How to Make Sure Dental Patient Leads Become Actual Patients
It doesn’t matter if you have the best online scheduling software available. It doesn’t matter how easy you make your online scheduling process. A large number of patients will want to speak with someone on the phone before making an appointment.
That means if your team handles the calls poorly or inconsistently, you could be wasting a lot of marketing dollars. Fortunately, there’s a pretty simple way to get more dental patient leads to schedule appointments when they call. All you need to do is train your team and give them tools to help them perform well every time.
The best way to do that is to create communication scripts for them to use when leads call. Here are five elements of an effective communication script for your dental practice.
A Consistent Greeting
Make sure your greeting includes (1) your practice name, (2) the name of the person answering the phone, and (3) the words “thank you for calling.”
This (1) lets people know they got the right place, (2) makes a human connection, and (3) lets the caller know you appreciate them.
Make sure your team member slows down for the greeting. If they rush through the greeting, it sets a rushed tone for the call. If they demonstrate patience and care, the caller will feel welcomed.
Acknowledge Their Questions and Ask Your Own
After the greeting, the caller will usually transition into the reason for their call. Instead of answering right away, have your team members acknowledge their question and then say, “Is it okay if I ask you a couple questions so I can serve you best?” This is important because we often don’t have all relevant information to answer questions. We also pass up the opportunity to ask important questions about how patients found our practice so we know what marketing activities are performing best.
For dental leads, ask, “Can I ask your name and how you heard about the practice?” Getting their name helps you address them by name, adding an additional human element to the conversation. How they heard of your practice gives you valuable insights into your marketing performance.
Also, ask what they’re looking for in a dentist. This helps you better understand what’s most important to patients. It also lets them know you care and that your practice is different.
Transition to Open-Ended Questions
This is the most important part of scripting.
Once you establish rapport and understand how they found you, transition to asking open-ended questions. You must ask questions that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. Yes or no questions allow prospects to close down conversations and make your team member “sell” the patient on the practice.
Sticking to open-ended questions makes your prospect think deeper. Open-ended questions can even get the caller to sell themselves on your practice so all your team member needs to do from there is schedule an appointment. For example, “Why are you interested in getting a crown?” is a great question to get the prospect to convince themselves that they want a crown. It also helps you understand exactly why they want the crown. Many times, you’ll learn they want the procedure to ease some physical pain or stop being self-conscious about their smile.
That can help you respond by saying, “We can get you smiling again” instead of “Sure, we do crowns.” Which do you think would result in the patient being more likely to schedule an appointment?
Other open-ended questions include “Tell me more about that” or “How does that feel?”
At some point, your prospect will raise an objection. That’s okay, as long as your team member is prepared to address them. Make sure to put ways to address objections in your script. That includes answers to common objections as well as ways to address objections that are not on the list.
Whatever the objection, ask the prospect to tell you more about that. Ask what their biggest concern is. Ask what’s stopping them from moving forward to get the results they just mentioned to you. For example, if they mention fitting a crown into their budget, you might ask them about their budget and how much they can afford for a monthly payment.
Understanding the objections helps your team member overcome patients’ biggest concerns on the phone, which makes them more likely to move forward.
You know what they’re calling about. You understand their real concerns. You’ve helped them overcome their objections.
This is the point where you get the patient to agree to move forward in getting the treatment they’re calling about.
To do so, repeat what they want, acknowledge the objection, and ask them if they’re ready to move forward if you can help them overcome the objection. For example, with a crown, you might say, “So, it sounds like you want to get full use of your mouth back so you don’t have to worry about your tooth cracking. We can help you with that and give you multiple options to fit it into your budget. If we can get your out-of-pocket cost below $100 per month, would that work for you?” “Would that work for you” helps you close the conversation and schedule an appointment.
Document Your Script and Get More Patients
If you’re not training your team and giving them scripts to help them succeed, you could be wasting a big percentage of your marketing dollars on leads you’ll never close. Creating a script that walks through these five steps is your first step to improving your marketing ROI.
TAKE ACTION TODAY:
As you create your script for inbound calls, one of the best ways to see results is to track your numbers! Of all the calls you received this week, how many appointments have you scheduled? How many follow-up appointments have you scheduled? How many no-shows did you have? Knowing these numbers helps you to clearly see whether you’re on track to grow your revenue for the month, and what opportunities you need to focus on when a new or existing patient calls in. Want to learn more about how we have helped over 300 practices do this in our 21 day challenge? Click here to learn more.
And if you want to get more leads to call your office so your scripts can help you close even more patients, check out the team of expert coaches, training, and resources we offer in our signature Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind Program.