Don’t turn your good leads bad
Don’t turn your good leads bad
The difference between a good lead and a bad one? It’s simply a matter of time.
July 4, 2024

If you’re investing money in marketing, you want to know that it’s paying its way – that the budget you set aside is bringing in a strong return. One obvious and natural metric to help judge this is the number of new patients and consultations you’re booking in. Lots of new patients means your marketing is good. Too few new patients must mean your marketing is ineffective. Right?

Problem is, it’s not that simple. It’s true that leads are an important factor, but the key thing to consider is how you nurture them. In fact, we see many good practices burning through opportunities for lead management because they’re not responding to enquiries quickly enough.

The ideal marketing scenario is that you invest a healthy budget with an experienced agency, which directs an even healthier stream of potential patients to your practice. These patients are quickly picked up, responded to, nurtured, and converted into appointments. So far, so straightforward. But for this to happen, practices need to be hands-on, looking at data, knowing what it means, and making sure that every lead is handled in the best way possible. Which isn’t as easy as it sounds.

And if this is the ideal scenario, we see many that are less than ideal. It used to be the case that most marketing agencies could do a decent job, with the less experienced still delivering passable results, but at a slower pace. However, more recently we’re seeing evidence of actions that are objectively awful. Issues such as websites being made non-indexable (meaning they can’t be seen by search engines), terms like ‘free implants’ being optimised for paid search, and agencies charging VAT on Google Ads (which is downright theft).

But even if your marketing agency is good, there’s only so much that lead generation alone can do. The best strategy in the world won’t gift wrap new patients and deliver them to your door, complete with a signed off treatment plan. Imagine driving hungry customers to the opening of a new restaurant, only for them to discover that it won’t be open for another six hours. It might be the best restaurant in the world, but that won’t stop them drifting away to eat somewhere else.

Reacting to a lead straight away (ideally, within 15 minutes) is the only way to keep things moving. You might tell yourself that you’ll note each one down and follow them up at the end of the day, but from experience, I know it doesn’t work like that. However good your intentions, other things get in the way. As another example, let’s say a lead comes in as you’re about to make a cup of tea. A five-minute delay won’t hurt, will it? The only snag is that when you come back to the computer, there are two more leads. By the time you’ve answered a call, and a patient has come in, there are five. Suddenly, the job feels far bigger.

I’m happy to admit that I’m naturally the worst offender, making this a lesson I’ve learned the hard way. I’ve trained myself into working in a more orderly fashion, so that I now take regular small steps to make everything smoother. If I slipped up, I’d begin to see the repercussions quite quickly. Within a dental practice, it’s harder to notice this happening because it’s all too easy to assume that the leads you had just weren’t very good. It’s only when you start digging into the data that you can see the reason for this.

In his book ‘Selling to Serve’, James Ashford observes that “Bad clients aren’t born, they’re made.” We could easily say the same for leads. Namely, that in the time it takes a practice to delay, the status of a lead fundamentally changes from good to bad. It’s like a beautiful piece of sushi: if you eat it freshly made, it’s delicious. If you leave it in the sun for hours, it becomes far more problematic.

Looking at your data also allows you to make valuable changes to your marketing. It’s safe to say that 100% of your leads will never be good. But you have the power to make as many of them good as possible. If, for instance, you receive 100 enquiries from people wanting to buy tyres, you can easily identify this as a problem and let the marketing agency know. It’s an easy fix and means your pay-per-click budget isn’t being wasted on leads that will never become patients. The crucial point is that you’re not blindly investing in marketing.

Lead management is a collective responsibility, but as a practice owner, it’s up to you to set the pace. The first step is becoming obsessed with your numbers. Even a great practice will struggle to market effectively without monitoring its lead data and feeding back. You also need to inspire your team to be excited by leads. For them, it’s easy to see lead management as another drain on their time, but when it’s done well, it makes everything more effective.

I often say it, but success in sales is about stacking the deck in your favour. Deal with leads quickly, and you’ll get better results and a smoother operation. Let them build up, and they can quickly become overwhelming, with significantly worse results on the activity. If you create the right conditions, building a culture of swiftly responding, you’re far more likely to “win” that lead.

If you’d like help reviewing and refining your approach, just let us know. We’re uniquely placed as dental industry experts, with years of experience in practice leadership, management and sales.

The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Hive Business and does not constitute formal tax advice. Any tax outcomes will be based on individual circumstances, tax legislation and regulation, which are subject to change in the future. You should seek specific advice before embarking on any course of action. Hive Business does not provide regulated Financial Advice, including advice on investment, insurance or lending products or their suitability for you. This article is provided for information only and does not constitute, and should not be interpreted as, investment advice or a recommendation to buy, sell or otherwise transact, or not transact, in any investment including Bitcoin and other crypto. Any use you wish to make of any information contained within this article is, therefore, entirely at your own risk.

By Dan Fine Group Director
If you have any questions or comments about this article, please get in touch.
Call Now Button