Most consumers that are interested in our dental services typically don’t know what questions to ask. They’re mainly concerned with price, pain and time commitment. One of the typical questions they call asking is, “Do you take my insurance?” Another is, “How much does X cost?” Too many specialists are concerned with getting more new patients these days from non-dental sources. Most don’t realize the ramifications of how many patients they’re missing out on weekly by having NOT having their team properly trained to handle these callers. With more and more of us specialists marketing online, it’s ever more important to these convert leads to booked patients. Let’s take a look to see the best way to do this.
My Office Dilemma
About a year ago, my dental assistant Donna, came to my office frustrated. She has a farm and is always complaining about having to fork out extra money each month because of animal troubles. I thought this conversation would be no different. I was wrong. She wanted to vent about a caller that she recently spoke with over the phone. Her exact words to me were, “What is it with these people? All they ask about is price!”
I felt that this was a great teaching moment. Something else about Donna. She LOVES Ford trucks. I don’t think the word “LOVE” does it justice. She’d have a collection of them if she could afford to. Anyway, I asked her to explain to me her own buying process whenever she wants to upgrade her truck. She informed me that she diligently researches online exactly what she wants and then calls the dealership. Next, she tells them the make, model, exterior/interior color, tire size and options.
I then asked her the million dollar question, “After you tell the dealership exactly what you want, what do you ask next?”
She sheepishly replied, “How much is it going to cost?”
It was at that point that Donna finally realized that we, as the consumer, aren’t typically educated enough to ask otherwise.
Do You Take My Insurance?
Besides price, one of the most frequently asked questions is, “Do You Take My Insurance?” Many specialists have dropped the majority of their insurance plans due to the numerous changes that are constantly taking place. There’s no 100% guarantee that we can magically say a few lines and every consumer calling our practice will schedule. Especially those that you’re not contracted with their insurance. Before we get into specifics, let’s start with the “Why” first.
Start With Why
In Simon Sinek’s fantastic book, Start With Why, he highlights top ways that companies get their employees to “buy in.” Disney’s leadership is a great example of this. Their cast members (employees) keep the parks spotless because of the leadership management team started with WHY Disney is different than others. Once new employees realize this, then they are going to be much more likely to pick up trash whenever they see it throughout the park.
Do you start with the WHY before you attempt to motivate your team to learn or do something new?
If not, this is one of the best ways to get things done. Leadership is the key to a successful practice.
How to motivate your staff
Many clients ask me how to get their team motivated. Simply state the reason WHY you want it done but lead with:
- A question
- How it will benefit them
Ex: Let’s say you want to improve your team’s phone skills. You and I know that one of the BEST ways is listening to recorded calls and role playing. Yes, role playing. Most team members despise role playing. Why? Typically it’s the way that docs shove it down their throat. They say, “We need to get better answering the phone so everybody is going to start listening to phone calls and then we’re going to role play!”
As you can tell, this is not the best method of motivation.
Let’s go back up to the two suggestions:
Starting with a question and discussing benefits.
With regards to role playing, consider leading with a question:
Instead of demanding something be done, we can ask, “Who would like to make more money?” I’m sure all hands will raise. Now that we’ve asked our question and piqued their interest, let’s continue with how this will benefit them:
“Ladies, you may or may not know that one of the easiest ways to increase our collections is to simply convert more people calling our practice to schedule an appointment. More patients coming through the door typically equals more production. Because of this, you’re going to be able to hit your collection bonuses much easier and more frequently. How does this sound?”
Do you see the difference?
In order to get them interested and motivated, consider starting with something to get them excited about….making MORE $$.
Now that we have some guidelines on getting our team motivated, let’s get back to our original question, “How can we handle consumers that call asking about dental insurance?”
- Build rapport first with callers. Most staff members immediately jump into answering the initial questions asked. “No, we are NOT a provider..” is not going to get this person scheduled.
- Take CONTROL of the call. If not, you’ll lose them.
- Smile and use a nice, pleasant voice. Too many calls are answered by gruff, stressed out team members. The tonality can be felt by new callers.
- Use Social Proof – People do what others do. Monkey see monkey do. If you tell the caller that you take other patients from the insurance plan they are asking about, you will put them at ease (even if you are NOT a provider with them.)
- Find emotional reason for the call. Yes, they may initially ask about insurance (or price), but that’s NOT the real reason. Once you find it (by asking key questions) they’ll schedule.
- Use commitment and consistency questions. In order to decrease the no-show rate, ask questions to get them to commit to the appointment.
Are you currently marketing online? More and more specialists are. Unlike acquiring referrals from dentists, keeping up with the return on investment (ROI) is ever more important. I’ve had too many clients call me to help them with their online marketing. Mainly, to help stop the bleeding of money spent to Google or Facebook. The advertising budget is usually NOT the issue, it’s the lack of converting the caller to booked appointments.
If you need help, I’ve got something for you…
I’ve developed a new training system to specifically train your team on how to convert MORE traffic already contacting your practice to appointed patients.
The finishing touches are being applied as we speak and I plan on launching in one month.
The price will be $997.
It’s going to include over 25 short videos (from yours truly) that break down this entire process for your team.
Also, they will be able to listen to the audio of the videos + the written transcripts.
A private Facebook group for questions will be for the members only and all of your team (no matter how many you got) will have access.
Why am I doing this you ask?
I wanted to offer a lower price version than others that charge thousands of dollars to teach dental staff how to answer the phone.
Also, I wanted to take everything I’ve learned the past four years regarding online marketing and teach you (to avoid all the mistakes we’ve made.)
Another reason, I like doing it. It’s fun helping others succeed and seeing them win.
The first 11 docs that email firstname.lastname@example.org will lock in a 50% discount ($497).
The only “catch” is that we want your feedback on what you think of the training and any suggestions you have that can make it better.