How Your Front Desk Should Follow Up With Prospects

Sometimes, during the initial months of working with a new dental client, they say that the leads I am sending their way aren’t good.
Since I always have the numbers in front of me, I say “Doc, the leads are fine. Your front desk isn’t following up with them quickly”.
Your front desk ideally needs to call new leads back within 5 minutes – doing so drastically increases the chance of that person coming in.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that if you do nothing else mentioned in this book and just tell the receptionist to call people showing interest within the first 5 minutes, you can easily increase your revenue by at least 30% in a year.
Let’s see why this is the case.
Consumers of this day and age know that they have a lot of options.
Assuming that someone is looking for a dentist, they will go to 5-6 different dental sites closest to them and fill in a request for the office to call them back, knowing fully well that most of them will not call them back in 24 hours, let alone 5 minutes.
Anyway, since prospects assume that you’ll call them back in 1-3 days if at all, they will be delighted to receive a call from you in 5 minutes.
Here’s the protocol your front desk needs to follow to get many more patients in:

  1. When they receive a lead, they call them back within 5 minutes.
  2. If there is no answer, they should leave a voicemail and a text message.


  1. After a day, they should send out an email.
  2. If there is still no response, they should call again in 1-2 days.


  1. If nothing else works, they should call one last time in 5 days.

Now you might be thinking “Aren’t we harassing people if we do all of this?”.
The answer is “No”.
This person requested you to call them back – it would be out of integrity for your front desk not to get a hold of them.
I have never heard of anyone saying “Don’t call me back!” or “You are calling me too much!” when it is they themselves who have requested you to contact them.
In the extremely rare case that it does happen, your staff can easily say “Well, we are just responding to your request to see if we can help you out.”
In my opinion 85% of dental offices don’t use this approach because they don’t want to come across as “desperate”, “too eager” etc. with the result that they lose business to other practices in the area who are on top of their game.
Another important point to note is that your front desk for the most part is untrained. They aren’t salespeople. They aren’t driven to see your practice succeed to the extent that you are.
For this reason, it would be a good idea to give them a script so they know what to say when they call people who have shown interest.
To add to that, what I have only rarely seen a front desk person do is call and ask people “You requested us to call you. Can you please tell me what your issue/problem is so we can help?” or “What was the reason you contacted us?” or “We would like to help you out… Can you please tell us what pain/issue/problem you are facing and how urgent it is?”
Mostly, the front desk calls prospects trying to get them to “book an appointment”. How generic.
Your prospects will be more engaged with you if you ask them what their problem is (both in the physical and emotional sense) and tell them if your practice can solve it for them.
Also make sure you paint a realistic after-treatment picture for them.
People need to visualize in their minds how getting treatment at your practice will help them feel.
You’d be surprised how well this works. It will work wonders and considerably increase your conversion rates.
Action: Hold a meeting with your front desk staff. Tell them that the standard operating procedure is to call people back within 5 minutes of receiving a lead and that other work is second in priority to this. Ask them to call and ask people what issues they are facing. Make sure you monitor their progress for 2-4 weeks to see if everything is being done the right way.

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