When it comes to attracting new patients to your practice, those who practice quiet studiousness (“I’ll simply do great work and new patients will come.”) need to replace that persona with a strategic and studied boldness.
In this business landscape, the spoils don’t merely go to those businesses who buy their way in. It’s the businesses that pair visibility with the trustworthiness, authenticity and transparency coveted by today’s consumer that will win customers and retain their loyalty.
That means practices cannot afford to be bashful, nor can they shrink from being open and honest with prospective patients. Here are four areas where institutional shyness might be holding you back from excelling.
1. You’re Skittish About Price
It’s only natural to assume that being forthright about your pricing might cut off otherwise willing and promising consumers at the pass, but the data says this simply isn’t so. Two facts about pricing should ease misgivings about revealing price ranges for your treatments upfront.
- Consumers will punish you for not telling them. Pricing consistently ranks as one of the top three pieces of information consumers use to make treatment and doctor decisions. RealSelf survey data indicates that pricing is ranked in the top 3 criteria to choose both a procedure and a provider, for both invasive and minimally invasive procedures.
- Consumers will not punish you for the expense. Consumers are far more concerned about your having good reviews, up-to-par credentials and confidence-inspiring before-and-after photos than they are about how much procedures cost, according to RealSelf survey data.
Here are some other things to consider as you think about whether to open up about your pricing early in the research process for consumers.
- Price-aware ≠ bargain shopping. For consumers, wanting to know your price is about having complete information, and is not necessarily a sign of bargain hunting or price sensitivity. In fact, some consumers who are looking for pricing want to make sure it’s high enough—evidence that you’re a reputable provider.
- You’re free to use ranges and variables. Some providers are concerned about the fact that it’s tough to give pricing without seeing a patient first. That’s fair. Add that context to your pricing when you publish it by describing the range, spelling out what factors will affect final pricing, and informing consumers that you cannot quote them an exact price sight unseen.
- If you don’t tell them, they’ll fill the gap themselves. Consumers will do their own research to guess at your pricing, including looking at your competitors’ prices or rifling through message boards online. Replace pieced-together guesses with real information, directly from the source.
- If the price is too high, are they the patient for you? Posting real price ranges can also save you time. If your prices are simply out of range for a given customer, then there’s a higher chance they will self-select to look elsewhere or contact your practice when it’s feasible. Consider capturing consumers’ information upfront for the latter scenario so that you’re in the running when they have the means to use your services.
2. You Don’t Want to Outright Ask for Reviews
When it comes to reviews, closed mouths don’t get fed. Our data shows that the single best habit you can develop when it comes to getting more reviews is simple: ask your patients to leave them. Nearly 70% of consumers will do so; don’t leave this opportunity on the table.
- Your patients want to write reviews for positive reasons. The most oft-cited motivations are because they 1) are happy with their results and b) want to pay it forward.
- Afraid of sounding salesy? That’s ok. The good news for you is that the best way to approach the conversation is to ask your patient whether they’ve read the reviews and, if they say yes, to remind them how helpful reviews were. This creates a more natural segue to the ask (and triggers the “pay it forward” motivator).
- Make sure they’re in the best position to leave a review in terms of the results—and an optimal frame of mind. For surgery, that’s during their post-op visit. And for medaesthetic treatments, ask them during a followup visit.
3. Your Staff is Shy About Repeat Calling Inquiries
You get an incoming phone or email inquiry—great! But after giving that prospective patient some initial information, they’re not quite ready to book a consultation in that moment. When this happens, it’s incumbent on your staff to keep the dialog going. Don’t assume that an inquiring consumer will find the time to call you back, even if they’re otherwise inclined to book with you.
- When your staff corresponds with consumers, they should ask outright whether that person minds if the practice checks back in with them about having a treatment. This changes the followup outreach from one that might feel like a bother to the fulfillment of a consumer request.
- But if you’re reading this right now and haven’t implemented the practice above, you should still have your staff call inquiring consumers who have reached out but not booked an appointment. Make this easier on your staff with a call script. That script should:
- Quickly identify your staff member by name and where they’re calling from.
- Ask the consumer whether they have booked the appointment elsewhere.
- Ask if there’s anything they can do right now to help.
- Make note of any followups required (e.g. questions to answer).
- Tell the consumer when the next check-in will happen, and follow up at the appropriate time.
- Have your staff set aside times throughout the week to tick through their callback schedule. This will help establish a rhythm and make sure this work doesn’t get missed.
- Remember: consumers very likely don’t mind these followup communications. What’s more, followups are directly correlated with making successful connections. The chances of doing so increase:
- 48% with 4 followups
- 55% with 6 followups
- 60% with 8 followups
Nearly a third of all scheduled appointments require three or more followups. Make this the way you do business.
4. Putting Yourself Out There
The treatment provider her- or himself is the major selling point for getting consumers to book. Your experience, previous results and patient reviews will do a lot of the convincing, but consumers have also told doctors that feeling a sense of familiarity helped draw them in as well.
So while you might like to think that your results should speak for themselves, some consumers will have a deeper expectation of camaraderie before they even meet you face-to-face. The good news is that there are many ways to do this that suit different personalities and levels of comfort with being in the spotlight.
- Populate your profiles with good photos. Make sure you’re smiling (or wearing a friendly expression) and looking into the camera. Ensure they’re in high resolution. These static images can go a long way towards establishing your personality. If you’re RealSelf Verified, you have a large “hero” image slot on your profile. Consider a photo that depicts you in action: consulting with a patient or chatting with staff.
- Don’t skimp on the bio. Be thoughtful about writing your online bio. These are a gateway to your practice and approach that can help draw consumers in and round out your personality. For more, read our “6 Tips for Writing a Winning Bio.”
- Your social media accounts can feature you. Your accounts don’t need to be all about the particulars of procedures—you can add your voice and/or image to the mix, and even the occasional personal update depending on your comfort level. Pro tip: use your own quotes, and snippets from online reviews that speak to your personality (with permission) for an easy, text-based way to show your personal side.