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Ep.40: Becoming a Front Desk Rock Star

Becoming a Front Desk Rock Star:

Catherine’s talk at the 35th AACS meeting in Las Vegas!

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1. Have your receptionist listen to this podcast.
2. Have her implement the simple techniques.

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Episode transcript:

Beauty and the Biz

Ep.40: Becoming a Front Desk Rock Star

Catherine Maley, MBA: Hello and welcome to Beauty and the Biz, where we talk about the marketing and business side of plastic surgery practices. I’m your host, Catherine Maley, author of Your Aesthetic Practice: What Your Patients Are Saying, as well as a consultant to plastic surgeons to get them more patients and more profits. And today’s episode is a little different than I was speaking at the American Academy of cosmetic surgery. And I was asked to speak on the topic of becoming a front desk Rockstar. So, I’m going to replay the presentation I gave I pulled the audio from it. And so, I’d like you to enjoy this, I would also like you to share it with your receptionist because if she would just follow my lead here, she can increase your conversion rates easily by 20 to 30% within 48 hours. So, enjoy. And I hope it helped and then let me know if indeed she needs additional help. I’m always available. And on that said you can just visit me at, leave me a message and we could figure out how to get her up to speed. All right, Enjoy.


Thank you. Hi, everybody. I heard everyone started at 7am this morning. I think that’s insane. Why would begin in Las Vegas at 7am. Don’t go together. Anyway. Has anybody heard of me? Am I a legend in my own mind? All right, I did write a book, just FYI, I wrote a book because I wanted to understand the patient. Because I know I’m the patient. I’m by– walking, talking testimonials, cosmetic rejuvenation, and but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just in my own head. So, I interviewed a whole bunch of patients to find out what they wanted from you like why they chose you or you or you or you. So, it’s got a lot of good data in there. And the point is, this is what’s happened now, there’s going to be a tsunami hitting us. If you think it’s hit already, it hasn’t. And there’s just a whole lot of competition coming on. And it’s going to just get bigger and bigger, and it’s going to get more competitive. And that’s not good news or bad news, it just is. So, we have to figure out how do you get good at this without wasting a ton of money and making a lot of mistakes. And this is the big one. Nobody ever wants to talk about the phones because it’s not sexy, and the poor receptionist is paid the least. And they’re always stuck in the front. They have no friends out there. They’re always by themselves. And they’re always reprimanded for not saying the right thing, but nobody ever trains them on what they always say to me, what do you want me to say? Like, give me something here, if you’re going to let these people wing it, and that’s what you’re going to get.

So, nobody is a born receptionist, everything you’ve ever done, how did you do it and you learned it and you practiced and you learned and you made mistakes, and you practice the more. So, I want to simplify the phones, because they’re complicated. They’re very complicated. People are calling from left field all day long. And asking just a ton of stuff that you’re supposed to be able to navigate through. So, I’m going to simplify it. And I hope this is helpful to you. The number one objective of a receptionist, they actually don’t usually know what it is, they think it’s to answer the phone. And I’ll tell you what it really is two objectives. They either book the consult or they get the contact information. If you think about it as somebody who’s interested in cosmetic rejuvenation, that’s not a fleeting thought. They’ve been looking in the mirror forever. And they’ve been worrying about this forever. And they’re going to continue as the aging process happens. So, anybody who calls you as a prospect, if not now, some other time, but grab that contact information. Okay, here’s the big tip, whomever is asking the questions and controls the call. I do a lot of mystery shopping, and I have for 20 years, and I’ve worked for huge call centers. What happens is who’s controlling this call? Is it you? Or is it the caller? So please remember this. Now, the questions, and I’ll talk about this is the big part of it.

And these are the questions. You don’t want to answer any other questions, but this is what’s your name? What’s your number? What do you want done? And how did you hear about us? When do you want this procedure done? When can we see you and what’s your contact information? Okay, but we’re not going to do it like that. We’re going to have some more finesse than that. Okay, we’re going to need to do some verbal cheerleading, because when you control the call, and the caller is trying to get something from you and you’re trying to get something from them, you’ve got to use some enthusiasm to get through this call. And the objective is to book the appointment. So, we want to use verbal to– I call it verbal cheerleading, but it’s things like great, terrific, thanks so much for that information, be excited about it. Okay.

So, here’s the perfect number one, answer lavonne Wow, wow, I cannot tell you how many of you have set up the patient deterrent program in your practices, but you just do not want to talk to polish trying to give you money. You just don’t. And a lot of you have a lot of lip service towards this. But when I literally have had the discussion, and I’ll call and they’ll say, oh no, I fixed that phone tree. Right now, it’s down from eight solutions there. Now we’re down to four, dial the one, dial the two, dial the three. And by the time you’re on the fourth, you like that, I pick one. That’s insane. In today’s world, it’s way too competitive. And you’re spending way too much money to make that phone ring and think about the money you’re spending right now to get that phone to ring. And think about how many people do not need to call you anymore. They want to text you.

They want to email you they want to checkbox you, they don’t want to talk to you. Can you imagine what a great hot prospect This is? And I don’t care how many of these things to me. Oh, they were just pressure. Drop that. No, they weren’t. They’re literally looking for a solution to a problem. You just didn’t handle them correctly. 90% of the time. And I’m not trying to be argumentative, but Okay, so answer the phone. That means that no answering machines, no closing at lunchtime, no phone trees. You guys, would you just help us? Just we’re going to just do a quick survey. If I were to call your office today I would I get because the goal is a human being within the third ring.

How many people raise their hand and say I would get that given being third ring? Okay, now look what happened? Only about 25% of you can say that video. That’s the competitive edge. That Do you get it? It’s that little thing of actually answering the phone that you’re halfway there. But then pretend there’s more to it. Okay, so no more that no more closing at lunchtime? I don’t know who you all think you’re closing at lunchtime. But that doesn’t make any sense in this industry? Who is your target market? People who have money? Who has money? People who work for people who work? When do they have time off at lunchtime? You can kid yourself and say oh, no, no, thank you.

No, we tested that thing. Never call it lunchtime. This is true. I’ve been doing this forever. They call it lunchtime. So Okay, so here’s your new model. receptionist in the room, I know you are but anybody else’s receptionist. And that’s the funny part. We’re talking to the wrong group here. But the phone is your friend. And in most practices, the phone is a hindrance and a nuisance. And I don’t want to grab that I’m not touching that phone. It’s not my job. And that’s not good. So the phone is your friend, if you have to put mirrors up. And they do this in Vegas. Why are their mirrors everywhere? Because they’re why we act better when we’re being watched by ourselves. And other people. It just is true.

So, if you have to put mirrors up and watch somebody’s facial expression and have the receptionist look at herself, answer the phone doing whatever you need to do to get him or her some energy for answering the phone, you gotta do it. So, we need a good attitude here. We don’t need that. PowerPoint. We know a really good attitude. Okay, so here’s the greeting. Do you hear how I’m using my voice a lot? And some of you have decided to put anybody out there at the phones. And they are not meant to be some people are not meant to be phone people. They’re just not. I happen to be good at voice and some people are good at dancing, I couldn’t dance it somebody paid me to dance.

So, we all have our talents. And some people could not be on the phone. Now some of you have a really funny greeting you try. You think you’re going to be five star and you’ll have this really great greeting like, oh, thank you for calling. It’s a great day to look great. But then you have a receptionist that says the first time the day Thank you for calling. It’s a great deal. Great. If you’re going to up your game with the words, you better bring it with the voice and the attitude. Okay, or don’t get fancy yet. Just answer the phone correctly. So, here’s a simple way for watch me use my voice. Good afternoon, best plastic surgery and laser center. Linda speaking How may I assist you today?

And do you hear how I’m bringing it and we’ve all done it. We’ve all called somebody we have no idea who we’re calling. We’re out of our comfort zone. If you’ve ever had to call a lawyer or a dentist and I had an implant that was crazy. How much money was that? And you don’t know what you’re looking for. So, all you have right now is voice and what the words are, right? So, if you can’t get the word straight, just get the voice right. So, here’s the next one. You just want to get their name and number. I’m sure I can help you with that. Here’s a verbal cheerleader, I can help you with that. Make it to me, please. Okay, do you hear me ending on a question mark? I’m not going to say another word until you give me your name. You know? And then thank you for that, Karen.

And what’s the best number to reach you at? Question mark? And now you want to get the referral source. Thank you for that. And can you please tell me, how did you hear about us? Karen? Do you hear how I’m always leaving it at a question mark and pausing? It costs me if you’re controlling the call and the caller will automatically go with you on this, I promise you and then when they answer, terrific or thanks so much for that information. The next one, so Karen, which procedure did you want to discuss Doc. Best? You need to know obviously what they’re looking for. This is the one time where they are allowed to talk more. If you’re hearing me, I’m not letting them talk yet much. I’m letting them answer my questions, because I’m controlling it for right now. So, what do you want to talk about? Okay, great. And now some more verbal cheerleading. But now we need to understand where they’re at in the process.

Yes, that’s one of our most popular procedures. By the way, Doctor best has performed more than 2500 surgical procedures with fantastic results. And when were you having this done? But she Mark, thank you for that information. Okay, now, are you seeing that I’m bragging about the surgeon very subtly. But isn’t that good to know? If you’re the patient, the caller wants something done? And you don’t want to be number three? You want to be number? 20 503? Right? So, if you can say that and get it in there. Now the old How much is it? I know, that’s all you say?

Okay, that’s all they do. They just call about price. That’s all they want to do. Okay, let’s say that’s true. Let’s say they’re just calling about price. Although God knows on the internet, you can’t get a straight price. Anyway, there. It’s all over the place. But let’s say it’s calling they’re calling about price passing strategy, then to answer that. Here’s the big tip. Always, always, always pre frame before price. The reason people get sticker shock is you never give them any value before you throw out a number. And if you notice, nobody hears another word you’re saying after you throw out the number.

So, first, give them the pre frame, then the price. And then there is going to be a sandwich and pre frame price, and then a buffer. And I’ll show you what that we’ve got to physician, the physician on the phone, I think that’s your new model, position the physician but all of you as a team have to get together and figure out what that is. And you can’t be what everybody else is or you won’t be able to compete. Know, if everyone thinks we’re all the same. If everyone can do everything, then what’s the point? Then we might as well be a race to the bottom for price and it’s not bad. It has to be more than price. You can’t be in business if it’s just price. So, you’re going to be more strategic and get together in a team and figure it out. How many surgeries have you done? If it’s a big number, use it. If it’s a little number, move on to the next one. How many patients have you treated?

Let’s say you don’t do surgery, you’re just doing injectables, but you do a ton of them. So, if you’re able to say we’ve treated more than 2000 patients, use that, it’s good proof. You train others and you’re seeing in some kind of PR by the way in today’s world, I know we talk about PR here just FYI. You can pay to play on that one. You can fly constantly and all the doctors and the hot shots are in the magazines in the airline. Have you seen them and they’re paying for them. It’s like 50 grand, like but there is– it’s a magazine ad and in the title is best Plastic Surgeons in America, just FYI, they pay for this thing.

So, you can do the same. You can be seen in whatever you advertise wherever you have a little article, a little blurb, okay, or you speak you lecture you write while you’re at this meeting, talk about an opportunity. I hope you’re taking pictures constantly of your doctor on the podium and your doctor out at the logo. I know I am I’m like, this is a huge PR opportunity for you. It shows that you go to meetings and you’re bettering your best. Also, you’re voted top doc another pay to play but who cares. And then donates time to pro bono. Our industry is basically female, it’s still 85% female, women love pro bono, especially if you’re helping kids and dogs and all the better. Okay, now, here’s another tip. When somebody asks you a question, you answer a question with a question. That’s another mantra and answer a question with a question. And no pause. No, I don’t want you to pause. I want you to pause now don’t pause. And so, when they ask you a question, you answer it. And here’s your trail. And I see my next available appointment is on June 14 at 3pm. Does that work for you? Question mark.

Do you see how you’re answering their question? And before they get to ask you 14 more questions to stop them. And you go straight to this June 14 question. Hey, okay, how much is it? We’re back to that. So, I’m gonna throw all this together into one. Oh, sure. Karen, I can help you with that. By the way, Doctor best is before more than 1500 surgical procedures. And he trains others on his innovative techniques. So, you call the right practice. And now the fees for that procedure started 6500 or range hit one, you start arranged but you have to give people numbers in today’s world, you can say we don’t give numbers over the phone, you’re not going to get anywhere with that they’re gonna hang up you have to pick something really seriously.

So, it ranges and here was the buffer and we offer an affordable pay plan. So that’s the sandwich and this is how great we are. This is the price and we offer affordable pay plans. I used that very specifically affordable pay plans and do not use finance. We don’t like that word. There are scary words in sales, finance and contracts are big. They’re big so well. It’s an affordable pay plan. Okay, and keep going And I see my next available appointments that October 14 at 3pm. Does that work for you? And trust me on this, if you would practice these, your conversion rates will go up by 30% within two days, because you have a whole different feel for it, the phone. Okay? If you do charge a consulting fee, which quite frankly, in today’s world, I think you need to, it’s gotten so crazy out there. But if you do, you’ve got to tell them, so I would do it towards the end. And one more thing, Karen, because doctor best is in high demand, we do charge $100 consult fee that I take over the phone now to reserve your time with him and go towards your procedure, should you decide to move forward with a Visa, MasterCard or Amex pause, because now they go get the credit card. Okay? They really do. Trust me, I’m done forever. Okay, now here, this is important.

Are you the information booth or use a control tower? You’re the control tower, you’re no longer the information booth and you people are getting yourselves digging, digging in holes really deep and you can’t get out? Because you’re letting the color tell you? How much is it? What’s the downtime, where the incisions are what any goes on and on and on. And you can’t get into that. It’s not your job, your job is to book the appointment for consultation or to get their contact information. So, here’s the rules. And if it’s an easy question to answer your answer it and– So, it is October 14 at 3pm work for you just go right back to that again that date. If it’s clinical, and this is your go to no matter what your go to is, that’s a great question for Dr. best to answer personally at your consultation.

So, it’s October 14 at 3pm work for you. Do you see how it sounds a little repetitive? But that’s the point. You don’t need to be fancy on the phones, get the scripts down and stick to it practice and now you’re not winging it, you already know what you’re going to say now you’re thinking more of your voice, and your personality and your attitude and what you’re bringing to the call and then get the contact information if nothing else, okay, Sara, or Karen, whatever. It seems you’re not quite ready to book a consultation just yet. But I’d be happy to add you to our VIP list to receive exclusive live offers. And I just need your email asked, do you hear what I’m saying there, you get to be on the VIP list. You have to say VIP list because nobody wants to give you their email because you’re going to spam them. So, if you say it like this, you always give somebody a reason for action that you want them to take, hey, that’s the point. Or if you don’t like that one, go with Karen, I got an idea. You’re how excited I am. We have a fun patient event coming up. It’s a fun event. But we serve food and wine and lasagna. And we give giveaways, Dr. Bess will talk about the latest surgical and non-surgical procedures available today. And if you’re interested, I can make email or text, an invitation for you and a friend and question mark pause. And what you’ve done here has given them a choice. Do you see how they can’t get away without giving you contact information, they’re either going to have to give you their email or their cell phone. And so, you gave them a choice. And you also let them bring a friend. Nobody wants to go show up somewhere alone, but they don’t know anybody. It’s so awkward.

So, let them bring a friend and now you have two new prospective patients. Right. And that’s it. If you want more of this, this is what I do all day long. But it’s called convert phone calls if you’re interested. And if you want to hang around with me on Instagram, at catherinemaleymba and you’ll see me on instagram where I already took my photo and I said, Oh, I’m giving talks. So, do the same while you’re here. Okay. And that’s it.

Picture of Catherine Maley

Catherine Maley

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. Get a Free Copy of her popular book, Your Aesthetic Practice: What Your Patients Are Saying View Author Profile.


Beauty and the Biz is for Plastic Surgeons who know they don’t know everything and are open to discovering the pearls to grow and scale a sellable asset when they’re ready to exit.

Listen in as Catherine interviews surgeons who talk about the business and marketing side of plastic surgery and listen to Catherine’s pearls from consulting with plastic surgeons since Year 2000.



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