This article is going to be a mix of the psychology of marketing and new revenue streams ideas, which combined, will explain how you can diversify the revenue streams within your clinic.
First of all, why is it important to diversify your revenue?
The hearing care industry predominantly sells one/two products.
Hearing aids + care.
This means that if the economy is stretched (which is looking increasingly likely) or if anything impacts the number of people that want to buy new hearing aids in any window, then you’re the one that is going to feel the full force.
All your eggs are firmly in one basket.
An important thing that you can do to minimize any of this risk, and in turn grow revenue, is explore some alternative ways that you can drive cash into your business without physically selling hearing aids.
In this article, I’m going to share 3.5 different ways that you can do this.
But first, we need to talk psychology.
How To Alter The Behavior Of Your Patients
If you’re as much of a geek as me, then you’ll enjoy this section … but regardless, I encourage you to read it and understand it, as it’s fundamental in building new revenue streams into your clinic.
That’s because the truth is, simply introducing new ways that patients can transact with you is only PART of the solution.
The more important part is altering their behaviors so that they naturally want to transact with you (outside of buying new devices).
There are many ways that you can do this – and many famous examples.
I’ll give you three.
A notable example is what happened in 1926 when the tire company Michelin created their Good Food Guide, which subsequently became the Michelin star system.
Everybody wondered why the hell a tire company got involved in grading restaurants.
Well, it’s because they identified that car owners were not driving long distances, and they wanted a reason for people to drive further, therefore wearing out their tires faster, therefore increasing the frequency of purchasing tires.
They changed behaviors, which resulted in people changing purchasing habits.
Another great example is what legendary car maker Henry Ford also did in 1926.
He made Saturday and Sunday days off for his staff and set down a 40-hour work week for his factory workers. Both of these were considered somewhat crazy in the moment!
Why did he do this? Well, as he later shared, he identified that there was a direct correlation between the amount of leisure time that people had and their desire to buy a new car. Therefore, he introduced a limited work week to make more time for families to have leisure time.
Twelve years later in 1938, the federal government introduced a 40-hour work week limit for companies, and the weekend became the norm.
Ford went on to do pretty well!
If you want a more recent example, then look at what is happening at Airbnb.
They recently came out and publicly announced that their workforce of 14,000 employees would now be able to work remotely forever!
Why? Well, if you think about it, maybe they’re taking a lesson from Henry Ford and looking to create a new norm.
Because if more companies allow staff to work from anywhere in the world and “remote working” becomes the norm, who will be the biggest beneficiaries? Probably Airbnb as a company that allows people to live/work from anywhere in the world.
Does that all make sense?
The ways that these big companies have grown or generated new revenue streams have been through strategically altering the behaviors of their customers/the world around them.
I’m not suggesting you have to do something so dramatic, but there are big lessons that we can borrow and apply them to our clinics to alter patient behaviors to diversify our revenue streams.
The 3.5 Alternative Revenue Streams For Your Clinic
#1 – Continued Care Plans
When a patient’s warranty comes to an end, what do you do?
Do you continue to take care of that patient for life, or do you then have them pay out of pocket for all ongoing care/services?
Another way that you could build a new revenue stream into your clinic is by building a care plan that patients can either pay annually or monthly for that allows them to continue to receive your ongoing care/support.
It almost serves as their insurance policy knowing that you have their back and they can continue to benefit from your services, but it allows you to “sell” something other than hearing aids and drive some cash through your business.
Many of our members have introduced these and they work wonderfully well when a patient’s warranty is coming toward an end, as they create a moment where the patient has to decide whether to pay out of pocket, step into a continued care plan, or upgrade.
Ranging from $300 to $500 per year, this could be a tasty service plan that is rich in margin that can be sold to both patients that are approaching the end of their warranty and existing patients that are out of warranty.
One member recently launched these to their patients that were out of warranty and had 73 patients sign up (at $375 each), which dropped $27,000 into their bank account … all without selling a single unit!
Going back to what we discussed about altering the behavior of patients, consider how you can have patients better understand all the value that they receive as part of their service plan so that they miss it more and value it higher when it comes to an end.
- Could you give them an invoice for what their services would have cost out of pocket at the end of each appointment but is covered by their service plan?
- Could you make your out-of-pocket price list clear for everybody to see in your office to reinforce value?
- Do your treatment plans make it clear that they receive a fixed amount of service that expires on a certain date?
These small things alter behavior and have patients naturally valuing your extended care plan, making the transaction easier.
#2 – Advanced Hearing Testing
If your clinic claims to deliver best practices and focuses on advanced audiological care, then have you considered introducing different testing options?
For example, as well as a standard basic evaluation, could you also have a comprehensive and highly detailed evaluation?
- The basic one is for people that solely want their hearing tested, whether free or a nominal fee.
- The comprehensive one is for people that want to use this as a health check-up. You take them through an array of different tests before sharing the results (whether vision, balance, cognition, etc.), and it has an out-of-pocket fee attached to it.
This would allow you to have multiple options for patients, showcase your advanced care, and build you a new out-of-pocket revenue stream for patients that want the best of the best.
We have a few Inner Circle members that have introduced this advanced testing process, and it has been a great way for them to attract high-quality patients that value their expertise and build them a new source of testing revenue.
Then to alter the behavior of patients, they do three things:
- When patients ask to a book a hearing test, they ask, “Do you want a basic one or our advanced test?” – opening an opportunity to introduce the benefits of advanced audiological care.
- They document what happens in their comprehensive test to educate patients in advance and have patients hold other clinics to the high-standards that they have.
- They purposely devalue standard hearing tests by sharing that people can have their hearing tested online or at a local big box store, but they wouldn’t trust the internet or a retail employee to make a complex medical diagnosis – further reinforcing that choosing them is the smart decision.
Although this is not a simple revenue stream to add to your clinic, it has multiple benefits!
#3 – An Adoption Plan
There is a narrative that we need to change as an industry. That is that the solution to a hearing loss is NOT hearing aids but hearing care. Due to the narrative, there is still too many people choosing to buy cheap hearing aids and then realizing that they need help.
The problem is it’s natural to feel awkward to ask for help from somebody that you didn’t buy from … and right now there will be people local to your office that bought hearing aids elsewhere but feel rude to come to you and ask for help.
That’s where an adoption plan could potentially be the solution.
This is essentially a service plan that people can sign up for that allows them to get your ongoing care/attention and call you their hearing care provider, all in exchange for an annual or monthly fee.
We have many Inner Circle members that have these in place, and they become a great opportunity to put more focus on services such as “hearing aid repairs” or “complimentary hearing aid cleanings.”
If the economy does take a squeeze, as many experts predict, then expect people to look to make savings on buying hearing aids to then realize their errors … having an adoption plan through your site could be a way to drive additional revenue without selling more units.
#3.5 – Building a “Club” (Work in Progress)
I’ve made this a .5, as I’m yet to see a clinic build something like this, but I’m excited to help our Inner Circle members drive this into their clinics.
One of the biggest challenges that I believe the hearing care industry has is that its model has fundamentally not changed for decades.
It still sells hearing aids the same way that it did 30 years ago.
The difference is, back in 1990 – somebody typically bought one set of hearing aids … whereas today, they can go on to buy multiple sets in their lifetime.
The typical patient is getting younger, savvier, and more technology focused.
Therefore, it feels like it’s only logical to borrow models from other industries and explore how they can be applied to private practice.
Hypothetically, let’s just play this out …
Would your younger technology-loving patients pay you $200/month to be part of a members club that granted them access to “trade pricing on technology” and some member benefits (priority appointments, annual get-together, etc.)?
I believe a few of them would.
If you play this model through, then that’s $2,400 per year.
If a patient was paying you $2,400 per year … could you give them member costs on technology … your costs + 10%? All of your profit would then come from the members club and servicing that patient.
You get $7,200 every 3 years solely for servicing a patient.
I’m not saying that THIS is the model that you should introduce, but I believe it’s food for thought of other potential revenue models that you can build into your clinic.
Your Next Steps
If any of these ideas have stood out, then you have two options:
- You can go ahead and implement them into your clinic using the above information.
- Or, I can help you to do this through scheduling a “Strategy Session” with me where we can discuss your clinic and I can share more information about the steps that you can follow to build new revenue streams into your clinic.
Whichever option you choose, I thank you for reading this article and I hope that it helps.