Ashley Latter the author of Don’t wait for the Tooth Fairy and How to Discuss your fees with self-confidence & achieve the income your services deserve shares some proven strategies that his clients are implementing right now to ensure they are not just surviving, but thriving and growing revenue.
If you watch the news on TV, or read any newspaper, you will know that we are currently in challenging times. There is talk of a deep recession, one that might last many years. If that is not enough, there is also discussion of another spike in the winter.
I have personally lived through four recessions; this will be my fifth. What I have discovered, is that there are winners and losers. Some practices will do well, others will struggle.
So, what can dental practices do to immune themselves from these challenging times, so that they just do not survive, but thrive?
Here are seven strategies that my clients are implementing right now, in no particular order. These are helping them have, in some cases, record months.
1. Do not take part in the recession
The most important strategy to implement is to make sure that you remain positive. That you have a winner’s mind set. And that you are not taking part in all this bad news.
So, my advice to clients is just decide not to take part.
If you watch the news for a period of time, read the newspapers, they do a great job of enrolling you into the bad news. All of a sudden you play a smaller game.
That is why it is important not to take part in the news. Instead read positive material and mix with other successful people. Learn what they are doing and then copy them.
Your team, or your nurse will go home in the same mood that you bring into work in the morning. Make sure you remain positive. If you are, your team will be.
2. Chase up old treatment plans
Do this right now. Go to your cabinet, look at the old treatment plans of patients who came in for a consultation, who did not go ahead, and chase them up. Phone them at home.
One of my clients did this last week, she made 27 telephone calls, 23 said no and four said yes. Appointments were then made.
If she had not made the calls, she would have lost four sales and income that totalled five figures.
3. Increase your marketing
During recessionary periods, most practices and businesses stop or cut back on their marketing. This is not the wisest move as it’s a time where you need to step it up.
The good news is, that if you advertise on social media like Facebook, Google ad words etc, prices have recently dropped. You will get more for your money.
4. Promote cosmetic treatments and high quality products
Many of my clients are reporting a boom in treatments such as Invisalign, teeth whitening and other cosmetic treatments.
There are many reasons for this, but here are a couple:
- Many people have come out of lockdown and just want to treat themselves. They cannot go on expensive holidays, but they do have some money, so they are spending it on themselves. For instance, they might be open to spending more on an electric toothbrush than they normally would. Like the latest and most high-tech toothbrush that Oral-B has released to date. The Oral-B IO. Yes, the cost is above average, but seriously represents a new era of brushing technology. It has a design that is totally worth loosening those purse strings
- If you think about it, the whole population has spent their time on Zoom or other virtual platforms. They have seen people with nice teeth, and it has put their teeth to shame. So, ask your patients questions about their appearance. You never know, somebody today might just want to make a change. If you do not ask, you will never know.
5. Virtual consults
Because surgery time is now at a premium, and you do not waste it anymore, one strategy you can implement immediately is to jump on a virtual consultation with any new patient enquiry.
People are now used to this technology. During lockdown everyone was using it and continue to use it. They feel comfortable now and many of my clients are using this to great effect.
As a side note, we are running courses helping dentists to deliver world class consultations. The results my clients are achieving are excellent. In my opinion, this will play an important role in the ‘new normal’.
6. Increase your fees
This might sound like basic advice and 95% of the dental world will probably ignore this. But with costs increasing and less patients visiting your practice, this is probably a good time to review your fees.
Is it possible you could increase some of your fees? Would it make any difference to the sales of these treatments?
When I ask this on my two-day ethical sales and communication course, the answer I always get is, no it will not. An increase of 10% could mean an increase in your profits of 28%.
7. Be world class
During recessionary times, when people buy things, they become more demanding. They become less tolerant of poor service and will complain more.
This is a time to raise your game, do things that the patient does not expect; such as calling your patients at home to see how they are. A thank you card sent to the patients home if they decide to go ahead with you. This will get them talking about you. Both of these strategies your patients will not expect.
I could probably come up with another seven more tips quite easily. This is a time like never before to really raise your game, to become extremely pro-active and ensure that you are exceeding your patient’s expectations.
If you do this, you might look back at this period and realise, it was a really good time and your practice did well.