Imagine you are walking down the street and a total stranger approaches you and says, “Excuse me ma’am. I am lost, could you help me?” Only the most cold hearted person would turn away. You see, there is something inside of us that finds it very difficult to resist the request for help. Why? Think about it. Do I like myself better when you are helping me, or when you ask me to help you? If you come up to me and say “Steve, let me help you. You really look like you need help. Let me do this for you. Let me do that for you.” At some point, I am going to say “It’s really OK. I can do it myself! REALLY!”
If on the other hand you say, “Steve, I need your help. Could you help me?” Now, I’m all over that because you have just paid me a slight compliment. You have said in a very few words, “I value what you are able to do and I need it.” It is flattering. It’s a compliment. It’s acknowledgement of the other person when you simply say, “I need your help.”
Exercise: Think of all the points of contact in the office where you need the patient’s help. Then make your appointments more interactive by asking patients for their help. Find creative ways to ask besides saying “I need your help.” How about “This is going to take some teamwork. You game?” Or “I can’t do this one by myself. You up for it?” Or, “We are going to do a little duet here, can I show you your part?” Be creative in the ways you ask for help. But ask for it!
Action: Every day, with every patient, ask for more help. People like you better when they are helping you than when you are helping them. Start asking for help more and they will start saying yes a lot more to you and your recommendations.