“Be Prepared” Does Your Hearing Practice Follow the Scout Motto?
The Boy Scout Motto: Be Prepared. It’s not just a motto, but a way of life. It turns out this directly relates to a successful hearing aid marketing promotion. See, those things you learned in Boy Scouts (or Girl Scouts) are not just for wilderness adventures.
Two things to keep in mind:
My cute little Boy Scout.
– BEING UNPREPARED will cost you time and money and will make or break the success of your direct mail campaigns. You don’t want to get caught unaware when leads start rolling in the door. Missed leads = money out of your pocket.
– BEING PREPARED is not as easy as it sounds. Being prepared is all about discipline and you can’t have discipline without a clear plan to follow.
So what are some things you can do to plan for a successful marketing event?
Read these 7 Steps to a Successful Hearing Aid Promotion
1. Set manageable goals and expectations.
Don’t just pick 5,000 or 10,000 pieces to mail because those are nice round numbers. Analyze your territory and come up with a frequency and mail quantity that will produce a manageable amount of leads and appointments for your practice that you can handle. You should be able to get a well thought out plan from a good marketing partner (like Beeman Marketing ) at no extra cost.
2. Make sure inbound calls are answered.
Marketing can cost hundreds of dollars per lead. So don’t blow your investment by missing a call. If a call comes in after hours, leave a message on your voicemail stating that you are busy but will get right back to them (and make sure they are able to leave a message). Then be sure to respond immediately to the missed call. Plan to staff your front office accordingly so calls are not missed and your potential customers are reaching a live person. Consider asking your phone staff to work an hour later during the week prior to your event when calls are expected to come in.
3. Communicate your plan with your staff.
We have heard this type of call many times over:
Caller: I’m calling about your open house. I would like to use that discount. Can I make an appointment and use that?
Receptionist: Oh. Umm… I’m not sure what that is. I can take a message and have Dr. So and So call you back. Caller is now confused and by the time she receives a call back, she could have easily called on your competitors promotion instead.
We have even heard a receptionist once say:
“I don’t know what that is. You must have the wrong place.”
Yikes! That would not have happened had someone would have told her the details ahead of time.
Don’t waste your marketing dollars. Make sure the front office staff knows about your marketing campaign details.
Sit down with your staff, show them the mailer, discuss the offers, and any special way the calls should be handled- prior to the phones ringing. Also ensure that your staff is properly trained and ready for every scenario. (More on that later).
4. Have your appointment book ready.
Make sure all appointments for all office locations can be accessed quickly so patients are not left on hold while your receptionist checks for appointment availability. This can lead to frustration and a poor reflection on the professionalism of your practice prior to the patient setting foot in the door. We see many lost calls due to this.
5. Prepare your directions.
Let’s face it, many of us are not good at giving directions. When you are dealing with our eldest generations, you need to give them clear, easy-to-follow directions to your location. A lost patient is a lost appointment and time and money out of your pocket.
It is a good idea to have pre-prepared, clearly written, directions (with landmarks) in front of your receptionist at all times. This will help to eliminate the 30 minute conversations attempting to give directions to a frustrated aging adult who is driving around in circles.
6. Keep a “Do Not Mail” list.
If you receive a call asking to be removed from your mailing list, don’t be offended, kill them with kindness.
- Tell them in a very courteous manner that you would be happy to do so.
- Ask for the name and address exactly as it is printed on the mailer (and that it is very important to do so to ensure they are off the list).
- Save your list in Excel or Google spreadsheet, and take the name off of your next mailing.
- It’s simple and you will stop receiving angry calls from that individual the next time you have a promotion. It will also save you a little bit of money and time the next time you have a promotion (at Beeman we will take the names off of the list for you).
7. Monitor calls and train your staff to improve.
One of the most important things you can do is monitor inbound calls and use them for a training and improvement opportunity. After all, not a single one of us is perfect. We can all improve – including your most favorite front office person who has worked for you for 10+ years.
We can’t stress this to you enough.
We hear all the time “Oh, my staff is prepared. I’ve trained them myself.”
However we have had practice owners be absolutely shocked at what happens on the phone at times.
Let your staff know, it is not that you don’t trust them, rather it is a means to improving everyone’s work experience.
If you think about each new appointment potentially being worth thousands of dollars to the practice, it becomes clear as to why it is so critical to constantly work on improving effectiveness with booking appointments. As a matter of fact, that is probably the single most important thing you can do to add immediate dollars to the bottom line. If you train your front office staff that all inbound calls should be focused only on setting appointments they will set more and be happier.
Read our next blog:
How to Sell More Hearing Aids? Set More Appointments. Here’s how…
for some actionable tips on being prepared for objections and phone skills that will help you convert more calls to appointments… and sell more hearing aids!
Brian Frank is a V.P. of Sales with Beeman Marketing. He has an extensive background in print and marketing to seniors. Follow him on Twitter @brfrank