By Naomi Cooper

When following up on leads, it helps to have realistic expectations. Before you pick up the phone to follow up with a dentist, read these seven insights to help make your efforts more effective.

Increasing numbers of dental companies are investing in online inbound lead generation strategies to provide more qualified dentist prospects for their sales teams. While it’s true that online marketing provides a more consistent flow of highly qualified leads than traditional marketing, dental marketers still face the uphill challenge of converting online leads into actual customers. This is why it helps to have realistic expectations before picking up the phone to follow up with a dentist. Here are seven insights to help make your follow-up process more effective:

1. Dentists are rarely available.

Dentists are accustomed to operating in blocks of time—15-minute, 30-minute, and one-hour blocks. A dentist’s day is already scheduled ahead of time, typically before he or she walks through the door each morning, leaving little to no time for unscheduled sales calls.

2. Respect the role of the gatekeeper.

Dentists employ gatekeepers, a.k.a. their front desk teams. Whether it’s a receptionist or an office manager, this person’s responsibility is to schedule appointments. A good gatekeeper will rarely, if ever, interrupt the dentist for a sales call.

3. Become the co-conspirator.

Understanding that the gatekeeper has a job to do, start building a relationship. Let them know you understand where they’re coming from and that you don’t expect to talk with the doctor that day. Partner with them to find a convenient time for an appointment with the doctor.

4. Booking out is better than not booking at all.

While an inbound lead needs to be followed up with immediately, the possibility of actually speaking directly with the dentist on the first phone call is slim. If you can work with the gatekeeper to get an appointment on the dentist’s schedule, you might actually get the doctor on the phone.

5. Following up with inbound leads is not like cold calling.

Whether the dentist downloads a white paper or requests a demo online, he or she has expressed interest in your product or service. These dentists are interested in what you have to offer! So make sure the gatekeeper knows that the dentist reached out to you first.

6. Pique their interest.

Providing too much information too soon can be overwhelming to any new lead, so give just enough information to pique interest. Answer questions while raising new perspectives for them to consider. And most importantly, leave yourself with a reason to make contact with the dentist again.

7. Leverage the power of modern marketing.

Partner with an online agency that has proven results reaching and attracting dentists. Doctor Distillery, for example, has the unique ability to identify and target a network of over 130,000 dentists wherever they travel online—whether they are catching up on social media, reading the news, watching YouTube videos, or searching online. Doctor Distillery helps leading dental companies reach and acquire highly qualified inbound dentist leads on a consistent basis.