How to respond to every lead in 5 minutes or less

What happens when a visitor enquires your website? Someone interested in your services might send an email or submit their contact details on a form. What happens then?

Whenever I ask this question, surgeons either don’t know or tell me that someone gets back to the lead. When I ask about the average speed-to-lead (how fast they respond), they often don’t know.

Most medical practices neglect speed-to-lead

After 20 years of advising refractive surgery clinics, I’ve discovered that staff aren’t good at handling new leads. Many are not good at picking up the phone. Most are not good at sales conversations. Almost no one follows up.

Why does this happen? Most experienced business owners know that the vital prerequisite to customers are leads.

I hypothesise that most surgeons are used to getting warm referrals. So, they don’t hire salespeople. They don’t create sales systems. Hence, they can’t convert them into appointments when they advertise and get cold leads.

That’s one of the main reasons surgeons stop marketing. They don’t see the value of marketing (leads), even though everyone involved was doing what they thought was best.

Their speed-to-lead (the time it takes for them to first respond to leads) is abysmal. That makes them easy prey for competitors who prioritise replying to leads as soon as they arrive.

Neglecting speed-to-lead is starving your practice

Responding to cold leads within 5 minutes dramatically increases your conversion rate.

Look at this chart reflecting data from an MIT study researching speed-to-lead effect on lead engagement. After 5 minutes, the odds of connecting and qualifying a lead drop by 80%. They also found that responding to leads within the first-minute increases conversions by 391%.

What’s your speed-to-lead?

If you’re like most healthcare organisations, it’s something like 2 hours and 5 minutes. That’s forever in marketing and sales time.

In comparison, telecom businesses reply in 16 minutes. Small-sized companies respond in 48 minutes. Medium-sized companies take 1 hour and 38 minutes. Large-sized companies take 1 hour and 28 minutes to respond to leads.

What makes healthcare organisations so slow with speed-to-lead?

It’s because of all the reasons I mentioned earlier. Surgeons who run healthcare practices are used to referrals. They get them from insurance, other doctors, and word of mouth. Most surgeons don’t realise the importance of speed-to-lead. They don’t measure it. They don’t manage it.

A solution for the speed-to-lead problem

You could employ an army of patient coordinators around the clock, monitoring every channel (even when busy with calls). Or, you could use a virtual patient coordinator.

For example, when you get a new lead, whether it’s a

  • form submission
  • an email
  • a call you missed
  • a guide download
  • a self-test completion
  • a Facebook message
  • an Instagram DM
  • a Google My Business chat
  • or your webchat bot

Marketing automation can respond to the lead within 5 minutes. When a robot receives any of the above message types, she can efficiently respond within 5 minutes. She can use email, SMS, or Facebook/Instagram message, whatever the lead used to start the engagement.

And if you or your staff is available, she’ll even attempt to connect you to the lead so you can have a conversation in real-time.

What would your practice look like if you could respond to every lead within 5 minutes?

A common complaint I hear from patient coordinators is that they try to ring back people who complete forms but get tied up in voicemails.

One of the reasons I suspect causes that issue is that people ignore their follow-up. Why? The data above tells us that speed-to-lead is king. The odds are that your lead has already engaged with another provider that replied faster than you.

With lead-response automation, your contact rate would increase. An increased contact rate leads to an increase in conversions. More conversions mean more appointments. More appointments result in more surgeries.

If you could double your contact rate this way (which is almost certain if you respond within 5 minutes), you might double your sales revenue.

NOTE: The best way to answer that nagging question about practice growth or marketing or patient volume in the back of your mind is to book a free 15-minute compatibility call. Get some options and go away with a clear idea of what’s possible.

About the author

Rod Solar
Founder & Fractional CMO

Rod co-founded LiveseySolar and acts as a Fractional CMO for our customers. He’s on a mission to help transform the lives of 10,000 people through vision correction surgery by 2024. To achieve that, he inspires his customers to make confident decisions that will help 50,000 people take the first step towards vision correction.

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Rod Solar

Founder & Fractional CMO

Rod co-founded LiveseySolar and acts as a Fractional CMO for our customers. He’s on a mission to help transform the lives of 10,000 people with vision correction surgery by 2024. To achieve that, he inspires his customers to make confident decisions that will help 50,000 people take the first step towards vision correction.

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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