“If you market, they will come.”
What a promising statement… Like the beam of a lighthouse, assuring you that everything will be okay. There’s just one little problem.
It’s wrong, wrong, wrong. False, misleading, and just plain dumb. In fact, this neatly packaged adage is doing you more harm than good because it’s distracting you from getting to the root of your problem and fully examining your marketing machine.
You’re probably wondering what the heck I mean by that. Well, let’s start at the beginning. What is a marketing machine, and what are its pieces? A well-oiled marketing machine is designed with one goal: to get patients in your door. It’s comprised of three components.
1) The physical marketing piece
2) First contact with the potential patient
3) The office visit
First things first. Whoever is in charge of marketing your practice has to create a marketing piece. A sign on a park bench, a flier, an email, a postcard—whatever it may be. Next, they have to send it out to potential patients in the area or post it where it can be seen—again, depending upon your specific marketing strategy. This first component is fairly simple.
The second component is trickier. After your marketing is released into the world, it will begin to generate phone calls. That’s the whole point of marketing, right? So, someone sees your number on a park bench or receives one of your fliers in the mail, and ring, ring—they call your office. They’re officially interested. Now pay close attention…
Who answers the phones at your practice? Your front desk team. Okay so your phone rings. They answer the call and speak with the potential patient. This is the first and most important point of contact—I call it the “first touch”. In a well-oiled marketing machine, your team is properly equipped to handle every question and every call. They are able to schedule 99% of these calls and completely fill your schedule. When that happens, your marketing ROI goes through the roof.
We’re in the home stretch… To review: you created a marketing piece. Your piece generated a call. The caller was scheduled. Now, the scheduled patient just has to show up. Once they walk through your front door—that’s end-game, homerun, pop–the-champagne time… You did it! Your marketing machine is a success! Keep doing what you’re doing.
Unfortunately, this well-oiled beauty isn’t your average dentist’s marketing machine. In fact, the machine I described is the outlier rather than the norm. The average dentist has a much lower marketing ROI and rarely sees this volume of new patients. So let’s do some examining… Where is the breakdown occurring between step 1 and step 3 of your marketing machine? (Here’s a hint… There’s probably nothing wrong with your marketing pieces.)
The breakdown is occurring during that very first point of contact with the patient… The telephone. It is the most underrated and neglected part of your marketing machine—and the most important. Another component could break and the machine would continue to operate, but when your phones are broken, the entire machine shuts down.
Your marketing pieces are generating phone calls; your phone is ringing, and (if it is being answered at all) your front desk is wasting the opportunity and failing to schedule the potential patient… All because you’ve never trained them on how to do it properly! Be honest. When you were looking to fill a front desk position, you probably hired someone to be “the friendly voice on the other end of the line,” right? You didn’t hire someone who knew about streamlined scheduling, selling the value of treatment, avoiding verbal vomit and using proper verbiage!
So, the bad news is, your marketing machine is broken. Your telephones are the broken piece. As long as your machine is broken, you’re essentially flushing your marketing budget down the drain. You are wasting your time, money, and energy on feeding a broken machine. Which is why “if you market, they will come,” is a big load of bull-hockey.
But here’s the good news. It’s 100% fixable… And it’s a whole lot easier than you think. Fix your phones. Today. Invest in training your team on the phones so they can maximize this crucial interaction and schedule the new patient every single time. Training your team on the phones is the only way to patch up your broken marketing machine and significantly increase your new patient numbers, production, and collections. Remember when I said that a well-oiled marketing machine would take your ROI through the roof? Yeah, I wasn’t joking.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at the math to see what your telephones are costing you.
Every single new patient you lose is worth approximately $1,500 to your practice over their lifetime—and that’s a low-end estimate. So let’s say that 15 potential patients see your marketing piece and call your practice this week. Out of those 15 callers, your staff is only able to schedule 10—another generous estimate. Let’s say this happens every single week, as it does in most offices. That would mean your practice is losing $7,500 each week, $30,000 each month, and a grand total of $390,000 in one year. Just let that sink in for a second. $390,000 lost because you haven’t trained your team on how to handle new patient phone calls. That’s pretty painful.
Those are the facts. You now understand the model for a well-oiled marketing machine. You know that your telephones are the key to marketing success, and you’ve seen the devastating consequences of undertraining your team. Now, the question is… What are you going to do with those facts?
I can point at the problem all day long, but you have to be the one that decides to fix it.
Take less than 2 minutes (yes, we timed it) and visit www.schedulinginstitute.com/sign-up/readiness-rating/. Complete the simple Quickstart form and we’ll send you a FREE assessment of how your office is treating your new patients on the phone.
So, are you up to the challenge? …. Or will you turn a blind eye?
Make it a productive week!