Free consultations?

Frequently, practices offer of a free treatment consultation, especially those providing invisible orthodontics and implants.  Now, while it is a great ‘hook’ to offer something for free, the downside is that it has little or no value. Patients often book and then decide not to turn up, wasting your time.

Of those that do come along, when they find out what the treatment may actually cost, they are often put off.

Chair-side time, staff time and your clinical skills have been hard earned and have a value. They don’t need to be given away lightly.

Therefore, perhaps it is wise to ask those team members taking calls from prospective patients to be able to filter out the time wasters or those with a mis-guided understanding of what treatment may cost?

How about something like this:

Julie: Good afternoon, Bristol Orthodontics, my name is Julie, how can I help you?

Ben: Hello Julie, I’ve just seen your advert for a free consultation and would like to make an appointment, please.

Julie: Great! Thanks for calling us today. We’d be happy to make you an appointment. Would it be OK to take your name?

Ben: Yes, of course, it’s Ben Turner.

Julie: Thanks, Ben and what was it about the advert that made you call us?

Ben: Well, I have been thinking about having my teeth straightened for a while and when I saw I could get a free appointment I’d thought I’d book in.

Julie: OK. It’s nice to know our adverts are being seen. What’s got you thinking about having your teeth straightened?

Ben: Oh, a couple of my friends have had it done and I thought I would too.

Julie: Yes, it is certainly becoming a popular treatment, especially since we’ve been offering the invisible braces. I do need to let you know that it is not always possible to treat every case with invisible braces, but we do offer alternatives. We can only actually confirm if you are suitable or not once the Orthodontist has seen you and taken a look in your mouth. How would you feel about treatment if wasn’t with one of the invisible types of brace?

Ben: Hmm. I’m not really sure. My friends both had the invisible ones. That’s certainly what I was hoping for.

Julie: Yes, of course. As I mentioned, once the Orthodontist has had a look at your mouth, we will certainly be able to let you know if the invisible type is for you and if not, what other options you have, along with all the different costs, which range from £2,500 to £6,000, how does that sound?

Ben: Wow! I had no idea that it would cost that much, I thought it would be £400 – £500 at most.

Julie: Oh, I see. Does that change your thoughts about getting your teeth straightened then?

Ben: Yes, it certainly does. I’ll have to think about it and give you a call back. Thanks for your help…

Julie: No problem at all. If you like to come in and just have a cup of coffee, see the practice and meet the team, before going any further, please feel free call at any time. Can I take your address so that we can send you some information in the post?…

As I have already mentioned, it is my belief that ‘free’ has less value than things or services charged for, so you need to ensure you are not wasting your time.

The dialogue above may not suit everyone, but I just wanted to illustrate how you can introduce ‘budget’ without causing offence or seeming to be only interested in money.


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