People like free stuff. Plain and simple. The word "FREE" is very powerful. "FREE" makes people drive across town for a complimentary coffee, even though they end up spending more on gas than what they save. "FREE" makes people call your clinic inquiring about a "15 minute free consultation."
There is a growing trend of chiropractic and physiotherapy clinics offering this service as a way of garnering potential prospects to new patients, including your competitors. However, not all "free consultations" are equal. Some folks are clearly "freebie hunters" who are there to get free advice, and some are people who don't have insurance coverage for your services. Nevertheless, if implemented correctly, the free consultation can be a great tool to convert leads into loyal patients.
Here are four factors to consider when implementing free consultations:
Some potential prospects may be wary of clinics offering something for free. These are the same people who are reluctant to share their email addresses and other personal information. Be specific when wording what is included in a free consultation. Many clinics use the free 15 minutes consultation to discuss how physiotherapy or chiropractics can help them with their pain and to give them a tour of their clinic.
The potential prospect needs a compelling reason to choose your clinic over your competitors' "free consultation". Here are some tips to write a compelling offer:
Put a Time Limit on the Offer: "Give us 15 minutes, and we can tell you how Physiotherapy can make your back problems go away". If you say your consultation will take 15 minutes, don't let it go over this time.
"No Risk": "Our 15-minute risk-free consultation will give you a chance to discuss how physiotherapy can help you with your knee pain."
Build it as a self-assessment tool: "Take our 10-minute self-assessment test to see if you can improve your mobility."
#2 Check with your college for the rules
Always check with your corresponding college to make sure that you abide by the rules. Depending on what province you practice, you may or may not be allowed to offer free consultations or use the word free. In general, free consultations are only to be used for the purpose of informing the public about the services you offer. If your college doesn't allow you to use the word free, try using the word no cost or no obligation. Please see the College of Physiotherapy or College of Chiropractors for more information.
#3 How will you promote the free consultation?
Determine which type of medium where you will advertise the "free consultation". Will you advertise on a sandwich board outside your clinic? Referral pads to the doctors? Yellow pages ad? Or callers over the phone who are unsure and about to hang up? Whatever medium you decide, you will want to put your best foot forward with these hot prospects. You only have the free consultation to convert them from leads to patients. Make the most of the opportunity!
How much is each referral is worth to you? For example, if the average patient spends $800/year on physiotherapy, chiropractic or massage services. If they remain a patient for 4 years, this patient is worth $3200.
#4 Track results and measure conversion rates
After implementing the "free consultation" offer, delegate the office administrator to keep track and measure the conversion rate of each health team member. How many of these potential leads have turned into new patients as a result of the "free consultation"? Identify which individual health team member has accomplished the highest conversion rate and learn why?
Having regular meetings with your health team members to let everyone share what worked and what didn't work during these consultations. This will allow everyone to share their knowledge and experiences and work together to develop a game plan that will increase conversion rates. With a successful strategy, you should be able to convert 70% of the free consultations to new patients.