How To Qualify Potential Patients
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How many times have you pitched a potential client or patient, only to get a “Thanks, I’ll think about it and get back to you” email or phone call?
In this episode today, I’m going to show you how to qualify prospective patients and get your staff to do most of the work screening qualifying prospects to determine if the prospect is the right fit for your services. This will help save you a lot of time in the conversion process.
Qualifying a prospect is meant to determine whether or not someone who is interested in your services is a good fit as a patient. If yes, they are worthy of your time and effort to turn them into a patient. Qualified leads have a higher return on investment and higher close rate. The first step is to determine what types of patients are your best and worst fit.
This will be the essential part of your team’s patient enquiry handling process, so I suggest that you spend a good amount of time determining the best and worst fit patient’s profile with your staff, and this should be documented so the team can have a reference to it in the future.
Of course, getting new work is important. But we’ve seen from time to time that getting the right kind of work from the right kind of client or patient is more important. Otherwise you’ll wind up selling your soul, and that wonderful clinic you love becomes nothing more than a job you hate.
There is a better way. The most successful clinics have a disciplined sales process they follow religiously. So, if you haven’t mastered the fine art of sales or don’t have a clue about where to start when qualifying a prospect, there’s no time like the present to get started.
While there are many ways to tackle this issue, clinics concluded that asking the right questions is an effective way to evaluate prospects.
Far too often we’ve seen a practice’s staff (either the receptionist, a practice manager or a patient coordinator) on a call with a prospect and they are trying so hard to get a booking at all costs, and all the while they are not really listening to what their prospect is saying to them.
They are giving the appearance that they have an agenda of what it is that they want, which is just to make a booking.
A prospect on the other end of that call is just anticipating when they will start hearing the pitch of your products and services, and that is really the opposite way that you want to operate or have your prospect feeling.
Instead, the way that you want to operate is by being their trusted adviser, as this is going to put you in the position of control, and control must be taken…even by force.
If you are on a call with a prospect and they are trying to dictate the terms of how this call is going to go, or they just start asking questions about price or deviating from your process, you need to take control of the situation and the way that you do that is by asking them questions. And in some cases, asking a lot of questions.
On an initial call with a prospect, you want to be doing 20% of the talking. You want to let your prospect do most of the talking and you need to be asking a lot of questions; which you’re using to find out what their pain points, fears, objections and dreams are, and identifying that if what you offer is going to be something of value to them and if they are going to be a good fit for your program, your products or your services.
When we talk about taking control in a sales call, it is because a sales call is really like a game of chess and your prospect will keep trying to make a move that gets them in control.
If they’ve asked you a question, then regain control by asking them a question back. For example, your prospect asks you the very typical enquiry… “How much does your product or services cost?”. Because you might not have established your value yet, you’ll need to regain control.
We might answer with something like, “That will depend on what you are looking for and your current condition. If you went to see a doctor, and without examining your current condition, your health history, diagnosing your symptoms and causes they started prescribing you drugs and treatments and saying how much it is going to cost; would you trust and move forward with that doctor’s recommendation?
You don’t want the prospect dictating the terms of the call, as they’ll always be keen to keep it short and in their own self interests.
You need to dictate control so that you can establish the value of your products and services, but you also need to understand a few details about your prospect in advance too.
In this call, it is about identifying the 4 critical N.B.A.T elements of your prospect.
By understanding these elements, you will know if they are a good fit and ready for you and your services.
N – stands for Needs: What are their needs? How important is it for them to have it now?
B – stands for Budget: Have they got money for it? Would they need financial assistance?
A – stands for Authority: Are they the person who makes the decisions, or do they need to discuss it with someone else?
T – stands for Timing: When do they want to have it done? Is it now or in 6 months or 1 year down the road? Have they seen other doctors before? What do they think?
Match your questions to your natural conversation with prospects. You don’t want your questions to feel like an interrogation, and you don’t want to spook someone away before they’re comfortable enough with you to answer.
Keep in mind that your first goal is to disqualify the non-opportunities ASAP. Ask those qualifying questions that could take them out of the running for you. This goes back to your best/worst types of clients or patients. Find the “worst” ones and disengage.
When you are on a telephone call, you will come in contact with a lot of different types of personalities, different egos, people from all different walks of life. Some prospects might be very timid and not want to be in control, and then you might also get aggressive personality types too. They’re the ones that will be like…
Prospect: “Oh right yeah just tell me about what you guys do and how much does it cost.’
They are quite common. While it may feel safer and less confronting to simply give them an answer, you need to re-establish control over the conversation by saying something like;
You: “Well that’s not how this call works. This is what’s going to happen, I’m going to start off by asking you a bunch of questions to learn more about you and your needs and see if we would even be a good fit for you, and at the end of this call we’ll allocate some time to open up for questions. Are you okay with that?”
And 9 times out of 10, they will be okay with that, and the call will carry on smoothly as planned.
But a few times, they might be like…
Prospect: “No, I don’t have time for that, I just want to know how much you guys charge”.
In that instance, you just want to politely let them know that’s not the way this call goes and you need to end this call and let that person go.
If someone is trying to take so much control that they’re not willing to even have a conversation with you, then they are never going to be a serious patient or client or buy anything from you.
You want to be very aware of what are the power dynamics on this call; who’s in control.
If you ever feel like you are not control, the way that you regain control is by asking questions and fundamentally getting down to what is the desired outcome that they are trying to achieve.
We cover qualifying prospects in more detail, as well as many other topics, in our comprehensive sales training guide called the “7 Figure Samurai Sword Sales Guide For Clinics”. We have both electronic and audio versions for you, so check it out and apply what you will learn in it and you will see your new patient conversion rate improve immediately after you start applying it. Check it out!
Thank you for tuning in and bye for now.