This happens fairly frequently: A potential new patient calls the office, asks a few questions, and even though we do our best to get the person an appointment, he or she is just not ready.
"I need to check my work schedule."
"My insurance kicks in next month."
"I'm waiting until Jupiter aligns with Mars."
Whatever the reason, be sure to get a name and contact information before hanging up. Say something like this:
"Mrs. Flack, I understand that you are not ready to schedule an appointment today. Sometimes our schedule gets really busy here, so this is what I would like to do for you.
"If we have a change or an opening in our schedule one day, I'll give you a call in the morning to see if you can come in that day. Is your cell number the best way to reach you? OK, let's just confirm that number. We are looking forward to meeting you!"
Now put Mrs. Flack on your list of potential new patients.
And don't forget about her ...
It's very likely that after a week or two, there'll be a sudden opening in the schedule. Give Mrs. Flack a call!
"Hello, Mrs. Flack. This is Amy from Spring Valley Dental. We spoke a few weeks ago. I'm calling to let you know that we do have an opening at 1:30 today, and I highly recommend you grab it! We would love to see you as a new patient in our practice -- may I put you down for 1:30?"
Say she doesn't bite the first time (with us, the pun is always, always intended). Try her again the next time you have an opening. Be polite but persistent, reminding her that you very much want to help her. If she was ever really serious about making a dental appointment (and why else would she have called you?) eventually she'll quit dragging her feet and get her butt in your chair.
Kaboom! A patient who would have been lost and gone forever in most practices is now coming into yours -- for the first and probably not the last time. And you've also filled a hole (see what we did there?) in your schedule. Way to go!
In 1989, Richard H. Madow, DDS, and David M. Madow, DDS, founded The Madow Brothers with the goal of helping their fellow dentists achieve success and happiness in their practices. For more information about their e-letters, audio series, New Patient Mail marketing program, Dental Powerhouse group, live presentations (including "How To Love Dentistry, Have Fun, and Prosper," "The Ultimate Dental Boot Camp," and especially "TBSE"), and more, check them out at www.madow.com.
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