Do you find that getting a lead over the line and turning them from a prospect to a patient is often one of the most difficult and hazardous parts of the sales process? It’s where all your hard work culminates and, hopefully, pays off.
For a dental practice that has no automation supporting this process, it can be all too easy to lose a prospective patient at this stage. A prospective patient can be engaged with the patient journey all the way up (and beyond) the point of sale, but may get cold feet, or distracted, when it comes to actually joining the practice.
Automations are not only a great way to keep the momentum going and avoid being left at the altar at the last minute, but also can save an enormous amount of time, leaving space to build the all important relationships.. If you let the wheels fall off or slacken in your approach even momentarily, it could be enough for them to lose interest and sign up with a more attentive practice.
Establishing processes that ensure continual engagement builds confidence in the practice and can leave little room for second thoughts. If you can keep engaging with your prospective patients at every step, keep checking in with them, and do not hesitate to anticipate the next step, that crucial last part of the sales process can be so much smoother and less prone to last-minute decisions not to join you.
Engaging with your ideal patient and overcoming objections
For a successful closing of a sale that ends in the prospect becoming a paying patient, you not only need to be creating engagement but also overcoming objections all the way through the process. Upping the ante at the last minute may not cut it.
The number one rule in sales is to never leave a conversation without booking in the date for the next conversation. This means checking in with the prospect, sending emails or text messages confirming what you’ve discussed so far, and reminding them as to when your next conversation will take place.
If you know your Ideal Patient then you’ll also know what their objections and questions are likely to be as well as any information they’ll require in order to overcome them. A successful sales funnel is reassuring. Ideally, you should be able to overcome objections before they even arise or questions before they are asked..
Be specific. For example, if a prospective patient has a price question, you could be ensuring they know about your payment plan options or going more in depth detailing the value they are going to get from your treatments.. If you know the FAQs you can be answering these in follow-ups using automation such as reassuring, informative emails and other channels like SMS messages.
It’s important that you educate patients on why you should be the dental practice of choice versus the competing practice around the corner from you. Without a standard rate for services in the dental industry, you need to be evidencing why your prices are fair and giving patients as much information as possible for them to see the value in your service beyond the price tag of it.
How can you evidence the value you provide?
Another way to maintain engagement and to reassure objections is by using testimonials and case studies that prove the value you can add. This is a great way of evidencing that what you say is what you do. For instance, when we’re thinking about how we can add value to our patients in the dental industry, a great example would be using chatbots.
Chatbots are an integral part of the Ideal PatientJourney that we have designed for our dental practices at The Business Catalyst. As it’s already included in the system, it can save huge amounts of money as the alternative is to pay for individual chatbots per site. When many dentists have multiple sites, that gets really expensive – it can be upwards of £100 per chatbot.
How can automation turn prospects into patients?
A key way to improve cash flow is to get patients into your practice. The preceding step to this would be to ensure you get your treatment plans out – and then agreed with the patient. We find all too often that due to a lack of processes and efficient automations, they can end up sitting in someone’s sent items on an individual’s computer, or on a spreadsheet buried in the filing system of somebody’s hard drive.
I’ve seen it happen time and time again with dentists when looking at their existing processes: after a successful consultation with a prospective patient, follow-up treatment plans will sit waiting to be sent out There’s no follow-up, no check in, no dashboards or visibility of the outcome of these calls, and therefore no consistent engagement. When this is the case, it is no surprise when prospective patients are lost right at the point of close.
Without a doubt, handling your sales funnel in this way – with no automation or set processes – is going to inhibit your closing process. It will be difficult for staff members to access relevant data, and huge amounts of money will be wasted just sitting in treatment plans that need to be chased up and closed.
Most importantly, though, without automations and when doing everything manually, it’s impossible for you to know dynamically when a patient has opened their treatment plan, or if they’ve even seen it at all. This information is vital because you can use it to guide your next steps – namely, those follow-ups that lead to the close.
Using automated software such as Keap means that you can see when a prospective patient has opened and viewed their treatment plan. Alerts can then be sent internally to the member of staff responsible for the next stages, letting them know that it’s time for a follow-up or a check in. Even these can be done automatically via email or SMS – it could be something as simple as a line or two to ask if they have any questions regarding their treatment plan and to encourage them to sign it.
Following this, you can set up next-step automations that are triggered upon receipt of the patient’s acknowledgement, such as sending a deposit payment request or creating and sending an invoice using cloud-based accounting software like QuickBooks or Xero.
Automation will protect your sales funnel
When you’re working with manual processes that require you to get on the phone with a patient to take a deposit or wait until the patient comes into the practice to take payment, you’re wasting your valuable time and possibly creating a huge amount of risk for your practice.
With automation, once a patient has signed their treatment plan, you can automatically deliver them the equivalent of a checkout link for them to pay. You can then book them in for treatment and will have saved valuable time within your practice for the front of house staff, the treatment coordinators, and the practice managers.
If you’re looking for more information on how to automate your practice and nail your sales process, check out our Ideal Patient Journey to see how we can help.