Are you ready to close? – Handling patients at the first appointment

What’s a good close rate for first appointments?

How do you get ready to close in a clinic so that you can convert consultations? First off, I would suggest that you look at your close rate now. So take a look, and is it between 40 and 60%?

If it is, then you have to ask yourself, are you okay with that, or would you like to bump that number up to a more world-class level? World-class clinics close consultations between 60 to 80%+.

Generally, if you have a high value in the market and can provide evidence for that, you tend to close higher, and there are many ways that you can do that.

Why your current team might be limiting your close rate

We’ve had many doctors come to us and ask us how they can improve their in-office conversion rates, what we call the close rate. It’s a fundamental metric to be watching. However, not everybody comes to us and says, “can you help me do this?” is quite ready to exercise any of our recommendations, and here are some ideas as to why.

One of the first things that I always ask when talking to somebody about whether or not they’re ready is, do they have the right people in the right seats? So number one is, do you have what we refer to as a patient liaison? You might call them by different titles like patient counsellors, laser coordinators, or even patient educating consultants.

There has to be somebody whose role is to concierge the patient through a journey and invest at least 10 to 15 minutes before and after seeing a clinician to involve the patient emotionally. Ask them a series of questions to get them on-side.

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Have you communicated your close rate goals to your team?

When we look at how to get you ready to close, we’re going to look at the people involved in your team and analyse if they have a clear expectation of what you expect from them?

Do they have the skills, the knowledge and the confidence to be able to pull off what you’re asking them to do? Essentially, it’s a customer service/sales position and what you’ll often find is if you kind of throw somebody into that without hiring for them, to be very honest, it can happen; you might get a little bit of resistance.

Generally what you need to do, is take an assessment as to whether you’ve got the right people and whether they’re clear.

Often, having conversations around, “here’s what I expect of you; this is what we’re going to be doing in your role”. When you manage this role in this way, where you provide customer service and sales in the right way, the patient often leaves feeling like they just had an exceptional Four Seasons level quality experience at the clinic. Then they’re happy to recommend you whether or not they say yes to treatment.

So, I’d say first off, you want to look at who you have on your team and whether they have a clear understanding of what it is.

Have you provided your team with the space to raise close rates?

The second thing is, people need to have the space to be able to do these things. Suppose you have these kinds of conversations in a busy reception room or a clinical lane. I’d suggest a more comfortable environment, a closed office typically set up with a couple of nice comfortable chairs or couches. Something that puts the patient at ease and creates a nice and relaxed, and comforting atmosphere. That’s space.

Have you adapted your diary/schedule to maximise close rates?

Number three, people need to have the time in the diary. Time in the diary is precious, but if you invest 10 minutes before the patient has to see the clinician and maybe 5 to 10 minutes after the patient has to see the clinician and ensure that that investment of time is put into the diary in advance and you are sure that that’s going to happen, you give it a priority. Without that investment of time, you can’t expect the kind of results that we’re looking for, which is increasing close rates by multiple, double-digit figures.

Are you willing to do something different?

Lastly, it is a willingness to learn something new without the ability to look at what you’re doing and decide whether or not it’s working and productive for you right now. And deciding that you want to change and do something different, it’s tough to get ready to do anything new and prepared to close without that attitude. So I would advise you to consider those things.

Number one, the right person, the right place, the right amount of time, and lastly, the right attitude. And then, you’ll be ready to close.

About the author


LiveseySolar’s mission is to double the size of 150 cataract and refractive surgery practices. Using our proven marketing frameworks and deep market knowledge, our customers can predictably and sustainably grow their practices so that they can enjoy a healthy balance between both worlds – a successful private practice and a happy life.

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Meet our Founders

We’re passionate about helping leaders of high-quality, growth-minded practice owners double their practice revenue

Rod Solar

Founder & Scalable Business Advisor

Rod Solar is a co-founder of LiveseySolar and a Scalable Business Advisor / fCMO for our customers. Rod mentors and coaches CEOs/Founders and their leadership teams to double their sales, triple their profits, and achieve their “ideal exit”.

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LiveseySolar completely transformed the way we were approaching this… We’ve gone from having just the dream of having a practice to having a practice up and running with people making inquiries and booking for procedures… It’s extremely pleasing. We feel lucky we connected with LiveseySolar.

— Dr Matthew Russell, MBChB, FRANZCO, specialist ophthalmic surgeon and founder of VSON and OKKO

Laura Livesey

Founder & CEO

Laura Livesey is the co-founder & CEO of LiveseySolar. She has developed powerful refractive surgery marketing systems that increase patient volumes and profits for doctors, clinics, and hospitals, since 1997.

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Rod and Laura know as much about marketing surgery to patients as I know about performing it. They are an expert in the field of laser eye surgery marketing. They know this industry inside out. I believe that they could help many companies in a variety of areas including marketing materials, sales training and marketing support for doctors.

— Prof. Dan Reinstein, MD MA FRSC DABO, founder of the London Vision Clinic, UK