How To Negotiate To Lower Your Medical Debt

Negotiating with your doctor or hospital can definitely help you lower your medical bills. Many people don’t think of negotiating this way. You can negotiate with the seller when purchasing a home, and you negotiate on the price of a car – and you can surely negotiate with your doctor or hospital regarding medical debt. You have a good chance to get your debt under control and to stay away from filing for bankruptcy. Paying by credit card is not the answer because you cut your options or ability to negotiate with your medical professional, as the credit card company holds your debt now.

So How Do You Negotiate Medical Debt?

Do Your Research First

Understand that their is an act called the “Fair Debt Collection Act” that requires debt collectors to “treat you fairly and prohibits certain methods of debt collection.” Next, make sure to double check all medical charges you have received from your bills. Sometimes before negotiating it is best to get an “itemized bill” so you can see all the things you were charged for in detail. Make sure you were only charged for the services given to you. An itemized bill is needed because many doctors, hospitals and pharmacists make mistakes. With Medicaid, check your bill and make sure that you were not billed more than what is allowed. In the case of private insurance, make sure you review all your health insurance coverage, because sometimes some or all of the balance could be paid for by your health insurance company.

Approach Negotiation With The Right Style

Make sure to be delicate in your negotiation approach. For example, if you want bank to waive a bank fee, yelling at the customer service rep is less likely to lead to the removal of your fee than keeping calm and yet still direct. Explain to your hospital or doctor why you can’t pay. Usually they will understand if you have valid or reasonable reasons. You effectively need to prove that the charges received are too high for the income and expenses you have. Keep your cool as you want to sound in control, which only helps you in the negotiation process.

Requirements During The Process

First, act quickly, and be proactive. Second, Make sure to keep in contact with your creditors (organizations you owe money to such as physician, doctor, medical organization or hospital) and record all of the names and phone numbers of anyone you speak or spoke to. Make sure you document all the things you did, when you did them, and the outcome. If you have a call with a creditor, then try to record it if your state allows it as 35 states do. Third, never negotiate over the phone, or make sure any agreements or terms or via email or snail mail.

What To Strive For In Negotiation

First, you want to aim at having as many medical fees or underpayment penalties associated with your balance removed or reduced. Second, you want to negotiate a payment plan. Your physician, doctor, medical organization or hospital will often times take smaller payments over a longer period of time than have you not pay at all — so try strive for a reasonable payment plan or one that you can afford. If you do reach an agreement with your creditor (payment plan or payment in full), document it and send it to your creditor. If you are paying by check add to it “Cashing Check Constitutes Payment In Full.” Third, never take the first offer you get if they are eager. You need to sense how eager or quickly they respond with an offer because if you can get a 2nd or 3rd one they usually improve. The tough part is knowing when you should take an agreement or request a better offer. Lastly, if all else fails remember you can always threaten with bankruptcy for a payment plan or better agreement because usually with bankruptcy — the creditor won’t get paid.

The Invisible Close Sales Nugget – Three Secrets to Success When Presenting to Women

As I said in my greeting, I’ve been thinking about the experience of presenting to women. Although the techniques I teach do apply across the board, I’ve noticed some intriguing differences in how men and women respond during presentations.

Sometimes it’s a difference of degree. For example, you want to use stories in every presentation, regardless of the gender make-up of your audience. But if you’re talking to women, stories will get you an even greater result.

Here are three principles to put into practice when presenting to women that will make you (and your offer!) irresistible!

1. Show Your Panties (Okay…not literally!)
The first thing you do in your presentation is introduce yourself. Your behind-the-scenes intention is to quickly build credibility with your audience and create vulnerability, so that they know you have been where they are. I call that showing them your panties.

When you’re on stage, your audience sees you as an authority. You’re a role model. You inspire them. If you build on that, your credibility goes way up. Then you bring in vulnerability. You don’t diminish yourself in any way, but you humble yourself. You say, “Yes, I have accomplished all of that. But here I am. I’m just like you.”

Show how you’ve struggled and what you’ve overcome. You don’t need dramatic food stamps or homelessness stories. I haven’t experienced any of that, but I have plenty of stories of where I’ve tried, failed, and gotten up to try again. What you want is to show your underbelly, show that you are real and that you can relate to the women in your audience.

Vulnerability is a powerful tool that women, especially, respond to. Perhaps because it connects us heart-to-heart. And whether it’s inherent in our gender or created by the culture, women love to connect. So trust the women in your audience with your vulnerability and they will trust you.

2. A Story for Every Point
The story that reveals your vulnerability is only the first one that you tell. People perk up when someone starts to share a story. And later, when they think about the presentation, it’s the stories they remember.

Stories provide emotional impact; they connect us. And remember what I said about women, we love to connect. Stories are also great because they take you, the presenter, out of teaching mode and bring you into intimate contact with every woman who’s listening. Just think about how powerful that is!

3. The Magic of Ending Early
When you’re passionate about your subject and on a roll, it is so hard to stop talking. But when you’re presenting to women, stopping even two minutes early can pay off in a big way.

I’ve noticed that if an event is supposed to end at 9:00 pm, and you end at 9:02 pm, the women in your audience will be perched in their chairs with their purses collected, ready to dash out the door. But if you end at 8:58 pm, they are still relaxed and will stay and shop at your store. And sometimes they hang around up to 20 or 30 minutes, giving you the opportunity to make a sale you would have lost if you’d run late.

And finally, as a bonus, here are a few more tips, which are drawn from my dear friend Linda Hollander’s book, Bags to Riches: 7 Success Secrets for Women in Business. When selling to women, keep these in mind.

* You have to romance the sale. You can’t just go in for the close.
* Of course, treat them with respect. Women have not always been respected in business, so we have our radar out for this.
* Don’t provide information, provide solutions. Be in the solutions business. Most working women with families just don’t have a lot of time. Don’t pepper them with information they have to sort through, offer them something valuable that will empower them now in a practical way in their own working lives.

It sounds simple, doesn’t it? Be vulnerable, tell stories, end early, provide solutions. It is, really, once you commit to it. And if you do, you’ll watch your sales conversion rate with women rise sky high.

How To Address Objections In A Negotiation – Negotiation Tip of the Week

I’ve addressed hundreds of thousands of objections over the course of my negotiation career. Objections should be addressed with the mindset of information gathered about the party with whom you’re negotiating; that includes silent partners that are not at the negotiation table, foils that might be aligned with your negotiation opponent to perform nefarious functions, the demeanor of the negotiator(s), and the culture of the negotiator’s organization. Such insights, along with reading one’s body language, will lend credence to the validity and viability of the person making objections during a negotiation. That, in turn, will allow you to discern how important an objection is, versus it being a possible ploy, created to distract you from something that is more beneficial to your position.

Handling Objections:

Before addressing objections, always be aware of the attempts of others on the opposing negotiator’s team to hype them; remember, these attempts could stem from people that are not at the negotiation table. Hyping objections can be in the form of giving them the appearance of being more valuable or dire than they are, for the purpose of gaining insight into how you might react to such attempts. Keeping that in mind, follow the steps below when addressing objections in your negotiations.

  1. When the first objection is posed, assess its veracity to determine if you should address it at all. If the other negotiator insists upon having it addressed, note his body language before proceeding to the next step. In particular, you should observe if he looks directly at you with a smile or scowl, if he looks through you as though he’s in a daze, or if he makes such a request in a timid manner. In all such cases, appraise the degree to which any of these gestures might be ploys.

a.) Looking directly at you is a sign that he’s focused. A smile can indicate that he wants to convey a friendly/casual perspective. A scowl may be an indication of a more serious projection and/or one to set the stage to take his request more seriously.

b.) Looking through you in a daze could imply that his mind is somewhere else and the fact that he’s testing you as a ploy.

c.) Making the request in a timid manner could belie the fact that he doesn’t possess a strong demeanor. He might also be examine you to see if you’ll attempt to take advantage of his docile demeanor.

  1. Ask the other negotiator to cite all of his objections. Your goal is to get them out in the open. Do this by requesting what else he’s concerned about. If warranted, have him detail why he thinks his objections are valid. Observe hidden insights gleaned from his body language and nonverbal signals, as mentioned in step 1. By doing this, you’ll gain a sense of direction he has for the negotiation.

  1. Once you’ve garnered enough insights about the purpose and value he has for citing his objections, have him prioritize them. Then, address one that’s lower on his priority list to see if that has more weight than disclosed. Couple this tactic with the outcome you seek for the negotiation. Continue this process to the successful conclusion of the negotiation.

In any negotiation, you should know what you’re dealing with before you attempt to deal with it. Such is the case when dealing with objections. Thus, by implementing the suggestions above, you’ll be better positioned to keep in check those objections intended to dissuade your attention from what’s more important. That, in turn, will allow you to be more laser focused on addressing the real objections that will impact the negotiation… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

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