What is the Questioning Trinity?

Recall that connecting with prospective patients means remembering that people don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care, and using proper questioning technique makes showing we care a whole lot easier.

Just as connecting emotionally requires establishing rapport, conveying empathy, and exuding enthusiasm, effective questioning technique requires our understanding of:

When to ask questions
What questions to ask
How to ask questions.

Order is important (When)
TAFI* students know to always sell before qualifying.  This is in recognition of the need know the order in which questions should be asked i.e. we do not, as our first question, ever ask a patient how they will be paying us (important though that question is). 

The following are questions you will probably ask first-time callers to your practice:

1). Are you experiencing discomfort?
2). How will you be paying for your care?
3). Who may we thank for referring you?
4). May I ask who I am speaking with?
5). Where are you in your research for a solution to your problem?
6). How may we assist you today?

Now, take a moment to arrange these questions in the order you feel they should be asked.  Do so before consulting the answer key below.

Cover your bases (What)
The primary driver behind our choice of questions is our need to determine how best to assist the caller.  This is obviously an essential component of our communication.  But it is best viewed as the skeleton of our communication.  The meat is how we ask questions.

With Feeling (How)
We’ve commented previously on how the vocal component of communication, that is, the tone, resonance, and inflection of the voice accounts for nearly 85% of non-visual communication, while the verbal component, that is, the actual words chosen, accounts for a mere 15%.  In other words, how you ask a question is more than important than what you ask.

The Master Telephone Communicator has learned how to weave his/her questions into a work of art that is usually admired in silence by the caller.  While recognition may not always be explicit, you’ll know you’ve created a work of art by the increase in solid patient appointments, and happy patients who join your practice once you’ve mastered the art of first impressions.

Answer Key:
4).   1).   3).   6).   5).   2).

*The Art of First Impressions

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