You’ve undoubtedly heard the brags of excellent “closers” of new patient leads and even seen them produce large numbers of appointments from talks and screenings only to be disappointed on the back end. For even your best efforts to close (or those efforts of your associate docs, chiropractic marketing assistants, etc) may yield a full appointment book, but more likely lead to an empty waiting room!
Let’s be honest. Gaining a return on your investment from screenings and talks has been lacking, to say nothing of frustrating and seemingly worthless. How do you get even a small amount of return? The answer is as elusive as the “magic” close. Actually, ROI does not derive from appointments booked. These are, in fact, meaningless. No, the highly-sought-after “ultimate close” is not only legendary and mythical, it also doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of practice building. Real practice growth comes, not from a prospect’s decision to come see you, but out of the ACTIONS they take following.
What actions are we talking about? Well, it’s not saving your info in their phone, taking your card or adding you to their calendar. It’s not even paying you a deposit at the screening or simply agreeing to an appontment. Personal experience time and again has disabused me of this idea and shown me that it is something altogether different, yet subtle enough to have escaped the attention of nearly every doc.
What finally convinced me that collecting deposits at screenings doesn’t work? I collected a $40 deposit at a screening from 3 new patient leads (one family), that’s $120, and all three blew off the appointment, never to be heard from again. True story!
When push comes to shove, appointments, secured or not, do not equate to an end-all of the screening process, contrary to the ways everyone seems to teach it or do it. It took me years of doing it this way and observing, tracking and modifying before I realized what the real problem is.
Instead of trying to meet as many people as possible in public, docs and their staff tend to go out donning mining helmets and lanterns to look in the dark corners and crevices to seek out and find those rare gems we call “qualified patients” which action turns out to be a complete and utter waste of time and practice resources, not to mention the most inefficient way to market a practice!
Too many screenings are focused on “the close” making “appointments booked” the target, when it is actually something else altogether. Closes mean nothing, and emphasizing them will shrink, not grow your practice if you’re not careful!
So, where should you focus your attention? What ultimate product should you go for and get in abundance? The answer is simple: arrivals. If you focus on new patient leads arrivals, your whole game plan changes. Think about it. Arrivals in-office are what really are what fuels the machine. To do more ROF’s you need to focus on more new people arriving. It’s simple math. Actually its not even math – it’s common sense.
Bottom line? When you do a report of findings in office, no matter how many days it takes, the basis of doing it in volume relies, not on how good of a closer of appointments you were out in public, but how effectively could get volumes to just show up. And, to get more arrivals, you need to screen more people; an abundance of people actually, not a “qualified few” as you may refer to it, which, in simple terms, means ” weed out the unwanted” so as to not waste your time. Doing that leaves you with a gigantic scarcity of people to sell.
Symptoms of a “weeder-outer”, one who strives to control who gets booked and who is cast aside, are numerous but include, especially, collecting deposits, discussing insurance benefits at the event, or otherwise trying to establish “credentials” in any new patient potential.
Understand this. Qualification? That is the job of your salesman, the ROF person, who is most likely you. As the sales person in the practice, trust me, regardless of qualification, you want as many people touring through your office as possible. No exceptions!
Use of duress and penalties (non-refundable deposits and downpayments) is not the way to create a new patient arrival, much less an eventual sale of a treatment package. Creation of prospect interest or offering incentives and rewards are what get people motivated to take action and show up!
I have found, in fact, that charging deposits and even making discount offers out in public (which in most cases is illegal these days) is more of a sure-fire block to your front door than an assurance that the person arrives. It denotes a note of desperation and lack of persistence to endure the actual length of time it really takes to get someone started onto your internal sales process, the ROF.
Allow me to explain.
Lets place you in the shoes of the consumer and get you to look through his eyes when he buys any product. Have you ever been asked for a deposit to try something for free? Has a car salesmman, perhaps, asked you to pay a deposit to come see him, or perhaps test-drive a car. Setting aside the test-drive, as a person would have to be an arrival for that to occur, what of calling up a dealership to make an appointment with a salesman to find that they ask for your credit card for a $20 fee to reserve your appointment? What would you do in that situation? Doesn’t it sound a little batty or silly at least? Well, that is because it is and that is what you sound like, even more so because you are a doctor, not a purveyor of cars.
Check out any product out there that sells to the masses and is making millions. What do they do to accomplish that? Don’t they try and get in touch with as many prospects as possible by any means possible? Look around. Do they not do everything possible to interest you and get you to look deeper and further into their products? Of course they do. Have you ever not bought on the first try and still been contacted repeatedly? Certainly you have. That’s because this method works. But you are not doing it!
Here’s the current workable methodology: An initial contact is made. Contact is then continued repeatedly to take a prospect, step-by-step, through a sales process until he buys (or takes action). Getting him convinced to show up is definitely a step, but getting him to actually show up or take the desired action is an even more important step. Once gotten to arrive or act (in their store, on their website or to their event) selling the product becomes way easier, but it requires multiple contacts. Therefore, to make volume sales, all you need to do is create volume arrivals. Entrepreneurs know this principle well, at least the non-posers.
How do you create volume arrivals so as to flood your internal sales team with potential treatment plans galore? ANSWER: Stop guarding your door!
Are you getting the idea there is something more to external practice marketing than just a good close? Well, you’re 100% correct. And, now you can look the real problem straight in the eye.
The real problem is that you are unknowingly guarding, and even blocking your front door!
Consider this: Wouldn’t it make sense that, if you wanted the entire community to know what you’re about and what you do, that you need to parade as many people through your office as possible? I know what you’re thinking… “That sounds like a big waste of my time with lots of unqualified people!” Really?
This is a concept I detailed in one of my hour-long webinars. I call it “Cherry Picking” and, suffice to say, is one of the biggest practice killers known to practice-kind. All the small practices suffer from it, while the giants of the profession avoid it at all costs! For, real promotion recognizes that to get the few, you must reach the many. This is a concept called “funneling” which is a bigtime tenet among entrepreneurs. The concept is to reach out to everybody, a mass of people, and then and only then, once corralled and well-promoted-to, multiple times, selling to those who are qualified. What happens to the rest, are they just cast aside or thrown in the trash? No, they are continuously sold until they buy. Now look at what you do. Do YOU do THAT?
Setting out to look for the qualified ones before they have ever seen the inside of your office, or even before you have spoken to one public person is not only non-productive, it is a complete waste of your time and resources and will keep you small, even when it seems to be productive of new patients and income. For it blocks potential income. The income you never saw is hard to miss. Start doing the math and heartbreak awaits you eagerly.
How do you funnel the masses to your doorstep and and close a maximum on care instantly, now, today and without delay, with no waste of time or energy? ANSWER: You can’t! (No really. You CAN’T!)
The fact is that when you go out and do live events such as chiropractic screenings or talks, the process doesn’t end at the close. In fact, no one is 100% ready, at least if they have a life outside of their symptoms. Even for the most “qualified” lead, life is full of much more than you, chiropractic or even the condition itself. Attention gotten at the screening soon fades, even in the most motivated of leads. Appointments booked by would-be new patients are soon outweighed in priority by other pressing life matters. When these people no-show, what do you do? Be honest. You label them duds, curse them out or get frustrated and conclude screenings don’t work. Right?
The remedy is an overhaul, not of your entire practice or even your marketing, but of your outlook and your process. Screenings and talks work if you consider that your contact with the person at the event is a first step, regardless of whether or not they make appointments or even show up. Since when does anyone get what you’re talking about on the first attempt anyway? Your existing patients are often difficult enough to retain; and they’re already are on-board! Observe for yourself how much follow-up and reactivation effort is required to retain patients. So, how could wold you expect more from someone who has never even seen the inside of your office?
How, then, DO you get more people to your doorstep and end the frustration due to no-shows?
The answer, clearly, is to lengthen your concept of how long you need to communicate with prospects in order to get them to arrive. When you are speaking to or screening someone, look far beyond your appointment book and for a more worthwhile goal. If you fail to book a prospect or get them to arrive, what is your action plan to get them to do so eventually? Labeling their survey “dud” or “not qualified” or throwing it in shredding does nothing but waste time and resources. Any good salesman would turn white and faint seeing you do such things. Some may even need intensive medical care. Real salesmen cherish, worship and foster the lead generation, collection and rely heavily upon the constant communication process.
Ideas? How about follow-up events to invite them to, like a talk in your office, or that dinner talk you are struggling to get prospects to attend? Maybe devise a contest where you give away prizes and have to followup with the contest results. You can even sell them products. Just ask me, I am FULL of ideas on how to do this. I literally dole out hundreds of ideas to my clients in our coaching calls.
You should even check out this calcium and magnesium supplement that I have been recommending to my clients and which many of them use, not only to assist their patients, but as a marketing tool with which to keep non-first-time-bookers in touch with the practice. You can buy it wholesale at a very low price and sell it retail for a profit, or even give it away – a very cheap marketing expense indeed. I actually promote the product when I do talks and encourage people to get it from the office. I discuss this in my video course I offer on how to kill it at talks.
Getting leads from screenings or talks to come back repeatedly for a product or service that interests them (and is not a long term commitment) is a great way to keep chipping away at them until they finally decide it’s time. And THAT is an example of how to get everyone! Making this subtle shift can not only be a game-changer, it can be a practice transformation that puts the profit and the fun back where it belongs. And I wish for you to experience both of those!
So a better plan than qualifying, weeding and closing appointments would be to meet everyone possible and establish follow-up communication as a priority, with the emphasis and focus on doing anything, and I mean ANYTHING, to get the person, not closed, not under care, but just somehow, some way, by some means, to show up in your office. Period. After all, that is your domain, and in your domain, you are KING!
Don’t believe it. Do it. See it. THEN believe it. I know you’ll surprise yourself!