Getting Started and Preparing for 2021:
Mara: As an industry and as a community, we’re all ready to look ahead to 2021. You are obviously not alone when you look at what has been going on this year but we’re really going to talk about looking ahead to 2021 and how we can go ahead and really get started. Jay, do you want to go ahead and kick this one off?
Jay: Medicine is a science, whether it’s the biological science or physical science, it’s a science. Our aesthetic, cosmetic, and surgical business is a way to keep our patients looking young and beautiful. In our world, please don’t ever lose sight of the fact that medicine is a business. I am an adjunct faculty at Florida Atlantic University here in Florida and you know what’s really interesting is what I teach. Physicians, nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, and all of our medical systems and institutions are largely scientific, they never go through business training. Then you want them to go and open up a business, and they have no idea how to run a business. It’s Mara and Jay Shorr that bring you Shorr solutions.
Mara: We want to talk about some strategies and we’re going to give you some tips and tricks that you can actually take today and start putting into place. We are going to get started talking about outbound calls. Now, there are a couple of things we want to keep in mind. You need to make sure number one, you’re making those calls. Number two, you’re pulling the lists. You want to make sure that everything is very clearly scripted so when I talk about outbound calls I’m going to talk about who, meaning who on your team should be making them, and then I’m going to talk about who, as in the patients to call. We want to make sure you put that person on your team that is able to get the appointments made and they’re able to comfortably speak with patients. That’s the person or people in your practice that you want to make these calls to patients. There is nothing wrong with the provider themselves making a few calls. If somebody is uncomfortable and it’s just not going to work or you take somebody in your office that for example does only billing and they like being behind the scenes you can’t expect the same results as somebody that loves interacting with patients. We have team members on our team that love making phone calls, and that’s amazing.
Who To Call:
Mara: When we look at who we’re going to call, I’m going to give you a bit of a calendar. We want to be pulling lists from our software, looking at patients that haven’t been back in one month, patients that haven’t been back in three months, and if you had surgical patients that came in for a console even last year, call them. If your practice is conducting surgery, I want you to go ahead and call them. Can you talk for just a second? Although I know what just a second means, let’s talk about the importance of having set scripts for these team members who may not have been accustomed to making outbound calls. What is the importance of having set scripts for practice members, team members to use?
Jay: Sense scripts are done to eliminate 100 back and forth questions. Figuring out what is it that the other person probably would want to know so that you can shorten the amount of time that you have that dialogue with them. That will answer the questions because then maybe that person will become that expert. It can lead you into FAQs which you also should have the answers for and that set script should include those frequently asked questions.
Mara: There are very specific questions we want to make sure to address and there are very specific items that you want to make sure that team member is able to address. You want to make sure they’re able to address, especially because we’re talking about today’s climate, the safety changes that have been made due to COVID. Have them emphasize not just the amazing work that the providers provide, not just all the experience, they know this, we’re talking about calling back patients that have already been to see you. You’re not selling the patient on the practice, you want to explain how safe the practice is and why that patient should come in now. You want to talk about the safety features, you want to explain how much your practice has done and why the patient should come in now. You want to talk to them about the fact that we have put XYZ in place and you can see these resources on our website. You can say I happen to have an appointment next Tuesday at 3 pm and I know how much you love your mid-afternoon appointments. Explain that to them and have that time on the calendar already ready to go, we want to make sure that we’re already ready to go.
Jay: One of the things people want to say is, Why should I call patients from a year ago? They may have already had that procedure. That is very possible but let’s say they didn’t. Now you’re going to give them every reason why they should come back. Even if they had that procedure done that call may have introduced newer procedures.
Mara: Another thing, this is going to give you the opportunity to update their email address. When you’re making these outbound calls we want to make sure that we’re updating their email account. Now, that is also going to help with a couple of things. Number one, it’s going to help with the automated appointment reminders which helps decrease notions of course. When you’re sending out email marketing that’s the beauty is that email marketing does sync directly with your practice management system as long as you have it all set up correctly. I encourage you to do this because you’re going to be able to not only send out automated appointment reminders but the calls we just talked about. You can also automate those through solution ratio. I encourage you to automate texts, emails, as well as make those phone calls. Now when we’re looking at email marketing, we have people ask us well how often should I be doing it? What makes sense, what doesn’t make sense? I would say one to two times per month. You want to make sure you’re including really well-crafted content so that you’re sending information that an injectable patient might be interested in, to injectable patients, and so on. Make sure you’re sending out marketing and email marketing specifically targeted, you’re not trying to sell them on the practice for the first time again you’re trying to get them to come back, so we want to make sure that is the focus.
Analyzing The Numbers:
Mara: Jay has always told me growing up that, it was a matter of making sure you do things by the numbers and your numbers have to be right, and then you have to look and see what worked, what didn’t work. Jay, do you want to talk a little bit about shifting strategy when it comes to analyzing the numbers and how often do you recommend analyzing numbers?
Jay: The difference between last year, this year, and next year is going to be totally different because the analysis that you’re going to get from them is going to be drastically different. I’m a former practice owner and we had a very large multi-unit multimillion-dollar practice and I used to analyze our numbers at least monthly. I was doing the P&L monthly. I didn’t wait until the accountant asked for the information to bring it to you because I wanted to know. If I have a certain percentage of ratio for my advertising, marketing, X percent to revenue, my payroll should be X percent to revenue, fixed costs, variable costs, those are the financials for your business. If you don’t know what your numbers are your accountant will just be giving you information predicated on the information that you give back. That’s why you’ll see on your tax return that your accountant usually will state that these are not audited numbers but based on the information presented. I wanted to know not necessarily what’s working, I want to know what’s not working. I analyze every e-mail blast. A couple of examples of things you want to look at; you want to look at your open rate, what percentage of people are actually opening your emails. You want to look at what your click-through rate is, what percentage of people are actually clicking on the links back to your website. Finally, what percentage of people are actually picking up the phone to call, how many are choosing to schedule an appointment. Look at all of these things and you want to then analyze, and if you need some assistance analyzing there’s experts absolutely turned to the experts to help do that. The click-through rate is probably one of the more important things to analyze because there is a homepage and there’s a landing page and if you’re going to market something and it brings them right to the specific thing your marketing and then they click out. How much time did they spend on it, if they spent no time at all yes they opened it that’s important but then they didn’t get anything and it didn’t help you with having them get to the rest of your site. I love it when I look at it and people click on other things on my website, at least I know that they have some clue about what else we do other than this specific item that we just market it in that email list.
Mara: Although you do and that’s where yes you also you want to make sure that you’re not taking them only to the home page. If you want them to look at your neurotoxin before and after’s and you want them to schedule neurotoxins that’s where I would say, make sure that you have pages on your website and links on your website that encourage them to go from place to place. Remember that the goal is to schedule an appointment, so we always want to make sure that the goal is to schedule an appointment. One of the other things I talked about was the importance of taking this time to make sure your data is clean and your EMR system is clean. Making sure that the phone numbers you have on file are current for your patients so they didn’t for example, have a work cell phone number and now they don’t work with that employer anymore so, therefore, they have a different cell phone number. We want to make sure that we’re taking the time especially right now to be able to contact our patients, whether it is, if there is another shutdown in the future, whether it is to send out automated texts. Turn on the automations guide I would say that the automations are going to make your life so much easier.
Mara: What I would say is that we want to make a point of working with your vendors to see how they’re supporting practices right now. Ask what sort of specials are they running due to COVID and how can you take advantage of them. Are the injectable companies or some of those vendors offering coupons and rewards. Maybe you can increase your marketing or they can help you market a product. You want to look at, have they produced your marketing materials and have they come out in really creative ways. Are there certain vendors that may say, “Look, I’m going to push your payment back one to two months because your office was closed”? We know of several vendors that did that, they were really wonderful. You want to make sure you’re looking at that, to see how each of them is supporting. Now is also a great time to check in with your credit card processing company and find out how they’re able to help you lower your rates on your credit card processing rates. If you have any questions related to that we do this all the time with our clients. Jay, you’ve been a lean, mean vendor contacting machine I feel since COVID and I think one of the great things is that because you know who’s been able to assist with what and who maybe won’t be quite as happy to budge, I’ve seen you nonstop doing this.
Jay: First of all, be very careful. This is nothing against vendors, by the way, we support the vendors because it’s the vendors who support the conferences. However, we are practice management consultants, not vendor management consultants and this is not a sales pitch but our role, and our goal is to help the practice not only make money but save money. Understand something, every dollar that you generate, if you’re lucky, you’ll get 30-35% on $1 as profit. Many practices are getting much less, but every dollar that you save in your business is a 100% margin. Now’s the best time for you to renegotiate your credit card and financing fees. I will share with you that probably half a dozen within this last month we’ve done analysis for and have been able to shave off, 20% to 30% off of credit card fees because you really don’t know how credit card fees are generated. If you go from 25 basis points to 20 basis points you save around 20%.
Mara: I want to connect to something else and go back into something that you had said earlier and going right along with that theme is that there’s really two things that are going to affect the bottom line and if we look at how we can have vendors, help with that. It is either, are we negotiating a lower rate? Whether that is a lower percentage rate or lower interest rate, just a lower rate than what you were paying. Can you get more with what you’re already paying? If you’re able to save 600 or 1200 dollars a year, why not start with something so simple that you’re already paying for right.
The Power of The Smile:
Mara: Jay was talking about the power of a smile. We always talk about that and you can hear whether or not somebody is smiling when they’re on the phone and that’s just that’s the key.
Jay: You’re never an interruption of anybody’s time when you have something interesting to say. You know there is an old expression, how to get somebody to smile is to smile at them, and I have to give a shout out to Dr. Rich Castellano who is the smile doctor. It’s all about positivity and how to capture leads and how to do the right thing. He’s got a call center, and I worked at his office as consultant three days a week for 10 months and I will share with you, they had a call center that called people all day long to regenerate and to generate leads and the power of positivity is all in that smile.
Mara: You want to make that you’re really creating the best experience possible for that caller. That includes answering with a smile and cutting down on hold and wait time. You want to make sure that you have frequently asked questions prepared for every member of your team. Incoming and outbound calls they have those frequently asked questions. You want to make sure that data is being input correctly. We work with practices all the time that are struggling with this so we see this all the time and there really is a wonderful formula that you can implement. If you get your team those tools They are actually going to be able to use them and actually be able to soar. You want to make sure you’re creating a strong sales program for once your patients call you or once you have them on the phone.
Four Closing Questions:
Mara: We always talk about the four closing questions. In addition to everybody on the team having to smile and being efficient in that front desk area. What are those four closing questions that will make for a strong sales program in a practice?
Jay: Number one question, How long have you been thinking about having this procedure? The next question is, how would it make you feel if you add this procedure? Naturally, it’s going to make me feel great because it’s probably been going on nine months since I’ve had my Botox and I’m not going to bend my head and I’m not going to raise my eyes because I don’t want anybody on this call to see it. Okay, but I haven’t had my Botox because I haven’t been going to a provider. The next powerful question, what is stopping you from making that decision to go ahead and have that procedure? I don’t care if it’s a laser hair removal, Botox, or physical surgery. Then lastly, how long have you been thinking about it?