The GREAT Phone Call™ Process

Alex Nottingham discusses the GREAT Call™ Process – building rapport with new callers leads to increased call conversion and patient experience. Don’t be EAGER, be GREAT.

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About Alex Nottingham JD MBA

Alex is the CEO and Founder of All-Star Dental Academy®. He is a former Tony Robbins top coach and consultant, having worked with companies upwards of $100 million. His passion is to help others create personal wealth and make a positive impact on the people around them. Alex received his Juris Doctor (JD) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Florida International University.

Episode Transcript

Transcript performed by A.I. Please excuse the typos.

00:00

This is Dental All-Stars, where we bring you the best in dentistry on marketing, management, and training. Here’s your host, Alex Nottingham. Welcome to Dental All-Stars. In a prior episode, we talked about the silent killer pour rate of phone call conversion. Well, I got the solution for you. And the solution is the great call process. And this is an acronym. And it stands for greeting, rapport.

00:30

engage, ask for the appointment, and take information. And it’s like a lock. You have to go in order with the great call process for it to work. So let’s look at greeting, the first step. With greeting, you gotta be aware of your salutation. You wanna make sure you get the patient’s name in the conversation, because you’re gonna use it later. You wanna welcome them to your office, get a contact phone number just in case you get disconnected. And we have specific verbiage on this, because even though we have caller ID,

00:59

It’s going to sound quite stalking or weird if we are going to call them back and we didn’t get implicit permission. And we want to get the referral source as well. Only 1% and this is based on call tracking research, only 1% of receptionists actually ask for the patient’s name. And the great Dale Carnegie who wrote How to Win Friends and Influence People said, remember that a person’s name is to that person.

01:27

person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language. So it’s important we get the name so we can use it in the conversation. That’s greeting. Now let’s talk about rapport, the next step. So we have this traditional sales pyramid, which we’re not fans of, but it works like this. You have a small amount, you focus on rapport. And rapport is the ability to make a connection with somebody that they know you, like you, respect you, and want to do business with you. That’s rapport.

01:56

And with the sales pyramid, you spend a very little on it, and then you spend a little bit more on maybe the needs. But the vast majority of the call is closing a manipulation. And this is also called the get them in philosophy or the always be closing philosophy, which is let’s get them in at any cost and then see what happens. And we’ll deal with it later. That’s manipulation. It’s not right. It’s salesy. It doesn’t work. It’s wrong. So we…

02:24

believe in what we call the VIP or very important patient pyramid, where the vast majority of what we do is rapport building. Then we focus on needs. At the end, you become the logical choice. You never have to sell because you’ve built rapport with them, you’ve identified their needs and they know, like, trust and respect you. That’s rapport. A few elements of rapport to look out for, using the name and conversation.

02:53

paraphrasing what they’re saying, which is repeating back what they’re saying, asking positive, open-ended questions. So you’re getting a more broad response versus just a yes or a no. And your active listening. So they hear you saying, aha, mm-hmm, mm-hmm, so on. Because if you’re on a phone call, especially, they can’t hear, all these silences are gonna make them feel nervous. Maybe you’re not paying attention. So you wanna make sure you’re engaged with them there. Don’t interrupt people.

03:21

Don’t talk about what you want to talk about. They don’t care. Don’t make patients repeat themselves. Don’t talk about things off topic. Don’t type when talking. And don’t have multiple conversations with your team, not paying attention to the caller or the person in front of you. And of course, this goes without saying, don’t be rude. And this was the ice flake, the snowflake on the tip of the mountain when it comes to rapport.

03:49

or the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much when it comes to rapport, when it comes to emotional intelligence, when it comes to building these skill sets. So always be finding ways to train your team on being better at rapport, being better at personality types, being better at emotional intelligence, being better on these soft skills. They help a lot. So we did greeting, we did rapport, now engage. So to engage the patient, you’re gonna answer common questions.

04:18

you’re going to share the sizzle, which is a way of highlighting your office. And we’ve done podcasts on sharing the sizzle and we teach that in our training program, you then overcome objections. Now it’s important we go in order, remember? And a very common way that dental offices respond using great, but they do it the wrong way is when somebody calls and says, what do you charge for veneers? Or you take my insurance and then you answer their question right away.

04:45

They go, oh, okay, let me call you back and think about it. Then you’re asking for the appointment, then you’re trying to greet them and build rapport, and it’s too late. So we don’t advocate that you answer their question until you’ve built rapport. We’re gonna answer their question, we’re gonna get them served, but we’re trying to make sure before we answer their question, we get to know them because we don’t wanna be commoditized. We wanna have a relationship that we can put price or their question in context. So we did G-R-E.

05:13

greeting, rapport, engage. Now we can ask for the appointment because we built rapport. It’s appropriate to ask for the appointment now because now we’re friends. So is this your practice? Is this something you’re saying when you get to the A or ask the appointment section? Well, you say something like, would you like to make an appointment? Like it’s a choice. Or do you wanna make an appointment? Or you just answer their question and engage and then say bye. Or you don’t ask at all.

05:43

What we recommend you do after you follow the process, G-R-E, now we’re at A, you say, let’s go ahead and get you scheduled. Because like I said, we built rapport, we know their needs, let’s go ahead and get you scheduled then. Do you prefer mornings or afternoons? The reason we do that is we’d like to put them in the block that works best for our practice. This is the block scheduling concept that we teach. Even more important, while you’re scheduling them,

06:12

It’s very important that you set up your expectations, that you create urgency, and that you get their commitment so they’re more likely to show up if you follow these three questions, these three issues, expectations, urgency, and commitment. Otherwise, your patients will come in confused or angry, or they don’t show, and now we have a broken appointment. The last step is take information, and we might say, oh, we’re home free, we got it all done. Well,

06:39

we have some blunders that happen when it comes to taking information. One, we take information too early. We wanna get all their routing numbers, social security, all their things that they have, they’re first born, and it’s like, whoa, I don’t even know you yet. Or we’re not thorough at the end. For example, do we have to pre-medicate, whatever that might be to make sure that we’re thorough for their appointment. Okay, our work has just begun. We touch the surface when it comes to phone skills, but there’s more.

07:09

other silent killers we have to overcome. And so I encourage you to go to allstardentalacademy.com backslash webinar to learn about these other silent killers and how to overcome them and grow your practice. And until next time, go out there and be an All-Star. We hope you enjoyed this episode of Dental All-Stars. Visit us online at allstardentalacademy.com.

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