Should A Business Offer A Free Consultation?

Attracting patients to dentistry is difficult. Some 50% of adults regularly avoid dental visits, therefore we must employ the most effective tactics in your direct marketing campaigns to draw more people to your practice. Some words have the scientifically documented power to attract the human eye. Others, the tested power to lift sales … and others have the proven ability to appear to be more truthful.

These words include: you, trust, proven, easy, quick, improved … and FREE. According to Predictably Irrational, “free gives us such an emotional charge that we perceive what is being offered as immensely more valuable than it really is.

You probably started working with Patient News via one of our free consults. Over the years we’ve had a couple of variations. Many of you may recall our “free trial” or “free demonstration,” while currently it’s a very straightforward but comprehensive “free consultation.” These offers work, just as they do at a dental office. Choosing a dental marketing partner is a big decision … choosing a dentist or dental practice is a big decision.  A free introductory offer is a way to help more people become your patients.

The free consultation in itself will not sell, or undersell, your service. Does it attract the wrong kind of patient? Not overall if you are targeting the right audience. You might attract a percentage of people who do not fit your ideal criteria, but keep in mind that even if they will not work with you right now, they may pass your name on to others – those who live or work in your area – because you’ve impressed them. This will extend your visibility.

A FREE CONSULT will be great if you:

  • Like meeting people, listening to their concerns, and sharing your knowledge
  • Would like a great way to practice treatment presentations
  • Would like to be more accessible to your target audience
  • Would like your practice to seem more friendly and approachable in your community
  • Have gaps in your schedule and have a streamlined process.

Benefit: The free consultation allows you to get in front of your prospective patient so that you can WOW them and get them to book their next step. Many practices view the free consultation as an exam appointment. They complete an x-ray and provide a treatment recommendation and rough quote.

Process: Document and script each component. Highlight and/or bonus the desired outcome. Review new-patient goals with your team, practice the appropriate telephone scripts, and allocate time in your schedule. Get all new patients in as soon as possible including your free consults. Determine what’s included (exam, x-ray, etc.) and what should be said at booking and at the visit.  As always, everyone needs to be enthusiastic when greeting a new patient on the phone or in person, and everyone needs to be knowledgeable about practice attributes and doctors credentials and to be able to answer patient questions clearly and honestly.  When patients know why they should choose you and you show you care, they’ll be ready for whatever your next step is.

Goal: Make sure you and your team understand the desired outcome goal for all free consults.

A free consultation gives new patients a method of investigating your service without commitment. Always target the correct area and be prepared to wow the new patient. When you effectively implement a free consult into your new-patient offer strategy, you can expect your closing ratio to be much higher than if you did not have an easy way for people to find out more about you.

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