In speaking with business owners, few track the total number of incoming leads. This number allows you to calculate a conversion rate. It also allows you to assess the effectiveness of your marketing. Let’s break it down.
Your marketing, word of mouth or otherwise, generates your leads. These are the people who call, email, schedule online or whose referrals are faxed to you. They are your “Incoming Leads”.
Your “New Patients” are people who didn’t just schedule, but arrived and entered into a plan of care.
The ratio of New Patients to Incoming Leads gives you your “Conversion Rate”.
I’ve asked private practice owners at meetings, conferences, speaking engagements, over beers or coffee, and on the phone to tell me their conversion rate. On numerous occasions, I have heard 100%, or “everyone”, meaning that everyone who calls attends their first appointment. I’ve even had people who are operating multi-million dollar practices tell me this, people who are seeing 200-300 new patient visits a month in their businesses. This is simply not true!
Not everyone, out of hundreds a month, are showing up. What it really means is that they are not tracking incoming leads. And this is tragic!
Even at a 90% conversion rate, which is really, really good by the way, a 200 new patient a month practice is “leaking” 22 new patients a month. That means that to get to 200 new patients at 90% conversion, 222 leads had to be generated.
Why is that important?
Well, first, the 222 is an indicator of the efficacy of the marketing effort. They’ve got to be doing something right to get that many people to contact the practice in the first place. But what is it?
We are in an unprecedented time where data collection is efficient and easy. But it is not always understood. Tracking these incoming leads allows you to look at, and begin to diagnose, what is working and not working in your marketing and intake efforts.
For example, where are the leads coming from? How are people hearing about you? Why do they think you can help them? And when you find out, can you do more of that?
Let’s run through a couple scenarios.
You have a 200 new patient a month practice. You are planning a marketing effort. But you don’t track leads. How do you know what the desired results are from your efforts? What if more people call, but nobody schedules, or worse, they do and they don’t show up? Was it your marketing effort, or your intake process? We simply do not know.
Now, let’s say we do track leads, and capture the information from those potential patients who call. First I know that if I need 220 new patients next month, I will need 245 leads at a 90% conversion rate to get there. I’m currently at 222 leads. How do I get the additional 23 leads next month? Answering that question will lead to a specific plan to get the right number of leads. Without that data, how do I plan?
What if we increase the number of incoming leads, but our conversion rate goes down? In other words, we got 245 incoming calls, etc. and still ended up with 200 new patients. That’s an 81.6% conversion rate. Why the drop? Maybe we marketed to the wrong audience, who called to schedule but found they had no insurance coverage with us and did not know enough about our practice, and why it’s worth paying for. Or maybe our front office was overwhelmed with the additional calls. Or maybe the calls were mostly after hours voicemails because we decided to run an online campaign over the weekend when no one was available to answer the phones and we had no online booking option. But do you see, that now that we are tracking the incoming leads, we can start to see results, patterns, pitfalls, and can begin to investigate what might have worked or not worked?
But let’s go back to why I said earlier “And this is tragic!”.
In that same practice mentioned above, what is happening with those 22 potential patients each month who didn’t schedule or show? Are they getting better? Are they at risk of their problems worsening and possibly needing surgery, injections, or further medication and doctors’ visits? And how many is 22 patients times 12 months? That’s 264 people a year we failed to help.
What if you had a process in place to follow up with all 264 of those people who called? What if you called them a week or 2 after they called you to see if they were able to get in anywhere to take care of the issue they called you about in the first place? Do you think you could help more of those people by getting them in, or helping them find someone who is able to help them? Do you think 5 minutes on the phone, sharing your expertise and caring might help them even a little bit? Do you think any of them might be impressed that you cared enough to call them a week or 2 after they called you the first time? Would they maybe tell their doctor or their friends about your service and caring?
What do you think that extra, little effort would do for your practice, your brand, your reputation?
I challenge you to begin tracking all incoming leads.
Get everyone’s name and phone number. Find out what’s wrong and offer them an appointment.
For those who do not schedule and attend, call them within 2 weeks to check in and make sure they were able to schedule with someone. If they weren’t, ask about their issue and offer some suggestions on managing it, and who they ought to see for it.
At the end of the month, do the math to calculate your conversion rate.
Start working on processes to make sure people who call are people you can help.
Then work on the process of getting them in, since you know you can help them.
Do the math again the next month, and the next month. And continue to iterate and improve the things that will generate more leads, and more conversions.
And remember, without the data, you are only guessing. And the likelihood of guessing right is pretty low.
Please comment below and share your experiences with tracking leads, conversion and your marketing efforts.