I have conversations with soccer moms, college students, firemen, businessmen, and countless other types of people every single day. The one thing I always try to keep in mind when speaking with these potential blood donors is the fact that their time is precious. I want to do anything I can as a Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) to convey the fact that I understand this and am willing to work around their schedule so I can schedule them to donate.
A question that I hear from many blood donors that I speak with is, “Do I have to make a scheduled appointment, or can I just walk in?”
I don’t want to lie to the donors. You can walk in and donate blood at most donor centers and blood drives (unless it is designated as a private drive) at your own convenience, but there are many reasons why blood centers prefer to have appointments.
Why Do I Need An Appointment?
- “It tremendously helps us with staffing needs and knowing how many phlebotomists to have on hand for our donors.” Time is valuable and blood centers know that, for their blood donors, time is of the essence. When a blood center knows how many people are coming out to the center that day for a certain blood drive, they can prepare for it more appropriately. This helps them get the blood donor in and out in a timely and efficient manner.
- “It helps us be able to estimate the number of units of blood we are collecting for the hospitals needs more closely.” This is a very real reason many blood centers prefer appointments. Depending on their location and the area they serve, a blood center might be one of the only significant sources of available and localized blood for the community’s needs. When we schedule a donor for an appointment to donate, the blood center sees that and can then make projections on how many more units of blood they need, how many units of a specific type of blood they need, and track many more metrics behind the scenes.
- “You are always in control of your appointment. If something does happen to come up, we will make sure you have our number to contact us to reschedule.” While this isn’t a specific reason why a blood center would like a scheduled appointment, it is conversational ammunition for your recruiters to use. Most blood centers will have a reschedule number for their donors to call. Emphasize that the donor is in control of their time, and nothing is written in stone until they walk through the door to donate. It is important to keep assumptive while relaying this information, but view it as an old-school sales technique of “feature and benefits” with your ”customer”, who just so happens to be a donor. The feature you are offering is a rescheduling number for the benefit of the donor if something comes up.
All in all, blood centers are happy to get blood donations any way they can. But if I can help as a Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) to make it easier for them, then why not?
As long as you show appreciation to your donor, give them a clear explanation of why you’d like them to schedule an appointment, and do your best to educate them and ease their apprehensions, then you will be a successful recruiter!