How effective are your sales systems?
Of course, that first call, email or visit is vital. It is hard work getting people firstly to accept that they need the kinds of services you offer, and secondly to choose you over your rivals.
Once they make contact with you, it can feel like a win – you’ve overcome a big hurdle and established a connection with a potential new patient. While that is an achievement, if you focus too heavily on achieving that first contact, you are unlikely to make a great deal of headway when it comes to increasing your patient numbers. What happens next is absolutely crucial and, if done well, can make all the difference to your practice.
Think of it from the caller’s point of view. Perhaps they have seen your advert, or a friend has mentioned your practice, or they’ve walked past your window a few times and decided to find out more. Yes, calling you shows a certain degree of interest, but they are not completely ‘sold’ on your business – they still have plenty of time to change their minds, back out or try somewhere else. An enquiry is just that; it is not a sale.
To convert as many people as possible from potential customers to new patients, you need to have a thorough sales system in place. There are several vital decisions you need to make in order to set this up:
– Who will deal with new patient enquiries?
– What information will you give over the phone, by email, by post or in the practice?
– What information do you want to get from the person calling?
– What will you do to follow up the enquiry afterwards?
It is important to take control of any conversation with a potential new patient. For example, if they call up and ask how much your fees are, and you just quote a number, it is very unlikely they will sign up! However, if you ask them what their needs are, and particularly what they want to achieve with their treatment, you can tailor the information you give them, engage with them on a personal level – and help them to see the value in your services.
If you are struggling to convert enquiries into new patients, my advice would be to analyse your sales systems. Find out where you are losing people – there’s a good chance it’s after the first contact – and set up a thorough system to guide your staff through the process of turning an uncommitted caller into a new patient who will not only be loyal to your practice, but will also be singing your praises elsewhere.
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