QUESTION: What is your practice’s most important tool?
Chances are your telephone probably does not readily come to mind.
When you stop and think of all the time, effort, and hundreds of dollars it takes to get your phone to ring once – you might agree.
Conveying sympathy and friendliness on the phone in a matter of seconds takes personality and skill. Of course charisma is important – especially when a problem as personal as hearing is involved. However, all the personality in the world can’t replace the dollars won by being effective at converting phone calls to appointments.
Just the Facts (not the details!)
The fact is, most practice owners believe the front office staff (or even themselves) are doing wonderful on the phone. However, we listen to hundreds of calls each week and even practitioners themselves have issues from time to time when it comes to locking in appointments with reluctant fence-sitters.
Want more appointments? Don’t give too many details over the phone. That’s what appointments are for.
The bottom line is, we can all improve to some degree, no matter what we are doing or how much experience we have.
Read on for more tips on setting more appointments (and in turn, selling more hearing aids).
Top 6 Tips for Setting More Appointments
(and in turn, Selling More Hearing Aids!)
1. Be Prepared
Don’t spend thousands on marketing campaigns – whether through direct mail, TV, radio or Internet – without first preparing and informing your staff.
2. Speak with a Smile
Convey your enthusiasm through your voice. Speak clearly & loudly! First impressions are important. Attitude, voice clarity, even your facial expression (you can literally hear it through the phone), sets the tone of the entire business.
“We are glad you can make it to this special event. We are setting aside this time just for you. We look forward to seeing both of you! “ (Don’t forget that third party)
3. Ask for Third Party
Would you ever spend $3,000 on anything without speaking to your spouse first? Always ask for third party! Otherwise you are setting the stage for a test no sale.
For more information on how to ask for third party, call us for inside pointers!
4. Just Set the Appointment Already!
When we are reviewing calls for our clients, a common phrase often comes to mind:
“Just set the appointment!” (P.S. Call Coaching is a free service that we offer our clients)
You may have the sweetest, most caring person answering your phone (which is great), but personality does not always mean “ability to book appointments”. Sometimes callers have many questions. Instead of giving every detail over the phone, clearly and quickly repeat this phrase:
“Those are wonderful questions Mr. Jones. Let’s get you in for a consultation to see the specialist. He or she can spend the time with you to answer all of your questions. What is better for you next week – Wednesday or Thursday ?”
If you are a small practice and answering the phone yourself:
“That is a great question and I would love to discuss this with you in person so I can give you all of the facts and options. What is better for you next week – Wednesday or Thursday?”
When in doubt, play dumb.
This sounds harsh, I know, but in order to truly help your customers, they need to be in you office. Even if your front office staff has been with you for years and knows the ins and outs of the business, he or she is not the doctor or the sales person. Even if he or she knows the answer, just book the appointment and leave it to the professional to answer.
You will have a much better time converting calls into sales if you are answering questions in person.
5. Create a Sense of Urgency.
Make it sound like you are setting aside time just for your patient, without giving too many options. Special Events don’t seem urgent or valuable when no one is coming in.
Don’t Do This:
Mr Jones: “I recieved a mail piece about a promotion you are having. When can I come in?”
Receptionist: “Well let’s see, we have all afternoon on Monday, all day Tuesday, all day Thursday. You get to pick!”
Mr Jones is Thinking: Wow. This place is not busy at all. Should I be going here?
Mr Jones Says: Ok… well I guess Tuesday morning would be ok.
Receptionist: Great! Would you like 9am? 10am? 11am?
Mr Jones: Well, you know what, let me check with my wife and call back.
Overly accommodating can sometimes sound unprofessional, and an open appointment book can open the door for Jones to think twice and change his mind. Once the caller hangs up, the chance of calling back is slim to none.
Do This Instead:
Receptionist: What time of day works best for you and your guest (don’t forget third party!) Mr. So and So? I’ll try to squeeze you in.
Mr. Jones: I am hoping for a morning appointment.
Receptionist: Ok, how about Tuesday at 10 am.
Mr. Jones: Oh. Yes it will. See you then.
6. Overcoming Objections (ie. Pricing and Insurance)
Everytime someone calls in, it is a sales call. You have to be prepared to rebut objections. Role play with your staff about how to answer pricing and insurance questions. Remember: NEVER give pricing over the phone.
Your phone staff’s main goal: Set the appointment. NOT answer questions.
If you answer all a potential client’s questions before they come in to see you, they may feel that they have received enough info to make a buying decision without making an appointment.