Sarah Whittall, Events and Marketing Coordinator, catches up with Business Consultant Richard Collard to find out how he is helping dental practices to turn more patient enquiries into business.
Richard is currently busy travelling up and down the country delivering regional events and consultancy sessions sharing his wise words and knowledge with dental practices. I caught up with him to find out more.
Sarah Whittall (SW): Richard, can you give us an insight into how you are currently helping practices?
Richard Collard (RC): I’m helping them look at the telephone differently…to look at it as a business-building tool rather than something that interrupts the day job! Whilst many practices could benefit from some telephone skills training, it is in itself not the only answer to the ‘problem’. So I’m helping them explore the problem and some of the other solutions that may be a part of a ‘remedy cocktail’. This provides some insight into the structure and skills needed to determine whether their practice telephone is actually a sales tap or just a business drain.
SW: So why do you think the telephone is a key tool in the practice?
RC: It is the primary sales channel for any practice and the tool through which the initial battle for hearts and minds is won and lost. Those practices that recognise this and ensure that their system is properly designed, resourced and maintained, experience increased traffic and increased consultations.
SW: What advice would you give to help practices take control of a new patient enquiry?
RC: Well it’s not a simple answer, but for me it’s all about asking the right questions in the context of the information that you are receiving from the enquirer. As soon as the telephone is answered you can start to take control and guide the conversation so that you are getting the responses you want. Start to build a relationship with the person on the phone; ask their name, give them yours and get their permission for you to ask the questions that will help you help them…so that you can take control and secure an appointment!
SW: What key things help to steer the telephone conversation in the right direction?
RC: Most importantly there needs to be the ability to listen and ask the right kinds of questions in the context of understanding that the ideal outcome of the enquiry conversation is to secure a consultation appointment…not just answer a prospective patient’s questions! If the consultation is the end game, then being able to build the value of that is vital, so ensure that the person taking the call knows all there is to know about the ‘anatomy’ of the consultation. When a patient understands the consultation, and that it will provide them with all they need to be able to make an informed decision, they will feel more empowered and are more likely to book!
Richard is currently delivering his Turning Telephone Enquiries into Consultations events as part of a series of Regional Events exclusively for Practice Plan and Medenta members. If you’d like to find out more, why not join Richard at one of his events. Find out more information on dates and locations.
Having seen Richard in action before, I know you’ll be in for a treat!