The Three Foundations: How To Pluck The Low-Hanging Fruit In Your Private Practice By Increasing The Frequency Of Patient Upgrades

low hanging fruit

See the image above?

It represents the five different areas of focus that will drive revenue/opportunities through your clinic.

  • You have the high-hanging fruit being new patient acquisition and physician marketing … both crucial to long-term success but areas that require you to do the basics to a high standard consistently.
  • Then on the low-hanging fruit, you have upgrade campaigns, tested not sold campaigns, and referral campaigns … three areas to focus where you can do one thing intelligently and instantaneously feel the better.

 

A long-term successful clinic naturally needs focus in all areas.

However, here’s the interesting thing that I have observed from working so closely with many private practices over the past several years … many clinics do not properly pluck the low-hanging fruit (never mind the high-hanging fruit!).

That’s why, in this article, I’m going to share the three high-impact (yet simple) actions that you can take right now that will increase the frequency of your patient upgrades without having to regularly run “new technology” campaigns or use reputation-destroying gimmicks.

If you lay these foundations, it will allow you to pluck beautifully ripe, low-hanging fruit easily and seamlessly.

Best of all …

  • Nothing I’m going to share is complicated
  • Nothing requires you to fundamentally change your business
  • And nothing requires you to be a marketing genius to execute.

Shall we get started?

Let’s go.

 

#1 – Building A Precedent Through A “Minimum Guaranteed Future Trade In Value” 

Here’s the truth …

Nobody grows up looking forward to the day that they can buy their first hearing aids … which means that nearly every patient that walks through your door has very little understanding of what to expect, how the process works, and what they need.

It means that the expectation and precedent that you set in the initial appointment is so important.

Just consider the automotive industry for a moment.

When you lease or buy a new car, the dealership will clearly explain that after 3 to 4 years, you have an option to upgrade and trade in your existing car for something new … and typically, they’ll build the payment plan around a 36 to 48-month plan.

Why do they do this?

Because it sets a precedent of how frequently you should upgrade your car, and it ensures that they can generate repeat purchases.

== I shared the three big lessons that you can take from the automotive industry and apply to your private practice here ==

The challenge that we as an industry have faced is that we rarely set an accurate expectation of how long hearing aids should last a patient.

We would love to set the expectation at four years to drive future upgrades, BUT if we tell them that their several thousand dollar investment will be worthless in just four years’ time, then it’s going to impact their decision-making process.

What’s the solution?

Well, many of our Inner Circle members utilize a “Minimum Guaranteed Future Trade-In Value” certificate.

This is where, as part of their treatment plan, a patient receives a guaranteed trade-in (or buy-back) value on their devices that they can redeem at any point within 48 months.

This achieves three things:

  • Firstly, it’s unique and many of your competitors will not offer this – giving you the edge when a patient is making a 50/50 decision making process.
  • Secondly, it sets a precedent that upgrading every four years is the “norm.”
  • Thirdly, it creates a strong reason for a patient to upgrade before this expires. It ensures that as the 48-month mark approaches, the patient is inclined to upgrade their technology knowing they can step into new technology with a buy-back on their existing devices.

It results in many more patients upgrading earlier, with the “trade-in” value being removed off the full price that can be offset against the savings made from not having to spend marketing dollars to acquire the sale.

 I know what you’re thinking…

“I can’t afford to offer $1,500, $1,000, or $500 for a set of hearing aids!”

But here are the two things that you need to consider. When a patient is upgrading, it’s very different than acquiring a new patient.

First of all, you don’t have to spend marketing dollars to acquire a patient, as they’re already an existing patient. Instead, you just have to lean on the communication channels that you’ve already established to give them a strong enough reason to step into new technology.

This already means extra margin to drive the sale.

Secondly, you know that an experienced hearing aid wearer will require less time, less energy, and less cost in order to serve them. Whereas a new patient will need a lot more hand holding and support, somebody that is in their second or third set of devices will need less support and be more sufficient. Your costs to serve them will be less.

It means that tying these cost savings into creating a powerful “buy-back” will lead to more frequent upgrades and drastically grow the long-term value of each patient.

 

#2 – Give, Give, Give … Ask!

One of the biggest risks that you face when it comes to a second sale is that YOUR patient will buy their next set of devices elsewhere.

Think about it…

  • They are experienced hearing aid wearers.
  • They don’t need their hand holding.
  • They will need a lot less support.

The idea of buying devices online, visiting Costco, or using a service like Lively is very tempting to them … especially when it is the difference between saving thousands of dollars.

The way that you minimize this risk is by ensuring that you turn them into a patient for life through building a communication channel with them.

One of the most powerful ways to do this is through implementing a high-impact email newsletter.

Hardly revolutionary, I’m sure you’ll agree.

But remember: It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it.

Our Inner Circle members have one core objective with their email newsletter. To turn professional relationships into personal relationships.

The newsletter is structured, written, and created with the purpose of making a patient feel like a friend, creating a sense of belonging, and allowing them to fall head-over-heels in love with the clinic and the people within the clinic.

How is this achieved?

Well, it’s by doing the basics, to a high standard, consistently.

The email newsletters don’t just talk about hearing loss, hearing aids, and hearing-related news.

Instead, it has a personal message from the owner that shows the human behind the white coat, it spotlights local businesses/restaurants that they recommend with a review, it spotlights patient stories and turns patients into mini celebrities, and it makes patients feel like family by celebrating the personal successes of members of staff.

It means that the patient feels much closer to the business and the people within the business – there’s a sense of belonging.

This is proved by the open rates and engagement of this monthly email which sits between 35%-60% on average.

It means that when there’s a decision about upgrading, the patient couldn’t possibly imagine going anywhere else … you’re their people!

 

#3 – Segmenting Your Database To Run Highly Specific “Micro-Campaigns”

The biggest mistake that I see many hearing care clinics make is their lack of organization when it comes to patients’ data (for marketing purposes).

They run reports and have many of their patients grouped together based on no other information other than their date of purchase.

Yet what many don’t realize is that the biggest ASSET in their business is the pool of existing customers that trust them, have a need for their service, and that will need to purchase new technology in the future.

Your patient database is worth more future marketing dollars than anything else.

Only a few properly utilize it.

Yet the more selective that you can be with segmentation, the more powerful your marketing messages can be.

You should be able to segment your database based on simple things like:

  • The purchase date
  • The value of the purchase
  • The technology that they’re wearing
  • The date of the patient’s last appointment

Once you have it correctly segmented, you can then pull specific lists to receive highly specific messages by running “micro-campaigns.”

This means that you can be highly selective with your messaging and ensure you’re only contacting laser-targeted people with laser-targeted messaging to maximize response to small campaigns when you have an “ask” to make from patients.

For example …

If a manufacturer launches new customs, then pulling a database of people that are wearing 4+ year old customs that you have seen in the past 12 months gives you a small but specific list of people.

It could be ten people, or it could be 100 people.

But reaching out to these with a message that references that they’re wearing customs that are over four years old and new customs have become available that they may be interested in …

…well, this means that it’s the right message for the right people … and we’re not blindly emailing everybody over four years and bruising the majority of the database.

This is how you can drive high response rates.

And Breathe…

Yes, I know that’s a lot to take in.

But to say it again.

The secret to high-performing marketing is to do the basics to a high standard consistently.

 The three focuses above outline three areas that will allow you to drive more upgrades and increase the frequency of upgrades by choosing to build some solid foundations into your clinic.

They’re not quick campaigns…they’re the foundations that ensure you can run campaigns with a stronger performance.

Oli Luke
Co-Founder & Marketing Director
Orange & Gray

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