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No one wants what we sell

This month I am writing about the hearing aid sales process and hopeful improved outcome for the patient. I often tease patients that no one ever wants hearing aids, but they all want better hearing.

Every hearing health care provider in our region has gotten many of the notes I am describing. This note, I received just hours after I helped a patient with new hearing aids dramatically reinforced what it is I actually do. “The difference I already experience in clarity makes me want

to live longer and more in tune with the world. Just talking with a neighbor from the car, as he was about 50 yards away, I could hear him. And all sounds seem sharper and clearer. Of course there will be adjustments, but at the outset, I am excited.”

When I got this email I remembered again that I don’t sell hearing aids, I sell better hearing. Ironically no one who comes to someone like me wants to buy the product. No one ever gets a hearing aid because they are cute, stylish, the latest fashion trend, or downright cool. No one comes in saying I am looking for something that I can put in or hang on my ear. The people who come to us want to hear better. If through testing, in office education, and demonstration of the product, that person can get a sense of the better hearing they desire, the hearing aids sell themselves because the end resulting impact of the product is hearing better. Personal budget, pricing, and timing are certainly factors, but when a patient wants to hear better and is offered a feasible solution to do just that, commerce in the hearing aid industry happens!

In an internet forum at www.hearinghealth.org audiologists were recently discussing the sales end of their profession. One writer said, “Lets face it. Honestly, nothing happens until we ‘sell’ that patient in front of us on the need to follow our recommendations. Another ugly fact. The tools we use, those things we fit, those audioprosthetics (hearing aids) have to be acquired, or in some manner traded for. That makes us all ‘Hearing Aid Dealers’. But, how you go about it is what makes all the difference. I DO NOT SELL the hearing aid. I sell the benefits that it can provide. Make no mistake, if you are to be successful in helping more people achieve better lives, you’d best come to embrace a simple truth. Nothing happens until you sell the idea.”

This comment at that website sounds crass. It makes it sound like we would have to convince someone against their will that they could and should be hearing better. I have found that the “idea” or better hearing is already the desire of the patient or they would not have called me or one of the other hearing aid sources in the area.

The trust to follow recommendation is not secured at the close but at every step of the process in office and rippling far beyond in the referral comments of previous patients. Once in a while I have a patient come through the door saying “I want XY and Z hearing aids”. Most simply ask, “can I be helped and what do you recommend?”

The point of this column, the fine hearing aid clinics in our county, and the entire hearing aid industry is that a person with impaired or very poor hearing can hear better even if emotionally you don’t want the devices that will actually help you at the beginning of the process. Most patients testify that they can no longer live productively without their hearing aids.

You could be the author of a testimonial note just like the one I quoted above. Wouldn’t it be exciting to be that excited about your improved hearing?

Hearing care is health care. If you have the symptoms of hearing loss let a professional help you find out why. The hearing professional will help you sort out the technology level to meet your need, your budget, and answer your hearing need questions.

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Jeffrey L. Bayliff, NBC-HIS is owner of Hear the Birds Hearing Aid Center, Lock Haven, PA

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