Maximizing Conversions: The Secret to Turning Leads into Patients

Transcript of Episode:

Jonathan Fashbaugh:
… increase new patients from leads by 30%. No, you know what, 50%. We’re going to get that right now. We’re going to get that. We’re going to get to that. We’re going to get to that today on Marketing Chairside.

Announcer:
Welcome to the Marketing Chairside Podcast by Pro Impressions Marketing, where the team covers a variety of dental marketing ideas to help you attract more new patients in the quantity and quality you need to grow your practice.

Jonathan Fashbaugh:
My guest today is Scott Hansen. Scott is the founder and CEO of LeadSigma. Hi Scott.

Scott Hansen:
Hi Jonathan.

Jonathan Fashbaugh:
I met Scott honestly just investigating his company and his platform, and he was just dropping knowledge bombs on me left and right, and he actually has a background in dental too. So it just made him a perfect fit for our show, and I wanted him to share some of the things that were just blowing my mind. And Scott, there are going to be a lot of things that we talk about, but I just wanted to focus on the fact that people can get more out of their marketing through how they follow up, and you’ve built an entire company around that. I think that’s amazing.

Scott Hansen:
It’s kind of an interesting journey. So I started my career managing my family’s orthodontic practice. Our practice was, it was an awesome practice. My mom was the founding doctor, and people just loved her. When I started the… really, it seemed like the big gap to me. I love sales and marketing and it seemed like it was a typical practice in that the doctor loved the patients, like my mom loved her patients, the patients loved her, but it really lacked process. The business was not being managed. And so I basically just started learning stuff on my own, and we had built processes around how we managed our sales and marketing.
We ended up growing the practice really fast over a few years and sold it to a DSO. And right around that same time, we had started using online chat on our website to generate interest from patients. I saw the traffic on our website, and I was like, “Man, I know that people don’t get on our website for fun. They’re there for a specific purpose, and so how can we convert more of those people into scheduled appointments?” And anyway, we were doing this, and it was working, and I called up a few other doctors, and I said, “Hey, this is working. I’m going to answer… Our team can answer the same questions for your office as they are for ours.
If you want to pay me, I’ll just manage this process for you, and we can just use the same agents.” Long story short, we grew that to about 150 reps over a couple of years, and we were serving over a thousand ortho and dental practices, and then jumped into other verticals as well, ended up serving a few thousand businesses. But throughout that process of we were generating billions of dollars worth of leads, we would hand off… Our reps would have the conversation with the prospects. We would hand those prospects off to our clients. And oftentimes, it was very apparent that there was no process once that lead had been generated, what to do with it.
And I had this unique experience of building the process out in our practice and then seeing all of the really cool sales software that existed outside of dental. We kind of are in our own little world in dental, and we don’t really know what other enterprises use for really good sales process. And when I got exposed to those, I was like, “Man, dentistry needs great sales software.” The problem with applying the sales software that exists for lots of other types of businesses is we have a different person, a different user, who uses that software. In most big enterprises, they’re professional salesmen or salespeople.
Or a dental office, oftentimes, the sales component of a front office coordinator’s day is maybe 30 minutes or an hour. They’re not full-time doing it. They’re answering the phones, checking in patients. And so the realization was that we need to have sales software. We need to have some way to manage these contacts, these relationships with prospective patients, but it can’t be as sophisticated as you would deliver to a full-time salesperson. And that’s really what led me to start LeadSigma was how do we take the essence of really powerful enterprise sales software and simplify it in a way that pretty much anyone can use so that we can take the best advantage possible of all of our production opportunities?

Jonathan Fashbaugh:
And that process, you’ve looked at it end to end, and one of the things that we talked about the other day was even just how the phone’s answered. It’s frustrating to me as a marketer when I generate leads for an office that I know that one office will turn that lead into a patient and the other will either fully drop the ball or it will peter out down the road.
And the difference is just how that lead is handled throughout just the initial phone call. And so I know one of the pieces that you’ve looked at is just actual scripting. I do have one concern about that because I feel like you can lead a horse to water [inaudible 00:05:29] you can’t force it to drink. How do you transform an office that has a problem with answering the phones effectively and handling that kind of intake? Does the script solve it all, or is there more to it than that?

Scott Hansen:
Yeah, in my experience, so after I sold… I sold my virtual receptionist business to a company called Ruby Receptionists, and after I sold it, I spent a year traveling in an RV and did some consulting work. And so I’ve worked with some really awesome practices. So I’ve kind of approached this from a lot of different angles. Obviously it matters to us at LeadSigma because the phones are a really important component of converting patients. But I would say that scripting is not the lowest-hanging fruit for most practices. The priority should first be on how someone has a conversation with anyone who calls into the practice.
So if you approach a phone call and you’re friendly, you are engaged, you’re high energy, everything gets easier on the phones. And we know that personally when we call places and interact with brands, when we get ahold of someone, and they seem jacked to have the conversation with us, we’re likely going to… everything for that business gets better. We’re going to be more likely to engage with that brand in the future. We’re more likely to have a positive impression about that brand. And when you have someone who you’re talking to that’s engaged, they’re more likely to accomplish their goals too.
And so I think that’s the first thing. And that… Unfortunately, there are some people that are just not cut out to have really good phone skills. They’re not high-energy people naturally. And so I think that’s the first thing that practices need to look at is do they have the right people in the right seats on the bus. Because when you do, everything gets easier. The script won’t solve all the problems. Scripting certainly helps when you get conversation or questions about financing or treatment price or whatever. The scripting does help, but I view scripting as more of a guide. So we are-

Jonathan Fashbaugh:
Training wheels.

Scott Hansen:
Yeah, they’re the training wheels because every conversation’s different. We don’t want robots. Robots don’t… they’re not going to be as effective if you’re reading word for word off a script as if you’re having a natural conversation with someone. And if you are having an engaging conversation with someone, everything gets easier.
And if you have those training wheels, if you have the, I guess, the foundation laid, the results get better. So friendly, kind, engaged, and high energy, those are the most important parts of handling the phone. And I would say this is… this seems very obvious, but actually answering the phone is probably the lowest-hanging fruit for all offices.

Jonathan Fashbaugh:
Oh, yeah, it is tough. Everyone thinks that their phones are always answered at the right time, but that’s where recording these calls, tracking them is so critical. But yeah, I think you’re right that for some offices, and I’ve worked with them over the years, they’ve got someone answering the phone that’s been with them forever.
They know everything about the practice. So from a knowledge-based standpoint, they’re a great fit. But from a personality, likability standpoint, even just a vision standpoint, if they’re all business and not really sales, in their mind, they’re thinking, “Three steps down the road, am I going to have a billing problem or something?”

Scott Hansen:
Right.

Jonathan Fashbaugh:
That’s not the right foot to start off on with that conversation. So getting the right people on the bus in the right positions, I think, is absolutely critical. What is your experience with, or maybe you don’t have any, with automating that phone process, especially after hours on weekends? I mean, do you have any success with that with some of your other clients?

Scott Hansen:
We’re in a high-value service business, and high-value service businesses rely on trust. When I’m hiring a plumber, I know nothing about plumbing. And so it’s another high-value service business that I can put myself in the customer’s shoes. And there’s a lot that automation can solve. Trust building is not one of those things. And so, is automation important? Yes. But there’s a reason why I sold my last business to Ruby. Ruby does a really good job of these things. They have… Their reps are really high-energy engaged. It’s a great business. And so I would suggest if… answering the phones, again, I come from the ortho world, but we think about every call is worth about $200.
We don’t know… Somewhere around seven and a half percent of the calls are new patient calls. We don’t know which of those calls are going to be new patients. And so if we miss one of those calls, it’s worth about 200 bucks to us. So, with that in mind, looking at call volumes, when are calls coming in, and how many calls are we missing? And it makes it very easily justifiable to have a rollover service at some point where someone can handle those if you do miss them. And so, the target should be around 95% of calls answered. And if you’re not hitting that, for many practices, there’s strong justification to actually have a human answer those calls to make sure that those opportunities don’t get missed.

Jonathan Fashbaugh:
Great. And whether they’re on the team or not, it’s just how it gets handled. I mean, the chat thing, I think, is a perfect analog too because I know that as long as that chat is handled with clear expectations and vision for what the goals are of that intake, then it’s going to be more successful than if it’s misaligned in some way. Speaking of that, with the intake, how do you reconcile… I feel like there’s two philosophies to intake.
One is, “Let’s get them in the door, get them scheduled, and then we can work on aligning their values, clarifying what they want and whether or not we’re a fit because we’re going to have better results in that conversation when it’s face-to-face and when they see what are office is like and when they hear what our team is like, they’re going to want what we have.”
I get that. I’ve also experienced other offices having a different philosophy where they don’t want to spend any more time than they have to with an individual until they’re certain that this person is a fit for the office, that they are already in alignment with their values and value what they represent rather than what is kind of the mainstream understanding of what a dental office or a ortho office is. What are your thoughts on that? Is there a right answer there? Is that just a fit and preference piece, and does that change the tool set you put in play?

Scott Hansen:
Yeah, I think it goes back to what the objectives are. If the objectives are to grow the practice quickly, I think there’s a really big danger in prejudging patients. Just a small anecdote. I sat in virtually every seat in our ortho office at a time, and oftentimes, the people who rolled up to the office in a beater Honda Civic from… that was 15 years old would be the same people that paid cash and the people who drove up in an Escalade were the people that needed the $99 a month payments.
And so if the chairs are full all the time and you have no need for growth in the practice, and you just want to have the absolute best-fit patients, certainly have a very detailed intake, qualify those patients strictly. But that’s not the majority of practices. The vast majority of practices they have a growth mindset, and we want to carry the momentum of that sales process into the appointment. We want that process to be short and quick for the patient. People don’t call our offices… Just like they don’t get on our websites for fun, they don’t call our offices for fun.
They have an objective. They have something that they want to accomplish, and we should try to help them accomplish that efficiently. And so I think, generally speaking, I would fall much more into the camp of making it efficient for the patient, giving them a great experience on the phone, but getting them butt in seat as quickly as we can. And generally, the rule is 72 hours. So we want that patient to have an in-office appointment, be face-to-face with us within 72 hours.

Jonathan Fashbaugh:
And I mean, I think that this is, well, at best, theoretical borderline conspiracy here, but I’m thinking of those bars in Google’s business profiles where it says, “Busy times.” And if you’re screening, screening, screening down things to where you’ve got such a low volume of people coming to the practice, Google’s getting that data from users of their devices who visit your location. I worry that you could have a negative feedback loop where if you’re just focused on only getting people in for as few appointments as possible and only a select group, and Google is seeing that there’s this… Google’s not going to see it as exclusivity.
They’re going to see it, I think, as undesirable, an indicator that there’s something wrong there. So again, that’s theoretical there, but I just wonder if some of our offices may be screening themselves to death because they’re focused on trying to only do these gigantic cases of full mouth and that kind of thing. And we’ve got practices that are making that work. But I think that they are… you’re right, they’re past the growth mindset type of stage, and they’ve got better referral base, and they’re known by Google for being the best in that. But if you try to get the cart before the horse, I think you’re going to starve yourself.

Scott Hansen:
Yeah. I think that’s a really interesting perspective, and it certainly is market-dependent too. When there is lots of competition over the same patients, all of those edges that we can create are really important. And I know, I’ve served clients in some markets where there’s not very much competition, and they can run it like a great lifestyle business and really have high expectations of the people coming in the door before they ever show up because there’s not a whole lot of practices they’re competing against. But again, I don’t think that that is the majority of practices. But I love the perspective on the, I don’t know, Google measuring the traffic, like the physical traffic in a location. I think you’re right because that’s how local listings get prioritized.

Jonathan Fashbaugh:
I mean, even the satellite imagery for Google Maps, they can tell when your parking lot has cars in it.

Scott Hansen:
That is wild. [inaudible 00:17:51]-

Jonathan Fashbaugh:
What if, what if you had some cars, park it there on a regular basis rotating through? I don’t know.

Scott Hansen:
There’s a new business. [inaudible 00:17:57] have cardboard cutouts of cars that we plug in the parking lots. I like it.

Jonathan Fashbaugh:
Right. Right. Well, let’s switch gears to email leads because I think that those are hidden gold for offices. I’ve had some offices that are so bad at handling them, and they view them as a frustration that I’m like, “Do we just take them off?” But I know that obviously digital interaction is… that’s our life, and so we can’t afford to take away digital engagement with online engagement with our website users.
The chat piece, I know, is challenging for some offices, but it is really just a higher speed offline engagement than email forms. But this is one of the factoids that you shared was that by regularly following up… immediately following up, and then regularly following up, you can boost the number of appointed patients by about 33%. Can you tell us more about that [inaudible 00:19:10]-

Scott Hansen:
Yeah. Yeah.

Jonathan Fashbaugh:
Again I’m like, who would say no to that?

Scott Hansen:
Yeah, yeah. So we’re really fortunate that we work with a lot of the big dogs in the market. So we have tracked about 175,000 leads, at this point, that have come through LeadSigma. And so we have some really interesting data about what works and what doesn’t or actually juices results. What makes the scheduling rate higher? And there’s a few things. The first that you mentioned was speed. So you can imagine, again, if I’m looking for a landscaping company or a plumber, I’ve got… when I’m searching for it online is my moment of pique interest. I’m moving on from that. Three minutes later, I’m on Instagram, or I’m… I’ve got my email pulled up. Stuff moves very quickly. And so when we have someone at the peak of their interest, that’s when we should be trying to engage with them.
And that’s really… When you talk about automation, like some of the power of the automation, this can really help us. So what we can see in the data in LeadSigma is that the faster we can get a hold or attempt to get a hold of a new patient prospect, the more likely they are to schedule. And one of the automations that we have set up that we’ve built is that when a lead gets generated, so someone fills out an appointment request, our software will immediately call the practice location. And when they pick up the phone, it will give them the new patient prospect’s information and when they press one, it will auto-dial that prospect for them.
That process, that whole process, usually takes about 20 seconds. When the practices pick up the phone and press one, so when we isolate the variable of just making a phone call to a prospect within 30 seconds, the conversion rate goes up by about 33%. Now, the automation is also sending them a personalized text message. It’s also sending them a personalized email, but that speed component, just mastering that speed component with automation increases scheduling rates dramatically. Another really important consideration is the consistency. So yes, the speed matters, but we don’t want to just try reaching out to them once and forget about it. What are we going to do tomorrow and the next day and the two days later?
What we can see is we can measure, even if we isolate just phone volume, I think there’s… the general consensus is… the layman’s consensus of what’s happening in the market is that phones matter less and less. I think that is true, but it’s happening way slower than people think. Phones still matter a ton. Just as a simple example, when we measure the conversion rates with clients that make, on average, one phone call to a new patient prospects as opposed to three calls to a new patient prospects over the first 10 days, the clients who make three phone calls on average to their prospects convert about a little under 50% higher than the people who make one phone call.
And so, just by adding two more phone call attempts to those new patient prospects dramatically increases the scheduling rate. And you can imagine it’s the same way with text messaging. It’s the same way with email. So we’ve got the speed. We’ve got the consistency. We’re using all the channels. And the last piece that has just been amazing to me that I don’t think that I valued enough when we were in practice was that the long-term engagement of those prospects matters a ton. So we know even when we have a great dialed process over the first few days of trying to get a new patient prospect scheduled, only about 80% of those people that schedule are going to do it over that first few days.
The rest of the 20% of the people are going to happen 10 days or later from when they actually submitted their information to you. And so when we have automation, we can continue nurturing those prospects even if we didn’t get them scheduled over that first 10-day window. And so that’s a way that we can leverage automation to continue nurturing those prospects over the automatically because, otherwise, we forego that other 20% of the opportunity.

Jonathan Fashbaugh:
Yeah, I just… Again, I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t want that 50% increase.

Scott Hansen:
It’s incredible. And to be frank, you don’t need a tool like LeadSigma to make three calls.

Jonathan Fashbaugh:
Right.

Scott Hansen:
And so this is not… LeadSigma is an amazing automation tool. It is an amazing tool to make sure that nothing ever gets missed, and it’s a great accountability tool. The reality is if… it’s kind of like phones. It’s like, “Okay, just get a nice person to answer the phone. That’s a pretty easy solution.”
It’s a pretty easy solution to say, “Okay, we’re going to call these people as fast as possible, and we’re going to make two more phone call attempts after that, try to get them booked. The results will get better.” It just so happens that it’s hard to hold that process to account if you don’t have software. That’s really the power of what we’ve offered. You can do everything that we do in LeadSigma with a spreadsheet and a perfect person. It just happens to be really, really, really hard to do that.

Jonathan Fashbaugh:
The fundamentals that we talked about where if you have a growth mindset, you’ve got that outgoing person that’s jacked about the conversation, like you said, every one of those phone calls needs to have that behind it, right.

Scott Hansen:
Mm-hmm.

Jonathan Fashbaugh:
So yeah. I mean, I think there are a lot of viewers and listeners that should check out LeadSigma, and we’ll put the link in the description to check out Scott’s company. And you can schedule a demo, I think.

Scott Hansen:
Yeah.

Jonathan Fashbaugh:
But the fundamentals and making sure that you’ve got a plan in place to where you’re not just going to sign up for another piece of software and not use it, but it aligns with your plan, your vision for your practice. And that’s where this has to start. And I mean, that’s where marketing has to start. It has to not just be a box you’re checking, but it has to be aligned with a true plan, and you’ve got the people in place that are going to be there to reel these things in.

Scott Hansen:
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, one of the things that we see among our more successful clients is the separation of the sales process from the active treatment process. So they have software and accountability mechanisms to make sure that the sales process, from the time that the new patient inquires all the way through to when they sign a contract or begin active treatment, that process needs to be set up and run independently from the active treatment processes. And this is the same way as it exists. Dentistry is no different than virtually every other business.
In virtually every other business, there are inbound and outbound salespeople. There’s account executives. There’s sales development reps. And although we don’t use that terminology in dentistry, we should think about it more like other enterprises think about sales. And so when you have the sales process kind of cordoned off into its own set of functions with its own set of responsibility and people, it makes it easier to understand what’s working and what’s not. And then, when you can use obviously automation tools to make your life easier and make sure that the process is consistently near perfect, the results get better.

Jonathan Fashbaugh:
So what’s the ideal client for LeadSigma? I mean, we’ve kind of alluded to it. But if we had to describe someone who’s watching this or listening to this, that would be the type of person, the type of practice that should reach out to you. Who is that office?

Scott Hansen:
Primarily, we serve larger enterprises, and so we have a ton of really great DSO clients that use LeadSigma, but we also serve owner-operators. And typically, the people who love using LeadSigma have an understanding of the importance of the process. So they may have a spreadsheet, and they may be following up with a spreadsheet. They understand that reaching out to leads quickly is important. They understand the value of kind of what we’re discussing on this call, and they want something to solve it for them.
And that’s really what we’ve built LeadSigma to do is we define what the process is on the front side, so it comes with pre-built playbooks, and then we link the inbound marketing up to LeadSigma, and it rocks and rolls. We’ve designed it with the simplicity of the UI in mind and who’s actually going to be using it. And so the workflows are very simple, and that’s what allows us to get onboarded with a practice very quickly. So we have two 30-minute training sessions, and then we’re ready to go.

Jonathan Fashbaugh:
Excellent. Well, and if you’re… you’ve got LeadSigma, you’ve got some other process for handling leads well, but the marketing side is a problem for you, that’s where we can help at Pro Impressions, and so we’ll also have our contact info where you can schedule a consult. Well, it’s that time again, Scott. Thanks for being on the show. I really appreciate your time. Just any parting thoughts in terms of what you would recommend a tip for the listener here in terms of how to grow their practice?

Scott Hansen:
Yeah, absolutely. Well, first of all, thanks for having me. The first thing that comes to mind is we are in the fortunate position to see the backside of a lot of people’s marketing. We see the leads that are generated and the quality of those leads, and we work with really big agencies and really small agencies and everything in between.
And having a really great partner like Pro Impressions Marketing is vital to this whole process. Certainly having a great sales process is important, but if nothing’s feeding that sales process well, it’s a zero. And so, I would recommend that people schedule time with you, like learn what you have to share. It’s really powerful stuff. So really appreciate being on the show. And yeah, look forward to working with clients as well.

Jonathan Fashbaugh:
Yeah. Well, I’ve got the warm fuzzies. I hope you do too. If you’re listening, are watching this, we appreciate your engagement, your likes, your subscribes, your heartfelt comments. If there’s anything we can do for you, please reach out on our website, , and I’ll see you next time. Oh, man. Oh, crap. Dang it.