Following up with prospects – Part 3 of 3: How often should you follow-up?
Here is an example of the power of follow-up for those of you who might think it is a futile and annoying aspect of the job in increasing conversion rates.
A few years ago, I helped a Harley Street specialist ophthalmic clinic increase conversion rate from 8% to 20% by training their staff to answer the phone and handle enquires properly. The clinic’s conversion rate at the consultation was a very good 90% for a £3000 treatment – so very little help was needed there. So, I worked mainly with the phone team.
Do the math with me for a moment, because it’s important (I’ve rounded the numbers to make the example easier, but this is a real-life case):
- Assume 500 prospects called the clinic every month
- 20% converted to appointments (100 appointments)
- 90% of the appointments converted to treatments (90 patients)
- paying £3000 each
- = £270,000
At this point, the clinic didn’t follow-up with prospects that didn’t convert after the first call in order to increase conversion rates. So, we decided to give that a try, and here’s what happened:
- Of the same prospects in the above example, 80% did not convert
- After follow-up (1-3 calls), 20% more converted (80 more appointments)
- 90% of those appointments converted (72 treatments)
- paying £3000 each
- = £216,000 (every month!)
The healthcare marketing take-away
If we had not followed up, many of those prospects may have found other providers that were more consistent in their follow-up routines. In any case, there was £216K of available income out there that was theirs for the taking – and they won it, mainly through follow-up.
Now, how often should you do it? Assuming that the prospect has given you permission (and that’s important, by the way; I do not recommend following up with prospects that have refused to receive it), you may want to use my…
Follow-up Rule of 3
Re-engage with prospects:
- 3 days after the initial contact
- 3 weeks after the initial contact
- 3 months after the initial contact
- and every 3 months thereafter
How you do it is up to you and the prospect. I prefer the phone, some patients prefer e-mail follow-up or post. That’s ok, I do what works for them – as long as I get to keep reminding them of my existence. However, certain principles are important to consider:
- Don’t lie and say that you’re just checking in to “see how they are doing”. You know you are not, and they know you are not. Instead, have something new to offer (i.e. a patient seminar to invite them to, a new treatment, a change in price, a new customer-centered policy, a new consultant joining your practice)
- Don’t chase paper (or email). Calling to see how someone responded to your brochure or letter is pointless and only invites delays (in reading, finding the misplaced post, complaining about mail delays, etc…) Instead, call to book an appointment while assuming the post was lost in the mail. There is a very good chance your prospect didn’t bother reading your promotional material anyways, so don’t even mention it.