On November 19th, AIM Dental Marketing’s president Daniel A. ‘Danny’ Bobrow hosted Dr. Leonard Tau for a 90 minute presentation on what it takes to increase by as much as double a dental practice’s case acceptance rate.
As host and moderator, and as one whose business is helping practitioners make connections with both current and prospective patients, Bobrow was clearly energized by the opportunity to hear from such a kindred spirit.
Tau’s content and purpose dovetails with AIM’s nearly perfectly.
Successful practice growth may be likened to a bird with two wings; attracting patients being one wing of the bird, and gaining case acceptance the other wing.
Len began by emphasizing the importance of defining and then measuring case acceptance. He then explained that case acceptance begins with the first prospective patient touchpoint, which, while the original first contact may be via dental Facebook marketing or some other form of dental internet marketing, in the overwhelming majority of cases the first direct contact with the dental practice is a telephone call. Bobrow suggested the analogy of the practice as a single celled organism and the initial phone call as a benign intruder attempting to enter the cell. The question is how ‘permeable’ is the cell wall: a well trained team should be converting upwards of 85% of calls received from bon a fide prospective patients. Surprisingly, the average rate of case acceptance is about the same as the rate at which first-time telephone callers are converted into solid, kept appointments; about 36%. Bobrow and Tau agreed that this represents perhaps the greatest source of ‘leakage’ from whatever dental marketing idea or plan is being implemented. If the practice is investing to get their phone to ring, and only a third of those calls are converting into solid, kept appointments, that means that, without investing another penny in marketing, the practice could realistically nearly triple the number of new patients it consistently generates.
Another key takeaway Len shared is the critical importance of tracking and monitoring to make informed decisions. In this respect too, Bobrow and Tau are a kindred spirit, as exemplified by The Dental Marketing Dashboard.
Len proceeded to share his success with the use of online chat services. Again, this meshes with AIM’s website visitor market segmentation philosophy whereby the successful website is structured to “run the race at the prospective patient’s pace,” that is, allow the prospective patient to connect with the office in a way that is comfortable for them.
Next Len shared research conducted by Prof. Albert Mehrabian of UCLA in which he determined that effective communication is 55% visual (body language), 38% vocal (voice tone, inflection, and resonance), and only 7% verbal (choice of words). It is this same study that largely informed creation of the Art of First Impressions© telephone skills mastery curriculum. Given the current pandemic, one consequence of which is that people cannot see your smiling face under a mask, it is all the more important (whether we’re speaking about telephone or face to face communication) that the dental team master all three communication elements: verbal (choice of words), vocal (use of words), and visual (body language).
Len rightly spent a good amount of his presentation talking about active listening skill and how something as simple as a nod can often mean the difference between a ‘yes’ and a ‘no’ to treatment. He clearly stated the importance of not only listening actively, but showing the patient that you are listening, and that you care because people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
He wrapped up with a discussion of patient financing options and delivery technique, and underscored the importance of offering a (one time) free exam as an inducement for new patients to visit the practice.