“Google ads don’t work for me, I get a lot of Medicare patients.”
Controlling for lead quality is one of the most crucial, and often neglected, elements of an ad campaign. If the campaign is sending you bad leads, then why invest in it?
Bad lead quality is not a good reason to cancel your pay per click investment because lead quality can be optimized. The strength of the prospects delivered to your team can be improved by implementing pre-qualification specific techniques and processes. Not only can these techniques improve the leads that your team gets, but they can also nurture less-than-ideal leads until they are ready for a stronger closing sales pitch.
I share three proven pre-qualification techniques below.
Before we jump into it, there’s one prerequisite we must talk about.
Communication is pivotal. Your agency can track everything that happens on your website between the time the user clicked on an ad and the time that same person called or filled out a form. What your agency does not have is visibility in your practice’s success in closing these leads. While we can track phone calls and listen in on them, ultimately the single best source on lead quality is you.
If you’re unhappy with the results of your ad campaign because none of the prospective customers being sent to you are genuine candidates for the services you offer, that’s a fixable problem.
Note that when I talk about poor lead quality, I’m referring to relevant leads that have specific traits or characteristics that leave them unqualified or extremely unlikely to do business with you. For example, if your focus is entirely on implant-supported dentures and you don’t want to give a discount, a price-shopper is a weaker lead than a person who’s looking for the best option regardless of cost. On the other hand, some businesses want to attract price shoppers, so lead quality changes depending on the context of the business.
If you communicate with your ad specialist, then your agency can develop a system that delivers a more consistent flow of high-quality leads that your business can close.
Here are three techniques to do just that.
Ask Better Questions in Your Contact Forms
“Short, easy forms are more likely to get filled out.”
Let’s say this form is to schedule an appointment. If most people filling out your form are low-quality leads, what do you lose by filtering the low quality leads out?
By asking better questions on your form you can get a better idea of the lead’s quality before your staff makes the call, allowing you to focus your resources where they’ll produce the most value. It will also help your staff make better calls because they’ll know more about the prospect they’re calling and they’ll be more prepared, improving your lead-to-appointment ratio.
What are the questions worth asking?
Well, what information would help your staff make better calls? What information would help prepare them so that they can better close the lead?
Suppose that you want to focus on getting new implant-supported dentures patients. You’re not interested in single-tooth restorations, you want only prospects looking for a dentist who can replace an entire arch of teeth. This a $20,000+ treatment. Before you allot any resources to a call, you want to know whether this lead can afford the service.
The solution: ask, “What’s the minimum monthly payment you could make?”
This was a technique we employed for a client in northern Michigan. It didn’t reduce the number of leads he earned, it only made it easier for him to allocate his office’s time toward leads that better fit the qualities of his ideal All-on-4 patient.
Another great question is: “Have you been told you’re not an implant candidate?”
Even if answering ‘yes’ doesn’t disqualify the patient, having this information allows your front staff to better tailor the call to the lead. By knowing more about the person and their pain points, you can better address their needs and increase the chances of bringing them into the office.
A lack of information and preparation is one of the biggest causes of poor close rates. If your staff isn’t prepared, they’re not going to want to call and the calls they make will be lackluster. Trust me, I’ve listened to quite a few calls.
By getting the information you need through your lead generation forms, you’ll get better leads and you’ll have an easier time getting them to schedule an appointment with you.
For example, by knowing the monthly payment the lead can afford, you may have a clue as to whether they’ll need financing. Your staff can then talk about your wonderful financing options, how easy it is to get a medical care loan, and how attractive the loan terms are. Give your staff what they need to address specific pain points and solve them, increasing the chance for the lead to schedule an appointment.
Make Price Explicit
A lot of people are afraid that if they say the price they’ll turn the lead off, losing an opportunity for business. You’re going to have to give the price at some point anyway, so if the price is a turn off then it hasn’t been justified well enough by the supporting copy on the landing page.
Price and expense is always relative to the service received. If two doctors charge the same amount of money and one is twice as good as the other, it’s the better doctor who offers the cheapest rate. The better doctor could charge a little more and I’d still think she was the better deal. Besides, giving price is a very honest, transparent approach, and they will appreciate the opportunity to pre-qualify themselves before they waste their time and yours.
You can tailor prices to your audience. If you are open to price shoppers, you can communicate this through the right verbiage. For example, “We accept Medicare” or “Cheap, affordable dentistry.” Many dentists offer health savings plans and this could be an excellent feature on any landing page.
On the flip side, if you are selling a high-end product or service, giving an idea of the price can help filter out potential leads that can’t afford it. In the abovementioned case of the $20,000+ All-on-4 case, the treatment is expensive and available only to certain customers. By giving the price, you discourage price shoppers from filling out your forms or calling your office.
If you’re afraid of discouraging leads that would otherwise be ideal, the solution is not to remove price. Rather, improve the supporting sales copy or to improve the phone pitch. Your customers and patients will pay the price if you prove that you’re worth it. Inspire them to see you, show them why your price is worth it. Remember, people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
If you know your customer and you know yourself, there’s no reason to be afraid of talking about price. If you know that your audience is lower income or is looking for lower-priced items, then communicate your price in ways that address their needs — bring attention to the types of payment you accept, your financing options, or even your willingness to negotiate. If your audience is higher income or you’re selling a high-priced item, then use this price to discourage non-ideal candidates.
Think about it this way: if you are purposely withholding information people need to make decisions, can you blame them for making the wrong decision? Can you blame them if a lack of information is making the wrong people call you about your product or service?
Use an Automated Qualification Funnel
Automation is everywhere and it’s so plentiful that it’s affordable for a business of any size.
Dentists use automated text services to remind patients about their upcoming appointments or to request reviews. Businesses of all kinds use automation to deliver emails to their customer base. Automation has helped scale marketing, allowing less labor to influence more people.
Using automation, you can engage leads earned through paid advertising at scale. It will help you engage your prospects and take them through a process that will ensure that when you call them they will be ready to schedule a consultation or buy from you. Best of all, this process will run for all relevant leads, allowing you to leverage the work you do once across all your prospective customers or patients.
By way of example, we have a client in south Florida who runs Facebook ads and uses a series of emails to engage leads acquired from these ads. The original pool of leads, the ones that sign up through the Facebook ad, is typically poor — Facebook lead generation ads use forms that are often auto filled, including by bots and by less-than-ideal members of the original audience. Furthermore, different leads are at different points of their buying journey.
This initial pool of Facebook leads needs to be filtered down to a much more robust group, since we want to deliver leads whose next step is to schedule an appointment. Automation allows us to drive prospects through a sales funnel at scale.
Marketing automation can be highly segmented, sending tailored messages to the right groups of people. By using actions and signals to bucket prospects into groups with common traits, such as prospects who have shown interest in the product or prospects who are still learning about it, your marketing will become much more effective because you can address the specific pain points the lead is facing.
Automation is not just for ads, of course. On average, 70% of a dental practice’s non-hygiene revenue come from patients upsold during a hygiene appointment. Recommending treatments during general exams and cleanings is one of the best opportunities to increase the average lifetime value of your patients. What if you could engage with those patients not just while they’re in the chair, but afterwards as well?
Marketing automation allows your practice to stay in front of existing and prospective patients without the need for a giant staff. And by doing so, you’ll be able to close more leads, generate more revenue per patient, and increase patient loyalty.
Myth of the Perfect Lead
Some prospective patients will call your office and ask to schedule a consultation, they’ll come in and they’ll agree to treatment. Most prospects, especially prospects earned through paid advertisement, will take more effort — both to bring them in the office and have them agree to treatment.
Using tactics like longer forms and price to help filter out less qualified candidates, as well as automated pre-qualification funnels, will help increase the quality of the pool of prospects. There is still an element of influence on the practice side that must not be neglected.
There are typically common traits to people who find their providers through an ad. Most click on multiple ads and contact multiple offices. They’re looking for the best price, or for the practice that can be justify their price. The right copy on the landing page, the right questions on the form, and an automated engagement process can help do much of the sales for you, but there will always be a final moment where it comes down to you and your staff’s ability to influence a prospect’s opinion. Your practice will always be the final step of persuasion.
Even so, wouldn’t you rather focus the efforts of a highly trained staff on the prospects most likely to convert into patients? These pre-qualification tactics will help you get better leads, allowing you to focus your brigade on where they add the most value to your practice.
Want to learn more? My passion truly is to improve the standards of dental marketing. Schedule a free 30-minute consultation with me. I’d like to learn from your experiences, share my expertise, and help you get more from your paid advertisement. Call (858) 333-8950 and ask for Jonathan, or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director of Marketing at Now Media Group, with a background in quantitative economics and analytics. Formerly at [Tony] Robbins Research International.