There’s a love-hate relationship always going on between marketers and doctors.
And this happens because one critical element of the relationship is missing: fear management.
Marketers are focused on lead generation. And that’s a really hard job in itself. Finding new and creative ways to stand out from the crowd when promoting a service, creating effective psychological triggers to make people want a service, building a system that works seamlessly online and of course testing, testing, testing, testing … (did I mention testing?),so that everything is optimized to perfection, the cost per lead acquisition is minimal and the client gets the most eager prospects into their business without wasting money and time on useless advertising. Most practices waste $2-3k a month on direct mailers, Yelp ads, and other nonsense, without any clear data to prove positive ROI (or at least understand how their money is being spent) which should be a crime in itself.
Dentists are focused on dental care. Because a person didn’t go to study medicine and specifically dentistry for years, then to specialize in a complex topic and constantly learn what are the latest good case practices in their field to then have to learn how to sell.
Marketers don’t like selling either. At least not in the face 2 face kinda way. That’s why they are online marketers. And this leads to a common scenario that might happen when both sides are not trained in sales and closing patients for money.
Marketers focus on creating this super-duper bulletproof system that generates the best leads on command. Dentists get all riled up for those great new patients coming in. In one month you might have 50 new hot leads generated for a dental practice, yet on average only 10-15% are closed. Which can still be great, depending on the average value of the service.
And then both sides don’t understand what’s happening yet both sides feel like they did their part of the deal. Both sides feel unhappy about the situation. Dentists complain that marketers provide weak leads. Marketers can’t understand how someone who wrote in their application that they want the service ASAP and can pay right away didn’t get closed by the dental office.
This is due to basic human psychology. Let’s take dental implants for example. The average price of a single tooth implant is around $3-4k.
It’s common for people to fill out a form and flake out for a variety of reasons be it legitimate or not. Change is scary because it triggers the fight-or-flight response in the primitive part of our brains. In this case, even though a dental implant may actually be beneficial to the would-be client (lead, in this case) the brain is telling the body to slam on the breaks because they’d have to shell out money… or they’ll experience pain during rehab… or they’ll have to take time off work… etc. Most people that deal with problems related to the aspect of their teeth also suffer from some level of low self-esteem and low confidence. Now imagine them applying for a life-changing procedure in one moment and then in the next one having them hear this voice in the back of their heads telling them this is not going to work or this is not for them.
I know it’s stupid but that’s the subconscious thought process. Most deals fall through not because the lead said no but rather the lead can’t make a decision.
Be honest! Didn’t you ever want something so bad, you knew it was good for you but somehow you still talked yourself out of it because of fear? The same thing is happening here. It makes sense. Sales in this process is not actually about shoving a product down someone’s throat but more about managing that internal voice of fear quickly and dissipating it before it forms in someone’s head.
Of course, marketers can’t complain about why their clients – dentists (non-salespeople) who have near-zero interest (at best) in getting better at sales because it’s not what they do – can’t close more leads.
Of course, dentists can’t complain about why “Facebook ads don’t work” ( they work!)because the problem is that the leads are not managed in the transition between these two parties effectively.
Both sides need to learn the sales communication that needs to be in place and learn how to effectively work together to get as many dental patients in that chair as possible.
Here are 5 pointers to get the maximum out of your dental leads and double your conversions.
1. Have a mutual accountability system in place
Both parties need to know what is happening with a specific lead at every moment after they signed up for a service. The best way to do this is to have a system in place where both dentists and marketers can have access to the lead info and can see what their current status is in the sales funnel. By doing this, both sides can keep each other accountable and see if they are actually doing the right job at certain stages of the customer journey.
2. Follow up is King
Marketers can create an automatic follow up system that can send text messages and emails right away to someone that signs up for a service. They can even use discounts or time-based offers to create a sense of urgency in an attempt to make the leads call the practice as soon as possible to book an appointment.
But accountability should not be just on the marketer’s side.
The practice’s front desk should always be available to answer the phone and help a lead set up an appointment. But sometimes that just doesn’t happen because of the fear factor and the doubts mentioned earlier. So as soon as the practice gets a lead notification with the leads contact details from the marketers, the former needs to follow up ASAP.
FACTS! A lead called by a dental practice within 5 minutes of them signing up for an offer has a 95% chance of showing up for an appointment. A lead that is called within 15 minutes has only a 70% chance of showing up. And lead called after 2 hours of them signing up has just 35% chance of making an appointment. Call a lead 3 days later for the first time and you can consider that call a “cold call” because they would have forgotten about you by then and returned to their normal thought process.
Follow up with the leads, create conversations, and do it more than once if they don’t answer the first time or have doubts about showing up.
3. Have a backend automation in place for the lead journey
It shows professionalism when someone signs up and they immediately get more information in their email or phone about what the next steps are and what to expect. Any helpful information that the lead receives helps diminishes that internal fear of proceeding forward with their initial choice.
Don’t expect this to replace the human follow through the phone. As much as a marketer can try to artificially create that human interaction through automated follow-ups, the lead can only be closed by another human being, by having a conversation with someone that appears to care and actually serve them.
4. So you think you have an Appointment?
Most practices think they won once they get someone to commit to an appointment date. But that’s just 50% of the battle right there. Sometimes life gets in the way: another higher priority pops up and people need to take care of that first. Maybe they didn’t like the tone of the other person in the phone conversation and felt like they were being pressured. Or maybe they just forgot.
That’s why it’s important to have follow ups even after an appointment date has been agreed upon. The front desk should call the appointee 24 hours before to confirm the schedule and also send them a friendly text message on the day of the consultation with the location and hour.
It takes 7 contact points until someone is ready to buy. How about knocking out some of those points even before the lead first steps into your office by creating nurturing conversation both online and through the phone?
5. Do you really care?
Caring = $$$
This might be the most important factor when dealing with patients in general but especially important when dealing with dental patients. Most people don’t go to a dentist for fashionable change and to improve their looks even though they are fine to begin with. Most people that go to a dentist are in pain, suffer from bad teeth, have health issues and in some cases a low self-esteem.
And so they feel better and are easier to buy your services if you show them that you care. You can’t just sell your dental services to a person the same way as you would try to sell someone a TV.
Because when we are talking about health, people get the most scared so any extra assurance or ability to listen from a doctors side goes a long way in actually helping you close more dental patients.
Maybe someone actually signed up for an expensive service but then when they get into your practice you might see that the issue is another. They might need something else, even if it’s less expensive. Why be pushy and try to sell a 10k service that they don’t really need, triggering all their fight-or-flight systems to go off the charts when you can easily close them for 7k with something that is more suited for them.
You might say “well… that’s not good for business, Andrei”. But is it really?
Imagine actually listening to someone, taking into consideration their financial possibilities and showing that you are not looking to make a quick buck but to actually help someone. What does that tell the other person? It shows that you care! And that’s your strongest tool in fear management.
You will have less resistance from them to buy, they will feel less remorseful and will actually believe that they won someone on their side. You gain a faithful customer for years to come, you get access to friends and family and get referred to often, and most likely you’ll also receive a ton of positive reviews during this whole relationship.
Now Go Close! 😉
My name is Andrei Constantin and I’m the co-founder of Atom Leads, a digital marketing agency that loves helping local dentists thrive in the online world by creating results-based digital marketing systems that bring in more opportunities for their practice.