Converting Cosmetic Telephone Leads Into Consultations
Converting leads—people who visit your website and actively engage with it in some way—into consultations and paying customers is essential to generate a high return on your digital marketing investment. Although some practices point to “the quality of leads”, conversion rates are primarily determined by lead management and sales follow-up execution. How effectively you respond makes a huge impact on whether potential patients engage, develop trust and ultimately turn into consultations.
There are countless intake and follow-up strategies that address everything from managing incoming telephone leads to following up on email form submissions, engaging with Live Chat sessions or text messaging leads. Since telephone calls are the most valuable type of lead your practice website and digital marketing can generate, by far, we will focus on telephone intake, and address converting other types of leads in upcoming articles.
Don’t Leave Potential Patients Hanging
Nothing has more potential to drive away leads than a never-ending dial tone on the other end of an inquiry phone call or impersonal automated recording. We are in the business of elective medical sales, which means individual attention, personal care, and immediately building rapport, connection and trust with callers. Their first experience with your practice is not only lasting, it may be your only opportunity to differentiate your practice and convert these expensive leads. Having designated intake staff to handle marketing-driven calls to immediately engage with telephone inquiries is the first step to high conversions. This is particularly important when your marketing strategies concentrate on business hour visibility, especially prospects lunchtime (when website traffic typically spikes).
Focus on the Customer, Not a Quick Sale
When a new potential patient calls your office to discuss their interest in cosmetic surgery, they already demonstrate an interest in your services. However, not every caller is ready to be “closed” and schedule a consultation. At the same time, earning the right to close is not about having scripted salesy pitches. Rather, effective intake is based largely on giving the caller your focused attention and actively listening with an attitude I like to call a helpful spirit. Only then can you fully and genuinely engage with a potential patient and develop an immediate rapport. Everyone wants to feel like they are being heard and understood, so focusing on the prospective customer goes a long way in securing their trust and business. Leads are also be very expensive to generate. It is important to concentrate on the caller and avoid the distractions of other tasks or side conversations—be present!
Take Back Control
Superior intake not only requires you focus on the caller and listen, but to actually manage the call. Good telephone intake isn’t just about deflecting loaded questions (typically costs) or quickly giving generic or scripted answers to get callers off the phone so you can get back to the work you were interrupted on completing. Managing the call starts by taking back control of the conversation, so you can engage with the prospect in a more helpful and personal manner. So what do I mean by control? Simply put, you need to get the caller’s permission to be the one asking questions and controlling the direction of the conversation. You are the expert in this situation and know what type of information potential patients need to know in order to make well-educated decisions. It may sound challenging, but it is as simple as, “That’s a good question. To give you the most accurate information, can I ask a couple of quick questions first?” That’s it! In less than 5 seconds you can now start managing the call.
Ask Better Questions
Once given control, high-performance intake specialists ask questions that help them have more genuine conversations with the caller. They also ask questions that communicates that they care; that they are willing to invest time to get the caller’s input and provider answers that are specific to him/her. These questions can range from cordial questions that build rapport; to questions that uncover personal motivations, interests, goals, and concerns; to queries that help qualify them as candidates for a procedure of interest, or direct them to a more appropriate solution.
“Can I ask who I am speaking with?”
“Are there specific goals you want to achieve with this procedure?”
“Is there a timeframe that we need to achieve your results?
“Have you had any previous cosmetic surgery procedures?”
By asking better, more strategic questions, you will get patients to open up more give more accurate and relevant answers.
Better Intake Requires Better Listening
By asking better initial questions, your prospects will engage, share more personalized insights and provide the opportunity to ask more qualifying questions that can uncover deeper motivations and position you as an authority. But just like before, in order to get maximum value out of their responses, you must be actively listening in order to recognize these opportunities. For example:
You: “How long have you been considering this procedure?”
Prospect: “About 6 months”
You: “So what made you call us today?”
Earn The Right to Ask For the Order
By investing focused time to build rapport and learn more about your prospective patients, you can now address their questions with more professional and personalized answers that will earn you the right to ask to schedule a consultation. Be able to confidently describe unique benefits of your surgeon and practice, and communicate the value of your consultations. You will find scheduling a consultation is not a sales tactic, but a natural flow to the conversation and a helpful way to guide your patients through the decision-making process. Recognize that surgery is an important decision and there is huge value in your consultations.
Follow Up with a Purpose
Not every lead will immediately convert into a consultation, but that doesn’t mean they won’t eventually. Differentiating your follow-up can also set you apart. Be sure to collect contact information (especially email) as a way to provide them more useful information.
“To help you make educated no-pressure decisions, I would be happy to forward you some very helpful information about the procedure and financing options (especially if they asked about cost). What’s a good email address I can sent that to?”
Equally importantly, incorporate links to key sales materials on your website in your email responses. This can be links to your Before and Afters, Financing page, About Your Consultation page, About Your Surgeon page, Frequent Q&As page, How to Compare page, etc. Keep in mind, your website shouldn’t just generate leads, it needs to help you close them as well!
Stay Top-of Mind: Standardize and Automate
As industry research indicates, cosmetic surgery patients go through a rather long decision making process. Even if your services match up perfectly with what a lead is looking for, you may still lose them as a patient if you are inconsistent with how and when you follow up with them. Establishing and sticking to a specific schedule for follow-ups is crucial to stay memorable, build authority and trust and not lose leads to competitors. All intake leads need to be tracked and managed in a lead management platform or within your practice management software to systematically stay in front of them. As much as possible, increase efficiency and profitability by automating parts of your intake and follow-up process.
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