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Full-Arch Growth: Your Guide to Lead Nurturing

Learn how to build lead nurturing relationships with full-arch dental implant leads so you can turn more of them into patients.

Ian Cooper

Senior Copywriter

Many dentists think that generating full arch or dental implant cases is as simple as running ads and offering a free consult. But that thinking ignores a huge component of the full-arch sales process: the buying cycle.

For GP dental cases, patients operate on a short buying cycle. They get a toothache, quickly google “dentist near me” and show up in your office a few days later.

But since the average full-arch case costs more than many cars (and even single tooth implants are not exactly cheap), most patients take significantly longer to start treatment. Implant patients operate on a long buying cycle, and may take months or even years to research their options, meet with multiple providers, and arrange financing before they’re ready to begin.

That’s why you need to do what’s called lead nurturing. In short, this means regularly contacting potential patients who have expressed interest in receiving full arch or implant treatment to check in, answer questions, and build rapport.

A good lead nurturing process will help you create and maintain relationships with your full-arch leads so that when they’re ready to actively pursue treatment, your practice is top of mind. Keep reading to learn how to make your lead nurturing a success.

👉 Master full-arch sales: Sign up for Full Arch Sales Academy, where finance director Stacy Farley will teach you how she sells 60+ arches each month for her single-location practice.

Why you need a dedicated lead nurturing team member or partner

Effective lead nurturing takes time and energy. You can’t just ask your front desk person to make lead nurturing calls while also answering phones, checking in patients, and handling scheduling and payment. Even the best front desk team member won’t be able to keep that many balls in the air at once — which means that too many of your lead nurturing calls won’t get made.

We strongly advise either hiring a team member specifically to do lead nurturing or outsourcing your lead calls to an outside partner.

If you’re hiring internally, it can be a part-time role. However, given that you’ll need to spend a minimum of 10-12 hours a week doing lead nurturing — and more like 20, if you’re getting a higher volume of leads — making those calls someone’s primary responsibility is essential to ensuring they get done and done well.

While automation/AI can be a valuable time saver in many areas, lead nurturing really does require a human touch. Typically, you’ll need to reach out to a new lead as many as 8 times in order to get them on the phone — but if you make the effort, you’ll usually be rewarded.

Make sure you’re using a good CRM to organize your lead nurturing

A CRM (or contact relationship management platform) is an essential tool to manage your lead nurturing process. A good CRM will allow you to track every lead through their entire journey from their initial contact with your practice to the point where they become a patient.

The reason that you need a CRM is because you’re going to be dealing with hundreds of leads at a time. It’s not unusual to turn leads into full-arch cases at a roughly 3 percent rate — which means that you may need to work through 33 leads for every case you close.

(Imagine trying to organize all that using a spreadsheet.)

A CRM lets you build meaningful relationships with each of those leads at scale. You’ll be able to see every instance of contact, make notes about each lead’s individual needs, questions, and obstacles, and measure how many leads convert through stages like the initial phone call, consult, and more.

This won’t just let you close more leads, but identify weak points in your patient journey so you can improve them.

👉 Choosing a CRM: We recommend trying Trackable, which is built just for dentists, is HIPAA compliant, and is the only CRM we know of that integrates with your PMS. We use it will all of our clients.

9 steps you must take to successfully nurture your full-arch leads

These 9 “do’s” are essential to creating an effective lead nurturing process.

1. Decide whether you want to focus on lead quality or quantity

Generating full-arch leads is fairly simple. But not all leads are created equal. Quality leads are those that meet your specific benchmarks (like income level, specific treatment goals, etc).

If you want to lower your per-patient acquisition costs, you’ll probably do well to do marketing that will prioritize creating fewer but higher-quality leads. Those leads will be more likely to accept treatment, so you won’t need as many to generate each full-arch start.

However, if you just need patients coming through the door, want to give your lead nurturing and sales team practice, or are so good at closing cases that you feel confident you can handle lower-quality leads, then you may wish to emphasize lead quantity. 

2. Immediately engage your full-arch leads

Typically, you’ll make contact with a lead when they see one of your ads, click through to a landing page, and then fill out a form requesting more information. And as soon as that contact occurs, you need to act.

As a best practice, you’ll want to call a lead no more than 15 minutes after you get their contact information — and ideally sooner. This is because:

  • A lead is the most excited about treatment immediately after sharing their phone number. That excitement will quickly dissipate as time goes by.
  • You’re almost certainly not the only dental practice that a lead has reached out to. Whichever practice calls first will have a big advantage.

If you have time, you may wish to text a lead first to ask if it’s okay to call right then. Some leads will appreciate this. For leads that come in at night or over the weekend, you may also want to set up an autoresponder text or email that lets them know you received their inquiry and will reach out as soon as you’re back in the office.

3. Provide valuable content

That initial phone call is just the first step. You’ll likely need to continue to engage most leads for months — so you’ll want to make sure that you’re providing them with valuable content and resources during this period.

Be sure to share helpful information, including blog posts, patient testimonials, videos, or whatever else you have that speaks to each specific lead’s needs. This is a powerful way to build trust, show your commitment to patient care, and reduce a lead’s anxiety — but only if what you give them is actually relevant.

4. Use multiple contact channels

We’ve already said you should try to get a new lead on the phone as quickly as possible. But phone calls shouldn’t be your only contact channel. Not everybody wants to talk on the phone and even those that do won’t always pick up.

Try making contact through email, text messages, and social media as well as consults in person (preferably) or on Zoom. Be sure to ask leads what channels they prefer using to communicate, and then tailor your outreach to each individual lead to fit their preferences.

5. Have a consistent lead nurturing process

Another reason a CRM is so important to your lead nurturing is that it helps you establish consistency — making sure you hit the right notes at the right time, for every single one of the hundreds of leads that may be going through your pipeline at any given moment.

Key areas where consistency matters include:

    • Initial phone outreach. You’ll want to have a strong script that allows you to build rapport, understand each lead’s needs, and communicate how treatment will improve their quality of life.
    • Follow-up cadence. While different leads will need different levels of follow-up, you’ll want to use your CRM to make sure you are consistently reaching out to each at the appropriate level.
    • Insurance verification. Make this as smooth as possible for each lead.
    • Appointment confirmation and reminders. Doing this right will increase your show rate for consults, which will give your doctor and sales team more bites at the apple.
    • Consult length. Always give your doctor enough time to build rapport, listen, and do a thorough examination so they can understand that patient’s unique circumstances.
    • Treatment presentation. You’ll want a powerful treatment presentation formula — one that ideally, you do right after a potential patient meets with your doctor and includes a smooth handoff from your doctor to your treatment coordinator.

6. Make the effort to genuinely connect with leads

We’ve mentioned this more than once already, but it’s so important that it deserves to be a separate item on this list. Lead nurturing is not a one-size-fits-all mass marketing approach, but about personally connecting with every lead in order to help them decide if they would benefit from full arch or implant treatment.

  • Ask potential patients to share their stories.
  • Listen.
  • Empathize with what they have to say.

Remember: You’re asking patients to make a huge investment in their treatment. They’ll feel more comfortable doing so if you show them that you care.

7. Encourage two-way communication

In healthcare fields like dentistry, it’s easy to fall into a pattern where the doctor (or someone speaking on behalf of the doctor) is the sole authority. However, this can make leads feel more anxious, vulnerable, and disempowered, while also ignoring the reality that each potential patient is the expert on his or her own life circumstances.

Strive to build a genuinely collaborative, two-way relationship through every step of your lead nurturing journey. The more your leads feel like active, engaged, valued participants in the process, the better your outcomes will likely be.

8. Highlight testimonials and success stories

Your potential patients are making a leap of faith. They’re trusting your practice to help them significantly improve their quality of life — and paying you what for most people is an enormous amount of money to do it.

You can make it easier for them by showing them how you’ve helped other, similar patients. Highlight:

  • Patient testimonials
  • Success stories 
  • Positive Google reviews

This will help patients understand the value of the service that you provide — and feel less alone with what they’re going through.

9. Create consistent marketing and sales messaging

Lead nurturing bridges the gap between your marketing (ad campaign and website) and your sales process (consult, treatment presentation, financing options). So it’s really important that you create consistent messaging during each of these phases so that your leads will feel comfortable moving through your new patient journey.

This starts with identifying your specific UVP or unique value proposition. Your UVP is the core of your marketing and sales pitch — what makes your practice so great?

Once you have a UVP, you want to make sure everyone on your sales and marketing team (including your doctor!) understands what it is and how to fit that into your lead communication and messaging. This will help attract patients who are best suited to what you have to offer and increase their confidence in your practice.

👉 Full Arch Advantage Podcast: Listen to dozens of free interviews with top implant dentists, marketers, and sales leaders.

9 full-arch lead nurturing mistakes you don’t want to make

These are common mistakes many dentists or practice leaders make during the lead nurturing process. Keep reading so you don’t have to!

1. Don’t use too much generic or automated messaging

While it’s tempting to try and automate as much of your lead nurturing process as possible, don’t. If you get too heavily into automated emails and text messages in lieu of personalized human contact, your leads will be less likely to respond.

This doesn’t mean you can use templates, scripts, or pre-made marketing materials. But you want to add a personal touch, too. If you’re sending an email or a text as a part of your standard outreach sequence, include some small personal element. 

You might try noting something a lead mentioned when they filled out their contact form or during your last phone call. On a follow-up phone call, meanwhile, build rapport by referencing what you spoke about during your previous call. (Since you’ve got a CRM, you’ll have those call notes available to you!)

2. Don’t be too aggressive

We’ve already mentioned that you should call a new lead within 15 minutes — and that you may have to call them 8+ times before they pick up. Showing that initiative is essential to success here.

But you don’t want to push too hard, either. Nobody feels good about getting a half-dozen phone calls in one afternoon — and taking that approach would likely sour many leads on your practice permanently.

If you’re trying to get a new lead on the phone, we suggest:

  • Call or text 2 or 3 times the first day.
  • Follow up 8-10 times over the next two weeks, or roughly once every other day
  • Golden rule: follow up with others as you would want to be followed up with yourself!

3. Don’t ignore feedback

If a lead provides feedback, whether about your lead nurturing process or some other aspect of their experience with your practice, take it seriously. Doing so will help build trust and may ultimately be the deciding factor in a lead choosing to move forward with your practice. Everybody wants to feel heard, right?

And even though it can be hard, if you’re willing to learn from constructive criticism, it will help you grow.

4. Don’t forget to qualify your leads

Remember when we talked about lead quality versus quantity? If you choose to focus on quality (which we think is the right choice for most practices), then you’ll want to qualify your leads once you get them on the phone for the first time.

In most cases, qualifying a lead means figuring out whether they’re local, interested in full arch or other implant treatment, and likely able to afford it. Doing this will help you identify which leads are worth continuing to follow up with and which aren’t. For example, it probably doesn’t make sense for you to continue nurturing a lead in Salem, Massachusetts, who mistakenly called your practice in Salem, Oregon.

5. Don’t forget that different leads are on different timelines

Some leads call you ready to come in for a consult. They may have already been learning about full-arch treatment for months or years and even spoken to other dentists without finding one they like.

But other leads will be just starting out on their journey. They’ll be in the research stage: lots of questions, but nowhere near ready to commit yet.

This is one reason why it’s so important to personalize your lead communication. You need to tailor your outreach approach to where each lead is in their buying cycle — scheduling some for a consult right away while providing valuable resources and then following up later with others.

Otherwise, you’ll quickly drive away leads who don’t feel like you’re meeting them where they are.

6. Don’t overwhelm your leads with too much information

It may be tempting to try and impress your leads by throwing lots of information at them — facts about full arch, a walkthrough of the dental implant process, and a rundown of your doctor’s qualifications. And there’s room to cover all of that… eventually.

But while important, none of that stuff speaks to why people actually pursue full-arch treatment: improving their quality of life. People seek out full arch because they want to be able to smile again, eat more normally, and feel more confident. 

That’s why we always urge full-arch marketers and sales professionals to lead with value. Focus on the benefits upfront — how treatment will help each specific person you speak with look and feel better — and then you can get into the nitty gritty later on.

7. Don’t forget to follow up

Trust is the essential ingredient to your lead nurturing process. One of the quickest ways to lose trust is to tell a lead you’re going to follow up with them — in a week, two weeks, etc. — and then fail to do so.

This is another area where having a CRM works wonders. Many CRMs will remind you when it’s time to follow up with each lead, so you don’t have to keep track of it all on your own.

Remember: If you don’t follow up consistently, another practice will.

8. Don’t ignore your data

As your CRM tracks your leads through your lead nurturing process, you’ll begin to accumulate data on what works and what doesn’t. Don’t ignore that data! 

Make sure to regularly review your conversion rates so that you know KPIs like what percentage of leads pick up the phone, how many phone calls are qualified, how many qualified leads are scheduled, and how many consults become new patients. This stuff is solid gold because it will help you identify weak spots in your marketing, nurturing, and sales.

9. Don’t make promises you can’t keep

It may be tempting to say whatever you need to say in order to get a lead to schedule a consult. But trust us — if you overpromise and underdeliver, you’ll wreck your chances with most leads.

Do you like to feel misled or jerked around? Nobody else does either.

Be honest and transparent with leads (even if doing so feels like it may harm your chances). You’ll gain far more than you lose because you’ll be genuinely earning the trust of your potential patients.

That’s something money can’t buy.

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