Want to know the #1 surprise discovery I made in 2001 as it related to advertising and sales of the full arch implant case (this was before All-on-4 / All-on-X)?
The surprise was how easily everything amazing that I was up to with getting a solid implant message to the public via advertising could be easily destroyed by some of the nicest, caring, friendly, most personable staff you can imagine. Yes, my staff were literally killing my advertising and cases!
My full-arch implant ads would generate dozens and dozens of implant patient phone calls every week but these nice caring staff didn’t have the tools or training (or OKRs!). They were terrible at closing consult appointments coming to them via the inquiry calls.
Why? Well, these callers were completely different from a patient calling because we were a Delta or Cigna provider or who happened to live locally in the area or who was being referred by someone who loved us already or who was coming based on our use of reviews at Google.
[If you advertise now or are thinking about such, it’s important to understand that these groups of patients are very very VERY different in their decision making compared to every other type of patient calling your phone.]
Why Was This The Case?
Well, firstly because I, as the doc wearing the business owner hat, was personally ignorant of the role of the phone in my practice. I was unconsciously incompetent in my knowledge of the importance of a repeatable phone sales PROCESS for closing appointments. I was also clueless that I needed to give these folks in my front office the appropriate tools to do the necessary job!! [We also didn’t benefit from some technologies that exist now that make all of this much easier with training and monitoring of the phone.]. I was their leader and it was up to me to get them what they need to perform. If only I had had a Big Case Marketing team back then helping me out!
It’s worth pointing out that most dental consultants then and now focus on managing insurance related phone calls and selling insurance appointments over the phone which does not work when one focuses on larger fee, niche services like dental implants (and in today’s world All-on-4 / All-on-X cases).
[If you “don’t take insurance, there is also some very serious phone training and re-training your mindset on how the insurance conversation needs to be handled so that you don’t lose cases. It’s foolish to turn away any insured patient related to full arch cases which is what typical practices do every day “no, we don’t take that insurance”…click…phone hangs up…when the right response and admin. process has that same patient coming in and the practice getting what they want and the patient getting what they want from their ‘insurance.’]
More things that make these phone calls so much different than all the other calls coming to a practice.
Far more is at risk for these patients who will be asked to spend their $ (significant out of pocket expenses_ and as such what happens on the phone requires different tools, a different level of confidence, a different mindset, different physical tools, and, a different way of communicating versus those insurance patients who are generally far healthier and have less costly needs. In today’s world, it even means leveraging technologies in ways we couldn’t imagine 20 years ago which has made this complex job easier but also makes failures/learning opportunities more glaringly obvious.
It also requires more structure and repeatable steps that document each caller since a percentage of these calls will need short and even long term follow-up.
Out of the specialty advertising agencies sending calls to practices, no one else out there gives the same attention to phone process (or face to face sales process) as we do. We know because we’ve picked up the pieces to many times to count when “new” advertisers come onto the scene and within a few years have crashed and burned.
Why are we so focused on this as part of being an advertising agency? Well, because I LIVED this reality both when it worked great and when it was cr*p and I’ve seen the impact this makes on advertising returns and practice (and personal) financials. When things were booming, it was from sales. When things were sputtering along, it was due to lack of sales and issues with staff, mindset, and processes that weren’t being paid attention to. The phone played a major role both with my success and failures.
It took months of me investing $6K-7.5K/month in advertising (and that was in the 2000s!) and watching very high call volumes not connecting with consult numbers before my frustration turned into answer seeking.
Fortunately, once the “light” went off and I quickly moved to fix the issue going all in on weekly training and coaching, within 45 days of committing to elevate my team’s phone game, the consult and cases flowed more predictably out of the calls coming from the advertising.
Ever since this hard personal lesson, I’ve made sure we provide phone sales training and appointment closing skills to all member clients on a monthly basis. I’d love to simply say we only do advertising and don’t insert ourselves into these processes but I know the truth on what success takes and it is NOT just the advertising. We have the best ads but without these soft skills in selling we (and our clients) would be toast!
When it comes to the training side for closing phone calls, no one also has the long term, leading industry expert on this subject on board with them. Our Chris Mullins (the Phone Sales Doctor) is literally the #1 phone sales trainer for high performing implant practices in North America and she ONLY works with us!
This has further evolved to creating commission structure around the closing of consults and of the selling of cases/getting checks written. The fees for these cases allow more financial reward for you and for your team but you need to know how to structure the rewards so they have positive impacts.
Other super positive changes from 20+ years ago is now we can easily track and listen to every call from the advertising and have the ability to do real time online call log audits so we don’t miss calls from advertising. Furthermore, digital tools to manage hundreds and thousands of prospects via CRM systems exist now for businesses of every size versus only Fortune 1000 level companies back in the 2000s. These systems were built for those of us realizing it’s not just the patient who calls today that we close to a consult and treatment but a patient who calls today that we follow-up on for months or even years. Long term follow-up means cases years later from the original ad. We also have new technologies that allow us to easily reach 90% or more of our callers even if we miss the first call. All these tools mean even more returns from ad dollars – man do I wish I had the same things we have now back then!
If you are trained in full arch implant treatment such as All-on-X / All-on-4 and want to add more cases to your practice each month (and can agree to take on at least 3 full arches per month), let’s talk.