By Terri Ross
As a leading sales training expert in the aesthetic industry, I frequently get asked this question when I conduct staff trainings and speak at national aesthetic conferences:
“What is the No.1 thing we can do to increase our practice’s revenue?”
Can you guess what it is? Increasing pricing? Spending more on marketing? Cramming in more patients per day? Shortening your consultation time? Selling more expensive treatments/surgeries? Selling retail products? Hiring more staff?
Those are usually the comments I hear. However, the No.1 most overlooked strategy (whether you are in the process of launching your practice or hoping to improve your team and scale) to increase your practice’s revenue, conversion rates, retention rates, and, most importantly, improving patient outcomes is investing in sales training for your team.
Consider this: By implementing just one skill learned from my sales training, a practice booked a surgery with a client who had already scheduled that same surgery with a competitor. This lead the smart practice to receive an additional $32,000 in revenue—and it only required them to make one phone call.
Understanding the Patient Journey
Sales and customer service are at the core of any successful business. Today’s plastic surgery patient is smart, savvy, educated, and has a lot of choices when it comes to selecting one practice over another. Having a well-trained, knowledgeable, and professional team is the difference between “good” and “great.”
It’s critical to understand the importance of the patient journey and how each phase represents a distinct opportunity to provide high-quality patient care and ensure a positive, memorable customer experience.
Approximately 50% of patient leads come from finding your website online, 25% are referrals from other patients, and the remaining 25% come from social media, other referring sites, other physicians, or paid advertising. But a patient’s first point of contact with your practice is the initial phone call. This is your first—and probably most important—opportunity to make a great impression.
If you allocate some of your budget or redirect some of your marketing dollars into team training, and then implement what you learned and hold your team accountable, I promise you will see results. After all, like Will Rogers famously said, you’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression. This is one of the truest statements I’ve ever heard.
Now, I’d like you to take a moment and think about your front desk team member:
- What training have they received?
- What image do they project?
- Do they make a great first impression?
- Do they multi-task and keep their cool under pressure?
- Do they speak clearly and enunciate?
These team members are literally the first impression prospective patients get of your practice and can make or break your business. On a scale of 1-10, how confident are you that they are presenting the right image and the five-star customer service experience you want your patients to have?
Remember: Your employees have a huge impact on your bottom line. You can have the most beautiful office, be the best provider, have a high-performing website, offer a diverse service mix, have financial goals and measure your KPIs, but you cannot run a sustainable or profitable practice without your employees being able to convert callers into consultations and consultations into paying services.
Here are some questions to consider when evaluating how your staff is answering phone calls:
- What kind of tone and attitude do their voices convey?
- Do they state their names and credentials without being asked?
- Are they knowledgeable? If a patient asks for a specific surgery or non-surgical treatment, do they know what it is or the category it falls into?
- Can they answer all the prospective patients’ questions or do they transfer the call to someone else?
- How well trained is your team on all procedures/surgeries you perform and the products you offer?
- Can your staff easily explain why your practice stands out from the competition? In other words, answer “why choose us?” Consider your unique value proposition.
- How solution-focused is your staff and how well versed are they on the outcomes and benefits of each procedure?
- Can your staff confidently navigate questions regarding pricing and overcome potential objections?
- Can they engage in dialogue to ask questions versus just answering with a “yes” or “no?”
- Are they making sure all the prospect’s questions are answered?
- Are they engaging in active/intuitive listening—hearing potential concerns behind the surface questions?
- Are they offering to schedule a consultation appointment to each caller?
- Are they confident in explaining the consultation and cancellation fee? More importantly, can they properly explain why the patient has to pay a consult fee if Dr. Smith down the street doesn’t charge one?
- What is their conversion rate for turning phone leads into consultation appointments?
- If they don’t schedule with you, what is the follow-up process? Are you sending any information to them and gathering their information to enter in the PMS system?
Scheduling a Consultation
The end goal of each patient inquiry is a call to action. Potential patients want to know what the next step is, even if they don’t verbalize that. Your team should always offer a clear path and call to action to schedule an appointment for a consultation.
The initial phone call is critical to book a consultation, which is an opportunity to convert a patient to a paying procedure.
Here are four questions for evaluating your staff’s ability to capture all the necessary information.
- Are they gathering complete patient information (i.e., name, referral source, best contact information, email address, phone number, procedures of interest, address, zip code, date of birth, gender, concerns, or specific notes)?
- Are they following up with appointment reminders via email, text, and phone calls?
- Do they explain your consultation and cancellation policy fee?
- Are they taking credit card information to keep on file to reduce no-show rates?
If you are like most physicians, you are so busy working in your practice that you may often overlook the critical component of working on your practice. And that includes training your front office team and consultation providers.
Whether you’ve been in business for several years, or you are completing a fellowship and want to start a practice, sales training is your greatest investment with the highest return on investment. And it is ongoing. Your front office team, your patient care coordinators, and your clinical providers that perform patient consultations can easily be your most efficient, revenue-generating team—and, as a surgeon your consultations can improve drastically for a better patient outcome, higher retention rate, and higher revenue per hour. The numbers back this: Scheduling one to three more patients a day for consultations could translate into an additional $50,000 to $100,000 a month.
To learn more about our comprehensive sales training course within the APX Platform or to schedule a discovery call to see how APX Platform can help your practice increase productivity, revenue, and profitability, visit www.apxplatform.com.
Terri Ross is a world-renowned practice management expert, thought leader, and international speaker in the medical aesthetic industry. She is also the founder and co-CEO of APX Platform. Join APX Platform‘s Aesthetic Insights Facebook Group here for ongoing content and interaction with the team, or email them at [email protected].