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If there is one area of your practice that can make the biggest impact on all other areas of your practice I believe it would be your new patient phone call. Although your consultation, exam, and report are extremely important if a new patient never gets in the door because of an average or poor new patient phone call then you don’t even get an opportunity to do a consultation.
So today we’re going to talk about the 3 essential questions that your CA must ask within 30 seconds to do an excellent new patient phone call.
As with everything in your practice it all starts with you as an upper cervical practice owner.
You have to get extremely clear on what you are looking to accomplish in a new patient phone call. Ultimately the goal is to schedule the person for a consultation.
You have to make a commitment to training your team over and over and over. You cannot just train them once and expect them to continue to do new patient phone calls well. The most successful upper cervical practices in the world do training with their teams every single week.
You also have to have a system of accountability in place. The single best system of accountability is call recording. Every one of our clients is set up with a call tracking number and every one of their new patient phone calls is recorded. This is the only way you could know for sure how new patient phone calls are being handled by your team.
When a potential new patient calls your practice (or you call them) they will frequently start the conversation with a question such as:
Or a variety of other questions. It really doesn’t matter what the question is the important thing is for your front desk CA to use this opportunity to take control of the conversation by beginning to ask more questions than they answer.
If they do not take control of the conversation at this point the remainder of the call will be the potential new patient asking questions and your CA answering those questions. You may be asking “what’s wrong with that?”.
The problem with the potential new patient asking questions and your CA answering questions is they are in complete control of the conversation and will most likely lead themself away from an appointment with your practice.
If instead, your CA takes control of the conversation they can begin to lead the person towards an appointment with your practice which is what they need because they are sick and suffering and they need hope and healing. It is important to remember that potential new patients are their own worst enemy. They need someone to guide them through their own skepticism and objections so they can get into your office and get the help that they need.
They cannot do this unless your CA leads them well.
So regardless of whatever question they ask your CA should say something like this…
“I would love to answer all your questions but first can I ask you who am I speaking with?” (Question #1)
Now about half of the time, the person will identify themselves in their first few words but your CA may not hear them or understand their name. If the person did say their name the CA should ask them to clarify their name or spell their name so that the CA can write their name down and continue to refer to them by their name throughout the rest of the phone call.
Something like… “I’m sorry did you say your name was Jane?” “And Jane what is your last name”. Once your team member has found out their name they should refer to them either by their first or last name depending on what you do in your practice for all future questions.
I would say at least half of the time that I’ve listened to recorded new patient phone calls the CA does not ask the person’s name at the beginning of the phone call. About 25% of the time they never ask them their name.
Asking for the new patient's name is the simplest way to begin to build a personal connection with them. People love to hear their names. But your CA completely misses out on that opportunity if they don’t know their name.
The next essential question after finding out the person’s name is to find out how they heard about your office. Something like…
“And Jane how did you hear about our office?” (Question #2)
This is an essential question because it allows your CA to understand where the person is coming from and if they already have a personal connection to someone involved with the practice you can build more rapport through that connection.
So let’s say they said, “I was referred to your practice by my brother Bob Jones”. This now becomes a tremendous opportunity to strengthen the relationship between your CA and this potential new patient by saying something like “Oh we love Bob around here! He is such a great guy and has had such great results here.”
By saying something kind and true about the person that is referring them to your practice your CA is continuing to strengthen the connection to your practice for this potential new patient. They obviously like and respect the person that has referred them to your practice so why not leverage that connection to improve the connection this potential new patient has with your practice?
What if they say “I found you on Google, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc.”…there is also a tremendous opportunity here. Your CA now knows that it’s even more important to establish that connection during this phone call. Saying something like “I’m so glad you found us through Google. So many of our patients have been able to find our unique practice that way” this begins to establish that it’s a good thing they found your practice through Google and many other patients have also done that. By adding in the word “unique” or something like that they can begin to differentiate your practice from every other chiropractic practice they could find on Google.
The 3rd important question your CA should ask right at the beginning of the phone call with a potential new patient is…
“Jane are you suffering from a health problem that has led to your call today?” (Question #3)
Now we begin to shift the conversation to the reason why they are calling. They are not really calling your practice for their original question about price or insurance. They are calling your practice because they have a problem and they want a solution. Their life is out of control in some way as it relates to their health and they are looking for someone to help them.
If your CA cannot get to this question and begin to drill down on it they will lose a lot of potential new patients.
This is the whole reason they are calling and many practices don’t even ask this question.
Once the person tells your CA what their health problem or concern is they should ask follow-up questions such as:
The important thing here is to listen and not minimize. For instance…
CA: “Jane are you suffering from a health problem that has led to your call today?”
Jane: “yes I’m having terrible vertigo”
CA: “that’s not good… I’m so sorry to hear that… How long have you been suffering from vertigo?”
Jane: “off and on for the past 2 years but it’s gotten worse in the past 6 weeks”
CA: “that’s not good that it’s getting worse… Is it starting to affect your life on a day-to-day basis?”
Jane: “yes when I have the episodes I can’t drive, I can go to work it’s really horrible”
CA: “so sorry to hear that… What if you tried to do to get rid of it?”
Jane: “I’ve been to my medical doctor and they sent me for physical therapy but it’s not working”
CA: “oh that must be frustrating… The good thing is that you have found Dr. Smith… He has helped many people in the community who were struggling with vertigo…
What your CA does not want to do in this section of the conversation is to minimize their condition by using words like “okay”. Such as
Jane: “I’ve been suffering from vertigo off and on for the past 2 years but it’s gotten worse in the past 6 weeks”
It’s not okay!
It’s never okay that someone is suffering. It’s definitely not okay that it’s getting worse.
This can just be an automatic response for a CA and if they are not listening to their phone calls and regularly training on their reactions they will do this automatically and minimize the person’s condition which ultimately minimizes the person.
Doc if you focus on these 3 questions with your front desk CA or new patient coordinator they will see a dramatic difference in their new patient phone calls. Obviously, they still need to be able to close the phone call into a new patient appointment but we will look at that again in a future article.
If you want even more information on doing a great new patient phone call, listen to a recent podcast I did with Tony Hook to learn 8 Common Mistakes Your CA Is Making in the New Patient Phone Call.
It’s time to take upper cervical to the world!