We’ve mentioned it once, we’ve mentioned it a thousand times: Success isn’t measured by the quality of your product or service. While that’s an important component, success is the sum of all parts. It takes your marketing, outreach, conversion, acquisition, and many other aspects of business into consideration. Although it’s tempting, whether you’re an entrepreneur or a business mogul, to focus only on the actual product or whatever it is in the end that reaches the consumer, but your product or service stands very little chance of making it that far if you don’t get your ducks in a row.
We’ve discussed the importance of social media, the utility of video content, and we’ve even broken down the specific steps to creating addiction-related web content. Today, we’re going to be addressing an all-too-frequently overlooked component to the success of your addiction treatment facility. Specifically, we’re going to be talking about converting phone calls into treatment admissions.
Understand the Consumer
We know what you’re thinking: It’s one thing to know what conversion means, but how do you actually convert interested parties into patrons? That’s a great question and we’re glad you asked.
Fortunately, it’s not very difficult to set yourself or your business up for optimal chances of conversion. The actual likelihood of conversion depends on the effectiveness of your marketing and the engagement of the prospect, which is going to vary depending on the medium through which you’re engaging. For instance, consider the following web conversion marketing strategy: A business owner’s website offers limited access to users who are guests; in order to get full access to the content on the website, users are given the option of either subscribing to the newsletter or starting a free account on the website. The visitor is making the conscious decision to become a subscriber based on the value that the business offers.
Let’s take a moment to better understand your target group.
As someone who owns, runs, or manages an addiction treatment facility, it goes without saying that the people with whom you engage over the phone are individuals who either need treatment themselves or are looking for treatment options for loved ones. You have a valuable service that can improve their health and quality of life. This is an important point to keep in mind because you’re not trying to sell your callers on addiction treatment in general; instead, you’re trying to sell them on choosing your addiction treatment facility over others. Therefore, each caller is going to want to learn what you have to offer that they can’t get anywhere else. Every client has different needs, so what sets you apart from the rest?
Try to picture yourself in the position of your callers. In fact, picture yourself in the position of the average consumer who’s interested in some miscellaneous product or service. The experience you have while obtaining information is going to be just as influential as the actual information that you learn.
Consider this scenario: A consumer goes to your website and is trying to find contact information. However, the website loads extremely slowly. Not only is the website slow, but it’s very poorly laid out and difficult to navigate. The customer is likely to give up and try to find another business; in fact, it’s said that a consumer becomes 7 percent more likely to give up on a website for each second that he or she has to wait for it to load or can’t find the information they are looking for. Again, you’re not selling the person on treatment, you’re selling them on yourself, your business, your personality.
The take-away from this is that it’s as important to make conversations with your callers go very smoothly and efficiently. Although you might feel like prolonging the conversation will afford you extra time to build relationships with callers, you can’t assume that every caller is able to sit and chat with you for a prolonged amount of time. It’s not about how long or short the phone call is. It’s about the quality of information you give, the compassion of your tone, radiating your company culture. People in active addiction don’t want to be told why they need treatment and feel they are being sold or manipulated into it. They need to feel invited to your facility, they need to feel that they are going to be taken care of and in the hands of professionals that care about them and will be given services specifically for their needs.
Your Secret Weapon: The Sandler Sales System
Have you heard of the Sandler Sales System? It’s a method we’ve written about previously, but it certainly applies here and remains useful in many situations. Although the Sandler System is a very sales-oriented approach, it consists of many steps that can just as readily apply to non-sales scenarios.
The first step is to establish a friendly rapport. Obviously, the best way to do this is to ensure you have the right people answering calls. These individuals should be as well-versed in the language of addiction as most other members of your staff as it enhances their credibility and, therefore, the credibility and trustworthiness of your business. As well, this step helps customers to see your facility more as a useful and considerate resource than merely a business.
The second step of the Sandler System is to mention the prospect of committing to a treatment program early in the conversation; while this may work with things like furniture and electronics, it may not always be the right choice when it comes to addiction treatment. Choosing whether to abide by the second step early in the phone call should be decided on a case-by-case basis. However, the third step is to identify the individual’s primary issues, which is arguably the most important goal of your calls. These individuals are calling your facility because they need information or help, so your first priority should be to figure out what information they need or how best you can help. The remaining steps in the Sandler System – i.e., budgeting, decision, fulfillment, and post-sell – are most likely to apply when you have carried out the first and third steps most effectively.
Preparation Without Scripting
Now that we’ve discussed conversion, the caller’s perspective and expectations, and the sales-oriented approach, let’s conclude by discussing how it is that you can pull all of this together and convert calls to admissions. When it comes down to it, the best way to ensure that your calls go smoothly and yield conversions is to put adequate energy into preparing for these instances when you’ll be engaging prospective patients on the phone.
For one thing, you should have virtually all the information that a caller could possibly need – details about different programs, time-frames, schedules, admission processes, cost, etc. – in a convenient place that should remain near the telephone. You can have organized binders that contain all of the necessary information for any employee answering those calls.
You might consider writing down some key phrases or responses that your team can use so you can ensure that callers are always met with a friendly, caring, and knowledgeable demeanor. Of course, you don’t want to go so far as scripting phone calls because that can do more to limit the success of these calls than to help them. As well, you might find that binders aren’t necessary. Maybe your team members are so knowledgeable that they can answer each caller’s questions on their own. The important thing is to make sure that a customer’s needs are addressed and that the experience of communicating with your facility was pleasant and successful. By killing it on your calls, you’ll have no trouble hitting high rates of admission.