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#46: How To Increase New Patient Conversions By Removing The Price Barrier

How To Increase New Patient Conversions By Removing The Price Barrier With Tim Boon

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About Tim Boon

Tim Boon has worked in the personal finance industry since 2004, working successfully running his own consumer loan company called MacCredit for 12 years. He recently sold that company in 2016; and at that time they had helped over 70,000 patients taking in over 800 million dollars in personal medical funding loans. He founded Total Lifestyle Credit 18 months ago, and is pioneering the way that patient treatments are funded nationally and internationally, giving patients more options for accessing funding, getting access to the money more quickly, and giving patients the confidence to shop for the products and services they need, and not focus on pricing.

About Total Lifestyle Credit

TLC provides a payment plan solution to suit your lifestyle and has been designed to cover all medical, cosmetic and lifestyle needs as well as your associated costs. To learn more about this company, click on the link here.

https://tlc.com.au/

Information Explored in this Podcast:

The following is just some of the information that we’ve covered in this podcast, in case you wanted to skip ahead and explore a specific topic.

  • About Tim Boon [1:53]
  • Total Lifestyle Credit’s Unique Offerings [3:58]
  • How A Clinic Can Remove The Price Barrier For New Patients [5:47]
  • Are You Losing 1 in 3 Clients? [8:35]
  • Don’t Change Your Business Model [12:03]
  • AHPRA, Marketing and Payment Plans [14:21]
  • Are You Missing Out On 20-30% Growth? [18:14]
  • Can You Complain About Sales? [22:18]

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Welcome to the Online Marketing for Doctors podcast. The place to grow and scale profitable practices with your show hosts Huyen Truong and Steve Tait.

Steve Tait: Hello and welcome back to another Online Marketing for Doctors podcast, for our first-time listeners out there:  This is the first Australian Health Care Marketing podcast channel designed to help motivated practitioners implement clever, effective marketing ideas to grow and scale their practice. Thank you very much for joining us on the show today. I’m your host, Steven Tait, and my co-host here is Huyen Truong,

Huyen Truong:  ‘Hello everyone’.

ST: Thanks for joining us and welcome to your 2020.

HT: Happy New Year, everyone.

ST: Hope you had a good break out there and thanks for joining us on the podcast. Today, we’re excited about a topic that comes up quite frequently with a lot of the clients that we deal with; and that’s how to increase their new patient conversion rate by removing the price barrier.

ST: Seems like, that with most procedures today price always becomes a main sticking point for patients as there is sort of this race to the bottom now to try to find the cheapest options to make sure that they can afford any particular procedure, whether or not that involves making the right decisions for their own personal health.

ST: So…  Today what we’d like to do is try to look at one of those options on how to remove the prices being a barrier for choosing procedures. And to join us for discussing this topic a little bit further, I’d like to introduce you to our guest on this show, Mr. Tim Boon from TLC. Otherwise known as Total Lifestyle Credit.

Tim Boon: Hello. How are you?

ST: Thank you very much for joining us on the show. Now, Tim Boon has successfully run his own consumer loan company called MacCredit for 12 years. And he recently sold that company in 2016 at the time that they had done over 70,000 patients taking in over 800 million dollars in personal medical funding loans. He founded TLC and is pioneering the way that patient treatments are funded nationally and internationally. Thank you very much for joining us.

TB: No, thank you for having me.

ST: First up, can you tell us, just are loyal listeners here a little bit more about yourself and maybe a little bit more about how you got started with total lifestyle credit?

TB: Lovely. Yeah. Thanks very much for having me. I initially started funding the medical sector back in 2004. I saw that there was a huge divide between the cost of treatment and the accessibility it gave to a lot of patients that didn’t have the financial means to be able to come up with the funds directly and launching TLC 18 months ago.

TB: I really wanted to create a new patient platform so that it catered for a larger, broader market space and as such gave patients a better opportunity to be able to utilize medical and dental specialists and have the treatment sooner rather than later.

TB: And that’s been my mantra since 2004, was that we wanted to make sure that patients didn’t shop around because of price, but they chose the doctor to get the right procedure. And I think that’s really important in this day and age, especially with the amount of providers that are out there in the market space. You know, the patient is provided with the right information so that they can then get the right result to themselves.

ST: Sure. Can you explain maybe a little bit more about how, how you are unique from some of the other competitors out there?

TB: Yeah, so. So TLC had to create a model that provided a solution like a set to a larger, broader market. So as such, I didn’t want it just to adhere to one product or one option. So as such, we have 7 different funding options available for 7 different types of patients.

TB: This allows us to not only provide some of the lowest interest rates in Australia, we can also provide solutions for clients that solely on Centrelink incomes, clients that have new credit files, clients that have only been employed for 6 months casual, clients that might not have completed their financial returns who are self-employed.

TB: And as such, it gives a far broader opportunity to maximize not only that client obtaining the solution for their treatment and getting the full amount of funds. And we’re very unique in the sense that we cover every single component as well with regard to the surgery costs. So surgery fees, anaesthetists, hospital, aftercare, device, flights, accommodation, anything at all affiliated is having a result of having the treatment at the clinic. Which allows the patient then to not have any extra ongoing fees that come out of having a treatment.

ST: Well, you’ve been in this industry now for since 2004.

TB: Yeah.

ST: So, you’ve got a lot of experience here that we love the tap to just sort of understand, because I guess, as you know, pricing is one of the top criteria for patients when considering medical procedures, including surgery. And it can be a real huge barrier. So, yeah, how do you think clinics can, you know, using your services or payment plans or as you remove this pricing friction?

TB: Well, you know, it’s a really interesting fact : I’ve always known from the sales and marketing background that I’ve had that every business has 2 points to their specific model. One is concept and one is price.

TB: And when you are providing a service out there in the market space and your sales team are delivering the concept to a client, the majority then procrastinate when it comes to price point because of the nature of the medical space, you know, a patient is going to be provided the service once they’ve been paid and 99.5% of the time, they’re unbelievably happy with that service.

TB: It’s usually the price point that is the factor as to why someone doesn’t move forward. And that’s simply put down to a couple of key factors: People have a predisposed idea of how much they’re willing to spend. The medical space is still a vertical where people really don’t understand how costings and charges are affiliated.

TB: And because the industry is specifically almost recession proof. You know, dentists and doctors fees are never going to dissipate over time as such. So, where other industries they will and as such, people have a predisposed idea of how much they’re willing to spend. And it’s also relatable to their income. Nowadays, people are very lifestyle conscious. They’re aware of their fortnightly or monthly income coming into their account.

TB: And, you know, when someone talks stop starts talk about an $8,000 procedure, you know, it can sometimes cause that slow down point of them going, look, I’ll think about it now, do it in twelve months, not knowing that, you know, not having that treatment sooner rather than later could, you know, help them, you know, get back on track or, you know, get them procedure at the right price point before, you know, prices go up as such.

TB: So, what I try and do is create a model where people are able to be able to facilitate and purchase the entire suite of products from the doctor and pay off in their own speed. And I think the transparency there, as opposed to having an interest free option, gives the client a complete control of this is a minimum payment that fits my budget, but an option where I could pay off as quickly as I wish.

ST: It sounds beneficial then for both parties. It’s something that obviously works well for the patient. The prospective patient is looking to get something done, but also the business.

TB: Well, I mean, the businesses, you know, essentially sell a service and it comes at a cost. And you know, the difference between those two services are concept. So, the fundamental issue with some of the businesses is that, you know, they believe that if the clients don’t have the funds, then they should be accessing them. And that’s not how the market space is today.

TB: You know, there’s been a huge change in the market space with private health insurance. You know, over 55% of the population don’t actually have private health insurance now. So, the value add that they put in medical is not the same as it was 10 years ago.

TB: And as such, you’ve got to be flexible in allowing as many options and providing as many options to your clients so that they’re aware of how they can access your service. And if you’re not providing that out there in the market space, then you’re losing at least one in three clients.

ST: What are your experiences with practices that do implement a payment plan? Are they seeing sort of an increase in conversion?

TB: Look, the clinic is there to provide the medical solution to the client and we don’t like to mire or muddy the water for them in any way, shape or form. My team specifically here to service the patient for them. So, another unique factor about TLC is we actually have a physical presence so that, well, account manager team actually service that patient from start to finish.

TB: And I think that that’s a massive game changer in the fact that so many of these fintech businesses are now providing an automated service where we don’t physically speak to anyone, especially when you’re going for a high-end treatment. People want to talk about what’s going on before they move forward. So, with TLC, they actually physically get to speak to someone.

TB: But it means that it’s not enforced on the clinic to have to complete a huge application forms or submit documentation, everything is privately done by my team. So, what we do is we provide a really simple patient point form, which takes the clinic member about 20 seconds to complete with the patient. They then submit it through its coded under the clinic name.

TB: It’s then picked up by one of my team. We actually then conduct the whole conversation with the client to see if they are applicable. If that patient is unfortunately applicable, we can accept a family member or partner to apply on the patient’s behalf so that, you know, obviously assists a lot of businesses that work in the pediatric sector as well.

TB: So, parents on behalf of children as well. We conduct the whole process. It’s all privately done through us. We always fund directly into the patient’s account and we update the clinic 24 hours before the funding goes through and the clinic then simply call the client and go: “Great, we’ve just been updated” and then they organise treatment and surgery date.

TB: A lot of times surgery date, you know, for high anesthetic or medical treatments are done at least three to six months. And usually clinics want to be paid at least 6 weeks before. So, we usually get the funding organized prior to that, but we can do cancellations and we can actually have a client approved 6 hours for them if we’ve got an emergency patient to deal with.

ST: You’re touching on the point here of the level of work that the clinics themselves might have to take on in these processes. And it sounds like with your particular payment plan option, it’s actually really quite limited because that’s actually a common barrier for a lot of clinics that don’t want you to go all that kind of work or extra work load.

TB: Absolutely. And look, you know, the one thing that I’ve always adhered to and over the last 15 years is that we do not want their business model to change, all we simply want to make sure they do is allow people and patients that are coming into their clinic to know what is available and how accessible their services are, because the majority of people out there would like to know the options.

TB: And not telling people invariably then, you know, creates that procrastination point because, you know, price point is that factor. My service is completely free. We do not charge any holdback or service costs to the clinic whatsoever. There’s no linked credit fees either. So, you know, if a clinic is charging $8000, that’s how much we’ll be paying the patient.

TB: So, it’s a massive value add for the business. But also, you know, from the perspective of a clinic team, when they’re speaking to a patient and they’re talking about an $8000 a treatment and they, you know, refer to it as a payment plan option of, you know, $50 a week, that’s a hell of a lot more palatable to a large demographic. $50 a week fits a budget.

TB: Over $8000 is a cashflow implication upfront. And the great thing about our products is, you know, we offer, if not the lowest of interest rate risk rates, the market’s base. So if you’ve got great credit scores. You’re going to get really great interest rates. There’s complete options for any MBS or private health rebates to be put straight back onto the payment plan at no charge.

TB: And the patient can pay off in a month if they want to. And the great thing about it is, is that once the patients paid off, they’ve got no secondary debt. They can’t go out and buy a fridge. It’s specifically for that medical treatment. So, we’re not creating secondary debt for patients out there. They’re utilizing the service for that specific treatment. And once they’ve paid it off, that’s it. It’s finished.

ST: Another, I guess, concern that we hear from a lot of clinics and practices that are thinking about taking on patient Planter’s, obviously, APRA’s role in this. And what how could they, you know, get around sort of marketing or presenting that they have a payment plan option? So, yeah, I don’t know if you have any.

TB: Yeah, absolutely. You know, I mean, the APRA is, you know, protecting the patient. We want to make sure the patient is provided with the right amount of information. And that’s why the TLC business model enables the patient to be able interact with us as opposed to the clinic. And APRA love that. The other side too easy is that we always paid directly to the patient.

TB: So, the onus is always on the patient. Then we update the clinic to let them know the patient’s been funding. But from that point, the patient is the one that organizes the invoice transfer to the surgery to the anaesthetist and hospital. And it means that the patient is there making the right decision about whom they’re having their treatment with.

TB: You know, the other great thing about it is, you know, we provide in-house brochures with our about, which they’re allowed to use. We’ve got the patient point forward as well, which is in a finance application, it’s just a simplistic fact finder about the patient, as such. You’re now allowed to mention on your website that you’ve got payment plans available.

TB: But the biggest thing is that clinics now in-house are able to talk about payment solutions. And I think this is where you’ve really got to be proactive because I can’t reiterate this enough: If you’re not letting your walk-in patients know what’s available, you’re not providing them the best solution in the market space. And where it was, you know, may be offensive 15 years ago, to offer someone a payment plan.

TB: Now it’s part of people’s lifestyle. You know, people have retracted completely away from credit cards that, you know, a great product to have for an emergency. But it’s not something that really is and works well and utilized in this specific space because, you know, creating credit card creates secondary debt for a client as well. But, you know, with regards to APRA the process, always in that specific space can be slow to a certain degree. But we’re certainly moving forward in the right direction.

TB: And the fact that APRA kind of move their guidelines to allow businesses, you know, in all these medical sectors to be able to at least converse with clients about what is available and how is I think is a real plus point. But again, the integration couldn’t be any simpler because the whole process is managed by my team. You’ve just got to let people know that TLC is available, correct?

ST : Sure, of course. Well, I mean, I think it’s important that our listeners, the practices, the practitioners out there understand that this is something that they are sort of allowed to publicise and allowed to talk about, because well like you mentioned earlier, it’s an important part of the product that they’re providing.

TB: Absolutely.

ST: Everyone understands sort of the cost and how it can be affordable.

TB: And I think as well, Steve, you know, from that perspective, because the process with us, there’s no signup fees, there’s no management fees, there’s no holdback fees, there’s absolutely no liability back on any of the clinics. It’s a no brainer from their perspective where, you know, industry and other providers charge hold back charges. And, you know, the funds are paid directly to their account. A lot of clinics don’t like that because they’ve then got a managed flow.

TB: And, you know, it’s not on their time. It’s on someone else’s time. And as such, it puts a lot of pressure on the medical staff then to perform not only as a medical staff member, but also having to do hoards and hoards of paperwork where, you know, with TLC, an account manager will manage your patient from start to finish. And as such, it should give you anywhere between 20-30% growth.

ST: And who doesn’t want 20-30% growth?

TB:Absolutely.

ST: How does a payment plan maybe help patients with sort of those unknowns or is there any sort of surprising additional cost? I guess when it comes to medical, that’s the payment plans can be beneficial.

TB: Look, you know, the funny, the funny thing is that’s a really good question, because probably one of the first things that came about when I started funding the medical sector all those years ago was that the amount of times patients had been presented with an invoice of treatment costs.

TB: And then didn’t realise that there was an extra, you know, X amount of dollars for compression vest or pharmaceutical fees or aftercare services or, you know, accommodation flights, a whole myriad of different costs that come out as a result of it.

TB: And I think that’s where I truly believe a lot of businesses lose sales because, you know, it might be an additional charge of a thousand dollars, but it can really hurt a client to go where you told me it was this price point. I didn’t realize I had all these other costs as well. Sure. And that’s why so many patients like using TLC is because we cover absolutely all the costs.

TB: Hypothetically, if we’re covering $10,000 worth of treatment and they only end up using eight thousand wherever they don’t use, they can put straight back onto the payment plan at no charge.

ST: You know, we’ve been discussing the ways in making the cost more manageable, are there additional strategies that, you know, that might be of interest to our listeners and how to sort of maybe afford?

TB: Basically, we have our own credit license, which means that we adhere to the consumer credit code. So, we’re not a payday lender. We don’t provide interest free. It means that we the patient has to be able to show that they can make the minimum repayment and afford the ongoing repayments. But what we do is we really try to make sure that we can provide a solution to a client so it fits their budget.

TB: So, we do flexible terms all the way up to seven years for medical. And even though seven years does sound quite daunting because there’s no exit early payout fee. The client pays off as quickly as they wish, but it allows them just to have a simple minimum payment so it doesn’t overly affect their overall lifestyle and put them in financial stress. But they have the option of making additional payments any time whenever they want as well.

TB: And I think that’s, you know, what we deal with in every walks of life when we buy a house. It comes with the mortgage. And the mortgage is relatable to your lifestyle costs when you buy a car. The car’s price is relatable to your lifestyle cost. And it’s exactly the same as this. You know, not going ahead with the correct medical treatment could end up costing you a lot down the line. You know, so, you know, I can’t stress this enough to not shop around because of price.

TB: Shop around because you believe you’ll get the right result. But getting the right result in you in the medical space can mean so much for your health and well-being and your self-esteem so that you can move forward in life.

ST: And avoid future costs and those down the road, which could turn into a larger cost on its own. So that’s some great advice. Well, I mean, if we were to pick your brain for any final advice for any of the practices or clients that we have that are maybe listening or under this podcast here that maybe you’re still on the fence with, whether or not they should incorporate a placement payment plan option into their practice. You have any sort of advice for them?

TB: Look, I think each business model, depending on obviously price, you know, we fund from 2 to 50 thousand dollars. So, like I said, we don’t do payday areas. 2000 below. So the best advice I can give to businesses is that you do not know until you try. And the upside to it is, is that hasn’t cost you anything so that your business model hasn’t had to change.

TB: You haven’t had to integrate low to different software or, you know, I provide a really simple training up staff for all the staff and the flow effect should increase business. But at the end of the day, if you’re not providing that solution out there, you can’t complain about ourselves. Sure. Because at the end of the day, you’re only as good as the products you’re able to offer.

TB: Which is why, you know, I have seven different funding options to cater for seven different types of clients. And every business out there wants to be able to expand their demographic. They want to be able to provide a solution of their product or service to a larger catchment. And with a payment solution, you could do that because you’re telling people that your service or product is accessible. And here’s an option of how you can access it. And it should then result in more sales, which everyone wants.

ST: Everyone wants more sales. Well, Tim, thank you very much for joining us today.

TB: Thank you for having me.

ST: Somewhere we can join this conversation immensely and hopefully it’s provided some good information for our listeners. If anyone is interested in knowing a little bit more about Tim or TLC, we’ll include links in some material into the show notes for this podcast and you can download those below for anyone who’s this is your first time listening to the show.

ST: You want to stay in tune with more of our offerings. Just click on the subscription bell there to find out more when our next podcast shows are otherwise. That’s it for today’s podcast. Tim, thank you very much for joining us

TB: Thank you very much, guys, much appreciated.

ST: And we look forward to having you on the next show. Thank you.

HT: Bye-Bye.

Thank you for listening to the Online Marketing for Doctors podcast with Huyen Truong and Steve Tait. Be sure to check out the archive section on our Web site. The previous episodes and https://onlinemarketingfordoctors.com.au/podcast/. And subscribe to the show so we can catch you at the next episode.

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