New Patients Starts – How To Shorten the Cycle

We are not only doctors, but also CEOs of a small business.  As such, to be good managers we need to measure our effectiveness. A common metric in orthodontics is the new patient start ratio.  We go to great lengths to create a “new patient experience” in order to “wow” them to enhance this metric.

But it seems we only get 45 minutes to convince these prospective patients, and much of the effort falls on our Treatment Coordinators: They meet the parents and patients, get to know them, give them an office tour, understand their needs and desires, bring in the doctor for an exam, explain a treatment plan, present the fee and in the best case scenario, get a payment to start.

This is what I call the orthodontic sales cycle.  All new patients go through a similar process, which is essentially a trust-building exercise. The process goes something like this:

Find us – Know us – Like us – Trust us – Pay us – (and if we’re lucky, Endorse Us to friends and family at the end).

Expecting this conversion to be done all in one visit is unrealistic. An effective social media strategy allows parents and patients to find, get to know, and like your practice ahead of the first meeting, shortening this cycle and improving conversion rates.

One of the primary goals of this online marketing approach is to allow prospective new patients to discover your office’s personality and see your patient testimonials before coming for their first appointment.  This makes it much easier for your treatment coordinators to start the case.  Many of the new patients that I see already know all about us, and hopefully already like us before coming in the door.  As long as their expectation matches their experience, we are well on our way to starting the case.

People & Practice, LLC is dedicated to helping orthodontists use “word of mouse” to enhance their online reputation, build patient loyalty, enhance visibility and most importantly, start more cases.