Hey, y’all, this is Dr. Jeremy Sharp, and this is The Testing Psychologist podcast, where we talk all about the business and practice of neuropsychological and psychological assessment.
I’m back for a solo episode today. This will be a relatively short business-focused episode, all about developing a phone script for selling your testing services. This topic came up in our Beginner Practice Mastermind group two weeks ago, and I shared with them my four-part process for developing a script for selling testing services.
This could be helpful if you’re trying to tweak your script for your solo practice if you’re answering the phone. It could also be very helpful, I think particularly helpful as you devise a script for an administrative assistant, whether that be a virtual assistant or an in-office assistant. So stick around, check it out and hopefully you will walk away with a refined phone script for selling those testing services. Let’s go.
All right here, we are ready to talk all about the process of developing a phone script for your testing services. I want to jump right into it. The four parts that I see are pretty crucial for putting together a phone script for testing services are as follows:
The first one, define testing for your clients. The second one, know very clearly what testing you do and what testing you don’t do. The third step is to communicate the testing process very clearly. The last piece is to sell the outcome and address your client’s pain points. Let’s dig in and explore each of those in a little bit of detail.
Starting at the top. When I say defined testing for your clients, I mean literally pick your language around what testing is called so that when clients reach you on the phone or reach your assistant, you’re not going to miss one another because one person is asking for a neuropsychological evaluation and your assistant or yourself may be saying, no, we only do psychoeducational testing. This is a piece to really define very clearly for yourself so that clients will not be confused and your assistant will not be confused.
One of the big things about testing is that it is called many different things. Now, I’m not going to really dig into the nuances of neuropsychological testing versus psychological testing or psychoeducational testing versus neuropsychological testing. I’m not going to argue over those specific points; what makes up what, how they’re different, and so forth.
I’m just speaking very generally from a client’s perspective knowing that clients are going to come in asking for any number of things. They might ask for neuropsychological testing. They might ask for a psychological evaluation. They might ask for a learning disorder assessment. They might ask for a psychoeducational assessment. They might ask for autism testing. They might ask for ADHD testing.
Clients are going to be calling it any number of different things. So an important part of developing a phone script is knowing right off the bat, and writing down a really solid list of vocabulary terms for what testing might be called so that again, you know or your assistant knows what the client is asking for is likely the same thing that you provide, or if it’s not, you can know right off the bat.
One way that you can do that is by using a keyword research tool. I will list the keyword research tool, Ubersuggest in the show notes. The reason that I suggest a keyword research tool is because the vast majority of your clients are going to be Googling to find you. So you want to know what your clients are Googling. That’s going to give you a good indication of what they might be calling testing.
You can go to the keyword research tool and type in any number of terms and see what pops up. You can start with the terms that we use. We tend to say neuropsychological testing or psychological testing or a psychological evaluation. You can type those in and see what related terms pop up. That may start to give you a sense of what the clients are actually Googling.
Now, I’ve found that clients will Google things like diagnostic-specific tests. So they’ll Google ADHD testing Fort Collins or autism diagnosis Fort Collins, things like that. So they may not even be using the word testing or assessment.
There’s also something to be said for what other practitioners are calling testing. Many clients come to us referred from other practitioners and those practitioners might be calling it any number of different things. So the biggest point of confusion that I have found in a lot of cases is folks referring for a neuropsychological evaluation when really, the client probably just needs a psychological evaluation with a neuropsychological flavor.
We’re not talking about a client with complex medical concerns. People will often refer for a neuropsychological evaluation for an ADHD case or learning disorder or autism. So step one, defined testing, know what your clients are calling it. Have a good list that you can refer back to and make sure that you’re not missing one another when you talk on the phone initially.
The second step is to know what testing you do and what testing you don’t do. The worst thing that you can do for time management’s sake is get into a lengthy conversation with a parent or an adult or a family member or anybody else, and all of a sudden get to 10 or 15 minutes in and recognize that you don’t even do the kind of testing that they are looking for.
When we were developing our phone script, we were very clear about, we have a column of testing that we do. So that includes, again, those terms that we talked about in step one. We do all of these assessments when they’re called X. If someone is asking for X, we do that. If someone is asking for Y, we do not do that. So we have a column of terms that we do and terms that we don’t do. Just as an example, we do neuropsychological testing, psychological testing, and autism testing. We do not do forensic assessments, custody evaluations, or court order assessments.
We also build that list out with specific diagnoses. People will often ask, do you test for blank, and having a good running list of things we do test for and things we don’t test for. Good examples of that would be we do test for ADHD, learning disorders, and autism. We do not test for cognitive decline, dementia, or any number of other things, sensory processing disorder, auditory processing disorder, stuff like that.
If you want to get extra detailed and you trust your assistant, which I think you can over time, certainly, you can dig in and do a little bit of education around, when someone is asking about sensory processing disorder, that’s often a signal that they’re concerned about autism. Here’s how we can sell them on that type of evaluation. And you can do the same for say central auditory processing disorder and any number of other concerns.
So second step is to know what testing you do and know what testing you don’t do. You don’t want, again, to spend a lot of time on the phone with someone only to figure out that it’s a court-ordered evaluation, and you certainly don’t want people to slip through the schedule and get on the schedule when they are not a good fit for your practice and then you end up outside your scope of expertise and have to refer that client to someone else after they’ve waited to get in to see you.
This all happens toward the beginning of the phone call. We ask right off the bat, what are you looking for? Tell us how we can help. What concerns are you most worried about? What are you hoping for from this evaluation? So we get that information right up front. Once we determine that everybody’s on the same page with services and that we can provide what they’re looking for, then we work really hard on step three.
So step three is to communicate the testing process very clearly. When I say the testing process, that involves finances, the process, and the schedule for payments. That also involves the scheduling of the testing. So this is where my admin staff will walk the client through the testing process very clearly. This is also a time where you can showcase the comprehensive nature of your evaluations or how quickly you can get people in or how quickly you turn around reports. All of those things would fall under step three.
So step three is where you talk about here’s how the appointments are laid out. First, we do a diagnostic interview. This is just for parents so that we can openly discuss our concerns. The next appointment will be a testing appointment in the office. That will happen about one week after our interview. This is where your child comes in, we do a comprehensive battery of tests, we meet with them, we play with them and we learn as much as we can about your kid. Third, a week after the testing appointment, we’ll schedule feedback. This is where we get together with the parents again, to talk through the results and recommendations. And then last, you’ll get a written report two weeks after feedback that details all of those results and recommendations and gives you a clear path forward.
That’s a very brief version of our testing process. We want people to know exactly what they’re getting into both for the sake of knowing what kind of time they’re going to invest, but also just for preparation’s sake. I think it also helps if you do a pretty comprehensive evaluation process, you can showcase that here. You can really play up how much time you might spend with the child, how quickly you can turn things around, and so forth.
I like to lay out exactly what the testing process looks like. And this is where some people will say, I’m not interested in that. That’s too much of a time investment. That’s not what I’m looking for. I need a quick in and out, one-day appointment, one-stop-shop kind of thing. And we say, great, that’s not what we do. Here are some referrals for that. So defining your testing process very clearly so that people know exactly what they can expect.
Now, a big part of that is the finances. So working hard to define your financial process is crucial as well. This is where we will also communicate all of those components. So we will say if you pay out of pocket, half is due on the testing day. The other half is due when the report is delivered. We do take a credit card on file for all appointments. And if you’re using insurance, we will check your benefits at least two weeks ahead of time. You’ll get a quote for the expected out-of-pocket cost. Half of that is due on the testing day, and half of that’s due when the remainder of the claims process.
Letting people know as much as you can how much they can expect to pay and when those payments are going to be due I think is very important in this whole process. I’ve talked about that before in some of the more financially oriented episodes, but I’ll revisit it here that people do not like to be surprised with cost.
I’ve experienced this personally on the flip side of not being prepared very recently. Our kids went to the dentist and we pay out of pocket for our healthcare services, especially dental. And it was quite surprising how much the kids’ visit could be for cleaning and equally surprising to learn how much it would be to have some cavities filled.
I am the kind of person who appreciates preparation with financial expenses and I think most people would fall on that camp. So as much as you can do to communicate the financial process clearly, I think will go a long way toward client care.
Now, the last part is really working hard to sell the outcome, communicate value and address your clients’ pain points. What do I mean by this? What I mean by this is training yourself or your admin staff to really lean on the outcome of the evaluation process because this is what people are coming for. This is what people are paying for. They want to know that when they walk out when they’re all finished with the evaluation, their problem, whatever that might be, is going to be solved to some degree.
So again, just sticking with the family member, the parent-child situation, we do a lot of pediatric evaluations. This might be better graded at school or more focused or better behavior. For parents, in particular, it might be feeling like a better parent, feeling more confident in their parenting abilities, and having a better relationship with their kid.
This is one of the trickier parts I think to script out. You really have to trust your admin and really work on this where they can synthesize all of the information that they’ve gotten in the call up to that point. So what kind of evaluation they’re looking for, what their main concerns are, what they’re struggling with and here at the end, after they’ve communicated the process, they can really tie it all together and say something like, “At the end of the evaluation, our intent is that you’ll walk away with a clear path to helping your child and becoming a better parent so that all of you aren’t struggling in the house as much as you are” something like that.
So really positioning yourself as the bridge between the client or parents’ point of pain and their desired outcome. John Clarke talked about this with website copy in our Crushing the Google Game episode a few months ago, but it’s a good formula to go by when you’re thinking of how to sell your outcome.
So again, positioning you and your testing services as the bridge from a client’s pain point to their desired outcome. If right now they are struggling with “bad behavior at home” and they would like to have more healthy relationships in the home, you can really say, testing is a way to get some insight into your child’s personality and your environmental factors and their brain functioning to help us capitalize on their strengths and get your child to a place where they can be more successful and have better relationships with family members, something like that.
This is also a great place to really lean on your recommendations. The main thing I think that people are trying to take away from an eval is what do I do? So you can say, we will provide you with a written report. It will have very concrete recommendations for where to go after we’re done with the evaluation.
We might recommend psychotherapy, counseling, medication, occupational therapy, parenting classes, and social skills, and really communicate how you’re going to recommend very concrete ideas for moving forward. And this will hopefully give the family some buy-in and some hope that this is what I’m looking for. That’s what I’m going to get. I’m going to have a clear path. I’m going to have concrete strategies to move forward.
And that is the four-part script that we’ve used for years to schedule testing appointments and book our evaluations. I can say the conversion rate for this script is very good. We rarely have folks who, after this whole conversation, and this is usually at least a 10 to 15-minute conversation, after that conversation, it’s very rare for people to not schedule with us. So keep that in mind.
If you have not developed a script, if it’s all in your mind, I think the homework item for this episode is to write that script down because as I’ve said in prior episodes, if you are still answering the phone yourself, that’s one of the very first things that you can offload to help you do better work and free up some time. So eventually you’ll need to communicate these things to a VA or an assistant.
So write that script down and see how it matches with this. See if you have your own four-part system or whatever part system to sell testing services. I would love to hear if others have added in other components that are working well. This is what we do. This works well. I hope that y’all have taken a little something away from this episode to tweak your own phone script.
Thank you for listening as always. I will be back next time. The next two episodes are interviews. We’re going to be talking all about educational therapy and executive functioning intervention in the next episode. After that, I have Dr. Brenna Tindall coming back, talking about evaluation of intimate partner violence and the overlap with sexually violent offenders. It’s a fascinating area that she’s so knowledgeable in. So stay tuned.
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I think that’s it. All right. It’s wintertime here. We have snow on the ground. My friend, Laura, who some of y’all know from The Testing Psychologist Group messaged me last night, she’s moving to Colorado and right now is working up here one week out of the month. She messaged me last night and said, what is this white stuff on the ground? I said, “Welcome to Colorado.” So that’s what we got going on. We are entering the long months of winter and we’ll emerge maybe in May.
Hopefully, y’all are doing all right. Take care. I will talk to you next time.