Frustration Boils Over and Results in a Profitable Medical Marketing Model
It’s sad but not uncommon in medical marketing to see a practice that has invested a lot of hard earned money into marketing yet having no new patients despite their efforts. At some point the practice usually comes to lose faith in marketing and puts a hold on marketing believing marketing just doesn’t work.
This was exactly the case with a dental office we were asked to mentor. They had wasted a lot of money on marketing that got them nothing and then they heard me speak at a conference about how effective marketing is. The two owners were confused. They had come to believe marketing was a waste of their money yet the ideas I gave in my talk seemed to make sense. They were baffled. They were inquisitive as to why their marketing had failed.
Be Careful – Compare Apple to Apples
Before you draw the conclusion that marketing ideas don’t work and make a big mistake you need to have your marketing strategy examined. Are you using newsletters? Postcards? Mailings? Do you have a “cookie-cutter” look-alike dental website? Are you blogging on your own site? Are you advertising? How are you using social media? What other things are you doing?
Marketing that is done without strategy and that is not interactive will often generate no results. However, interactive marketing can make or break your entire practice.
As I examined this practice and all their marketing strategies I found one internal strategy to be really hindering their marketing success. I believe the reason medical practices fail is that staff is not properly trained to handle phone inquires and a gold mine of revenue is lost every month in practices. When I share the following case study my point will become painfully clear. And this case study is very typical.
A Hippy At The Front Desk?
We found that the office manager of a dental practice in New Jersey had a very timid and quiet personality. We suggested she be replaced with an outgoing and fun loving person who answered phones and supervised the team to handle calls. As people were coming in for interviews our ideal candidate arrived! She came for her interview by bike – a hippy decorated bike! She had a great sense of humor and was outgoing and very personable and funny. She was so funny we said she could do comedy and she told us she did some open mic nights and loved it. She was our gal and we hired her to head up the team.
We suspected the office manager the doctors had prior to the new hire was dropping the ball. She did not have the personality to manage and was too timid to enjoy phone work. We had a strong feeling marketing was generating phone calls and that the office staff was avoiding picking up the phone. Most people who call a dental office for the first time for an appointment or to inquire will just hang up if the phone is not answered by a person. All the lost opportunity! Even if the phone had been picked up if people were put on hold quickly or treated rudely or not given clear answers, appointments would not have gotten scheduled. We guessed, after meeting the first office manager, this was the case.
We were right. Using the same marketing and just hiring the hippy with the outgoing comedic personality we fixed the holes in the swiss cheese. This was one of the biggest holes this practice had. There were other holes. This was the glaring and largest hole of them all. After several more staff trainings and then staff mentoring sessions each problem was dissolved.
One thing to note about this practice is that the owners were very open to coaching and wanted their problems exposed and dealt with. They were ready to hear, “Your baby is ugly” and didn’t want us to soft shoe it.
The 5 Step Medical Marketing Turn-Around
The first thing we did with this client was staff training to properly handle new patient inquiries. This is a key point. Most medical practices don’t realize how important the proper staff and especially the properly trained staff is to convert the leads that get created through marketing efforts into patients. Certainly our goal is not to fire people. In this case the dentist had the wrong person in the job and we had to find the right person as one of our business solutions we proposed to him and he quickly agreed.
Without the right person at the helm who has the right personality and training you may be losing a lot of money. This practice was.
Next we worked on scripting. I highly recommend scripts for every type of professional practice. Typically in our done for you and done with you system we provide assistance with the following types of scripts (and more if a practitioner needs those):
1. Establishing rapport
2. Track the exact source of the call (Where did you hear of us?)
3. Find out what their problem is
4. You’ve called the right practice because Dr. X is Y….
5. Schedule by saying would you prefer x or y for your appointment?
6. Answer objections, that’s no problem…
The No Sell: Sell Without Selling Method
Staff does not want to sell appointments or cases. Our training did not include training them in traditional sales. We based all sales training on the bestselling book Sell Without Selling, Lessons from the Jungle for Sales Success. This is more of a coaching approach helping people make their own choices or decisions about buying. We taught the staff why it was important not to sell but to help people in their decision making. This sales training made a huge difference. Inquiry handling, when done right, gained this practice a huge increase in their bottom line.
Staff was also trained to overcome objections in a natural “Sell Without Selling” way and the office manager received mentoring so she could then oversee and lead the team.
The Right People and The Right Training
This practice quickly accepted our ideas and was willing to handle them immediately. We handled their biggest issues fast and with the right training they were able to see revenue growth quickly. Prior to us arriving they has spent a lot of money on wasted marketing. Inquiries were handled incorrectly or not even responded to. Al those marketing dollars and leads just wasted away. Very sad!
This change alone brought a big influx of cash directly to their bottom line.
Are you lacking success with your marketing? Do you believe marketing doesn’t work? Maybe you have a bottleneck and I suspect you do! Instead of spending money marketing, hire a marketing mentor or coach to thoroughly review your marketing and be open to operational changes, too. If you don’t have someone assess your practice and look at your practice from the outside, objectively, you won’t know what you won’t know!
Let’s fix your practice so it becomes a cash generating machine!
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