Imagine your potential patients are browsing your mobile website on their phones in hopes of finding a dental professional they can rely on to solve their dental woes. With your phone number now easy to access, they click the link and receive the inevitable ringing from the other end. What is your strategy to hook them? How do you convince them that you are the right choice for all their oral health needs? In last week’s blog post, I discussed the importance of that all-important first call, but in this blog post we are going to delve deeper and explore five crucial aspects required to convert those calls into scheduled appointments.
- Phone etiquette
In a previous post, I highlighted various ways to improve your phone etiquette, such as asking open-ended questions, resisting the urge to dominate the conversation, and listening attentively without interrupting. But why is phone etiquette so important? In order to communicate your message effectively to your potential patient, you have to consider how that message is being communicated. Without the proper phone etiquette, your potential patient most likely won’t understand or might even dislike your message.
When you speak to a prospective patient face-to-face you are given the opportunity to utilize your nonverbal communication skills; however, on the phone, everything you say is in your voice. This is not just about what you say but how you say it. What tone are you using? Is your tone clear? Are you communicating confidence? Are you getting your message across without sounding pushy or negative? It is also important to note that once you answer a call, you are representing not only yourself but also the practice and you have only a limited amount of time to make a positive impression.
- A smile
You don’t necessarily have to be face-to-face with someone for them to know you’re smiling. A smile can be transmitted through your voice and can have a profoundly positive effect on your prospective patients. You might even find that if your patient is in a bad mood, your smile can change that. With a smile, you can impress upon your prospective patients not only your confidence but also your empathy and your concern for their oral health.
What does it mean to be confident? According to alwaysgreater.com, it means “knowing what you’re good at, the value you provide, and acting in a way that conveys that to others.” Being unable to demonstrate confidence in yourself and your practice over the phone could cost you prospective patients. Communicating a lack of confidence makes you smaller, makes your voice quieter, and has the ability to discredit your authority in the dental field. Think of confidence as the cornerstone to achieving visibility with these prospective patients. You can accomplish more, solidify your authority as someone they can trust to handle all their oral care issues and, in turn, build yourself and your brand.
- Minimal distractions
Your prospective patients deserve to feel like gold when they are on the phone with you. Workplace distractions like the noise of phones ringing or people talking tend to make that patient think you’re too busy or too distracted to address their problems or give them the private one-on-one they’re looking for. To avoid this, try to find a quieter area in the office to take the call and give that prospective patient the attention they deserve.
In almost every article I researched, I did not come across this aspect as often as I expected to, but maybe that’s because it’s a given. Some articles have suggested scripting a greeting, but you don’t want to sound scripted on the phone, and you won’t if you believe in what you’re selling. Use your faith in your talents and your practice to help persuade your prospective patient. Don’t follow a script to the letter, either. Try to improvise a little. Turn a simple enquiry into a personal conversation. This can engage your prospective patient in a more inviting and comfortable atmosphere. Both of you will relax and be able to speak freely. Let the patient ask you questions and be prepared to answer them openly and honestly. Sincerity allows you an edge on your competitors as being sincere helps you to build an honest and trusting relationship with your patients. They will feel that you really are concerned for their well-being and they are more than just a dollar amount. And the reason they will feel that is because it’s true.
What other aspects can you think of? Please feel free to leave your comments in the section below.