Is one mistake ruining your advertising?

By Richard Geller

May 12, 2009 -- Editor's note: Richard Geller's column, Marketing Madness, appears regularly on the advice and opinion page, Second Opinion.

I run a lead-generation service. We advertise and get quality leads from patients who tell us stuff like this (these are real comments from real leads we brought in recently):

"I want to set up a consult ASAP."

"I have three broken teeth and one broken cap. I am terrified of dentists and have just in the last two years had some real problems. I would like to get my teeth fixed."

"I was going for implants and keep all the teeth that I can so I rather do that then waste them when I can keep some of them and just replace the rest I'm so glad that you can help me I have been looking for a dream come true."

Question: If YOU were talking to each of these folks, sitting down with them in a friendly meeting, perhaps over coffee, and looking them straight in the eye, would you be able to convert them into patients?

Let's see. To get someone to convert into a patient, you need to ensure they have the following ingredients:

  1. The want, the desire, for your dental help.
  2. The means to pay.
  3. It helps if they really like you.

With leads like the ones stated above, isn't it clear that the want and desire are there? And maybe the means to pay. And they are already predisposed to liking you.

So why won't these leads turn into patients?

The doctors in my program have spent some good coin getting these leads. And yet many times, the lead will fail to develop into a patient.

The reason? The front desk. I hate to tell you this, I really do, but so many times front desk personnel are harried and busy, and they do the following:

  1. Leave one message.
  2. Don't follow up diligently.
  3. Don't spend 15 or 20 minutes with the prospective patient, building rapport and listening.

If your front desk only has time to leave one message, they do not follow up two or three times, and they do not spend time with these folks on the phone, then the leads you are paying for are not going to turn into patients.

You will blame the leads, the advertising program, your direct mail piece, anything. But you will not know how to fix the problem, and you will go from one advertising program to another and not improve the results.

The answer, once you are bringing in good leads, is to ensure that your front desk staff follows up diligently, several times, and spends a good deal of time with the prospect on the phone. If they do that, you will have a good flow of prospects turning into patients.

If they do not do that, your best advertising programs will fail and you won't know why.

Be sure to visit and register for an upcoming webinar about getting more patients from Google than is probably good for you.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

Copyright © 2009


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