Tips to Increase Your Consult Conversion Rate

Here’s a little-known fact about marketing that most physicians overlook – it’s not how many leads your marketing generates, it’s the quality of those leads that counts!

What do we mean by quality?

Simply put in “marketing speak” – the higher the quality of lead means the more likely a person is to become your patient. The converse is also true – low quality leads means those people who are “tire kickers”, who may respond to your online ads but never show up to appointments.

In other words, the higher the quality of a lead, the more likely a prospect is to convert to patient during the consult process. If you’re thinking that your consult conversion rate is disappointing because perhaps you’re just not saying the right things to them, or perhaps the quote form is not presented as clearly, simply and professionally as it could be, or perhaps your front staff are not doing their jobs properly (following up with anyone who’s sat with you for a consult) – you may not be wrong. All of these are definitely factors that contribute to having a high – or low – consult conversion rate. But to properly address this problem, we have to look things from a much wider perspective first.

Step 1. Is your marketing attracting the right kinds of patients to your clinic? This step – of all of them – is the most often overlooked.

Are you getting tons of clicks, likes and engagement, but very few of these are turning into calls, and fewer still are showing up for appointments? If this sounds familiar, it may be because you are advertising price-price-price – and as a result you are attracting only those people who buy on price first and foremost. These people view plastic surgery as a commodity – that all plastic surgeons are pretty much offering the exact same things, so they can choose the ones who are cheapest.  These sorts of prospects are the worst for your practice, because they don’t appreciate your skills, expertise and training; they’re always trying to squeeze out the best price from you – and they are usually the source of most of your headaches.  When a marketing agency promises you “tons of traffic” from running a campaign – it always pays to stop and ask, “What kind of traffic?” Driving people to like or click on an ad is not difficult, but getting the RIGHT PEOPLE to do this – the ones who are truly interested in your services and are willing to pay for them – is much more difficult.

So, the first step is to take a look at your current marketing and positioning. Is it attracting the right kinds of prospective patients? No? Get this fixed as soon as possible. Once your marketing is attracting the right kinds of prospects to your practice, then you can start looking at why they may just not be buying. Let’s help you to get this fixed by moving onto Step 2.

Step 2: What are your staff saying when answering the phone? Are they quick to answer? Are they helpful? Do they use scripts? Do they follow up with a phone call or email to anyone who doesn’t convert to an appointment?

Step 2 is crucial, because it is the first real “human” interaction a prospective patient may have with your clinic. You can have the best qualified prospect in the world, which your marketing has worked extremely hard to attract, but being slow to answer the phone, rudeness, putting prospects on hold, or not taking the time to build rapport with them and give proper answers to questions, will make those prospects hang up and call your competitors immediately. Once you have your staff trained to get Step 2 dialed in, you can move to Step 3.

Step 3: What is the actual Consult Experience like?

I use the word “experience” because it’s important that every aspect of this interaction is carefully planned and choreographed. Do prospects meet with your office manager or nurse practitioner first to discuss any preliminary questions, and reduce the amount of time they spend with you? When you meet with them, do you answer all their questions? What handouts do you give them? Do you show them before and after photos (if this is permitted in your country)? Do you show them computer imaging of the results they can expect? Do you give them any written information about the procedures? Your expertise? Testimonials from happy patients? Whom do they discuss the money question with (hopefully not you)? And who follows up with them afterward? Do you send them an email? A note? Or how about a recorded message that gets straight to their voicemail, to thank them personally for coming in (and sounds like it’s really you calling them – there is an app for that!)

Step 4: How do you follow up after the consult?

When a patient says “No,” or “I’m still thinking about it,” – it doesn’t necessarily mean no. It means they’re just not sure. This is when your marketing needs to kick into high gear so that you can stay in contact with them, building a relationship until they are either ready to move forward with you, or else opt out of receiving any more marketing from you. This step – more than any other – is the one most overlooked by surgeons.

Follow these four easy steps and you’ll notice an immediate difference in your consult conversion rate, the overall happiness of your patients – and the profitability of your practice!

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Posted in: Marketing