Dare We Talk of Money?

Talk of Money and Piggy bank with dollars

The question of how we talk of money on the phone has been around for years. How do you approach it?

Do we take an absolute stance to never talk about cost on the phones? Should we claim ignorance? What about quoting a range? And how about speaking of payment arrangements?

Setting the Scene

When a potential customer calls asking for a quote or cost range for treatment we immediately feel perspiration beading up on our foreheads. The verbal tap dance begins and many feign ignorance of what anything could cost.

More likely than not the majority of callers have a general idea of cost. They have Googled it, asked around, or have already had a quote provided.

So then…what’s the big deal with the question and this talk of money? What is the question behind the question? That is what we should be asking ourselves and addressing.

Invariably this is a way to ask if you are affordable. Don’t miss this! By not addressing the actual question you risk the provided opportunity to demystify how you can work with them making your services possible in light of their monthly budget. You have not removed a critical barrier to entry for them.

Let’s discuss the various strategies that get used when the talk of money and cost invades the initial call.

Free Ranging

While “free ranging” is a good idea when shopping for eggs and meats, it is not a wise option to the cost question on the first phone call.

When I hear a free-ranging reply it is always with cost ranges way to broad as to CYA. It tends to sound like: “Well…it can be anywhere from $2000 to $8000 for braces.”

Oh my! In an effort to cover any option possible the free-ranging team member has done a great job of scaring away those who don’t have a lot of funds set aside. Conversely, the deal maker will be upset with a final quote anywhere above the low-ball $2000.

Don’t put yourself in this spot.

Amnesia

Oh, the affliction of amnesia…how sad it is…especially when it is not genuine. Unfortunately, this is the way our front desk teams are taught to act out. But this does not evoke trust.

The tap dance of acting as if you do not know the typical costs for treatment come across as just that…acting. The caller knows you know and to pretend otherwise does not foster trust inn the relationship.

One form of this is palatable. It is when you do not dodge the question but rather inform the caller: “There are various factors that impact the cost of treatment and during your free consultation the doctor reviews your case we will provide you all the information about any recommended treatment. Let’s go ahead and get you scheduled for your complimentary exam.”

Validator

Ah, this is what we want. We want someone to see beyond the verbal question and validate the unspoken question…the issue of affordability.

In this instance, we still mention there are various factors impacting the total investment of treatment, but also add, “what I can tell you is that we are very successful in working with so many families to get down payments as low as $xxx and monthlies as low as $xxx. Would that work for you?”

Then guide the caller to make the appointment.

You have now removed a barrier to entry. And you have also provided social proof of helping other families.

Summary

Do not let the talk of money cause anxiety. Also, remember we do not want to be quoting fee ranges or pretending we have no idea what our offices charges. Neither approach addresses the real concern of the caller, which is affordability.

Answer the unspoken affordability question. Discuss what dollar amounts will be used by the team. Then you can let the inquisitive caller know you have been very successful working with many families to get down payments as low as $xxx and monthlies as low as $xxx. The other details will be covered in the complimentary exam so go ahead an get them scheduled to come on in.

Confirmation Call – “I’m confirming [beeeep]”

Bored woman listening to confirmation call

We have all experienced it, right? Thanks to Caller ID, we let the answering machine or our voicemail answer the call. It’s only a confirmation call. It serves to remind us to show up to an appointment or obligation. But the usual result is a quick [DELETE]…beeeeeeep.

The Ritualistic Confirmation Call

We have a love-hate relationship with such calls. On one side we appreciate a reminder of our upcoming appointment in case we did not write it down correctly. On the other hand, once we begin hearing the details, we hit “delete.” The usual confirmation call barely hovers above a level of mediocrity.

So why do we think we are doing something different by simply having a live voice instead of an automated voice do the same thing?

Change the Purpose – Connection Call

We want to be different than the usual confirmation call; let’s set out a plan.

Change the purpose from merely confirming and reminding to connecting and drawing upon the authority of our doctors. We can let the future patient know we are anticipating and preparing for their visit. This goal is easy to accomplish by referencing the status of their new patient forms.

Notice that by using this as an opportunity to thank or remind the caller about the forms we demonstrate we have taken an early initiative in preparing for their visit. It is not saying, “if” they haven’t filled it out to do so. It is actually knowing and personalizing it to them.

Thank or Remind Them

First, review the patient details to see if they have filled out their forms. If so, thank them. Conversely, if the items are not yet submitted, remind them. Either way, employ one of Cialdini’s principles of influence and draw upon the authority of the doctor.

Here are some examples:

(First, for completed forms)

“Good evening, this is Mary from Dr. Smile’s office. As Dr. Smile was reviewing your records he/she said you had completed your new patient forms and asked me to personally thank you for having completed them. Dr. Smile is looking forward to meeting everyone involved so he/she can answer everyone’s questions about his/her recommendations.

Again, this is Mary, and I will be at the front desk to meet you when you come in for your consultation tomorrow at 8 am. Should you have any questions before then, please call or text me at 555.555.5555. Again, that number is 555.555.5555. Have a great day.”

(Secondly, for incomplete forms)

“Good evening, this is Mary from Dr. Smile’s office. As Dr. Smile was reviewing your records, he/she noticed that the new patient forms were still not in our system and asked me to ensure you still had the appropriate link/email to those forms. After this call, I will email you the link. Additionally, the online forms are located on our website at www.communicateexcellence.com.

If you are unable to submit those tonight, Dr. Smile requests you arrive 15 minutes early, so you have time to complete those forms and ensure all the details are prepared in advance of your one-on-one time with the doctor. Dr. Smile is looking forward to meeting everyone involved so he/she can answer everyone’s questions about his/her recommendations.

Again, this is Mary, and I will be at the front desk to meet you when you come in for your consultation tomorrow at 8 am. Should you have any questions before then, please call or text me at 555.555.5555. Again, that number is 555.555.5555. Have a great day.”

Either example demonstrates you have taken the time to prepare and anticipate their visit. We want to sustain the great experience of the first call to validate we are unique. Be different…be excellent!

Try it out and watch how the small details add up to a better prepared new patient visit ready to say “yes” to your recommendations.