Be The Person They Can’t Hire
After waiting on hold for 20 minutes I was finally on the phone with the pediatric gastroenterologist. Three visits to our regular pediatrician, two weeks of sleepless nights and several shirts soaked with regurgitated baby formula had me to the point where I was determined to get some answers.
I called in a couple of favors to get this particular doctor on the telephone. Everyone said he was “the best”. My goal was to get my three month old daughter an appointment with him. At this point she had gone from throwing up occasionally (which all babies do) to throwing up every day.
Finally I was on the phone with Doctor Big, the rock star of baby vomit, and I was going to beg him, bribe him or somehow convince him to see my kid.
My phone call with Doctor Big lasted only 3 minutes. I talked for 2 minutes 45 seconds – explaining what was happening, laying out the facts, including dates and times of these disgusting little incidents and specifics about what our baby had eaten. Doctor Big talked for 10 seconds. He said:
“Look, if you’re really concerned, take her to the emergency room. Unfortunately, my schedule is booked for six weeks”.
“Please call my mobile phone if you have a cancellation. We have done our research. We know you are the best and I only want the best for my kid.”
At that point he sighed and said: “Good Night Mr. Lorenzo”.
I called his answering service and left my mobile phone number anyway.
This story is not about my little girl (who is doing better after a change in formula and several more visits to various other doctors). And it’s not about the state of healthcare in the United States.
It is about positioning.
How did Doctor Big get to be THE GUY for kids with stomach issues? He went to a middle-of-the-pack medical school. He graduated in the middle of his class. He works in a good (not great) hospital.
Yet he has a reputation as a great doctor and an appointment book to match.
Want to know his secret?
He is unavailable.
You read that correctly.
You see, I found out from a friend who plays golf with Doctor Big, that when he first started out he instructed his office to funnel all his patients into office visits two days per week. When the patients came in, the waiting room was packed. People were standing in the hallway. And during the other three days, Doctor Big volunteered in a clinic in a bad part of town. As his practice grew, Doctor Big expanded his office hours until all five days were packed each and every week. I was told this took a couple of years.
But the result was that people couldn’t hire him, couldn’t get him on the phone, and couldn’t even find him roaming around the hospital. So they figured the guy HAD to be good.
Think about the implications of this for your law practice. How easy is it to find you and ask you a question (for free)? How easy is it to get an appointment to see you?
Can I get in to see you today? Right now?
How good can you be if you have time available right this instant? You appear desperate if you have time to let me take command of your schedule. And your fee probably reflects that desperation.
Think about how accessible you are. Facebook, Twitter, email, PDAs, smart phones, text messaging – people have all kinds of access to you because you have given it to them.
Play hard-to-get, if you have the guts. You’ll find that you attract better clients, you can charge higher fees, and people will respect you because of the perception that you are unavailable.
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