This Week’s Q&A Topic: Following Up AFTER the Consultation
Every couple of weeks, I meet with my staff to go over our numbers. They report how many consultations we had, how many surgeries, etc.
It finally dawned on me we only focused on the patients who moved forward with their surgery and never on the ones who said no or just never said yes.
I asked my staff about it and they told me they don’t like to push prospective patients who haven’t decided so they send a letter one month later to see if the patient is now ready to book.
Is that the right approach to take or is there a better way to follow up after these consultations?
Dear Dr. F,
First, I want to congratulate you on leading your team and knowing at least some of your numbers. That’s a great start.
And, you are right on track to focus not only on your YESes but your NO’s as well.
Here’s a typical scenario:
You thought you had a great consultation with your prospective patient, Sara.
She seemed to get along well with your staff, you thought you had a good consultation with her because she asked a lot of questions and you had a good connection…at least you thought you did.
So you meet with your coordinator later that day and learn that Sara ended up saying, “I gotta think about it” and walked out the door.
Then you find out later in the week that your coordinator couldn’t get Sara to respond to her email or call to see if Sara was ready to move forward.
So, Sara is dropped in the “dead leads” file.
You move onto the next consultation that you hope converts and the cycle continues…
Why Didn’t They Book?
Since cosmetic rejuvenation is a very personal as well as emotional decision, there are all sorts of reasons why the prospective patient didn’t book….
– Maybe the downtime was too much for them.
– Maybe the reality of surgery and general anesthesia scared them away.
– Maybe they couldn’t afford it or didn’t have a way to comfortably pay for it.
Or, maybe they got bad news that morning and weren’t in the right mind frame. Or a dozen other benign things could have happened that had nothing to do with you.
It could have had everything to do with their frame of mind at the time that prevented them from moving forward.
The point is people change, their moods change and their circumstances change so you can never assume anything.
Their reluctance to connect with you after the consultation could just be a simple, “Not Now” or “Not Yet”. You just don’t know.
What Do You Do When You Can’t Convert the Consultation
If the prospective patient can’t or won’t make a decision during the consultation or says they have to think about it, don’t push. For whatever reason, they are just not ready to book.
So rather than hope they call you back when they ARE ready, here’s a really effective proactive strategy to get you closer to the finish line:
Hold something back in the consultation that your patient coordinator can follow-up with when you reach out later.
Example #1: Competition
Let’s say Sara, the prospective patient wants a Mommy Makeover. She mentions at the end of her consultation with your coordinator that she’ll be going on three more consults to do her due-diligence and you happen to be her first visit. Ugh!
Your coordinator can now email Sara your “Checklist of Questions to Ask the Surgeon During Your Mommy Makeover Consultation”.
Now fill the checklist with questions you can say yes to that your competitors may not be able to; i.e., you have performed an above-average number of Mommy Makeovers, etc.
And, fill it with patient stories and photos of OTHER Mommy Makeover patients just like them who have had the procedure. Add their contact information or at least an invitation to set your happy and satisfied patients up to talk with Sara about their experience.
Now your coordinator calls Sara and says:
““Hi Sara, it’s Kim from Dr. Smith’s office. It was so great to meet you the other day. I know you’re thinking it over and I had an idea that may help. I thought of a special checklist Dr. Smith wrote about Mommy Makeovers that would help you get the most from the consultations you’re going on. I just emailed it over to you so please take a look and let me know if it’s helpful to you. Ok?
Example #2: Finance
Let’s say Sara told you she needs to think about it because it’s a lot of money and she’s not sure it’s worth it. She did mention she wants to use her own credit card because she thinks the cosmetic finance company fees are too high.
So, knowing that, you call Sara the next day or two and say,
“Hi Sara, it’s Kim from Dr. Smith’s office. It was so great to meet you the other day. I know you’re thinking it over and I have some news that night help. Our finance company just introduced a 0% Interest Pay Plan so you can have what you want now without you using your own credit card. How does that sound?
But now, you need to zip it and listen. Let Sara tell you what she thinks of that. It might be just what she needed to move forward.
Or, if it doesn’t budge her and she’s not excited about the new information, at least you have a better feel for where’s she’s at and you’ll want to try other strategies.
To get more proven, “Follow-Up AFTER the Consult” strategies,
On this training, you and your staff will discover:
– What you can do to get the prospective patient to take your follow-up phone calls or call you back excited to speak with you;
– The number of times you should follow-up before you become pesky and ruin the new relationship you have with the prospective patient;
– What the prospective patient wants from you to help them decide if they should choose you or your competitor and so much more.
I’ll “see” you there.
How do you currently follow up AFTER a consultation that didn’t book?
What’s been successful and what has fallen flat?
Catherine Maley, MBA is a business/marketing consultant to plastic surgeons. She speaks at medical conferences all over the world on cash practice building and trains staff to be converting rock stars. | View Author Profile | Get a Free Copy of her popular book, Your Aesthetic Practice: What Your Patients Are Saying