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FIVE STAR SKILLS: Connect in Just TWO Questions

FIVE STAR SKILLS: Connect in Just TWO Questions


Hey this is Dr. George Birnbach and I’m excited about this skill today because this is the first step to having influence as a professional. This is the skill that you need to identify. So, we’re going to practice this one today.

When we talk about an influence model, we’re talking about problem, solution, validation, call to action. Identify a problem, offer a solution, then demonstrate why that solution is safe and will work and then offer someone a call to action. Problem, solution, validation, call to action. But what you need to really understand, is the problem, the identification of the problem and the identification of a real frustration they have from that problem has to be done as a complete module. Each of these pieces: problem, solution, validation, call to action, are independent modules that create a fantastic model for influence and leadership. See, people act because of frustrations or problems, and in order for a patient to choose your practice as their health care provider, or to enthusiastically refer a friend or a coworker, or even for your staff, your front desk, or your back office, or your chiropractic assistants. To help you solve a puzzle or a problem that is keeping your practice plateaued instead of keeping your practice growing best-ever month after month after month, you need to be able to isolate that problem and demonstrate the real restriction and causes.

So how do we accomplish this? Well, scripts are great, they can frame out situations, they can walk people through solutions, they can lay out objectives, but they often come across as mechanical presentations. And this pitch, or this presentation mode, can raise the listeners’ fears or hesitances and really create a fear of the unknown and then they get lost in your messaging, your message, your talking, instead of seeing your path as a solution. So, presenting a pitch to someone, sometimes, whether they do it physically or metaphorically, their eyes roll and they just try to wait you out because they don’t feel heard.

So, here’s the one skill we’re going to focus on today is that problem identification. So, when someone mentions a problem, I don’t care what the problem is. When someone mentions a problem, for the next 24, 48, 72 hours, I want you to do two things. Number one, isolate the problem. That means duplicate the problem, duplicate the language. And then number two, anchor it anchor it as a problem.

So, here’s the scripting: Mary walks in and she says, “I’ve got back pain.” We ask, “what’s going on with your back pain?” She tells us, and we say, “So why is that a problem?” and she tells us. Let me give an example. Mary walks in she’s got back pain I say, “Mary, what’s going on? What’s going on with that back pain?” And she says, “Well, every day I wake up and I feel like someone’s holding me by the lower back and it just doesn’t relax.” And I say, “Well, why is that a problem for you?” “Well, other than I’m in pain, I can’t go play tennis, I can’t go out to eat, I’m nervous walking across the floor to go to my closet to get dressed.” See, right there, in two questions, we’ve isolated the problem. She wants to talk about back pain, I’m willing to talk about back pain. And then we anchored it as an actual problem. She sees how it’s affecting her life.

So, we isolate the problem with the first question, and we anchored the restriction, or the frustration, with the second question. Because frustration is what causes people to act on things. Now, and only now, could we present a solution that would be easily accepted, or pivot to a logical solution path. See, it sounds so easy right? Just ask two questions. But, there’s more intricacies to it and you really need to pay attention to this. The first thing is duplication. You need to duplicate the right problem. Then you need to anchor the problem to a real, visible to the person, limitation. And then you also need to maintain your distance so you create authority and you can set up your leadership path. For example, back pain is duplicated by “Tell me about your back pain” not “Tell me about your back.” Not feeling coordinated is duplicated by “What doesn’t feel coordinated?” and not “Tell me about why you feel off-balance.” Duplication is so important that if you get it wrong, you can destroy your relationship bond. Then, and only then, we anchor the problem into reality, and we need to ask what they think the problem is with what they’ve brought up because they need to see the reason to act on it.

So how do you spin this to staff-building or team building? Well if Mary walks up and says, “Hey the printer isn’t working.” I say, “What’s going on and why isn’t the printer working?” She tells me and I say, “Well what problem is that causing?” And they tell me and now they illustrate the restrictions and I can move off to solving it or delegating it to someone to solve and now the motivation level rises to actually get a result.

You see? If someone says, “Hey, we’re understaffed!” I’d say, “Why are we understaffed?” “Well, because we have all this work to do?” “Well, what problem is that causing?” And “Well, it’s causing this problem and that problem.” Now we have the ability to prioritize and act on that. You see, this simple two-step conversation model of isolate and then anchor bonds you and the speaker on their issue. They will feel heard, and they’ll take a stand to validate their concern by showing you it’s a real problem. And with a patient, sometimes this is all you need to get ’em into their car, across town, and into your office. Right, “Why are the headaches a problem for you?” Now, you can offer a solution or you can delegate the creation of a solution and they will be motivated to act.

So, try a few examples on your own. If someone says, “Hey my brother’s waking up every day with a headache,” what do you say? “Well tell me what’s going on with your brother and why he’s waking up with headaches.” Or the front desk says, “Hey, Mary just called in sick.” “Well, why did Mary call in sick? Got it. What kind of problem is that going to be for us?”
That two-question solution, the easiest first step to get to a ‘problem, solution, validation, call to action’ influence model is identifying that problem. But for now, for this week, just memorize it. Isolate and anchor. If they say, “Oh, my eye hurts!” “What’s going on? Why does your eye hurt? Why is that a problem?” “You know I was on my way here and I hit my head in the car. Man, I got to make sure I don’t do that again.” “How did you hit your head? Why is that a problem?”

It sounds almost silly to practice like this, but I promise you this: If you go and practice, you’ll make better connections, and you’ll get better results. We’re building the skills that you’re going to get more referrals, you’re going to get better retention, you’re going to have better team dynamics, and your office will get better outcomes both clinically and through success. We’re focusing on skills, they create a better you, you create a better world.

All right, my name’s Dr. George Birnbach, I’ll talk to y’all real soon. Bye-bye.

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