29 Nov 2017 Business Digital

What Can Your Admissions Specialists Learn from Salespeople?

Recovery Brands
Recovery Brands

More than 20 million people are struggling with addiction in the United States, yet only a small fraction of those individuals — roughly 3 million people– receive treatment.

This dramatic ratio looks all too familiar for anyone who has reviewed call center data. Most addiction treatment centers receive a large volume of calls each day, yet actual admissions are small in number.

It’s easy to assume that unadmitted callers are financially unqualified or not a match with your programs and services; however, this mindset ignores the fact that many first-time callers are overwhelmed and largely uninformed. These callers may feel hesitant about committing to treatment during the first call…so why not follow up?

The value of your call handling operations and follow-up communication strategies may be a key component of reducing the addiction treatment gap.

While a traditional, money-driven sales team differs from the compassion-centered role of an admissions call handler, there are many similarities that are worth exploring. After all, much like a consumer on the other end of sales call, an individual searching for addiction treatment is planning to invest money and find a service that fulfills a need – in the case of addiction treatment, a lifesaving need.

What can we learn from sales teams?

While there is conflicting data regarding the precise number of follow-attempts needed to close a sale, the consensus is that multiple touches are necessary. Many thought leaders cite 7 attempts as the number of follow-ups needed before you’ll receive a “yes.”

The nature of the follow up communications is also crucial. Timing, messaging, and tone all impact your success.

Harvard Business Review found that those who attempted to reach web-generated leads within an hour were roughly seven times more likely to have meaningful conversations with decision makers than those who waited longer than 60 minutes.

For those in the rehab industry, a follow-up email directly after an initial call can be an excellent way to keep the conversation active and fresh. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems can help automate these interactions and keep your communication efficient and time-sensitive.

Research indicates that top-performing salespeople are 10 times more likely to use collaborative phrases than low-performing salespeople. Utilizing words like “we,” “us,” and “together” help develop trust. In the case of addiction treatment, these trust-establishing conversations are key for easing hesitation, and nudging someone toward making the decision to commit to treatment.

For many people, addiction can lead them to a place of solitude. By showing them that you will work with them to find a treatment solution, you can reinforce empathy and a commitment to their health and wellbeing.

Timing and tone should fold into your messaging strategy. Sales professionals who keep the following best practices in mind typically find success.

  • Avoid sterile “checking in” communication by delivering value at every point of contact. Again, a CRM system can help you track specifics about a potential client so you can follow up with relevant materials tailored to their needs. Make sure you’re taking detailed notes and categorizing prospects into relevant groups so you can provide valuable content in a systemized manner.
  • Utilize repetition by reiterating past conversations and reinforcing key messages about your facility. Studies suggest that repetition breeds familiarity, which in turn fosters trust.
  • Plan next steps at every point of contact. The road to addiction treatment is unfamiliar for many people, so setting them up with milestones and check-ins will ensure they are more receptive to your continued communication.
  • Use a diverse set of channels to reach out to potential clients. Make sure you earn their permission to reach out via email, SMS and phone, and note which form of communication they prefer for continued communication.

The lifecycle journey of a prospective client is certainly not linear. Substance use can alter one’s ability to stay focused or even to make rational decisions. Consistency and continued communication is important if we want to reduce the gap between those in need of treatment and those actually receiving life-saving services.

Our digital platform, ClientReach, delivers a large volume of prospective clients to treatment facilities. Most of these people are in desperate need of treatment, yet many drop off after the initial call to the facility. A solid follow-up strategy is key for harnessing the potential of web-generated callers.

Does your facility employ a follow up communications strategy? Share in the comments below.

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