How Patients Evolve to Become Your Customers

by | Jan 25, 2022 | Business Management, Sales

It’s not your competitor’s pricing

Last article I focused on your patient’s mindset and their motivation to check “vision” off their mental list during their office visit. This article I’m turning my attention to the decision-making process that gets them there. 

While I could’ve chosen from a handful of concepts, I wanted to highlight a surprising one that clearly illustrates how your patients evolve while in your practice. Also, I wanted to firmly establish that patients naturally want to do business with you. If they don’t seem to feel that way, then there are likely some simple tweaks that can be made to help evolve those patients into customers. 

#1 Reason why your patient chose you (initially)

Surveys show that the main reason a patient chooses you as their provider is not primarily because of your location, success rates, or even good reviews.  The #1 deciding factor is, in fact, simply that you take their insurance (demoralizing, right?). Though this likely does not come as a surprise to you as studies have found that patients defer important care due to lack of insurance and generally do not pay attention to quality metrics

But their reason does not stop there

Interestingly, surveys show that patients are overwhelmingly–reported as high as 95%–satisfied with their doctor. But if patients are largely choosing their doctor based on insurance coverage and not quality metrics, how are they also so satisfied? Well, I’m going to invite you to consider something that we all do every day, multiple times per day, as the reason for this–rationalization. 

We rationalize to create a narrative of our life’s journey that paints us in a good light. Yesterday, I ate fast food for lunch, not because I failed to keep to my diet. Instead, I bought that burger knowing that I’ll work out later to make up for it. But, then I didn’t work out today because I ran out of time, so I’ll eat a salad tomorrow. In this instance, rationalizing my choices is easy because it keeps me from feeling like a failure. 

How rationalization/justification plays a part in your customer’s journey

Patients might initially choose you because of their insurance, but that’s a less-appealing narrative when compared to choosing you because you’re a competent doctor. Instead of telling themselves, “This doctor takes my insurance,” they tell themselves, “This doctor is one of the best,” because no one wants to see an incompetent doctor in order to save money. Once they’re in your office and experiencing your care, they unconsciously look for ways to confirm their assumption. 

This is great news for you. Their decision to make you their provider becomes even stronger through a simple office visit—and their confidence in you is bolstered. 

Ok, so how does this relate to selling in my office?

Between the last article and this one, I wanted to put a bow on ending the misperception that patients come in ‘not’ wanting to buy from you. Patients are naturally driven to do the majority of their business with you–science supports this–if you properly support them along their customer journey. When they don’t buy from you, it’s not usually because of something like your competitor’s pricing–something you cannot control–instead it’s likely an issue with your communications, procedures, or customer service. 

That puts the onus on us to eliminate these negative experiences to make it easy for our patients to say “yes”. Old advice based on “sales tactics” needed to go by the wayside, as it’s been clearly evident in the contact lens realm they haven’t worked well for most of us. Instead, focusing on elements of the customer journey and decision-making process makes more sense and feels holistic as well–as most of us don’t enjoy feeling salesy anyways.

Setting up how to easily have more patients say “yes” to one day replacement lenses

Had your fill of philosophy on patient decision-making and motivation? Ready for something actionable? Great! While these last two articles are important for setting the stage of the “why” for any of my advice and observations–I’m looking forward to now helping identify and eliminate common mistakes that happen in most of our offices. The first of which will be how to make it easy for patients to say “yes” to one-day replacement lenses before they even see you in the exam lane.

Questions? Comments? Please reach out to me at

By Ryan Gustus, OD

Driving contact lens sales with a smart approach.


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