Asking WTWTTCH Helps to Overcome the Paralysis of Analysis

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Geschockte Seniorin hält ihre Hände in ablehnender Haltung vor sichHaving just returned from the APHA Business and Marketing workshops in Tampa, and in reviewing my notes and questions from attendees, I’ve come to a new conclusion about why many people have so much trouble pulling the trigger to actually SAY they are in practice – the formal hanging of their shingle, as it were….

Regular readers know I call this the “paralysis of analysis” – that inability to take the last steps.  I’ve written about it here, and I’ve made recommendations here, and in both those cases, I’ve made a pretty thorough case for why advocates should not be so afraid to take those last steps.

My new thinking actually shifts the direction a bit…  whittles it down to a singular fear that I think represents the great majority of paralysis of analysis…. that is, that….

Most almost-practice-owners can’t get past their fear of asking for money.  It’s not about their ability to perform those services and help their clients. It’s about putting a number on those tasks to represent the work they do – then asking someone to hand over that number.

Now – I could go into all the very logical reasons that’s foolish (which it is.)  They would range from the fact that your reticence stems from being socialized as a child to be afraid to ask (and you are no longer a child) – to – if all businesses were afraid to ask for money, we would have no businesses (imagine if Ford didn’t ask? Or doctors didn’t ask?  or the supermarket, or the phone company didn’t or ….?  You get the picture… )

What we really have to do to get past it is to ask ourselves this:

WTWTTCH – What’s the Worst Thing That Can Happen?  (if we ask for money)

Well?  What’s the answer?  (tap, tap, tapping my foot, waiting for you to answer…. )

The answer is simple and it won’t bring the world as you know it to an end, it won’t register on the Richter Scale, it won’t even make your heart skip a beat.

If you ask someone for money, the worst thing that might happen is – they might say no. N-O.

The second worse thing might be that – they might want to think about it.

And see?  Amazingly enough – that’s no big deal. Your world has not come to an end. Further – AFTER someone has said no, then nothing has even changed.  Before you asked, they weren’t going to give you money. Now they have said no, and they still aren’t going to give you money. Life goes on. (At least yours does. Theirs may not – but that’s another post for another day.  That’s  part of your value proposition – see below.)

In fact – the only way something actually changes is when they say YES!  A YES answer means now you must be sure to get them to sign a contract, tell them you’ll need your money up front, and then collect it… and THEN you’ll actually do those wonderful things for them you told them you could do.

Now let’s take this a little deeper. The problem with most of our fears is that they get blown out of proportion to their potential real effects on our lives. An example would be that if somehow you think the YES or NO answer to asking for money is somehow a judgment on you.  That if the potential client says NO, it’s because they don’t think you can do the work or get them what they need.

In this case, WTWTTCH?  The worse thing is that you’ll assume something that isn’t true. So don’t.

Seriously – why on earth would you try to read their minds or draw assumptions?  There are dozens of reasons someone might say no. Your goal now is NOT to take them at their answer, but rather to figure out what made them say no.  So ASK!  You’ll get one or more potential answers:

1.  They think you are too expensive.

That’s not true – so don’t let them keep thinking it’s true. Here’s when you kick in with all the reasons why that’s not true once they weigh your value proposition (Alternative consequences, Schnockers and Alligators – see page 91 in The Health Advocate’s Start and Grow Your Own Practice Handbook.)

2.  They think they should get healthcare assistance for free.

That’s not true either. They pay for many services in healthcare including insurance premiums, Medicare (all their lives they’ve paid into Medicare), co-pays, over-the-counter drugs and needs. If they think an advocate should be free (like a hospital advocate or an insurance advocate) – you can explain the Allegiance Factor to them.

3.  They don’t understand why they should pay for your services.

Ask them – if you need a lawyer, do you expect to pay a lawyer? If you need a math tutor for your child, do you expect to pay the tutor? If you need your hair cut, do you expect to pay the barber or hairdresser?  In this case, they need an advocate, and it should make sense that they will want to pay for his or her services.

…. and many more…

Patients and their caregivers need you.  If you have paralysis of analysis because you are afraid to ask for money, then you are depriving them of the help they need.  In fact, if you think about it that way, then you realize that by NOT being in business, by NOT asking for money, people are suffering because you aren’t helping them.

Examine your own paralysis. Figure out what you are afraid of, then ask yourself, What’s the Worst Thing That Can Happen?

If your answer is something anemic – like above – then please, PLEASE! just let it go.

Get beyond your fears to help those people who need you to help them. Don’t let them get sicker, lose more money, or die just because you’re afraid to ask a question.

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Share your experience or join the conversation!

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