Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Four Legs to Successful Conversion

Imagine a 4-legged chair. If one leg of the chair is broken, the chair wobbles and may not hold your weight, correct? If two legs are broken, the chair is just as useless as if all 4 legs were missing.

Successful conversion also rests on 4 legs. They are:
  1. Desire
  2. Timing
  3. Ability
  4. Trust
In any transaction, whether it's buying aesthetic improvements, a dishwasher, a car, a house--virtually anything--these 4 things must be in place for the transaction to take place. You must identify the first three and instill the last one.

If I go to Sears and begin looking at dishwashers and John, the appliance salesman, wants to sell me a dishwasher today, he needs to evaluate my level of desire, timing and ability in order to make that sale. If I just came in to "look" because my dishwasher works just fine but we're "thinking" about remodeling sometime in the future, what is the likelihood that John will sell me a dishwasher today? Very small, right? So you quickly see the importance of John evaluating my level of desire and my timing. So, how much time should John spend with me? Enough to insure that later, when I am ready to buy, he will be my salesman because I trust him and Sears, but he need not "go for the close" because he now understands my level of desire and sense of timing negates a sale today. To instill trust he might tell me the benefits of their guarantee, low repair statistics, financing options and therefore, instill the trust that will make Sears "my choice" when I'm finally ready to take action.

So how does John sell a dishwasher? By identifying each consumer's level of desire, sense of timing, and ability to buy, while instilling trust that Sears is the place to buy and that John is the person to carry out the transaction with efficiency and integrity. In other words, John must first identify the desire, timing and ability through polite and carefully constructed questioning, and he must instill trust. Note that he can only control the trust factor. He cannot control my timing, my desire or my financial ability to buy, but he must understand them in order to evaluate whether and when he might be able to consummate a transaction. If I have little desire, don't need a dishwasher now, or don't have the money even though I need a dishwasher now, it matters little how much trust I have in John because I cannot or will not buy that dishwasher. Got this so far?

So how does this apply to the aesthetic practice? Just like John, you need to evaluate each prospective patient in the first 3 areas (desire, timing, ability) at every opportunity until the paperwork is signed and money is exchanged. Every Opportunity. This means that every connection with your office, from the website to the receptionist to the consultation, must identify desire, timing and ability while instilling trust.

Example: When a consumer calls the front desk for information, it's the job of whoever takes that call to elicit the caller's level of desire, timing and ability. If they fail at this, you end up with appointments that cannot convert, either because the consumer isn't ready to do anything, isn't really that committed or doesn't have the money.

How is this done? Simple and polite questioning. Things like:
  • Mary, you've called the right place--we do perform [procedure]s! May I ask how long you've been thinking about having a [procedure]?
  • John, we do perform [procedure]--are you hoping to schedule this during your vacation or before a special event? (Note: many people elect aesthetic procedures/treatments before weddings, reunions, etc).
  • Susan, about 60% of our patients finance their [procedure]s. I'm happy to send you some information about that if you'd like. (Notice that staff member asks this before the caller has to expose their financial limitations by asking for financing information)
  • Jan, most of our patients find that it's helpful to bring their Significant Other to the consultation; is there someone you'd like to bring with you?
This is done again at the consultation appointment by the person who takes the patient back to the exam room. And again by the physician or dentist who examines the patient. It must be done casually, without sounding like the Grand Inquisition. More examples:
  • Mary, who would be coming with you to drive you home after your [procedure]?
  • Have you been thinking about how you'll look after your [procedure]?
  • Do you have someone who will care for your children while you're recovering?
  • Did we send you financing information? (those who don't need it will say so and those who do will be relieved that they didn't have to bring it up). Do you need any help completing the application?
Note how appropriately constructed questions instill trust while eliciting the information you need to gauge the probability of a conversion. By understanding your prospects' timing, level of desire and financial ability, you will close more business and waste less time on those who have no ability to convert.

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