Dr. Frank Wolf: Let’s move on to question number two. How do you handle
people who call your office and are shopping for the lowest price?
Daniel Bobrow: I like this question because it opens up a communication which I think is
very important and fundamental to success in marketing and with communication in general.
It’s important to understand that there’s often a difference between what people say and what they mean.
I’m sure we can all think of a time when we called, for instance, a health
club or a car dealer, and not being experts and perhaps not knowing how
else to begin the conversation we might say, “I’d like to know how much
your health club costs to join.”
But I don’t think that’s really what we want to know, is it? I think what we
really want to know is if our needs will be met, if we’ll be comfortable, and
treated fairly. Can we trust the person at the other end of the phone?
Dr. Frank Wolf: Right. Will we like them? Will we feel comfortable? Are they going to be
fair to me? Are they going to treat me kindly?
Daniel Bobrow: Exactly. That’s a little bit too much of a conversation to engage in with
someone you haven’t met yet. “Hi, I’d like to know if you’re going to
make me happy and comfortable and whether I can trust you.” It just doesn’t happen that way.
Dr. Frank Wolf: Right. And it’s not in their conscious mind.
Daniel Bobrow: Correct. Very good point. They don’t even know that that’s what they
want, which is, to bring it back to the dental situation. “How much is a
crown? I want to know if your crown is less than $650.” That’s what they
think is important to them, and in that moment, it might be. What you
want to do is, for that person’s sake, take control of that call, using
verbiage and skills to let them know that they can like you, believe
you, and trust you, and why it’s in their interest to open up the dialogue a
little bit, and come in to see how you can really help them with their
Dr. Frank Wolf: Can you give me an example of that happening?
Daniel Bobrow: We’ve worked on this together many times. People will call and say, “Hi.
I’d like to know how much a crown costs.” I know what you would say and what I would say, or other people when I call. Let me take a step back to share that in working with dental team members, the first call they get receive is from me, or a member of my team, pretending to be somebody who is responding to whatever the solicitation is. I’ll usually go easy on them at first, of course.
But if somebody calls and says, “Hi. I’d like to know how much a crown costs.” My response would be, and I recommend your response would be, “That’s great. I can help you with that. My name is Danny. Can I ask who I’m speaking with?”
Dr. Frank Wolf: Yes, I love that. You immediately engage the caller.
Daniel Bobrow: Right. And I haven’t fought with them. What often happens in the “test
calls”, and the reason that I mentioned the test call – is that often I’ll call people and I’ll ask a question like that and they’ll say, “We’re not allowed to give prices over the phone.” That may be an accurate answer, but unfortunately what you’ve just done is set up an adversarial relationship.
Dr. Frank Wolf: Or you’re not satisfying the question of the caller.
Daniel Bobrow: Right. Which, in my mind, is pretty much the same thing. In either event,
it’s not the best way to begin a relationship.
Dr. Frank Wolf: Right.
Daniel Bobrow: What you by answering their first question, no matter what it is with, ““Great, I can help you with that. My name is Danny. Can I ask who I’m speaking with?” You’ve subtly
and respectfully taken control of the call because now you’re asking the questions, and whoever asks the questions, controls the call.
Dr. Frank Wolf: Right.
Daniel Bobrow: And the next thing I would recommend people say is, “Are you
experiencing any discomfort now?” Because, first of all, that’s important
to know, and secondly, it shows that you care. As well know, no one cares how much
you know until the know how much you care.
Dr. Frank Wolf: One of the things that I found interesting over my time as a practicing
dentist with my colleagues is a lot of doctors will have this same complaint or concern that people are calling and price shopping. But what they fail to realize is that the people that are calling their office, are doing exactly what the dentist was hoping their advertising dollars and marketing efforts would stimulate. For example, you’ve got an ad in the yellow pages. Well, that ad is there to stimulate people to call. And like you said earlier, people don’t know what question to ask, and many times they’re just going to ask a pricing question, like, “How much is a cleaning?” Or, “How much is a crown?”
I used to just jump for joy when people would call my office asking those questions because many times offices would say, “Well, we don’t give our pricing over the phone.” Or they would actually say how much the price of a crown was, and if it was considerably more, it would probably make the caller want to go shop for something lower, when in essence, a great
response would be, “Well, that’s a great question. My name’s Frank. Who am I speaking with?” Get the caller’s name and then ask them a question. “Did somebody say you needed a crown?” Engage them in a conversation that genuinely shows concern and interest in the caller, and that typically can provide you with the opportunity of gathering more information, which builds rapport, trust, and, well, likeability.
Daniel Bobrow: Right. Absolutely. And a very important distinction to always keep in
mind is this is in no way manipulation or trickery. What we’re really striving to do is communicate in a clear way with the patient so that they can make an informed decision,
be empowered, to determine whether your practice is right for them. But what I see, which is so unfortunate, is that so many practices shoot themselves in the foot by just not using the right verbiage. I think some of them have that feeling that this is going to be difficult, or this is
going to be a fight, as you said.
Dr. Frank Wolf: Right.
Daniel Bobrow: The presumption is that people are calling to shop pricing and you’re
trying to figure out a way how not to answer their question.
Dr. Frank Wolf: Right. And again, it just comes down to communication and education,
and education, I think, is a form of communication.
Daniel Bobrow: That’s right. And, it’s not only what you say or ask, it’s how and when you do it.
by Danny Bobrow