Overcoming Ba-a-a-ad Habits That Sabotage Your Success

If I want to be a hand model, then I should not bite my fingernails. Agreed?

If I stuff my face with cookies when I’m trying to lose weight, then I will probably not lose much. Right?

If I can’t sleep and I keep drinking coffee, then I may be preventing myself from falling asleep. Not a good idea!

Not unlike the effects of these bad habits, over the years, I’ve identified many B-A-A-D habits that stand stand squarely in the way of the ability to succeed at being an independent health or patient advocate or care manager.

No, they have nothing to do with biting your finger nails or stuffing yourself full of cookies – or even sheep! Instead they have everything to do with how you respond to inquiries from potential new clients in your efforts to guide them to do what you want them to do:  hire you and pay you.

Today we’re going to look at Ba-a-ad habit #1:

Ba-a-a-d Habit #1:

Being too helpful.

Mrs. Lowell calls you because she needs help. She describes her situation with her new diagnosis, her discomfort with the doctor who diagnosed her, her wish to explore other treatment options, and how she’s not sure what’s covered with her insurance.

Your heart just bleeds for her! She’s in a really tough spot, and you have the skills to help her.

woman on the phoneSo you begin asking her questions like, “Have you sought a second opinion?” And “have you spent time online looking at other treatment options?” And, “Have you called your insurer to get clarity on your coverage – and gotten accurate answers from them?” (Because, of course, we know insurers rarely give legally accurate answers.)

You feel GREAT because you’ve given her such good advice!

But you both end up hanging up the phone – and you don’t have a new client; no contract, and no income.


Because in your conversation with Mrs. Lowell, you were WAY too helpful and now she doesn’t need to hire you! You told her exactly what to do. You asked her if she’d gotten a second opinion, you told her how to explore additional treatment options, and you explained that clarity on her insurance would come from calling the insurer.

Why does she need you? She can do all those things herself – or at least she thinks she can. And if she can’t, she has a daughter, or a neighbor, or a friend who can. No need to pay an advocate, right?

So how do you get beyond being too helpful? 

Instead of responding with the steps that need to be taken, even if they are in the forms of questions, you can simply say, “Yes, I can help you with that!” or “Yes, I’ve helped others with that same problem.” Or “This is the kind of thing I help clients with frequently.”

You’re giving her confidence that you can help, but you’re not telling her how that will happen, so she still needs you. From there you’ll just jump right in to ask for the contract – and you’ll find yourself, more often than not, with a new client.

Next week’s TIP will take a look at Ba-a-ad Habit #2.


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