How to have a busy lobby, right now
by Ben Cummings
Success breeds success. A busy lobby stimulates more business, and often significantly more. Here’s a tip used by my clients to look busy, even when you’re not!
There’s an Italian restaurant near my home. When I drive past it the parking lot is usually empty. I have never eaten there and I’ve concluded that…
If no one else is eating there, how good can the food really be?
I will admit this is completely unfair. Perhaps the chef there is the best in the city! However humans look at popularity to judge the value of products and services. I bet you the biggest steak in Texas that you would not had read a Harry Potter book were it not for its popularity with others. On a recent trip to St. Thomas I counted at least a dozen people on the beach reading the Da Vinci Code. Finally, I broke down and purchased it to see what “made it such a good read.” We look to see what others are doing to make judgments about products and services.
This powerful psychological factor is known by social psychologists as social proof. Social proof explains much of our behavior. It explains the reason I purchased the Da Vinci code and Harry Potter… but have yet to eat at the Italian restaurant.
Why a busy lobby stimulates more business
We want to go where others go. We want to wear what others wear. We want to be part of a successful, busy looking progressive practice.
If the lobby is packed…
If the parking lot looks busy…
The doctor must be good.
When the lobby looks busy, patients feel that their decision to select your service has been validated. When patients see the demand for your services to be great, they are more likely to tell others about their “great doctor.” I have seen a busy lobby single handedly grow some practices.
In practices that are slow, the slow lobby compounds the problem. The patients feel like the patrons to the slow restaurant. “What’s wrong? Where is everyone?” The doctor often confirms these suspicions by exhibiting desperate behavior. They start doing things they shouldn’t do. Such as…
- Using pressure in the case presentation
- Talking too much to educate the patient, since they might be afraid to lose the new case
- Using sales tactics
- These actions reduce the doctors results significantly making the lobby emptier.
And on it goes…
The first thing I do when taking on a new clients is I make sure they have a busy looking lobby. If they don’t already have a busy lobby, here’s one of the fastest ways to accomplish this…
The 3 day a week practice
If your lobby looks slow, the first thing to do is reduce your operating hours… immediately!
One client’s practice was open five days a week. His lobby generally appeared slow. From experience we know that 80% of practice revenue is made during just 20% of the hours a practice is open. I urged him to stay open during the “golden hours” and close his two slowest days. He decided he needed to do something, so he tried it out. We call this the “3 day a week” strategy. Thus far it has worked wonders in all the situations to which it’s been applied. I’ve never had this strategy fail to produce a positive immediate result, to my knowledge.
Patient flow increased 20%, with zero investment
His practice was now open 3 days a week. When his patients came in now, they saw a lobby that looked extremely busy. The positive benefits were seen immediately. The busy lobby…
- Made patients feel better about his service
- Increased energy in the office
- Morale of office staff improved
- Doctor and staff delivered services faster, which increased patient satisfaction
- Forced the doctor to quit delivering long boring case presentations. He delivered his case presentation briskly. (Not surprisingly this improved his case acceptance results)
- Within a few months of patients seeing a busy lobby, his office visits increased by 20%.
This 20% increase represented a substantial improvement in income. We’re talking thousands of dollars. It was easy to do. A simple change to make. He’s working less hours than before, making more income. Patient satisfaction has improved. His patients feel better about going to a busy doctor. This one’s a no-brainer.
If your lobby looks slow, it can have a dramatic negative effect. Close during slow days which enhances the appearance of your lobby. We have found the average improvement to patient flow is a 10-20% improvement. Without having to spend more money. Nothing validates a patients choice to be your patient, like the busy lobby!
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