Do You Have The Right Patient Coordinator?
Your Coordinator is the gatekeeper who “allows” or “prevents” conversions even if they don’t realize it! Get practical tips on how to help them excel!
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Do You Have the Right Patient Coordinator?
Welcome to “Beauty and the Biz.” Discover how to grow your practice with effective cosmetic patient attraction conversion and retention advice from author, speaker, trainer and cosmetic practice business and marketing coach Catherine Maley MBA.
Hello and welcome to “Beauty and the Biz” where we talk about the business and marketing side of the plastic surgery practices. I’m your host Catherine Maley author of “Your Aesthetic Practice – What Your Patients are Saying” as well as consultant to plastic surgery practices to get them more patients and more profits and to give you a little weather report here in Sausalito we have had, spring here for the last three days. It has been gorgeous. It’s been probably 60 something, sunny, clear skies, no wind. Unbelievable but of course now three days later… I have a theory that the weather never lasts longer than three days in Sausalito. So, now of course the wind is back, the clouds are back but boy that was gorgeous.
So, today’s episode is called Do You Have the Right Patient Coordinator? So, if your coordinator is having trouble converting prospective patients to a booked procedure and she’s frustrated and you’re frustrated with their low conversion rates during consultations, they’re definitely not alone. Lower conversion rates are affecting more and more cosmetic surgery practices for all sorts of reasons. Two big ones being the insane competition as well as the choice of technology and you know how frustrating it is to put the time, the money and the effort into advertising for new patients and then getting nothing back in return when they don’t, say yes to a procedure. It can also be pretty costly when they don’t book because the difference between a 25% conversion rate and a 65% conversion rate is many, many thousands of dollars. It can also be the difference between a six or a seven or even eight figure cosmetic practice.
Now the reality is your marketing efforts don’t count until the patient says yes and actually pays you for your services. So, you start asking yourself questions like what’s the problem? Is it the marketing? Is it the patient’s? Is it the coordinator? I mean what the heck is going on because once you figure out the problem you can fix it. So, it can be a cosmetic practice game changer when you hire the right patient coordinator who’s got the right attitude, the right mindset, the right skills. Now, they can take your practice revenues from just enough to pay the bills all the way to a windfall every month because they know how to book cosmetic procedures. Now this position cannot be taken lightly. You may think that anyone can step in to do the job of a coordinator, but you would be sorely mistaken. I mean I am so surprised at how many times a coordinator leaves or for some reason goes away on vacation or goes away on maternity and you just plop the MA in there or the nurse. I mean that’s a very different skill set from clinical skills to people skills. So, I’m not sure I would do that because converting consultations is an art and it’s a trained skill. It takes the right strategies, knowledge and then lots of practice to get good at confidently taking a stranger patient to a pain, cosmetic patient.
So, here are the traits a great patient coordinators got to possess to ensure you have the right, person representing you. Now the most successful patient coordinators look, act and feel the part. Your coordinator is representing you; the surgeon and the practice so prospective patients look to them almost as a role model or an advisor. So, let’s start with looks. This does not mean your coordinator needs to be gorgeous. As a matter of fact, sometimes if she’s too pretty she’ll turn off some women because women can be catty like that. So, this just means she’s got to be presentable and congruent with the high standards of the practice that she works for. Now they’ve also got to take great care of themselves and that means they stay in shape; they eat right, and they get plenty of sleep and then they do their hair makeup and nails as they did when they first interviewed with you.
I’m so surprised at people who get really comfortable in that position. They start showing up with no makeup, their nails not done, they’re dressed down, they haven’t done their hair. I mean they’ve go to really present you as a professional coordinator representing you in the and the services in the practice and they’ve got to dress more on the conservative side and they’ve got to hide the tattoos and the piercings because this is definitely not the time or the place for them to show off their individual side. Now, this is the time for them to connect with total strangers that are looking for a surgeon to help them look and feel great. So, they look to your coordinator who should role model looking, feeling great alright. Then they’ve got to have the right mindset. A successful patient coordinator believes in cosmetic rejuvenation enhancing lives. Now they have confidence knowing they’re providing a valuable service to prospective patients who need guidance. They also believe in the surgeon they’re representing, and they also believe in cosmetic rejuvenation as a gateway to personal self-fulfillment and happiness because if your coordinator would never succumb to this world of cosmetic vanity and have cosmetic surgery how in the heck are they supposed to promote plastic surgery?
They need to be excited about how plastic surgery transforms the lives of your patients. So, have them read the reviews you get and thank you notes and emails you receive from your, patients and then have them watch how excited post-op patients are about their result once they recover. So, your coordinator should be involved in everything before, during and after so she can see the journey the patient goes through so your coordinator knows that they’re helping to change lives for the better. So, they should be excited and proud of that and it’s even better if they’ve had work done themselves because that turns them into a walking, talking testimonial and now they’re the patient’s aesthetic advisor rather than someone just trying to push them into surgery. I hope you hear the difference there.
Now a great patient coordinator does all they can to help the prospective patient get to a yes and they persevere in the face of resistance. Now, they don’t see resistance as rejection they just see it as an opportunity to clear up the confusion on the patient’s side. So, they say yes and reach their ultimate goal which is to be happy and confident with their looks. Now, a successful patient coordinator believes in herself. They believe they have the personality and the powerful people skills to quickly bond with patients to help them get what they want. Now, they also have an inner drive to do their best. They like a challenge and they like to succeed. Now, they have a bit of a competitive edge, so they hold themselves to a higher standard than most other people do. Now they’ve got the confidence it takes to win in this position because they believe in you the surgeon and the results the patient will get once they say yes. Now that means they’re not afraid to ask the patient tough questions and then ask for a decision when the time is right because they want this patient what they want, and they want to win.
Now, the successful patient coordinators open to earning, learning and growing. So many patients have patient coordinators who are nice, and they look the part, but they have no idea how to get to a yes professionally and confidently because they’ve never had any formal sales training. It takes skill to take a prospective patient through a decision-making process where they choose you over all your competitors. These skills make the difference between a 25% conversion rate and a 75% conversion rate but like anything else in life converting consultations is a learned skill. It takes proven strategies in practice. So, for example a trained and skilled patient coordinator is never pushy or aggressive. For some reason everyone’s hung up on that and you should never be pushy or aggressive, but they’ve got to have the words, the scripts and the processes they follow to lead the patient to a decision that’s comfortable for the patient to make.
Now, the right coordinator also has the attitude to succeed. This may sound obvious, but I’ve been in practices where the coordinator does not believe in the surgeon or in cosmetic enhancement for that matter. They also don’t believe in themselves and they don’t see themselves as educating and actually helping patients look and feel their best. They’re scared of being seen as a pushy salesperson, so they pull back and they don’t give it their all. Just know your prospective patients want to feel connected with the practice they choose so they’re going to say yes and even pay more for your coordinators great attitude and enthusiasm for cosmetic rejuvenation. So, conviction is everything. That means if your coordinator believes the prospective patient will believe. Some prospective patients can feel negativity or indifference or uncertainty a mile away and it’s a major turnoff. Prospective patients are looking for a friendly confident advisor they trust to help them make a good decision. So please make sure your coordinator is in the right role and playing their A-game whenever they’re interacting with cosmetic patients.
Now, they generally have to like working with prospective patients. They have to care about the prospective patient as a person and then truly want to help them solve a problem they believe they have. So, your coordinator’s got to be upbeat, positive and confident and know they’re providing real value to your patients and lastly your coordinator must have excellent people and selling skills. Now the right coordinator puts anxious, prospective patients at ease so they open up and articulate what they want, why they want it and what it will take for them to say yes. Now they reassure the patient they’re in the right place and they’ll be happy with their result once they decide to move forward with you. They’ve got the people skills to make a prospective cosmetic patient comfortable and trusting enough to make a decision to have their cosmetic procedure done with you. So, your coordinator knows how to stay focused on the patient’s wants, fears and objections so they can artfully address the issues in the patient’s mind that are stopping them from moving forward. Now they do that by bonding with, listening to and asking strategic questions so the patient feels heard. The patient now opens up more because she trusts the patient coordinator has her best interests at heart and your coordinator has got to be skilled at converting.
How can your coordinator get more prospective patients to a yes rather than I need to think about it? Well, here’s the answer. If you’re not getting the results you want there’s something your coordinator doesn’t know. Now most coordinators use the trial-and-error method to figure out the best way to get a patient to a yes. The problem with that is it takes a long time to figure out what works and what doesn’t, you’ll lose many patients in the process and you may even lose your coordinator out of frustration because she feels like she’s not cut out for the position. Now trust me on this coordinators are not born closers. They might be great presenters but not born closers. They learn from others who have been there and done that. So, converting prospective patients to paid cosmetic patients is the number one skill needed to be a top patient coordinator. This is where the rubber meets the road. This is the difference between an okay coordinator and a converting rock star because it takes confidence, courage and well thought-out strategies. For patients looking for guidance from your coordinator and they’re not going to hand them the yes, your coordinator has to ask for the decision in a professional, comfortable way so the patient says yes. For example, when the coordinator has presented the options to the prospective patient they’ve got to transition to a strategic question rather than a yes/no question that can trigger resistance. So, instead of asking something like, Sarah did you want to go forward with this? I’m going to get resistance because I’m asking them a yes or no do you want to move forward with this. Instead you ask very confidently Sarah now I’ve only got two dates left this month on the 10th and the 15th or did you want to wait until next month to have this done. There’s a lot of psychology in that question because most cosmetic patients hate to wait so I added a little urgency there, but do you see what happens. Now instead of backing them up into a yes or no I’ve just quite easily given them options to. So, when they choose one of those they’re moving forward and now you’ve got a book surgery. So, there’s a whole lot more to this topic of converting
So, first please make sure you’ve got the right coordinator representing you. If your gut is telling you, you don’t have the right person or they’re on shaky ground why don’t you just go ahead and have a heart-to-heart with them and say how do you feel you’re doing with this position. I’m not sure you’re the right fit and quite frankly a confident salesperson would say what do you mean I’m not the right fit, I’m brilliant, you just haven’t given me the right tools, let’s say. You want her to push back because that’s the resistance that she knows how to deal with. But let’s say you do have the right coordinator but she’s saying to you I really love working here, I love representing you, but I don’t have the skill for this. I’m not sure exactly what I’m doing. So, if that’s the case and hopefully that’s what it is because it’s easier to train somebody than find somebody else who has the right mental skills. Have her join my converting club for coordinators at convertconsultations.com because I’d be happy to work with her and just so you know where I’m coming from. I started the first 20 years of my career I worked for Fortune 500 companies and they were big companies. I was in sales for Burlington Northern and they were a huge railroad operation and I used to sell air freight shipping services.
So, it was an intangible service and I had to gain trust and it was in a man’s world. That was a tough one but then I went to Pitney Bowes. They were Fortune 167 out of Fortune 500 companies at the time and I was always in the top 15% of Burlington Northern and then 10% at Pitney Bowes. They had over 3000 sales reps around the country and boy you really had to be on your game to compete with 3000 other salespeople. But I learned not only the sales, but I learned the people skills, the mindset, the attitude, everything that goes into it. It’s a very big deal to be a successful converting rock star and the difference there was I was taking money from a corporate budget. Your coordinators are taking money right out of people’s pockets, so it has a much different emotional feel to it. They’ve got to be trained to do it. They’ve got to be trained to work with complete strangers who are very emotional about wanting to look and feel good but then they’ve got to get them through the hoops of I don’t have the time, I can’t afford it, what are my friends and family going to say and all of that goes with it/ Let me help them get to a yes for you.
So, I hope that was helpful. I’d love for you to subscribe to “Beauty and the Biz.” Giving me a great review would also be helpful to do some more reach here on this, its Beauty and the Biz at iTunes. If you would, I’d appreciate you sharing this with your colleagues and share it with your staff too, it might open up a good conversation and then if you’ve got any questions or feedback for me please leave them at catherinemaley.com. I’ll get your message there or you can always DM me at Instagram @catherinemaleymba. Okay, I hope that was helpful and we’ll talk soon. Do You Have The Right Patient Coordinator?
We hope you found valuable insight on this episode of “Beauty and the Biz.” For more episodes tools and Catherine’s free book visit www.catherinemaley.com, that’s www.catherinemaley.com and be sure to subscribe to get the latest practice building strategies delivered to you and don’t forget to share this “Beauty and the Biz” podcast with your staff and colleagues.
Catherine is a business/marketing consultant to plastic surgeons. She speaks at medical conferences all over the world on practice building, marketing and the business side of plastic surgery.