"Sales funnel" - a certain sequence of conditions through which any patient goes through in the process of decision making to entrust his teeth to a particular dentist.
There are many different approaches to how to form a funnel, or which stages to state. However, the main attention should be drawn to the importance of this issue.
As a rule, decision-making begins with a need that has arisen in the head of a potential patient. The need can be caused by physical pain (toothache) or aesthetic need (beauty, fashion, etc.). This moment is the start of our funnel, at this level barely nothing depends on the clinic or the doctor. In the next step, the need turns into finding a solution. From this moment begins the most interesting part, which many dental clinics and doctors do not pay much attention to.
A potential patient begins to look for someone who can close the need. There are many scenarios for this process. The most basic are appealing to the experience of friends and family, searching in social networks or in search engines (Google, etc.).
Why is this stage important for us? Exactly at this stage the clinic has a chance to get a credit of trust from a potential patient and significantly save on the advertising budget in future. This trust is achieved through the good reputation of the clinic and / or a particular doctor. Reputation, in turn, is formed from many factors such as: current public and private reviews, regular activity in the Internet space. It is not about the doctor becoming a blogger (although such cases certainly have the right to life), but about the regular publication of information about the work of the clinic or doctor in social networks and industry websites. You will never be able to guess exactly how patients will form their opinion. But what definitely needs to be done is to make an effort to make the choice in your favor. The result of this stage of the funnel is the formed subjective assessment of the selected doctor or clinic.
So, the choice is made. You won a kind of lottery and received an appeal in the form of a price request by phone or a message in social networks, and, possibly, the maximum possible jackpot in this situation - the patient's record for the first visit. From this moment begins a new stage of the funnel. A potential patient is usually called a lead here by marketers. At this step, we can directly influence the lead’s decision.
It is included in the work of CRM (you can read more about this here) and now it is vital to record a specific number of calls and their source in a single database on a daily basis. It is equally important to respond promptly to each appeal: the longer the reaction time, the lower the chance of starting treatment. Of course, not all leads will become patients, but we can increase this number.
The next stage is the visit reminder and the visit itself. We really want to hope that you have an automatic notification system set up or, at least, the administrator, who reminds a potential patient about the appointment in advance. A certain group of people do not come to a pre-planned visit without notifying the doctor, and consider it normal. We will not go into the reasons for such behavior, especially since we can do nothing about it. The most important thing in the case of reminders is to determine in advance which of the patients will not come exactly to quickly appoint another visit for the free time. Seems that there is no sense to describe the first visit itself. The target of this stage is clear: the doctor should do their best, causing sympathy from the potential patient.
In most cases, the first stages work in most clinics and private practices. But far from everyone care for the communication with patients after their first visit. This work is not organized well. So let's move on to the next stage.
After the initial consultation, by and large, two ways are possible:
1. The patient liked everything and he immediately signed up or even began treatment. That means he moved to the next stage of the sales funnel: payment or treatment.
2. The patient left to think. This is the first sign that there are certain doubts with which you need to work on. That what is selling about! Yes, that's right, selling is primarily about dealing with objections. Objections may or may not have anything to do with the clinic or doctor. At this stage you most likely losing your patients. Are we right?
It looks simple: you have no one to call and talk to the patient, dispelling his doubts or confirming the "right" opinion. Either there is the right person to make the call, but the call is made only to hear “yes” or “no”.In order to assess the scale of the problem, just start counting how many first visits turned into treatment. If the figure tends to 1%, you’d better start thinking how to start selling after the first consultation. However, 100% is not good either. This means you're advertising is likely to be beneficial and you're running few leads.
And finally the treatment is over. Finita la comedia? No! Do not forget to ask for recommendations from your patient. This is an extremely simple, effective and absolutely free way to find new leads. And also make a service call in a few months in order to find out if everything is right. This will strengthen the patient's belief that they have chosen the right clinic and/or doctor and increase the chance of attracting more leads through word of mouth.
What do we have in the end? The very fact of using a sales funnel in the clinic will significantly clarify the current picture of your business affairs. Measuring specific stage factors of the funnel will give you an idea of where to direct more effort: to increase advertising or to work more closely with potential patients after the first visit.
It is not important whether you use specialized programs or fill out a paper journal (although, dare we remind you, it is much more productive to work with CRM). It is important to accept that maintaining a sales funnel in a clinic is as vital as the patient's treatment itself.