was anyone hurt? Of course not.
How often have you made an appointment or purchased something and thought to yourself afterwards, I should have got two or something along those lines.
If I was booking a massage for myself and if they asked me the same question, I would at least consider it, especially if I knew my wife’s schedule.
I went over this particular idea with one of my coaching clients and said if you want to take it one step further, why not put up a sign on the wall behind your receptionist so that the patients can read it, and it worked.
So, for add-ons to work well in your podiatry business, you must put some time aside and give it some thought. It may also be a good idea to include your team.
I have identified 8 things you need to consider
1. What’s your burger, and what are your fries?
Not every podiatry service will have an add-on, but some definitely will, so for each of these applicable services (the burger) identify your add-ons (the fries).
And remember, it’s got to make sense.
A patient makes an appointment for general treatment, and you ask would they like to follow that appointment with a Paraffin Wax Footbath afterwards? It’s a simple yes or no question, and best of all, it makes sense.
The patient is being scanned or cast for orthotics, and you ask would they like to have an additional pair made at the same time. Once again, that makes sense.
You wouldn’t ask a patient if they want to paraffin wax bath while getting nail surgery, the same way McDonald's does not ask if you want fries with that when you order a coffee, and if they did, you would go…what the?
2. Package the price of the add-ons, so it’s financially worthwhile, for the patient and for you.
We’ve all seen 2 for 1 deal and second pair, 50% off. The reason these deals work so well is that the saving is quite obvious.
3. Explain how and why the add-on is a good idea.
Why is a paraffin wax footbath a good idea after general treatment? Why is an additional pair of orthotics useful?
4. Timing: At what point do you offer the add-ons?
You should only make the offer after the patients have already committed to the initial service.
If we go back to the phone call and asking if there’s anyone else in the family that needs an appointment. You’ve already made their appointment; they’re already committed.
You’re only asking patients if they want an additional pair of orthotics once they have committed to the first pair.
5. Test & Measure
Some add-ons will work best when making an appointment, while others will be more appropriate when they are re-appointing or at another time.
Test what works best and pay attention to the words you’re using.
6. Avoid Confusion
Keep the add-on’s simple to easy to understand. A confused mind always says no. McDonald's had success because they kept it very simple.
7. Be Sincere
This is not an attempt to rip money out of your patient’s pocket. It’s a genuine add-on that will benefit the patient.
This is probably one of the biggest differences why a podiatrist should use add-ons, compared to McDonald's. There really are no health benefits in adding fries or a larger drink to your burger, but as a podiatrist, our add-ons can be very beneficial.
8. Practice and feel comfortable with the process of asking for add-ons.
Remember, you’re not trying to hard-sell the patient into something they will not be of benefit, and if you’re working somewhere and that’s how you feel, you should talk to your employer immediately.
Increased Sales From Two Questions
A few weeks ago, on Episode 135: The Importance of Understanding Your Numbers, I mentioned how I sold two to three times more strapping tape to my patients than anyone else in my business, and I only had half the contact time with patients.
The reason I sold more strapping tape was that I asked my patients two simple questions after strapping their foot and them agreeing to reappoint for their review visit:
- Do you have rigid sports tape at home? If they said no, I would ask the second question.
- You definitely need to re-tape your feet at home. You can go to the pharmacy and pick some up, or you can buy it from us, which is much cheaper. Would you like me to grab you a roll on the way out?
After their review visit, I would ask how much tape they still had, and if it were appropriate, I would ask they’d like me to grab them another roll on the way out.
No One Gets Hurt
Once again, it’s a simple yes or no question, and if they said no, it did not hurt me, it didn’t hurt the patient, no one got offended, and it didn’t ruin our patient-podiatrist relationship.
So, in summary, think about asking more of your patients if they would like fries with that; once you’ve identified your burger menu, and if you’ve never considered this concept before, give it a go, you’ll enjoy the benefits.
If you have any questions about this episode, one-on-one coaching or my next 12-Week Podiatry Business Reboot, please send me an email at we can arrange a quick ZOOM call.
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