Keeping in touch with patients to help generate thousands of pounds

keeping in touch with patients

Keeping in touch could generate thousands of pounds worth of new opportunities, states Ashley Latter.

A question, I got asked this week, by a new client, should we offer free consultations, because at present we don’t?

If you offer free consultations in your dental practice for certain cosmetic treatments, such as orthodontic treatment, then the likelihood is that you will get more patients coming through your door.

Some of these patients will buy now because they have a real need, and the want is strong enough. However, you will have another two different types of buyers. Let me explain who they are and how you can deal with them. It is possible that you might be missing out on lots of opportunities.

Tyre kickers

The first type of patient is known as a tyre kicker. What is a tyre kicker?

The expression has been around for many years, it is as old as the ark. It is a person who inspects vehicles for sale with no intention of buying. Hopefully, you will now understand what one is.

It is a patient who might visit you for a consult, for really has no interest in buying. As a training business, we sometime get tyre kickers; they are frustrating and to be honest, I never really understand them and why they behave this way.

The other type of patient has a need, however, they are not buying now. The problem they have is not big enough yet to justify the investment of both time and money. Let me repeat, the problem is not big enough yet for them to take action.

We all go through the same cycle when we are making purchases ourselves in our own lives.

Let me give you a personal example. Three years ago, I started to get serious about cycling. I purchased my first bike from a friend who I went out cycling with for £500. It did the job and I still have this bike today.

However, what was very notable, my bike was nowhere near as nice as my other friend’s bikes, who I went out with on our Sunday ride. Their bikes were new, the latest models and of course had the latest gadgets.

Another interesting fact was that I was always the slowest rider. Everyone would always be waiting for me at the top of a steep climb.

I could blame my age, or my fitness, but as far as I was concerned it was the bike and every Sunday ride, I was always the slowest. This was happening for several months and forced me to look at investing in a new bike. Especially as I entered the Land’s End to John-O-Groats charity bike ride in September 2018.

The closer I got to the September, the more I decided I needed a new bike. Three months before the ride, I purchased my new bike with all the bells and whistles.

It took me several months of thinking and researching before I ended up investing in one.

Patients purchase the same way

What has this got to do with dentistry? Your patients purchase the same way.

They may come to see you for a consultation, have a need for cosmetic treatment. However, the problem they have is not strong enough yet to justify the investment of both time and money.

They are not buying yet, however, it does not mean they won’t be in the future. The likelihood is that they are, and it is imperative that you follow up and keep in touch with these patients, so when they are ready to buy and as you are the practice that is keeping in touch, they are most likely going to do business with you.

This period of keeping in touch, could be weeks, months or even years.

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This article first appeared in Private Dentistry magazine. You can read the latest issue here.

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