The Third Question to Ask a Prospective Client

A few months ago we looked at the FIRST question to ask a prospective client.  That first question is actually a self-defense move; making sure you aren’t getting yourself into a problem with someone who has been advocate-hopping and avoiding payment.

Find that First Question to Ask a Prospective Client

The second question to ask them is their first name. Yes. Just their first name at first, so they won’t think you are trying to delve into their personal business, or their situation too far, before they are ready. Should the call progress and you know they’ll be comfortable sharing their last name, too, then it will be time to ask more.

And then – Question #3 – this is a question to help you too!  Asking this question, and getting an accurate-as-possible answer can help you save time, money, and frustration.

What’s that question?

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Be Professional AND Safe

When someone is desperate, afraid, frustrated, and therefore, possibly angry, they sometimes make choices that turn out to be dangerous to themselves and others.

Smart advocates know that those descriptors can easily fit patients who feel as if there is no hope and no way forward.  Their plight may also be exacerbated if they are dependent on drugs they can no longer take (especially opioids) or if they feel as if there is a treatment that MIGHT help, but they can’t avail themselves of it.

Desperate times lead to desperate measures – and those measures can be dangerous to advocates who don’t take steps to keep themselves safe.

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The Solution to the Paralysis of Analysis

Years ago, I wrote on the APHA Blog: Just Can’t Throw the Switch? The Analysis of Paralysis

Wow!  What a nerve I touched with the point — that sometimes we spend so much time worrying about what might happen if we attempt something big (like starting a new business) that we are too paralyzed to actually take the leap.

So let’s take a look at that leap…

Yes – it’s a biggie!  And while it’s not to be taken lightly, there are some truths that might help you take the leap.

First – let’s define it:

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He’s In the Room and Has a Name

My childhood best-friend’s father, Ed, was in his late 70s when he began to deal with difficult medical problems. A cancer diagnosis led to surgery, chemo, myriad tests and treatments…. and, of course, many doctor appointments.

His daughter, Janet, was a stalwart advocate for her father, driving 90 minutes each way, week-in and week-out for years. She attended all her father’s appointments, took notes, asked questions, filled prescriptions – in short, all those things we do as advocates, which many of us can relate to.

I used to check in with them both every couple of weeks to see how things were going. On one of those calls Ed, frustrated, reported:

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Ask for the Money

It sounds like a simple task, doesn’t it?

And yet, in all these years, I have found that the lack of ability to ask for money is one of the most consistent barriers cited by those who either decide not to open an advocacy practice, or those who fail after hanging out their shingles.

In my last post I wrote about a non-solution – creating a non-profit organization. So many who want to be advocates but don’t want to ask for money think that if they start a non-profit, they won’t have to do that dirty ask-for-money deed. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Instead, here is the simple truth:  if you can’t ask for money, you will not succeed at becoming an independent advocate or care manager. Because, if you can’t ask for money, you will not get paid for your work. No one is going to simply write you a check or give you their credit card number if you don’t ask. If you can’t and don’t get paid, your independent practice can’t succeed.

Logically, then:

If you CAN ask for money, then you’ll probably do just fine, as long as you have estimated correctly how much to charge a client.

If you CAN’T ask for money*, then either you need to learn to do so – or – you might as well walk away from your dream or desire to become an independent advocate.

If you’re one of the folks in the “Can’t Ask” group, and you truly want to make the leap to the “Can Ask” group, then here are some ideas for you:

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