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Archive for February, 2012

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3 Ways to Boost Your Practice in the Slow Economy

So, not big news, this slow economy thing, it’s been almost 4 years now. The big thing is not when will it end, but what can we do NOW to ward off it’s effects? Here are our top 3 ways to keep your dental practice busy while the economy does whatever it is going to do.

1. Evening patient phone calls from the doctor. I don’t actually know of a better practice builder or practice booster than this. Patients will never feel more cared for than when this call is made the night after their dental appointment. The wow factor here is extremely high and you just don’t get any better than this for patient happiness, satisfaction and ultimately, loyalty. It only takes a few minutes, but they are possibly the best minutes you can spend all week long.

2. Reactivation and recare calls made consistently every single week. No excuses, no exceptions, this has got to be the main priority, other than taking care of the patient that is physically right in front of you. Many of you know that we work with a LOT of dental practices and we speak with many more every single week, all year long. The percentage of practices that can honestly report that this is being done in their practice every single week with precision is so low, it scares me a bit, and I consider myself to be pretty tough! If this is not possible to do within the practice, there are many reputable companies that will make the calls for your practice. I hate to steal from Nike, as it’s been done so many times, but this is one that you need to “just do it!”.

3. Asking for referrals and developing a referral system. For whatever reason, when we were in dental school, we must have been brainwashed to think that it was not OK to promote ourselves or our practice in any way, shape or form. We are uncomfortable with it, so we just skip this idea of asking our happy patients to send their friends and family to us. The truth of the matter is they WANT to help us, especially if they are really loyal to the practice (see point #1 about creating loyalty). The referral system can be extremely simple, but it needs to be consistent and has to be 100% participation from every team member. No exceptions!

The fourth and final thing that I want to leave you with is that there are about 100 more things that you can do to boost your practice in the slow economy and if you are already doing the 3 things above, then give yourself a pat on the back. The truth of the matter is that very few practices are doing this consistently, so they are not experiencing the growth that they are seeking. Here’s to getting these things done and loving YOUR practice!!

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What’s YOUR Sign?

I know the phrase, “what’s your sign?”, has been around a while, but I like to give old things a new twist. SO, here goes. What is the sign that fatigue, overwhelm and just plain burn-out is happening in your life or in your practice? Have you checked in a while? If you haven’t checked, are you too afraid to look? We spend WAY too much time at the office to not LOVE it!
My sign is that I haven’t had a night out with my husband in WAY too long, or my office is a disaster, or I just feel like I need to sit down – permanently. Not life or death stuff, but definitely signs that I am not prioritizing well.

Here’s the deal – if you don’t love what you’re doing, it’s time to change something. A friend of mine put it best – I LOVE hiring people that are smarter than me to “fix” something that I am not doing as well as I could or maybe even should. Put another way, I really like to find shortcuts. I have hired a long, long list of professionals that have helped me in almost all aspects of my life. A professional organizer, a personal trainer, a business coach, a marketing coach, you name it, I’ve hired them. Some I even use still today if I continue to struggle with areas of my life, personal and business. Even Tiger Woods still has a coach, because it’s necessary to maintain momentum and to gain effective change and growth.

Step 1 is to take a good long, honest look at your life and your practice. Step 2 is up to you.

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What is the Biggest Step You Are Skipping With Your Marketing?

The major thing that dentists are skipping in their marketing (and I did it, too, once upon a time), is to decide who they want to be before throwing a bunch of marketing out there.
The reason is that not knowing who you are (or who your company is trying to be) is confusing to your target market.
Statistically speaking, a confused patient has trouble making a decision.
It’s not easy to get someone through the door, let alone, to accept our recommended treatment if they don’t understand what we can do for them. There are so many wonderful choices in dentistry today. We can be the dentist that helps severely anxious patients, the cosmetic specialist, the sleep apnea expert, or the implant dentist. So many choices, but patients will not get to you if you are not clear who your practice wants to serve. The great news is that we don’t have to choose just one thing – but we do have to choose.

I just had lunch with one of my favorite people in the world, a dear friend who is a banking executive in marketing for the company. Even her bank is spending time, energy and money to decide who they are and what customers are right for them. It doesn’t mean that they are turning down business left and right, but they are working hard to determine who they want to be for their customers.

Banks and every other company need to do this – what are you planning to do?