Whether you’re providing healthcare, legal or other services, you are ultimately a business…one that you want to — in the words of Star Trek’s Mr. Spock — live long and prosper. But you’re probably reluctant to spend a lot of money and time to attract a steady flow of new client/patients. You’ve done some email campaigns and perhaps a few select ads. What else can you add cost-effectively to grow your practice?
Regardless of what service you provide, these days your potential new business tends to come through the web in one way or another. Consumers of all types not only listen to their friends for referrals but perform internet searches that may lead them to your website and your clients’ reviews. Why not also leverage those “tire kickers” with an offer and an easy means to talk to one of your more-personable team members directly?
We know…you don’t want to “waste” time slots that could be used for billable services to current patients or any other types of clients. But think of it as an investment, and an easy one to manage. People do business with people, so if they can click on a link and can schedule a short chat with a living person to discuss your practice and how it can help them, you’ve likely “sealed the deal.”
Following are some of the major benefits of offering these introductory calls, and how easy it is to make the investment for your continued growth.
Look at these benefits!
Pre-screen clients in a way that intake forms can’t. Intake forms are great for qualifying clients based on their appointment history. In the allied health field, a personal connection that establishes a warm, personable rapport goes a long way. Such a call can help put potential new clients at ease, enabling them to be comfortable asking you questions regarding different types of treatments or other services, insurance coverage, location options and more.
Medical, legal and other services can be a tough choice for something so important…something that can have a major impact on consumers’ lives. It also impacts your ability to serve them; you don’t want a new client if a call sets up bells that they might be a challenge you don’t want to undertake. So this call is also for you to decide the potential client may not be the best match, either.
Accessibility! You may ultimately not want your clients to book all (or even any) of their appointments on your website. But allowing potential new clients to book an appointment for an introductory call is a great way to convey the message that you’re accessible and open to addressing questions or concerns as they consider a relationship with you. More and more consumers of virtually all ages have become accustomed to researching and then buying — in this case, booking — products and services online. Why not make it easy for your potential new clients to do the same?
The easy availability of an introductory call enables them to make a positive connection with you at a time or day that works for them. That’s especially important because it shows you understand that they might not be able to schedule or hold such a call if they’ve returned to a work environment outside of their home and can’t do so during standard business hours. Perhaps consider offering a small number of appointments for these calls on a week night or a Saturday.
You can limit the amount of introductory calls. Using your booking settings, you can set alternative hours for these calls so they’re only available on a certain day or time block. You can also limit the number of them that can be booked on any given day. This is an important consideration so you aren’t cutting in your treatment time with existing clients.
You can charge for the calls. While most providers offer these calls for free because you aren’t offering a treatment or other service, you can put a fee on them to ensure that only seriously interested parties are booking them…and that they’re more likely to show up. If you do charge a fee, we’d recommend making it clear that the fee is fully refundable as long as the potential client attends the scheduled call. If they attend and it’s determined you’re not a good fit, they get a full refund. If they choose to become a new client, the fee can go towards their first “official” visit. (You’ll want to check on the legality in your jurisdiction and for your specialty, of course.)
Even in the digital age, the human touch works
For patients and providers alike, starting a new relationship that works for both parties can be a challenge. Also, the pandemic — and now high gas prices — has taught most of us to be mindful of just how many trips we take outside of our homes to search for a product or service important to us. So anything you can do to leverage the power and safety of the web and a simple introductory phone call might make all of the difference for new clients seeking a trusted healthcare, legal or other service provider.
Leveraging the technology of the web, online appointment scheduling and a simple phone or video call can make the connection that could add a new client to your organization for many years to come.