Want to expand? Learn why you need to do more than market your services.
Have you ever spent a ton of money marketing your services and didn't feel like you got the return you desired or expected?
Or maybe you receive a TON of emails from marketing companies selling you the newest and best way to market your services. They might even tell you that you need a new product, have to work harder to find MORE new patients (clients) or that you’re just not spending enough on your marketing to get the desired results.
We’ve been told that you need to spend at least 10-14% per month on marketing for new patients and if you’re brand new to the world of private practice, it can be as high as 18-20%!
Here's something I want you to consider: If you’re spending 10%, what’s the rate of return that should you expect? In fact, what’s the expected return on 14%, 18% or even 20%?
Should you expect 5, 30 100 new patients for that amount? Do you have a realistic expectation of what you should be converting each month? If so, are you actually achieving it? Basically, are you getting a high rate of return on your investment scheduled and arriving new patients? If not, you need to read on.
I'm not slamming marketing companies here. In fact, I'm doing just the opposite.
If you've ever felt that you weren't getting the return on your investment, your marketing actions might not be the problem. There might be a much larger issue that's holding you back.
Mike and I got into ownership so we could help more people get the care they need…our way. We wanted to have a practice that was patient focused and got great results. I consider the true product of any practice as “PEOPLE HELPED” and when working with the front office of practices, the first measurement they learn about is ‘Percentage of Calls Converted to Scheduled New Patients’.
To me, any lost potential new patient means 2 things:
a lost chance to help someone;
and lost revenue.
When you lose potential new patients, your rate of return on your marketing investment goes down. In fact, it could be very low just for this reason alone. You spent all this money to market your services and the potential new patient didn’t convert to a scheduled evaluation. This doesn’t even take into account the potential revenue that’s lost to the practice from the lost plan of care.
I don’t know about you, but I hate losing money and when you aren’t getting the return on an investment, you’re losing money.
If you’re only putting your time, attention, and money on marketing your practice, I can guarantee that you’re losing money through lost conversions.
Here’s something Mike and I learned a LONG time ago. You can spend tens of thousands of dollars per month on marketing your practice and not expand. In fact, at times it could feel like you’re stagnant or even retracting in size. This can cause a great deal of upset since you’re spending a lot of money to generate more new patients. Money spent should be exceeded by the return. Meaning I got the maximal return on investment from my marketing dollars. Often, that’s not the case.
And that’s because people are calling, and they’re NOT being converted to scheduled and arriving new patients at a high enough rate. In fact, you’re losing more potential new patients than you think due to front office staff being unsure how to convert them.
No matter how busy your practice is, you could be converting more patients than you are right now AND getting a better return on your marketing dollars.
Often as practice owners, we can get so focused on patient arrivals that we don’t put enough attention on conversions. But, if you only focus on patient arrivals, you’re missing a HUGE opportunity to help more people and you’re losing a lot of money from marketing your services.
Here’s some math:
Let’s say you have an average reimbursement of $100. (I like even numbers.)
If you have 10 cancellations / no-shows this week, you’ve lost $1000. Let’s even say that you suffered with 20 this week at $2000. So, you’re losing $1000-2000 per week on same-day cancellations and no-shows. Yikes!!
But, and here’s the REALLY big but…in all likelihood your team is also failing to convert at least 5 potential patient calls each week - when I did a survey, the owners guessed it was probably more than 10 per week - but we’ll stick with 5 for now. At an average plan of care of 10 visits (again for easy math), the total value of each plan of care would be $1000. So, you would be losing $5000 for those 5 lost potential new patients!!! Just in that one week.
Now, I’m not discrediting same-day cancellations and no-shows; it’s really important that your team ensure that current patients show up for the care they need to recover. But if you’re going to spend money on marketing for new patients, you need to make sure that your team can convert more new patients, so you get the return on the money you spent. And honestly, the way I look at it is this: if I’m going to tell people how I can help them, and they’re going to reach (however that may be), I had better make sure that my staff can get them signed up for and showing up for their evaluation so my highly-trained clinicians have the opportunity to ‘do their thing’.
Just in case you really like math, like I do:
Money lost per year at 20 same-day cancellations and no-shows per week: an average of $104,000.
Money lost per year at 5 lost new patients per week: $260,000
And remember, when I surveyed a large group of owners, they estimated that the average practice loses about 10 potential new patients per week which comes closer to $520,000 PER YEAR in lost revenue!!!
Here's a little piece of our story and how it all got started.
In 2012, we doubled the size of our practice and thought we were unstoppable. Well, weren’t we surprised! All of a sudden there were less MD referrals, the ‘affordable’ care act went into effect, and new patients just stagnated. We were trying to make that jump to 350 visits per week and it seemed so hard; in fact, it felt nearly impossible. We tried everything but it was a struggle to increase patient visits. We were spending more and more, but weren't getting the desired return on our marketing efforts.
When we took a good look at things, we realized that our front office team wasn't effectively converting calls to new patients. In fact, as we began tracking the calls in to actual conversions, they were only converting about 65% of the calls. And there it was! The real reason we weren't getting an acceptable return on our marketing efforts.
We didn’t begin to see a substantial return on our investment until we trained our front office team. This included:
How to identify and handle all potential new patients.
How to convert calls to scheduled and arriving new patients.
How to handle common objections.
How to speak to people to maintain control of the intake process;
and finally, we put in improved patient management systems.
You see, without training, front office staff will struggle to properly manage patients and handle their objections. And it’s the objections that stop patients from getting the care they need. The key is ensuring that your front office team has all the tools they need to better handle potential patients.
If you want to expand, don’t just put more money into marketing your services. Train your front office team. They’re the first point of contact for EVERY returning patient and potential new patient. When you train them, you improve their ability to confront and handle common objections and you will increase your rate of return on marketing dollars spent.
This year, I rolled out my Patient Care Coordinator (PCC) Program and it’s already getting amazing results with the practices that have implemented it. With the PCC Program, your team will learn how to:
Effectively manage both potential and current patients to get and they'll get excellent results.
Handle that initial call and schedule more new patients with ease.
Get potential patients arriving for the evaluation so your clinicians can do their thing.
To handle any objections to getting scheduled so they can get more patients scheduled out for their full plan of care right away.
Ensure that patients arrive as scheduled in order to reach a fully recovered state.your team will learn and implement our proven Cancellation Prevention Program.
This program will ensure that more patients show up for care or provide enough notice. This is ideal; so your team has enough time to help someone else get the care they need.
As we progress, they’ll learn their roll in patient management and have what it takes to ensure that:
Patients are scheduled for their prescribed weekly visits.
The schedule is utilized properly and effectively.
How to prevent drop offs;
and finally, how to collect what’s due at the time of visit.
By the time they’re done, they will have what it takes to be a Patient Care Coordinator in your practice. But here’s the best part. This program comes with:
A complete course pack that will become your training manual for future hires.
All the digital files necessary to implement quickly and easily.
The necessary scripts, drills, and practicals to ensure they fully understand how to implement their training.
One-on-One video coaching calls so your team can work at mastering skills before implementing them;
and most importantly, they'll fully understand how their actions affect patient care.
Why leave marketing dollars on the table? Get your front office team trained and install systems that help you maximize both your marketing dollars and your ability to help more people get the care they need. This is one investment that you’ll have forever and will help you for years to come.