Most practices do not have an efficient and effective way to follow-up with leads (also called “lead conversion strategy”). This is silly. Lead conversion is easy, requires minimal effort, and with a little management, your team can produce significant top line growth.
To schedule consultations in the past, we have relied on potential patients to call us during business hours. When they call, we don’t need to follow-up. We schedule their consultation immediately on the phone. However, more and more, patients are leaving their information on an appointment request or chatting online with our Smile Specialists at night. Because this change has happened rapidly, most practices have been caught without a solid lead conversion strategy.
How do I train my staff to follow-up with these potential patients and convert the lead into a consultation? How many calls should I expect my staff to make? Is there a way to do it without being “pushy”?
In this article, you will learn exactly how to identify leads and effectively turn your leads into new patient appointments. In the end you will come away with a step-by-step guide to implement with your team.
What is a Lead?
An effective lead conversion strategy is nearly free and requires little of the orthodontist’s effort. But what is a lead?
With OrthoChats, a lead is a potential patient who has inquired about financing, insurance, and/or treatment options. In order for their lead to be actionable, they must have contact information. We recommend collecting the patient’s name, cell phone number, and email address. Once you have this information, you have a “hot” lead.
Online chat on your website delivers hot leads. These leads are hot because these patients came directly to your site asking about your practice specifically. These leads are much more likely to schedule a consultation than leads collected from a drawing at a community event for free braces, for instance.
Your lead information will look like this:
· Name: Sarah Smith
· Phone: 816-111-1234
· Email: SarahSmith@Gmail.com
Most people do not see the real value in this information. But at our office, we look at this as a $5,500 new revenue opportunity (or “NRO”). If we can convert this lead into a consultation, there is a high likelihood that they are going to start treatment.
Designing and Implementing a Lead Conversion Strategy
1. Call hot leads immediately
For every minute that we wait to contact a lead, we are decreasing the likelihood that the person is going to schedule a consultation. It is a race against time.
This is usually a team’s #1 error. They simply wait too long to contact the lead.
Think of it like this: You are shopping for a car and you want a reliable car with a low monthly payment. When on Toyota’s website, you request more information about their financing via their online information request. After filling out your name, phone, and email, you wait on a return contact. After you visit the Toyota website, you then visit the Honda website and do the same information request. If Honda contacts you back first, do you think Honda is more or less likely to earn your business? …Way more.
Don’t delay, call today.
2. Text your hot leads immediately
Some people do not like speaking on the phone, and even if they do, many people screen their calls. Unless they are receiving a call from a friend or family, they send it to voicemail. By texting the patient, you might engage the person enough to speak on the phone with them to schedule a consultation.
Patients will find it convenient to text with the office and often develop trust with the office before ever speaking on the phone. Also, although many people ignore their calls and emails, most people will not ignore a text. It’s just too easy to respond.
3. Email your hot leads immediately
Though we have already called and texted the patient, an email is important. If the person is in a meeting without access to their phone, or they just simply prefer email, this is an effective way to contact the patients.
If you are using Gmail, you can create easily duplicable emails with canned responses. This will allow you to be ultra efficient with your lead capture emails.
4. Call hot leads every day for 10 days
At my office, we just finished calling a patient every day for 25 days. We only left a message occasionally. When we did leave a message, we used a specific script to build value into the call and avoid the feeling of inconvenience and nagging.
“Hello, Sarah! This is Scott calling from Hansen Orthodontic Specialists. I was calling as a courtesy to follow-up with you about your insurance question. We are here to answer your questions at your convenience. Please call us back on this number and we will gladly help you. Have a great day!”
5. Email/text your hot leads twice more
It’s easiest to use a few different pre-formed emails and texts to send as follow-ups.
Bonus – Establish monthly long-term follow-up for unscheduled leads & unscheduled recall patients
Every practice needs a way to follow-up with leads over the long term. At our practice, we call, email and (soon) text the unscheduled recall patients and leads every month. When you break it down per month, it makes the recall system manageable and measurable.