Case Study: The “Anti-Sales Philosophy” Doubles Physician Advertising Effectiveness

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

surprised and happy familyThere’s nothing like a real-life success story to illustrate the bottom-line, dollars-and-cents value of a medical practice marketing principle. In this case, a physician group specialty practice more than doubled its new patient revenue by training the staff to properly answer the phone and book appointments.

We’ve written previously about effectively capitalizing on physician advertising. (links below) There’s an up side and a downside, and the difference is in how the office is trained and prepared (or unprepared) to handle inbound calls. And frankly, nearly every practice has something to learn and much to be gained.

Our colleague and Staff Training Director Zac Wright provides the following numbers from this East Coast practice with four locations and an average case size of $2,900 p/new patient. “At just one location,” Zac reports, “they went from 74 new patients in September last year to 159 new patients in September this year.”

Doing the math at this single location, the new patient revenue more than doubled from about $214,600 p/month to over $461,000. Zac—who is understandably diligent about tracking results—says that, “Overall, they realized an across the board increase of about 71 percent for all locations in the three months following training.”

So, you might ask, just how did they do that? The answer may be a bit of surprise.

The “Anti-Sales Philosophy”

Zac tells us “all we did was leverage their existing staff—their largest overhead expense, by the way—and turned them into revenue producers.” In other words, this practice didn’t change its personnel, and what’s surprising is that the training created “revenue producers” using an anti-sales philosophy.

“That’s right, anti-sales.” Zac says, “We never want the staff to sound like they are selling anything. In fact, they are not ‘selling.’ Training is about helping the patient appreciate the quality of care, understand what’s involved in treatment and the support that the office provides each patient. And they set an appointment for the prospective new patient.”

The core idea is that the patient can’t benefit from the services of the doctor or the practice over the phone. They can only help the patient once they come into the office, and a first appointment is the beginning of a process of caring for the individual. Onsite staff training—Convert Inquiries Into New Patients—works from the perspective of helping the patient.

It’s an effective concept that any practice can use. In this case example, the practice helped more people and the doctor marketing Return-on-Investment was terrific. For additional resources, you’ll find our earlier posts on this topic here: How to Destroy Your Medical Practice Marketing New Business in One Easy Step and Physician Advertising: 5 Steps to Increased Revenue When the Phone Rings.

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.

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