What Is Your Help Rate?

What Is Your Help Rate?

May 18, 2016 / By Gyl Kasewurm Editorials

Opinion Editorial by Gyl Kasewurm, AuD

Are you ready to make your practice a $1 million business? I know many of you think generating a million dollars in gross revenue in one year is impossible, but I am here to tell you that it’s not. Even as a sole practitioner with one employee, it’s very possible to generate a million dollars if you structure things right. Are you dying to know how? Here're a few suggestions.

Have a Goal

Goals drive success. However, the majority of people don’t have goals, or if they have them, they aren’t formal or written down. Goals without a formal action plan are merely dreams that probably will never happen.  If you shoot for nothing, you will hit it every time! Start now and write down at least two goals that you would like to accomplish this year and then devise a simple action plan to make them happen.

Don’t Settle for Average and Focus on Helping More Patients

According to an article published in the June 2015 issue of Hearing Review, based on Sikka Software installed in some 850 hearing health-care offices in the United States, the average practice that employs one professional and one support person generated the majority of their revenue by selling hearing aids and sold an average of 19 units a month. However, the average practitioner only convinces approximately 45 percent of people that need subsidies to buy them. I call this my Help Rate, which is the percentage of patients that need hearing aids compared to the percentage of patients that purchase them.

When determining your Help Rate, it’s essential to have a concrete definition of who’s a candidate. At my practice, we consider anyone that has thresholds greater than 25dB at three frequencies or more and patients that have aided over four years old to be candidates. While there may be other patients with special circumstances outside of this criteria that need hearing aids, this is our standard definition of a candidate. 

Personally, I think it is a tragedy that the average Help Rate is only 45 percent especially when we know the devastating effects of untreated hearing loss on cognition and quality of life. Would Lebron James be considered a professional if he only made 45 percent of his free throws?  Ould Jordan Speith continue to lead the way in golf if he only hit 45 percent of fairways? Of course not.  

We all hear the same objections every day from our patients.

  • “I don’t think my hearing is bad enough.”
  • “Hearing aids cost a lot of money.”
  • “I want to think about it.”
  • “I need to talk with my spouse or my children.”

Therefore, we should be prepared and not surprised by these objections. Learn how to handle these statements and your Help Rate will improve.

Professional convictions aside, imagine how revenue would grow in a typical hearing healthcare practice if the professional focused on convincing more patients that need hearing aids purchase them! I did the math for you, and if the average practice that was selling 19 hearing aid units a month convinced 65 percent of patients instead of the typical 45 percent, unit sales would increase to 26 units per month. If the professional honed their skills and was able to convince 80 percent of patients that needed aids to purchase them (80 percent Help Rate is the goal in my practice), unit sales would increase to 32 per month. Improve the Help Rate to 80 percent and that average practice would increase their gross revenue by almost $300,000 (based on the ASP of $1,900).

I know I sound like a broken record when it comes to Help Rate, and I know not everyone will agree with me, but it’s important! Want to do One Thing to grow your business and to benefit your patients? Focus on your Help Rate!

Gyl Kasewurn, AuD, is one of the Academy’s associate editors for www.audiology.org and Audiology Today magazine. She is also the practice owner of Professional Hearing Services, Ltd., in St. Joseph, MI.

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