If you’ve been following my blogs, you know that my primary goal is to help each of you have a commercially successful practice. The other day, I helped a practitioner set up a health screening table at a grand opening sponsored by a local Chamber of Commerce. We anticipated 100-200 people, however, due to the pouring rain, flooded parking lot and the fact it was on a Thursday night, there were maybe 25 people! So how did it turn out? Approximately 10 people were screened, and 6 of those 10 setup appointments for the following week!
Such a tiny little event still had the potential to bring in 3-6 new patients! There was only one problem: the practitioner had not prepared to do the follow-up work needed to have a high “show” rate and turn those prospects into new patients. This was a bit of a wake-up call to me.
You see, I had assumed that the procedures were in place to deliver effective customer service, and all that was lacking was the ability to attract new people and schedule appointments!
So let’s take things from the beginning and cover all of the basics needed BEFORE you conduct a marketing event.
Business Processes & Support
A database is an electronic record of patient information. When a new patient is added to the AcuGraph system it creates and stores an electronic record of the information you type in. You might be gathering this information on an intake form and then entering it later. Let me suggest you save yourself a lot of time and use the AcuGraph database. Every new patient needs the exam and you can export this information into other programs easily. Just remember to COMPLETE EVERY FIELD!
- The AcuGraph database can be exported as a “csv” file and imported into Outlook, Excel, Access, Google Apps, Google Contacts, Word, or hundreds of applications that are designed to help you manage your customer relationships.
- Once you have this information, it can be utilized to send automated birthday messages, scheduled follow-ups, treatment compliance reminders, marketing and more!
Waiting to setup your process of entering names and scheduling contacts until after your marketing event means it won’t get done. You’re busy…marketing cannot interfere too much with your practice or you won’t do it! It doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but preparation is the key!
Emails & Letters
You need to be able to send “Thank You” emails or letters the day after your event. We’re all impressed when a company shows they care with a prompt email! Write these emails or letters now, before you need them. Create a new folder and store these drafts for future use. Eventually, you’ll have a library of well written, timely messages to send!
When you’re planning your event, block off 2 hours the next business day after the event to send emails and make calls. In fact, I suggest blocking off 1 hour, three days a week to make phone calls. Imagine how pleasantly surprised your patients will be to receive a personal call from you checking in to see how they’re doing. You’ll no doubt get their voice mail, and that’s okay. Leave them a nice message.
You can also use this time to make appointment reminder calls and new patient appointment reminder calls. NEVER underestimate the importance of personal contact! Many doctors I’ve worked with consider making personal calls “beneath” their status.
Yet THEY expect that kind of service. That kind of prideful thinking is what people dislike about doctors! Everything improves with more contact: Show rate, referrals, compliance…and especially your practice!
I conducted a poll a few months ago and found that 70% of practitioners do not have a menu of financial options for their patients. People like to know their options…so give them some to choose from! Having to decide on a case-by-case basis how much you’re going to charge is stressful to you and to the patient. You do not want the patient thinking about how much your treatments cost every time they walk in the door, so give them some advance pay incentives as well. I’ve attached a sample menu for you.
Marketing Event Checklist
Okay. If you’ve prepared everything, all you need is a checklist to make certain you have everything needed for a successful event. Print off a new one for each event.
I am always surprised how easy it is to forget one little item that interrupts the whole event! I recommend buying a large rolling “cooler” to store all of your marketing equipment in. It will keep everything together and easily rolls under your table at the event. Here’s a basic list for you!
Next week, I’ll walk you through the Event and the follow-up Process: “Turning Leads into Golden Patients!”
Post comments and let me know your experiences and how I can help YOU! Have a great week!