One of the highest-impact changes we can make in our dental practices is improving the way we discuss treatment plans with our patients. If we present treatment plans well, more patients will say yes to our treatment plans and get the care they need. If not, they won’t get the care they need and everyone loses.
I know how frustrating it can be to put your heart into a treatment plan you know the patient needs only to have them not move forward. It took me a while to learn how to get patients to accept treatment consistently. I learned quite a bit through trial, error, and investing a lot of time and money to become better at case presentation. Here are three simple principles you can use to see an immediate improvement in your case presentation skills.
Offer services you believe in.
This one’s easy but very important to keep in mind. As a dental boss, your priority is the health of your patients. That means you never recommend a treatment you don’t totally believe in. It also means making sure your entire team is on the same page when it comes to how you care for patients.
When everyone believes in the services they’re offering patients, they can talk about them with integrity and not a salesy tone. This goes a long way in giving patients confidence that they’re in good hands.
Bring that enthusiasm to your conversations with patients. Discuss all the wonderful things that will happen to them if they move forward, emphasizing the lifestyle changes they can expect. For example, explain how getting implants will give them the beautiful smile they want so badly. Explain how much it will impact their confidence and benefit all aspects of their life. In other words, share your enthusiasm about the treatment within the context of how it will benefit them.
Encourage but don’t pressure patients.
Before the whole world shut down IN 2020, you might remember heading to the mall or Costco and walking by people offering free samples. Maybe they held a tray of teriyaki chicken pieces with toothpicks sticking out. When you got close, they’d ask, “Hey, would you like to try this?” And, if you’re anything like me, you took them up on their offer for some free chicken pretty much every time.
No matter how hungry (or not hungry) we are, we often take the free sample, not because we feel pressured but because we’re encouraged by something we’ll enjoy. They don’t force us to take the sample. They’re happy to answer questions about the product. And they make it very easy for us to say yes by happily offering the tray with a napkin and the piece of chicken ready to grab.
The same is true in restaurants when a talented server guides us through ordering drinks, appetizers, entrees, and, of course, dessert. We order more than we likely would without that encouragement but we don’t feel pressured. In fact, we often feel well taken care of when we experience tasty food we never would have ordered on our own.
That’s the way you want to present treatment to your patients. Encourage them by using a positive tone and guide them through making a decision that will benefit them. Show them how much of a difference getting treatment can make in their lives. But don’t pressure them to move forward. We’re healthcare providers, not salespeople, after all. If we encourage them by confidently presenting the treatment we suggest in the context of the benefits they will receive, more patients will say yes and move forward.
Speak in conversational terms, not in “Dentalese.”
We know more about dentistry than our patients do, no doubt about it. So, when we’re presenting them with a treatment plan, it’s up to us to explain things to them in words they understand. Don’t talk to them like they’re also a dentist—discuss the information they need in a way that they can easily understand. As my good friend Dr. Bowman says, don’t speak “Dentalese” to them.
Also, remember that you’re only presenting treatment you wholeheartedly believe in. When you explain the positive results patients will receive by accepting treatment in ways they can understand, they’ll trust you more. They’ll know you’re not trying to manipulate them with fancy jargon and frightening medical terms.
Provide a simple explanation. Bring up any potential objections and explain why most patients move forward despite that objection. When patients can wrap their head around what you’re saying when presenting your treatment plan, and they can see the value in saying yes to that treatment plan, they’re more likely to say accept treatment.
Are you struggling to get patients to accept your treatment plans?
The simplest way to increase production is to get more patients to accept your treatment plans. These three rules can help you get started doing that right away.
If you want more help Delivering WOW in your dental practice, we are helping hundreds of practices during this time through our Practice Accelerator Program and offering special value for you and your teams!
If you’re just starting your dental practice, how long do you think it will take you to fill your chairs? One month? Two? Six? What if I told you that you could book out your start-up dental practice on a budget of less than $1,000?
Starting up a dental practice is an expensive project. Between equipment, supplies, team members, and your office space and build-out, many start-up practice owners become stretched financially.
So, how does anybody have enough money to get a start-up dental practice off the ground? If you follow these steps, you only need a little bit of money left. You just need to be willing to step outside your comfort zone and use Facebook to do things differently. Here’s all you need to do.
1. Start early and go live on Facebook.
If you want results—patients in your chairs, a profitable practice, people in your community talking about you and referring patients to you—you’re going to have to get out there and do things that might be a little bit scary at first.
The best way to start building your audience is to start early and go live on Facebook. Set up a Facebook page for your dental practice. This is new for many dentists, but it’s important. Most dentists aren’t very comfortable going live on Facebook. I wasn’t when I got started, but I knew it was important. So don’t wait until you build your audience. I still get nervous when I go live, but I’m much more comfortable now than when I began. But I knew you and other dentists needed to hear my message in order to build a better, more fulfilling practice.
I also know that your future patients need to hear your heart for changing lives through your practice. There’s a mom with kids who hate going to the dentist. There’s a mom who hates going to the dentist for herself! And you’re the person who can change that—but that can only happen if your patients know about you. Your community needs you, and they’re all on Facebook.
2. Speak from the heart.
Facebook provides you with an absolutely incredible opportunity to share your heart with thousands of people in your community. I’ve seen hundreds of start-ups tap into the power of Facebook to get new patients extremely quickly. So what do they do? They speak from the heart.
Go live, and share your excitement about your practice. Tell them your vision for your practice. Talk about why you went to dental school. Tell people why you’re launching your start-up, what your practice will look like when it’s open, and how your patients will feel when they come into your practice.
It won’t be perfect—and that’s okay. This video will show your community that you’re a real person, and that you’re building a practice to serve your community. Plus, once you’ve done your first Facebook Live video, you’ll never have to do your first Facebook Live video again.
3. Go live regularly.
After your first video, continue to build that momentum by going live once a week to talk about dental topics and updates on your practice. When you do this, you’ll position yourself as an expert while you’re building your video views and audience engagement.
The more videos you make, the more people will start to comment and share, and you’ll be able to use Facebook’s amazing tools to retarget those people later on for high-value services like implants and Invisalign.
If you have trouble thinking of what to talk about every time you go live, here are some ideas to get you started:
How can I have a cavity if my tooth doesn’t hurt?
Why do I need a crown—can’t I just have another filling done?
The options to replace a missing tooth: denture vs. bridge vs. implant.
Why do I need a root canal, and what does it mean to have a root canal?
Why do my gums bleed? What is periodontal disease, and how can I treat it?
There are whitening options for every mouth.
Why do we get our teeth cleaned at the dentist vs. just brushing at home?
That’s nearly two months of Tooth Talk Topics, which will give you plenty of time to come up with more ideas on your own. And, you can ask the people who watch your videos to let you know in the comments what other topics they’d like you to cover.
4. Start running community engagement campaigns.
One you have begun to set yourself up as a trustworthy and reliable expert, you’re ready to start running what’s called community engagement campaigns.
Simply put, community engagement campaigns are promotions you host on Facebook to build relationships with people in your community. This gives you an opportunity to network in your area while attracting only potential patients to your promotion. For example, you could run a gift card giveaway with prizes donated by other local businesses. You could run a smile makeover competition to coincide with your grand opening. You could give away a $1,000 gift card or free tooth whitening for life, a 30-day floss challenge—the possibilities are truly endless.
Make sure the promotion involves local businesses or services in your office. If you give away an iPad or Amazon gift card, anyone around the world will sign up. Local businesses or in-office service focuses on potential patients in your area. Community engagement promotions help get positive attention on your practice and often fill up your schedule before you even open your doors. They are incredibly effective.
5. Set up custom Facebook audiences for future promotions.
It’s not hard to do, and with the right training, you can make sure that your videos are getting out in front of exactly the right people—the people who are going to start filling those chairs in your practice in the present and the future, and telling their friends to come, too.
Are you ready to fill your schedule even before you open the doors to your practice?
If you like the idea of getting all your spots booked out before you open the door, jump on Facebook, go live, and run community engagement campaigns. It’ll get people talking about you online and offline and help your phone start ringing with patients excited to get in your chair.
If you want help, join me for the Marketing and Practice Growth challenge, where you’ll learn exactly how to get your practice up and running the right way. And if you want to join a community of Dental Bosses just like you, I have a Facebook group where more than 1,000 Dental Bosses are already learning and growing. Join us in the Dental Boss Movement Facebook group if you want support and training as you grow your dental practice.
I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve helped thousands of dentists increase their revenue, grow their practice, and turn their practice into the practice of their dreams. That’s why I’m active on social media, keep a weekly blog, and host a podcast on a multitude of topics in dentistry—to help dentists, like you, run a practice that delivers WOW.
Whether you’re struggling with your marketing, productivity goals, or whatever else comes with running a dental practice, I’m here to help. For example, a member of my mastermind group once came to me asking for advice about paying her dental team. A team member had asked for a raise, and she was put in a tough spot. She simply didn’t know if she could afford to pay that team member more, no matter how much they deserved it. It’s a dilemma that every boss faces, dental boss or not.
And as a dental boss, I’ve had to deal with discerning how much to pay my team quite a few times. So, when that member of my mastermind group asked this question, I was quick to share some of the lessons I have learned. So, how do you know how much to pay a dental team member? Here’s how.
1. Determine how much value each team member offers with their skillset.
Do they achieve their goals? Do they engage and apply the training? If so, those are good signs the team member is adding a lot of value to your practice. But simply achieving goals and utilizing skills enough for the practice to grow isn’t necessarily enough for each team member to get that raise they want. They also need to be continually growing those skills. Why? Because the more value they can offer, the more you can pay them.
Help them be able to handle a more complex assortment of tasks. For example, if they’re not only handling phone calls like rockstars but can also be super effective at scheduling, they’re going to become a bigger asset to your practice. And when they’re a bigger asset to your practice, the positive return on your investment in them will enable you to raise their salary without putting yourself in a deficit.
Once they get the raise, they might even increase their ROI more. Just by having that monetary incentive, their motivation might increase substantially. More motivation will likely make them even more productive. But they need to be productive in more than one area, or they aren’t working hard enough to increase their pay grade. That brings us to the second step.
2. Set up a pay-grade system that pays each employee based on the value that their skillset offers.
If you set up a pay-grade system that classifies what work warrants what pay, it’ll be easier to understand whether you can afford giving one of your team members a raise. Keep it simple, a higher amount or value of work should qualify for a higher amount of pay. This not only ties hard work to pay it ties continuous skill improvement to pay.
This type of pay-grade system will also make it very clear to your team about the expectations that need to be met in order to receive the different levels of pay that you offer in your practice. It’s up to you to help each team member understand that they can’t get a higher level of pay without putting in a higher amount of work.
For example, say you have a dental assistant who has a limited skillset. They can assist with fillings. They can set up your trays. And they can sterilize the instruments. Most dental assistants can handle those tasks so that’s not exactly going above and beyond. So, that person would qualify for the level one pay-grade. If that dental assistant developed a broader skillset, they could earn more pay. I have a dental assistant in my practice who puts in the amount of work to warrant way more than a level one pay-grade. She can place sealants. She orders all of the supplies. She’s amazing at making all of the temporaries. She also can work at the front; handling phone calls, making appointments, discussing treatment plans with patients, etc.
Because of her broad skillset she’s able to bring a higher ROI to the practice. And because she’s on a different level than many dental assistants, I can afford to increase her paygrade to level two and give her a higher salary.
Are you paying your dental team adequately?
Dentistry is a fast-paced lifestyle with lots of stress, and you can’t blame your team members if they ever feel like they deserve more compensation for their hard work. But a dental practice is a business, and finances aren’t something to be impulsive about. Before you give your team member a raise, consider their skillset and the amount of work they’re putting in. And give them opportunities to expand both so they can add more value and earn more work.
If you want more tips and tricks about delivering WOW with your dental practice, we are helping hundreds of practices during this time in our Delivering Wow Practice Accelerator Program, and are offering special value for you and your teams!
While a dental practice is a business, dental school doesn’t teach us much about collecting payments and managing operations.
That’s what continuing education is for. And that’s what Delivering WOW is here for, too. We have helped thousands of dentists strengthen their practices while delivering WOW experience to each of their patients.
But we want to continue to be able to deliver WOW, we need to ensure our businesses are financially strong, too. And one of the most important parts of becoming financially strong is empowering our team to collect payments from our patients well. If you’ve struggled with collections in your practice, here are three tips that have helped my practice and many others improve.
1. Set up a system with which you can monitor whether your collections are under control.
By the time that many practice owners take a glimpse at their AR (accounts receivable) or collections, things have already spun out of control without them even knowing. They’ll find out that patients didn’t pay on time because their dental team failed to follow up properly about that patient’s claims. Now they have to break some bad news to that patient, and things can get ugly. It’s embarrassing—and frustrating for the patient—to call them to let them know they actually have a balance due or that you’ve misquoted their payment from the very beginning. Chasing them around and demanding money make you appear unprofessional and can stir up some drama that might lead to a bad review online or worse. So, I recommend you utilize a system that helps you to track your AR from week to week.
If you follow my blog, social media, or podcast, then you know I’m a huge fan of using scorecards. They can help you stay on top of productivity goals, measure metrics, and more. They’re just a great way of tracking numbers, and one of those numbers can actually be your AR. Using a scorecard to track AR has been super effective both in my practice and for many members of my platinum program. When we can use a scorecard to track AR on a consistent basis, things won’t spin out of control because your dental team will be on top of your collections numbers. When they see things spiraling out of control, they can let you know and you can decide how to counteract any chaos from erupting.
2. Be prepared to keep your collections in control by utilizing a process called “amnesty.”
If things do end up spinning out of control, it’s time to work the amnesty process. Amnesty helps us get back under control. Here’s how it works.
Say you suddenly realize that your AR is $50,000. Some practices turn those accounts over to a collection agency or, even worse, just write it off. That’s not a good idea—you're writing off $50,000 or selling it for pennies on the dollar. You could have used that money to pay for your kids to go to college for a year.
Instead, contact patients who have an overdue balance and let them know their account has come up for audit. Tell them you are giving them a courtesy call to help them out and to clear up their balance. Offer to lower the balance if they pay in full.
Perhaps they have a balance of a thousand dollars. Rather than charge them the full thousand, lower the amount that they have to pay so they don’t have to go to collections and you can create a true win-win. They pay less than they owe and avoid collections. You get guaranteed money and often at a higher price than what you would get through a collections agency. Many patients will gladly pay a smaller portion or go on an auto-debit to pay off their balance to avoid being sent to collections.
3. Put in place a reliable and effective means of getting in touch with your patients.
As surprising as it might seem, being unable to easily get in touch with patients is one of the most common problems I hear from members of my mastermind. They’ll tell me, “Anissa, our patients just aren’t responding. They see our calls and won’t pick up.” While phones are a great way to put yourself in direct communication with a patient, don’t make it your only contact method. If you can, use text messages and emails to start conversations. Especially with text messages, your messages will get noticed. Send them a text or email that lets them know there is an urgent message from their dentist and that you’d like to speak with them on the phone as soon as possible.
When a patient sees an ominous-sounding message like that coming from their healthcare provider, they’re more likely to give you a call. In all likelihood, they’ll even be a bit nervous. So, when the patient calls your practice and your dental team member speaks on the phone with them, make sure they make the purpose of the call immediately clear. Have them calmly greet the patient using all the right social cues and explain that the purpose of the call is to help the patient save money and resolve their balance. Once they understand what’s going on, your team member can proceed to get the patient’s credit card information and begin to sort things out via the amnesty process. If they don’t call back right away, send follow-up messages and call their phone to make sure they get your message. With people being so busy, if your message hasn’t been returned within a couple of days, it’s unlikely that it will be without additional follow-up.
What are you doing to ensure your payments are under control?
As dentists, we must work creatively to ensure the revenue we worked so hard to attain gets paid. When it comes to collecting payments, we must give our team members the tools and resources they need to collect payments well. Scorecards, amnesty, and multiple methods of contact can help everyone stay on top of accounts receivable. What works in your practice?
And if you want more tips and tricks about delivering WOW with your dental practice, we are helping hundreds of practices during this time in ourPractice Accelerator Program and are offering special value for you and your teams!
For most businesses, the pandemic has made it a real struggle to keep afloat. Quarantining and social distancing have led to an absence of eager customers for almost every industry and profession. People are trying to stick it out in their homes and avoid getting infected with Covid-19, so they’re just not going to go out shopping or seeking services unless they really need them.
While things are slow for the vast majority of businesses, it’s safe to say that dental practices are definitely amongst those struggling the most. Patients simply don’t want to come in to get treatment unless it’s urgent. It makes sense; providing dental treatment is a very up-close and personal thing. While healthcare providers are typically great at being diligent with sanitization, some people just don’t want to take that risk.
Unfortunately, it’s not surprising to me when people come to me and tell me that their dental practice isn’t just struggling but is actually in the process of failing. Does that sound like you? Are you hustling like mad to get patients in the door only to find yourself coming up short at the end of the month? Trust me, you’re not alone.
In fact, I have some awesome news for you: I can help you turn your failing dental practice around. It’s nothing too complicated, either. These are just a few simple, amazing strategies that can do wonders for your practice. If you’re interested, keep reading!
1. Buy a whiteboard.
This sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? I can almost hear you thinking: “How could buying a whiteboard turn my failing dental practice around!?” Believe it or not, though, something as simple as a whiteboard can be the key to unlocking profitability, efficiency, and, subsequently, the growth you need to turn your failing practice around.
An ordinary whiteboard—one you can buy at any office supply store for a few bucks—is responsible for doubling my practice revenue. It’s done the same for hundreds of dental bosses all over the world, too. It’s not the whiteboard itself, of course, but what you do with it. And what you need to do with it is use it each month to track individual services, set goals for those individual services, and then shoot for the stars with each coming month.
Start by listing all the services you offer on the whiteboard.
Set target numbers for the month based on your revenue goals and write that number in RED.
Every day, mark down the number of that service that your practice has completed month to date in BLUE.
When you hit the target you’ve set, change the BLUE number to GREEN.
Your goal is to change all of your blue numbers to green by the end of the month. When you get every blue number to turn green, you’re meeting productivity goals—which means you’re at least keeping your practice afloat.
But ending the struggle isn’t the objective; I want you to turn your failing practice around. So, next month, aim higher. Make those numbers larger. As each month passes and you keep turning those bigger and bigger numbers from blue to green, you’ll notice your practice is doing better than ever before.
2. Deliver a WOW customer experience.
At Delivering WOW, we’re all about providing each and every one of our patients an experience that WOW’s them. When we can make them feel like VIP’s, they’re bound to become raving fans of our practice who are quick to refer us to their family and friends.
That means our patients don’t just become loyal, they refer other patients who are likely to become loyal too. Having a dependable and ever-growing influx of patients coming through your practice doors is a big deal. You’ll be increasing the productivity of your practice — helping you hit those whiteboard targets each and every month. Any practice owner knows productivity is what paves the way for profitability and growth.
3. Give your team extensive training.
If you want your patients to be enthusiastic about the results they see after coming into your practice to receive dental treatment, you can’t be the only one WOWing them. Your team must, too, through the treatment they provide and the care they show your patients. The best way to achieve this is to provide your team with the right training. When your team improves their craft and can provide amazing results for your patients, your patients will be happy with their care. And when your team treats them like a VIP every time they walk through the door, your patients won’t ever think about going anywhere else for dental care.
When training your team on procedures, make sure to also train them in the benefits of the procedures so they can better connect with patients. So, don’t just give your team the right training in crowns. Make sure they understand the benefits of crowns, the different types of crowns you offer, and the long term effects if recommended crowns are not completed. Also give your team training about how to socially interact with your patients. Your team should be able to show before and after cases, answer questions, and refer patients to the proper resources. Train your front desk to handle phone calls effectively. Train your assistants to do preliminary work—X-rays, impressions, etc.—that allows you to be in and out in a jiffy. Set up your team for success, and you’ll see the results you want to see.
Need to turn around a struggling or even failing dental practice?
Turning a struggling practice around boils down to production and consistently delivering WOW experiences. And the key to doing that isn’t diagnosing more patients or bullying them into accepting unnecessary treatment. You just need to put the right systems in place and make sure all your team members are on the same page. If you do, you’ll get the results you want while better serving your patients.
Also, if you want to join a community of Dental Bosses just like you, I have a Facebook group where over 1000 Dental Bosses are already learning and growing. Join us in the Dental Boss Movement Facebook group if you want some support and training as you grow your dental practice.
If there’s one thing every dental practice needs to grow, it’s patients in the chair. Some need more patients. Others need patients in need of higher-fee dentistry. And others need more fee-for-service patients.
If you’re worried about where your next patient is going to come from, rest assured that you are likely just one or two referral strategies away from growth. These are three of my favorite ways for dental practices to get patient referrals.
1. Tell a story that’s easy to share.
When you talk about your practice in marketing materials, with patients, or in the community, are you telling a story that’s easy to share? If not, you’re missing out on an incredible opportunity to get current patients and others to promote your practice for you. Make it really easy for people to talk about you and your practice and they will start doing so.
For example, we want people to talk about my practice as being somewhere patients look forward to going. So we focus on creating an incredible experience andalso give patients ways to talk about that experience. One way we do so is by giving new patients an office tour and a chance to connect with a team member one-on-one. During that meeting, our team member talks about our core values and shows them the cool and fun technology we invest in to provide the best care possible. We make it simple for them to understand what makes us special.
When doing this in your practice, point out the details to your patients and why those details matter to them. You can say things like:
We invest in these items to create a spalike experience for you and help you relax.
At the end of your treatment, we’ll give you a warm peppermint-scented towel to refresh you.
While you’re waiting, you can flip through our coffee-table books.
All of the artwork in the office was done by local artists.
Let your team members show their personality. If they’re talking about the practice’s core values, they can share what means the most to them, and why. If they’re showing the coffee table books or the office art, they can point out one they particularly like or share an interesting fact about one of the local artists. When they’re talking about the overall experience, they can relate their own stories of dental anxiety — and how they moved past it.
2. Ask patients for referrals.
One of the biggest mistakes dentists make is not asking for referrals. It doesn’t need to be awkward or rude to do so, either. Whether a patient has come in for the first time or the 50th time, we highly recommend asking for referrals. It’s totally natural to ask for referrals, even from brand new patients, especially if you are investing so much time and energy to create a WOW experience for your patients.
At the end of each appointment, ask your patient, “Did you have a good experience today?” They’re highly likely to say yes. When they do, it’s completely natural to then ask for that referral. Help them out by calling to mind specific people they can refer to you. For example, we give patients two business cards and ask them to give them to friends, family, coworkers, or a new neighbor who might enjoy a similar dental experience. It’s that simple. You can also ask patients to post about their experience on Facebook and tag your practice. Many patients will happily share a post about their experience.
3. Create a patient referral program.
Encourage patients to refer people to you by creating a referral program. Give them coupons or gift certificates they can give to friends and family and they will likely be even more delighted to refer people to you.
Give your program a fun name, like Share a Smile or The Smile Exchange, and make sure that every person on your team tells patients about the program. For example, you could have your team members tell new patients that you have a referral program that your patients love because it allows them to share their WOW experience with loved ones while giving them something of value like a coupon or gift certificate. That message will get them starting to think about who would be a good person to refer to your practice. Then, at the end, hand them the coupon or gift certificate after asking about their experience.
Are you ready to get more patient referrals to your dental practice?
Patient referrals validate everything we do as a practice and keep us consistently growing without any marketing required. We just treat people well and they refer other people to us. That’s the ultimate compliment about the experience we work so hard to create.
It all starts with treating patients to a truly WOW visit and putting in place simple strategies to get them thinking about referring others to you.
And if you want to join a community of Dental Bosses just like you, I have a Facebook group where over 1000 Dental Bosses are already learning and growing. Join us in the Dental Boss Movement Facebook group if you want support and training as you grow your dental practice.
Social media marketing has transformed dental practices in an almost unprecedented fashion. My team and I have spent years studying, testing, and analyzing the best strategies for using social media for dental practices.
At first, we used Facebook to build an audience of over 50,000 raving fans for my dental practice and turn those leads into dozens of new patients every month, all by utilizing the best dental social media marketing techniques available on Facebook to share our story and build great connections with our Facebook fans and others who had never heard of us.
After testing and refining those strategies, we started helping other dentists and dental practices utilize dental social media marketing strategies to grow their practices, too.
We found the most powerful social media site for dental social media marketing to be Facebook.
Facebook gives the most robust ad-targeting capabilities out of all dental social media marketing options.
Dental Facebook marketing costs less than traditional marketing and other social media for dentists.
Facebook makes available to everyone the same tools that only big companies used to be able to afford.
Facebook allows you to act fast to fill last-minute cancellations or promote an event or special offer, getting organic and paid posts up in minutes.
Facebook gives dentists sophisticated performance data for all Facebook ads they post so you can know your exact return on investment.
Facebook allows you to change different variations of the same dental Facebook ad to split test ads against each other.
Because of how powerful Facebook can be to build a dental practice, my team and I now use the same strategies we used to grow my practice to help other dentists and dental practices as part of our dental-marketing services. The strategies we use for our dental-marketing clients are the same strategies I share in this guide to Facebook for dentists and can help dental practices of all shapes, sizes, locations, and specialties. They can help you create a dental Facebook marketing and organic presence that is effective, efficient, and predictable—no matter what your practice looks like.
Don’t worry if you’ve tried using Facebook to promote your dental practice before, don’t understand how Facebook can help grow a dental practice, don’t think you have the time for dental Facebook marketing, or think Facebook is expensive. You’re not alone. Many dentists feel this way about using Facebook for dentists. I assure you, each of those objections isn’t true, and I’ll show you exactly what to do to help you get reliable, affordable, and consistent using Facebook to grow your dental practice.
Whether your dental practice has been open for decades, is still months from opening, or anything in between, you can use dental Facebook marketing to grow your practice and get patients in your chair for a fraction of what you’d have to spend on traditional dental-marketing techniques.
The Best Dental Facebook-Marketing Techniques to Build Your Practice
This definitive guide to dental Facebook marketing will walk you through the three things my team and I do to build dental Facebook-marketing campaigns for dentists around the world to help you do the same for your dental practice.
First, I’ll share the most important things you can do to build a dental Facebook page. The best dental Facebook pages have a few things in common. We’ll share what makes the best dental Facebook pages so great, and how you can do the same! If your dental office Facebook page is bland and ineffective, this section will help you give it life and get it ready to build fans and convert them to new patients. If you’re a dentist looking to build an individual presence on Facebook, this section will give you tips to build a great dentist Facebook page to build your individual reputation and following.
Second, I’ll share the best strategies for creating great dental Facebook posts. Creating social media posts for dentists is one of the favorite things my team does. I’ll share the best strategies for creating dental Facebook posts that will help you build a group of raving Facebook fans!
Third, I’ll help you plan and prepare the most effective Facebook ads. Facebook advertising for dentists allows you to reach people with unprecedented precision to help you get better and faster results at a fraction of what dentists and dental practices typically spend on dental ads in traditional media and other advertising. I’ll teach you how the best Facebook ads for dentists perform and how you can get the most effective Facebook dental ads strategies working for you.
If you’re ready to have the best social media marketing strategies for dentists working on your behalf to build the best dental Facebook page possible for your practice, the best dental Facebook posts building engagement and raving fans, and the most efficient and effective dental Facebook ads directing people to your special offers and dental marketing funnels, then follow the steps I outline in the rest of this definitive guide to dental Facebook marketing!
How to Build the Best Dental Facebook Pages
Every dentist or dental practice needs a dental Facebook page to act as their home base on Facebook and give them a platform to grow and connect with their patients, prospects, and Facebook fans. Here’s everything you need to know to build and optimize a Facebook page for your practice even if you haven’t opened the doors yet.
How to Build the Best Dental Facebook Page for Your Practice
If you haven’t set up a dental Facebook page for your practice or a dentist Facebook page if you’re a one-person shop, setting up a dental Facebook page for free is a simple five-step process. If you’re just getting started, don’t worry. The best dental Facebook pages all got started by following the same five steps.
To set up the best dental Facebook page for your practice, you first need to go to the Facebook page creation page. Most dental offices will select the “Local Business or Place” option on that page. After choosing the right option for your dental practice, enter your business category and practice contact information. Common options for business categories for dentists include “Dentist & Dental Office,” “General Dentist,” “Cosmetic Dentist,” and “Pediatric Dentist.”
After you set up your dentist Facebook page or dental office Facebook page, whichever is appropriate for your practice, you will next need to upload an appropriate Facebook page profile picture and cover photo. I suggest using a high-resolution, professional close-up of you for a profile if you’re building a dentist Facebook page, or of your logo if you’re building a dental practice Facebook page. Make sure your images are the ideal size for Facebook pages, which change from time to time. Any quality graphic designer or dental-marketing company will know the right size for a Facebook profile picture and cover image.
The best dental Facebook pages also have robust, custom profiles. Specifically, when first setting up your dental Facebook page, Facebook will ask you to enter a short description of your practice. Enter a couple of sentences to tell people what your practice is all about. Let them know why your practice is different. You will also be asked to enter hours of operation, team members, and links to your website. Fill out all the demographic and contact information possible.
You can also customize a button under your Facebook cover photo. By default, this is usually set to read “send message” and lets people message you on Facebook. You can change it to a number of things. For dentists, I usually suggest editing the button to allow people to schedule an appointment, but if you’re building dental-marketing funnels, you can also change it to send people to your dental marketing funnel or to learn more about your practice. You can also include links to your website or a dental marketing funnel in your about section.
If you already have a dental Facebook page, make sure your profile includes all the elements on this page and the additional tips for effectively using Facebook for dentists.
Specifically, to optimize an existing dental Facebook page, make sure:
Your dental Facebook page has complete practice contact information.
Your page has accurate hours of operation.
Your profile picture and cover images are professional, hi-res images that convey your practice culture.
Your about section includes complete and accurate statements about what makes your dental practice different.
You add trusted team members to your dental office Facebook page list of team members.
Your button under your dental Facebook page cover photo directs people to engage with your dental practice how you want them to, such as to send you a message or schedule an appointment.
With these things in place, your dental office Facebook page will be ready for posts and promotion so you can build a loyal audience and attract new patients to your office.
How to Grow Your Dental Office Facebook Page Following
Once your dental office Facebook page is set up and optimized, you’re ready to build your Facebook following and convert strangers into patients. The first thing you can do to start building your dental office Facebook page following is invite your Facebook friends to like your page. To invite your Facebook page to like your dental Facebook page, click the gray button with three dots on it under your Facebook page cover photo, to the left of your blue “Learn More,” “Schedule an Appointment,” or “Send Message” button. Next, click “Invite Friends,” and click the “Invite” button next to all friends you want to invite.
This is a quick and easy way to get your first one hundred or more Facebook fans. Although many of these people won’t be patients, they will be family and friends who know, like, and trust you; and your invitation to like your page might help you get some of them to become patients. Even if it doesn’t encourage them to become your patients, they will be likely to like, comment on, or share your posts when they appear in their timeline, thus increasing the odds of your posts going viral! You can also ask patients to like your dental office Facebook page when they come in.
With family, friends, and patients liking your page, you will be well on your way to growing your impact and reach through creating the best Facebook posts on your dental Facebook page and placing the best dental Facebook ads for specific promotions and additional reach.
In addition to asking friends, family, and patients to like your page, a great way to get people excited about your practice on Facebook is to create a contest where you hold a random drawing to give away a free treatment to one person who likes your page and then likes, comments, and shares a specific post within a certain timeframe. You could even ask your family, friends, and dental Facebook page fans to nominate someone else to receive the free service.
In my practice, we regularly give back through something we call Project Smile. We do everything on Facebook to reward people who follow our Facebook page and don’t even tell our patients. The way Project Smile works is we announce we will give away a free smile makeover and ask people to share our announcement post on their Facebook timelines.
The post we ask them to share asks people to nominate someone who deserves a free smile makeover with an image of their smile, so we can see if they’re a candidate. We narrow down the list, invite the finalists for a cleaning to take a closer look at their mouths, and then choose a winner for the full smile makeover. Our Facebook fans love following and sharing our Project Smile posts and often see what other services we provide and come to us for an appointment.
Between invitations, contests, and community- or giving-based promotions, your dental office Facebook page can build a large audience of raving fans for your dental practice.
In the next section, I’ll teach you how to draft the best dental practice Facebook posts to build raving fans and loyal patients from Facebook.
How to Create the Best Dental Facebook Posts
Many dentists get overwhelmed by the idea of coming up with content to post to their dental office Facebook page. The reality is, creating the best dental Facebook posts for your dental practice doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, if you follow two simple rules, your dentist Facebook page can be full of high-impact posts that position you to build deeper relationships with existing fans and patients while attracting new patients into your chair.
How to Know What to Post About on Your Dental Office Facebook Page
The most important part about creating the best dental Facebook posts is to make sure your posts are interesting and engaging. Interesting and engaging posts by a page with likes from family, friends, and patients make it more likely that people will like, comment on, and share your posts. This is important because the more likes, comments, and shares your Facebook posts get, the more Facebook will show it to other people, and the more chance it has to go viral. Also, people are more likely to like, comment on, or share your dental Facebook post when they see others have liked, commented on, or shared the post, especially others they’re friends with on Facebook.
To make sure your posts are interesting and engaging to encourage people to like, comment on, or share them, it’s important that most of your posts aren’t promotional offers or even dental tips. Although some promotional offers and dental tips are fine, the vast majority of your posts should be about three things:
Facebook posts showing people your dental practice vision and story to let them know why your dental practice is so great
Community-oriented Facebook posts, such as events you’re participating in or hosting at your practice and other local businesses
Facebook posts highlighting great things about your team members and patients (with their permission, of course)
Testimonials from happy patients
These four types of posts help you get people’s attention on Facebook, make connections with the right people to grow your dental practice, and encourage people to like, comment on, and share in order to get better reach for your Facebook posts. They also make the promotions and dental tips types of posts get more attention, because Facebook will view your page as one with posts people want to see. Finally, they make it much easier to regularly come up with great fresh content for your page so your dental Facebook page isn’t inactive or full of promotional posts.
Creating Dental Facebook Posts About Your Practice Story and Vision
The best dental Facebook posts tell your practice’s vision and story so you can let people know why being your patient will be worthwhile. These posts show people the things you’re building toward (your vision) and the things you’re already doing and have done (your story). These posts humanize your practice and build connections.
In my practice, our vision is to have the best dental practice in the country that treats all our patients like the VIPs they are and delivers WOW experiences to everyone from the moment they walk in until they leave. For example, we provide complimentary gourmet coffees and teas, iPads and noise-canceling headphones to use during an appointment, and hand-and-arm massages by our trained staff to make sure our patients leave feeling more like they just visited a luxury spa than a dentist. We also commit to being active in our community and giving back to important causes.
These things are core parts of who we are as a practice, and we want everyone to know it, so we post pictures of our coffees and teas, our patients receiving their relaxing massages (with their permission, of course), of community events, and charitable initiatives. By regularly posting about who we are as a practice, we get many likes, comments, and shares on our posts and build deep relationships with our Facebook fans because they get to know who we are as a practice and will want their dental-office experience to be like our patients’ experiences!
Posts about events, companies, and people in your community are a great way to become known as a practice that’s active and involved in things that matter to your patient pool.
In my practice, we participate in charity runs, host food drives, and have events at our practice. We also form strategic alliances with different local businesses each month to offer special deals to their employees. If you do this, you can create a post announcing how excited you are to team up with the business.
Creating Facebook Posts Highlighting Team Members and Patients
Creating Facebook posts that encourage, congratulate, and promote your patients and team members are a great way to highlight people who often go unnoticed. Your team and patients are doing great things in your office and community. Let people know how excited and proud you are about them (with their permission, of course). These posts build deep relationships and get lots of likes, comments, and shares, too!
Posting Patient Testimonials to Your Dental Office Facebook Page
Testimonials from happy patients make great posts. You’ve earned those testimonials either through online reviews or testimonials given specifically to post to your dentist Facebook page. Like online reviews, patient testimonials allow other people to boast about why your dental practice is so great, which makes it more likely that people will view it as more trustworthy than if you tell people why your practice is so great.
The Best Types of Dental Facebook Posts on Your Dental Office Facebook Page
Once you know what the best dental Facebook posts are about, the next step is to make those posts interesting, varied, and engaging by posting them in different types of posts. Generally, you can and should post a variety of text, image, and video Facebook posts to get more attention and engagement without seeming repetitive and monotonous.
Most dentists are comfortable with text posts, but less are comfortable with video and image Facebook posts, so here’s how you can utilize videos and images on your dental Facebook page.
Creating Video Facebook Posts for Your Dental Facebook Page
Video is powerful on Facebook for three important reasons. First, video gets people’s attention, especially if their page is set to auto-play. Second, video makes better connections with people once you get their attention because it invites them into your practice, lets people make virtual eye contact with you, and allows them to hear your voice and see your expressions. Finally, Facebook loves video and will show your post to more people if it has a video.
Video posts on Facebook for dentists doesn’t have to be complicated or overproduced. In fact, a good cell-phone camera can be even better than a heavily-produced video because it seems more real and not like a stuffy company.
Great uses for video on Facebook posts include Facebook Live video office tours, short recorded video patient testimonials, Facebook Live video Q&A sessions for your patients and the community to ask you what’s important to them, Facebook Live or recorded videos of community events, recorded video highlights, and explainer videos with tips about dental insurance, teeth care, new procedures, and more!
Creating Image-Based Facebook Posts for Your Dental Facebook Page
High-quality image posts get people’s attention on Facebook and encourage more engagement than text posts. Some of our favorite ways to use images for my practice and our dental marketing clients include to show high-quality images of what makes your practice great, like a picture of the iPads we let our patients use and our gourmet-coffee-and-tea station.
Other ways to use image posts with dental Facebook marketing include posting images announcing community events, celebrating patient accomplishments, showing off how great your team is, and highlighting new procedures and equipment.
Like dental Facebook video marketing, dental Facebook marketing with images doesn’t need a professional setup. My two rules for creating the best image-based Facebook posts are that a well-lit image you take with a quality cell phone is the best type of picture, and if you can use a picture you take of real patients, team members, and doctors, that is generally better than using a stock image. You can make great impacts with high-quality stock images, but nothing connects with people on Facebook like well-lit, authentic pictures of real people and your real office.
The Best Facebook Ads for Dentists
The real power of Facebook for dentists is your ability to post highly targeted Facebook ads. Facebook knows more about their users than almost any company in the world. They know their income, net worth, location, interests, behavior, family status, age, and more.
For advertisers like dentists and dental practices, this information is highly valuable, because it allows you to target the right people with your ads and only pay to reach people who are likely to take action on your ad.
Here are three important steps for successful Facebook ads for dentists.
Improving Your Dental Facebook Ads By Improving Your Message
Before placing dental Facebook ads, be sure each post has an objective. Otherwise, you won’t know who to target or what to say, and the people who see your dental Facebook ad are unlikely to take action. Here are eight common goals for dental Facebook ads:
1. Building awareness of your dental practice’s culture 2. Showing people what makes your practice different from other practices 3. Talking about your services and how you can help people 4. Highlighting testimonials of happy patients 5. Attracting people into a dental marketing sales funnel 6. Filling spots left open by last-minute cancellations 7. Promoting a specific procedure you want to highlight 8. Introducing a new dentist or team member
Once you know the purpose of your dental Facebook ad, you will have a better understanding of whom to target and what to say to get people to take action to help you achieve your goal.
Improving Your Dental Facebook Ads By Improving Your Targeting
Once you know the goal for your dental Facebook ad, make sure you target each of your dental Facebook ads to the people who are most likely to resonate with it and take action. Here are a few examples of how to match your dental Facebook ad targeting to your goals:
If you want to build awareness of your dental practice culture, you might not want to target current patients, because they will know your culture, but you might target an audience Facebook can generate that is similar to your patient population. This is called targeting lookalike audiences.
If you want to fill spots left open by last-minute cancellations, your current patient population is likely going to be your best bet at achieving your goal, perhaps by offering a free upgraded service or discount to the first person who takes action.
If you want to advertise dental savings plans, you might consider targeting retired people who no longer have dental insurance.
If you want to promote a new service, targeting current patients will be more likely to lead to people taking action.
If you want to get people into a dental marketing sales funnel, you can target people who have been to your website (called “retargeting” in the Facebook marketing world) with an ad that gives them a call to action to download a free guide or come in for a consult based on the pages they viewed on your site.
Improving Your Dental Facebook Ads By Choosing the Best Images, Videos, and Copy
Certain words drive people to take action more than others, especially across audiences. The same is true with images and videos. Once you know what you want to accomplish and who you want to target, test different versions of your copy, images, and video. You can do this by creating a split test in Facebook’s ad manager.
Split-testing dental Facebook ads is one of the most powerful ways to lower your advertising costs and getting better results, because it’s not always possible to know what words, image, or video will resonate at any given time.
Split-testing Facebook ads is also easier than you think. In its basic form, to split-test a dental Facebook ad, all you need to do is create an ad, duplicate the ad, replace the text, image, or video, and submit. Here are detailed instructions on how to create a split test in Facebook.
When my team runs dental Facebook advertising campaigns for our dental-marketing clients, we always split-test the dental Facebook ads we set up. By doing so, we lower costs and get better results. To achieve these results, we set up the split-test with a small budget of $3 to $10 per day until we learn which version of the dental Facebook ads is performing the best. Once we choose the winner or winners, we shut off the underperforming ads and let the winners run with an appropriate budget.
Are You Ready to Have the Best Dental Office Facebook Marketing Working for You?
Social media marketing for dentists can be the most powerful way to grow your dental practice, or it can be a complete waste of time or money. By far, the best way to get the highest return on your time and money is Facebook for dentists.
My team has helped hundreds of dentists increase profits, attract new patients, improve social media presence, and lower their advertising costs using Facebook.
If you’re comfortable doing it yourself or having your team do it with (or for) you, I’ve created a full Facebook Mastery course as part of Platinum Mastermind, my online learning center with full step-by-step instructions on everything you need to run and grow your dental practice.
Are you spending a fortune on slow, inexpensive, and ineffective marketing for your dental practice? If so, Facebook marketing might be your solution.
Using Facebook to market a dental practice can help you stop mailing flyers and overpaying for TV and radio spots that don’t bring the right people in the door. Instead, you will be able to get a steady flow of patients with a fraction of the marketing budget.
Facebook has turned the marketing world upside down. You don’t have to have a huge budget or spend a lot of money on overpriced designers anymore. Here are five tips to help you use Facebook marketing to grow your practice.
1. Make sure you’re targeting the right people.
The level of control you have over who sees your ads on Facebook is unprecedented. You can build audiences based on age, location, interests, income, and other key information, and even a combination of a number of qualities.
Unlike traditional dental advertising, you no longer have to spend a lot of money and hope to get the right results. Instead, you’ll spend less money and get your ads directly in front of exactly the right people.
Even better, targeting the right people is really easy to do. I walk dental bosses through it during my growth and marketing challenges and they all catch on right away.
2. Take advantage of retargeting.
We all know the phrase that it takes multiple touchpoints to build any relationship. It’s no different in dentistry. Retargeting is using Facebook ads to create multiple touchpoints with people.
With Facebook retargeting, you identify people who looked at your ad but didn’t sign up. Then, you send special content directly to those people.
Retargeting is one of the most powerful ways to promote your practice because it allows you to target people who are already both familiar with you and interested in your offer. All you need to do is create content that addresses common objections to moving forward.
For example, sometimes people click on your ad, get distracted, and move on. They just need you to pop up again so that they can reconnect. However, other people might click and then think, “I don’t want to go to the dentist, it’s scary and it might hurt.” A retargeting ad that speaks to pain-free dentistry and shows how calm the process can be could help you convert that person to a patient.
3. Take control of your Facebook budget.
What’s so amazing about marketing on Facebook is that you can decide exactly how much to spend. You’re already saving money by using Facebook marketing to target a very specific group of people and because Facebook charges far less than other forms of advertising.
But you can also set a fixed budget so you can calculate exactly how much you’re spending on each lead — and exactly how much you’re spending to get a new patient in the door.
In fact, a lot of the dental bosses who go through my training reach leads for 1-3 cents each. In other words, for every dollar they put into Facebook advertising, they’re reaching between 30 and 100 potential new patients. We’ve seen cases where dentists put in as little as $4 to get new patients booked for high-end cosmetic dentistry procedures, too. You can’t get that kind of ROI with traditional marketing.
4. Move quickly.
Facebook marketing is much faster than traditional media platforms.Takedirect-mail campaigns, for example. You need to design a mailing, hire someone to write it, and get it proofed, printed, and delivered before anyone even sees it. That could take weeks.
Radio and TV are the same. You need to write, record, edit, buy the ad space, and get it played. All of that takes weeks — and then you have to wait even longer to see how people respond to your ad.
With Facebook marketing, you can have an ad up and running to a highly-targeted audience with a compelling offer within minutes. And you can have new patients in the chair within days, long before traditional campaigns were even designed.
5. Embrace the flexibility that Facebook marketing offers you.
With traditional marketing, after you’ve waited weeks to get your ad in front of people, it takes even more time to gauge the response. And if something isn’t working, you need to go back to the drawing board for another expensive and time-consuming round of edits.
With Facebook, you can see right away whether a campaign is working the way you want. If it’s not, you can edit and improve it with a few clicks.
Are you using Facebook to grow your dental practice?
If you’re still marketing your dental practice like it’s 1999, you’re likely spending way too much money and getting lackluster results. Save some money and improve your results by using Facebook to market your dental practice.
And if you want to join a community of Dental Bosses just like you, I have a Facebook group where over 1000 Dental Bosses are already learning and growing together. Join us in the Dental Boss Movement Facebook group if you want support and training as you grow your dental practice.
Coming out of dental school, many new doctors gravitate to spending thousands of dollars on expensive branding and marketing services in an effort to grow their practice fast. While strategic Facebook marketing for dentists is a wise investment, spending thousands on complex marketing strategies is often not wise, especially for newer doctors.
A much better alternative to grow a practice fast is to focus in your own community. Form relationships with other businesses in your community and you can earn more referrals and build a strong reputation as a community destination. Here are three ways you can support local businesses in a way that helps you grow your dental practice.
1. Form strategic alliances with local businesses.
With a strategic alliance, you partner with local businesses who serve the same people you want to serve and create offers to encourage their clientele to come to your practice. For example, my practice often partners with a local bridal shop to offer brides a deal on teeth whitening. We’ve also given a local Day Spa and Optical $50.00 gift cards to give to customers who spent over a certain threshold or who purchased specific spa packages.
Each of those arrangements was true “win-win-win,” benefiting our practice, the other business, and the other business’ customers. We benefited by being able to earn new patients with a special offer but no advertising costs. The only cost to us was a little bit of our time reaching out to the local businesses.
The other businesses benefited by being able to offer greater value to their customers (our deal) without costing them anything. And the other business’ customers benefited by getting a deal with a dental practice that will treat them like a VIP!
2. Engage in host beneficiary promotions.
Host beneficiary promotions were huge for my dental practice in the early days. They work similar to strategic alliances with one key difference. Specifically, instead of offering something of value to the business’ customers, you make a new-patient offer to the business’ team members and their families.
Host beneficiary programs work well with local banks, investment firms, bakeries, and even local associations, especially ones that are smaller or mid-sized that don’t offer many benefits to their team members. Similar to strategic alliances, host beneficiary promotions allow other businesses to add value to people important to their business without costing them anything. At the same time, we save money and get new patients because there’s no advertising costs involved, only the cost of the offer itself.
We recommend starting by choosing one local business a month and deciding whether to grow from there. After identifying the local business, call up the office manager and let them know how the program works and that their business has been chosen for that month.
When we were doing host beneficiary programs on a regular basis, we had to hire an additional hygienist to serve all the new patients!
3. Use local business products and services in your practice.
Another great way to grow your practice is to use local products and services in your office and to proudly display the local connection. For example:
If you have a local gourmet coffee roaster, consider stocking their beans for some of your gourmet coffee and tea offerings.
Give pastries from a local bakery to your patients.
Display local artwork and invite them to host art showings at your practice.
Use furniture from local manufacturers in your waiting room.
Subscribe to community-produced magazines and newspapers.
Don’t let those five ideas limit you, though. Look for local options for other services you purchase in your practice.
As you integrate local business products and services, promote those relationships through your social media channels. This can be as simple as posting a picture of the local coffee bean with a caption that reads “We love our locally-roasted Pete's coffee beans at Beautiful Smiles Dentistry.” You could also post pictures of the local artwork with a caption saying how much you love walking by the local artist’s beautiful painting every day.
The options are endless. And most of the time, they won’t cost you any significant additional money to utilize local businesses. In fact, you may find some local business owners who will offer their products or services at discounted rates, and sometimes free, for the opportunity to be displayed to your patients.
How will you grow your business fast while supporting businesses in your community?
Supporting local businesses will help you develop deeper relationships, attract more patients, and build a stronger local brand. These three examples can help you get started growing your business while serving your community well.
If you want more help, join my community of dental bosses where dentists come together for support and action taking tips and motivation. Join today for free.
If you’re looking to increase your treatment plan case acceptance rate, your solution might be simpler than you expect.
Accepting treatment is a big decision for any patient, especially when high-value procedures are involved. No matter how much we want our patients to move forward with the care they need, many don’t.
When they don’t, we often assume it's because they either don't value the treatment or can't afford it. Some dentists double down by going in greater detail into the problem we are looking to solve. Others cut their fees or try to help patients secure financing. That can help but only goes so far.
If after all that you are still not seeing the treatment plan case acceptance rate you want, it’s like that you are using the wrong language when presenting your treatment plan. By eliminating these four words from your vocabulary, you can see an instant boost to your acceptance rate.
Stop using the word “maybe” when presenting your treatment plans.
Stop using the word “maybe” when talking with patients about the care they need. It conveys a lack of confidence. It conveys a lack of urgency. So, if a patient asks whether they need to address an issue, answer confidently.
Similarly, when suggesting something to a patient, be clear. Never say, “Maybe we should fix this issue.” Instead, say “We should fix this issue” or “Yes, fixing this issue will improve your health.”
Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine you’re at a dermatologist, and after examining your skin they point out a mole. Which statement would make you more likely to get it removed:
“Maybe we should remove this mole,” or
“We NEED to remove this mole. It poses a threat to your health.”
Be clear. Be confident. Your patients need your leadership to achieve optimal health and move forward with treatment.
Stop using the word “cheap” when talking about price with patients.
When you tell people something is cheap, there are usually two thoughts that will go through their head. The first is that if it’s cheap, then it shouldn’t cost a lot of money. This is especially important when talking about good deals on high-value procedures. The second is that if it’s cheap, then it’s low-quality.
Instead of saying something is “cheap” or “cheaper,” say it’s a ” good value.” That conveys it as being more affordable but without the negative connotations. The procedure could still cost a lot of money but be a good value. And it can still be high-quality but be a good value.
When your discussion is on the “value” of the procedure, your patients also think about your treatment plan as an investment in achieving an outcome they desire. For example, you might say “The real value is you’ll be able to eat what you want. You won’t have to remove your dentures anymore. And you’ll be able to avoid large expenses that come from your teeth shifting or bone loss.”
Reminding patients of the value of your treatment plan and the outcomes they will receive, helps them better appreciate the benefits of moving forward with your plan.
Stop using the word “cost” when discussing financial terms.
Speaking of low-cost, avoid saying the word “cost” at all when discussing treatment with a patient.
For example, if you tell a patient that getting an implant is going to cost them $5,000 and leave it at that, they will immediately think about how much money they have in the bank. If they don’t have $5,000 in the bank (or a credit card with a high available credit that they’re willing to tap into), they are less likely to move forward.
Instead, provide three payment options and them patients how other patients like them are able to fit dentistry into their budgets. When discussing monthly payment options, let them know how much the minimum monthly investment would be. Then ask if that would into their budget. If not, you can come up with another plan, such as to phase treatment to fit into their budget.
Stop using the word “problem” when talking with patients about their oral health.
While it might seem logical to use the word problem because people generally “solve” problems, the reality is more people try to avoid problems than solve them.
When you describe something as a “problem” to a patient, many patients will instinctively push back or procrastinate. “Problems” feel big and expensive.
Reframe your presentation using the word “issue” and position your treatment plan as the solution. It’s a gentler way of saying there’s a situation with their teeth but that you have a plan. Your patient is much less likely to push back when you present the issue rather than a problem.
Have you been using these four words when presenting your treatment plans to patients?
Consistent case acceptance can make or break your practice. And while word choice might seem like a nuance that doesn’t amount to much, patients are much more likely to move forward with treatment plans when you avoid these four words.
If you’re ready to get new patients using social media but don’t know how, these four simple tips can help. Before social media, marketing a dental practice was slow, expensive, and inefficient. A single ad would take days to create and weeks to reach your audience. If you needed to make a change, you’d have to start over, spending days more creating the ad and weeks more waiting for the new ad to reach people.
With social media you can move much faster and more efficiently. You can create an ad that reaches people within minutes. And if you need to create a change, you can do it in minutes, too.
Even better, the cost to reach people using social media marketing is much more cost-effective than in traditional platforms. With my practice, I get more patients using a $500 per month social media budget than I was getting spending thousands on traditional marketing methods.
If you want to use social media in your dental marketing plan, these four tips can help. Tip four, alone, is a gamechanger.
1. Set a strong foundation.
Too many dental practices sign up for social media accounts and immediately start blasting marketing messages to the world. They move forward without a plan, goal, or foundation in place. That’s a surefire way to get frustrated. Within days, they run out of things to say, begin to think social media doesn’t work, and give up.
To avoid this, plan a few ideas for how you will create content that dental patients are likely to connect with. What is your practice story? What is your practice known for? What can patients expect when they come to your office and what do you do differently? Do you give hand and arm massages like we do in my practice? Do you provide gourmet coffees and teas?
Write down the answers to all of those questions. Be as specific as you can. Then, for each question, write down why that item is important to potential patients.
For example, if you give back to your community, write down all the ways you give back. Then, write down why you give back. Did you grow up in the area? Do you want to make a special impact on the neighborhood? Or, do you want to help advance a cause or solve a local problem? Write those down. Soon you will have a long list of content about what your practice does differently than others and the reasons why those are important to you.
The answers to those questions give you a strong database of content that builds relationships with potential patients.
2. Regularly create sharable content.
Take a look at your social media accounts. How much engagement do you get? Do a lot of people like or love your posts? Do they comment or share? If not, begin to focus on making emotional connections with your social media following.
Ask yourself why someone would want to share your content. If you only post about dental care, nobody will share that. But what if you post about how you impact your community or all the amazing things your patients are doing in their business and personal lives? How much more likely will people be to share those posts?
You can also share video testimonials and office tours explaining all the things your patients experience and why you do it. Think of all the things that make your practice unique. For example, one thing that makes my practice different is that we have the kids go to the toy box before their appointment. This allows us to make friends first. Kids and parents love it! When we share about this on Facebook we get strong engagements from parents who know the difference this small change can make to their kids’ dental experience.
3. Run community engagement campaigns.
One of the best social campaigns you can run is what I call community engagement campaigns.
Examples of community engagement campaigns include Project Smile Makeover competitions and gift card giveaways donated from local businesses in your community. They also include things like Tooth Talk Thursdays, and even crowdfunding campaigns to raise money for local charities.
Community engagement campaigns work well because people will want to share them. When done well, hundreds or even thousands of people in your community will see them.
4. Always offer people the next logical step.
With a strong foundation, shareable content, and community engagement campaigns in place, you will be ready to achieve incredible growth and connection. You will grow your followers and build trust and familiarity with people in your community. That level of following and trust will position you to convert social media fans to patients at a much greater clip than before.
With social media, however, it’s critical to actively offer people the next logical step to moving forward if you want to convert followers to patients. People will rarely take the next step without you asking them to do so.
While there are several ways to call people to action, one of the best ways to do so while achieving a high return on your investment is to place targeted ads for high-dollar services, such as dental implants. Your ads can direct people to a dental marketing funnel, to schedule an appointment online, or even to take an online quiz to qualify for a free consultation.
Are you ready to get more patients using social media?
Now that you've gained clarity about how to use social media in your dental marketing plan, it's time to take action.
How much would you pay for a strategy that could help you generate $15,000 or $20,000 in a single day? I know a lot of people who would pay a lot of money for a strategy like that, including me.
But how much you pay to learn and implement a strategy doesn’t always correlate with how much money you make in return. In fact, one of my favorite tactics to teach practices is how to use a simple whiteboard to increase their income quickly. By the way, never feel bad for wanting to earn more. The more money we make, the more we can invest back into our practices and the bigger impact we can make in our communities and for our family.
The total cost to implement that strategy is nothing. Your return could be unlimited. Here’s why whiteboards are so powerful and how to use them in your practice.
Use whiteboards to keep everyone accountable.
The first reason whiteboards are so powerful is simple. They work. They hold everyone accountable by keeping your monthly targets front-and-center. They give everyone a “month at a glance” view of where we are in our practice. They show everyone what’s important and where to focus for the rest of the month.
About ten years ago, I developed a process of how to use Whiteboards to reverse engineer increasing practice revenue. And the year we implemented the strategy, we tripled our practice revenue. Since then, I have coached many practices on how to use this method of using whiteboards. When implemented correctly, practices often increase revenue by thousands in the first month alone!
Use whiteboards to help you set goals proactively.
Many practices set goals based on old information. They wait for the end of the month, look at the numbers, and reflect on what happened. The problem with that is the time already passed. There is nothing you can do to improve that performance. In fact, by the time you reflect, you are already a couple of days into the next month, again reacting to what happened instead of choosing where to focus.
I fell in that trap before I started using whiteboards. Now, I look at all my services and calculate historicals of how many procedures I do of each service. From there, I set goals of how many of each procedure I want to do for the following month.
When you’re tracking things proactively, you have much more control. You can think more strategically and if you realize you’re not hitting your goals, you can take action in real-time. For example, your front desk can send out a newsletter to your patients to highlight a particular service you are wanting to do more of in your practice. You could also record a Facebook Live video talking about the three ways missing teeth are being replaced by your patients and the risk of not replacing your missing teeth. Or, you could increase Facebook ads into an Invisalign dental marketing funnel. Your options are endless.
Use whiteboards to achieve immediate returns.
Recently one of my clients shared a really big win with me. She had just finished a $20,000 day. When I asked her what made that happen, she said it was using her whiteboard. It all started when she realized her practice was way behind in their monthly crown and bridge goal. The whiteboard let them know they were behind in real-time so they could adjust right away. So they took action and started calling patients.
They didn’t call patients randomly by their name or date of their treatment plan, though. They called people based on their monthly goals. In this case, they called people who had bridges in their treatment plan. That would allow them to do multiple units. They quickly filled up their schedule and the $20,000 day came to be.
Are you using a whiteboard to increase your practice income?
Technology, systems, and dental practice software get a lot of attention, and for good reasons. They can help you plan, grow, and operate a WOW dental practice. But don’t forget about low-tech options like whiteboards to keep you and your team accountable. They can help you increase your income quickly.
We put so much time, effort, and money into our practices to create a WOW dental experience for patients. But before we can deliver that WOW experience, we need to hire a team to help us execute.
It doesn’t matter how beautiful your practice is, you need amazing team members to execute on your vision for your practice. When hiring, it’s not enough to just look at skills and credentials. You need to go deeper than that. You need a team of like-minded individuals who share your values and are just as excited as you are about the business.
A strong team of loyal, motivated people working together in the same direction can overcome even the toughest challenges. It will help you delegate what you don’t want to do and take time away from your practice without worry.
Here’s how to identify the right candidates to help you build a practice that delivers WOW experiences to patients every time they walk through the door.
Step #1. Know where you’re going and how the new hire fits into that vision.
The first step for any good plan is to know where you want to go. For every potential hire, ask yourself where your practice is going in the next three to five years and how the position fits into that vision. Do you want to grow to have multiple doctors in the future? If so, adding team members who are excited about growth and supporting additional doctors will be a plus.
Step #2. Identify and rank the traits, qualities, and skillsets you need.
Write down the traits, qualities, and skillsets needed for each position you want to fill. Do you need someone who is detail-oriented? Outgoing? Calming? Extra patient? Do you need someone with specific training? Specific experience? Specific skills?
Write down everything that comes to mind. Once you have all the qualities in mind, rank them by priority. Be sure to identify your non-negotiables. Non-negotiables are traits, qualities, and skills someone must have for the position. This could include a certification or license, a particular personality style, specific experience, or even a particular availability.
If you need someone to work on Saturdays or who can travel with the practice for CE, for example, Saturday or travel availability would be non-negotiable.
Step #3. Prescreen candidates before you interview them.
Interviews take time. Before interviewing, screen candidates to avoid you or a candidate taking time to interview for a position that won’t be a good fit. Before I invite people in for an interview, I ask them to take a personality test and answer pre-interview questions.
Different positions fit better with certain behavioral tendencies. Introverts and detail-oriented people, for example, are great for positions that involve accounts or ordering supplies. Outgoing and talkative people generally fit better at the front desk.
Be sure to include position-specific questions in your pre-screening. For example, if you know you need someone to take on a specific role in the practice, such as social media, make sure your new hire will be not only comfortable but excited to take on that task.
You can address these issues in the pre-interview questionnaire. My pre-interview questionnaire asks candidates several questions. We ask what they know about our office. We ask why they’re leaving their current position. And we ask where they see themselves in five and ten years. If traveling is important, we ask whether they can travel for training. If specific availability is important, we ask whether they’re available to work evenings or Saturdays. And if a specific personality trait is important, we ask whether they consider themselves shy or outgoing. Finally, we ask their desired salary. The way they answer these questions helps us know whether we want to interview them.
This form saves a lot of time and money.
Step 4. Conduct more than one round of in-person interviews for candidates who pass the initial screening.
Finally, I recommend you do at least two rounds of in-person interviews for candidates who make it past the pre-interview screening.
The first interview should involve you and the office manager. If you and your office manager are both excited about the candidate, arrange for a second round with key coworkers.
The second interview is almost an orientation. Its goal is to see how your other team members feel they’ll get along with the new candidate. This helps ensure a great interpersonal fit in addition to the technical and personality-style fit for your new candidate.
How do you find the best dental team member candidates for your practice?
Building an amazing team is one of the most impactful things you can do for your dental practice. In many ways, it’s at least as important as your business and marketing strategy. For some practices, it’s even more important.
Many dentists make the mistake of overlooking their team and the importance of the hiring process. Your team is who you and your patients interact with every day. Without them, you don’t have a business.
If you want to start your practice in what we call the comfort-zone level of dentistry, I can’t help you. But if you want to start your practice off on the right foot from the start and avoid the common pitfalls, I invite all dentists to join our Dental Boss MOVEment Facebook Group.
To learn more about how we can help your practice to empower your team members and to succeed in their individual roles and make a significant difference in your practice, check out our upcoming Marketing & Practice Growth Challenge. You can learn more here — get a 20% discount when you use the code CHALLENGE at checkout!
Building a successful dental practice does not have to be complicated. In fact, the best ways to improve your dental practice are the simplest because the simplest plans are the easiest to put in place.
If you've been struggling to make your dental practice a success, it might be time to try a new, simpler approach. Here is one of my favorite—and simple—systems to build a successful dental practice. This three-step system could make a massive difference in your practice.
1. Create a scorecard for your practice.
Using a simple Excel or Google spreadsheet, list out the important key performance indicators, or KPIs, for your practice. What important numbers do you want to measure?
Include more than just high-level production and collections, too. For example, many practices include the following on their scorecards:
new patient numbers
doctor production per visit
hygiene production per visit
specific procedure production
After you list out the KPIs, list out your current numbers. How many new patients did you get this month? Last month? How about doctor production per visit? And so on.
Knowing these numbers gives you a snapshot view of the health of your practice. How does it look?
2. Assign team members to take primary responsibility for each scorecard item.
Once you know your current numbers, assign a team member to each scorecard item. That ensures consistent attention to the most important KPIs. The person you assign each KPI to will have primary responsibility for improving that item. Ask the person to put together a plan for how to improve that item.
Take new patient numbers, for example. Challenge your team member to identify as many activities that contribute to improving new patient numbers. While marketing is the first item that comes to mind for many people, other things impact new patient numbers as well, such as:
Telephone training for front-desk team members so they can get leads scheduled when they call
Treatment plan presentation to convert patient leads into patients
Following up with leads who are not ready to schedule an appointment
Asking current patients about scheduling family members who are not yet patients
and much, much more
Having someone take the time to list out tasks that improve their scorecard item helps put together a practice plan for improvement.
3. Set goals for each scorecard item.
You've identified key performance indicators. You've assigned people to each item. And you've identified the tasks that need to be done to improve each item.
Next, work with your team to set goals and action plans for their scorecard items. Ask them how you and the practice can support them. What systems and processes could be added or improved? Do they need additional tools or training?
With goals, an action plan, and support, your team member will be well-equipped for success.
Are you ready to build a successful dental practice?
Building a successful practice does not have to be complicated. Create a scorecard of the most important metrics. Assign team members to each scorecard item. Put together goals, an action plan, and a support plan for each key performance indicator. Then update your scorecard to measure progress. If you're on track, great. What else can you do to improve? If not, what do you need to adjust to make better progress?
With this much focus and attention on KPIs, your practice will be set up for success. If you don't want to go at it alone, we are helping hundreds of practices during this time in our Platinum Mastermind Gold Program, and are offering special value for you and your teams!
One of the most impactful actions you can take to improve your dental practice is to start presenting treatment plans the right way. Not only will you benefit if you do but your team members and patients will too.
For decades, case presentation consisted solely of education. Doctors simply educated patients about the care they suggest moving forward with. They list the issues they suggest addressing and what it means for their oral health.
It’s no surprise that the old way caused so many practice owners to struggle. Patients know they need treatment or they would not have gone to the dentist. They might not know everything that’s needed but they know they need treatment. So, if all you are doing is educating them, you are only adding medical terms and confirmation to what they already knew. You’re not doing anything to help them move forward. You’re not helping them say yes to the treatment they need. That’s why so many patients leave offices without scheduling appointments to get their treatment completed.
Here’s how to present a treatment plan to help your patients move forward with their care.
Understand your patients’ perspectives and objections before presenting your plan.
Before you can help a patient say yes to treatment, you need to take the time to understand what’s going on in your patients’ lives outside of your practice.
They’re busy. They have family, job, and personal commitments. And they have countless financial stresses. So, although they come to your office knowing they need dental care, they also often come in feeling busy and limited by budget pressures.
Thus, in order to help them move forward, we have to give them the confidence that they can do so with limited time and a tight budget. We know they want the care because they’re in our chair. But we must act as patient advocates to help them move forward to better oral health.
Once you commit to taking the role of patient advocate, follow this simple treatment acceptance framework. By doing so, you will help more patients move forward with the care they need.
Start your case presentation with one, simple question.
When we jump right into presenting our treatment plans, we fail to offer important context to our discussions. If we present too much, patients get overwhelmed. But withholding treatment we recommend to avoid overwhelming patients doesn't help patients either.
Thus, we must present everything needed without overwhelming them. To do so, ask for permission to tell them everything that’s needed to achieve optimal oral health. They will say yes and you can present everything that’s needed without overwhelming them.
Make it easy for patients to say yes to your treatment plan.
We know patients have time and financial restrictions that keep them from moving forward. To be true patient advocates to help them move forward we need to help them overcome those constraints. Make scheduling and affordability easier and you will get more patients to move forward.
Overcoming Time Objections
Consider scheduling longer appointments so patients can get their care done in fewer appointments. That helps them avoid taking more time off or having to come back and forth multiple times. It also helps them get to optimal oral health faster.
If you can get care done in one longer visit, ask patients if there's a reason they wouldn't be able to come in for one visit to achieve optimal oral health. Many times, they will be surprised that they can get their care done in one shot and will move forward. Sometimes they will reference affordability being an obstacle.
Overcoming Money Objections
If affordability is an obstacle, help patients afford their care. Let them know many patients have limited budgets and that it is very common. Then, let them know how other patients fit care in their budgets.
Tell them many patients have zero or low-interest credit cards that help them spread out the payments while receiving treatment right away. You could have a few zero-interest promotion credit card offers on file to show them if you want as well. If credit card payments are not an option, talk with them about using dental financing to structure payments into monthly installments they can afford. Finally, you can offer to spread out care over months so they can still get all the care they need.
Once you present these three options, ask them, “Which one of these ways would work best for you?” That question encourages them to move forward to get the care they need.
Immediately schedule their treatment in accordance with their choice.
Once they say yes, secure a deposit or set up the financial arrangement for their care and get them on their schedule. If they choose the option of spreading out care, make sure they know the entire schedule is important. That means, if they cancel or miss one appointment you will have to cancel the rest of the appointments.
Are you presenting treatment plans the right way?
If patients leave without scheduling their treatment, your case presentation style is often the reason. Do you take the role of patient advocate to help them move forward with the care they need? If not, get permission to tell them everything that’s needed. Make scheduling easier for them to fit into their schedules. Have three affordability offers ready to help them overcome money objections. Let them know they’re not alone with time and money pressures. Then present the three affordability options and ask them to choose among the three. By doing so, you will help more patients move forward with the care they need.
Grab Your FREE Treatment Planning Checklist here: Checklist: https://dentalbosstv.com/TreatmentPlanChecklist
All these additional requirements and sensitivities make it even more important to be efficient and effective with our marketing strategies. We need to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of all of our marketing efforts. Here are three ways to get better marketing results without having to spend more time and money on your marketing.
1. Involve your patients in your marketing.
Some of the best dental marketing campaigns are the ones that get your patients involved in spreading the word about your practice. At my practice, we like doing coloring contests, clothing drives, and thirty-day floss challenges with our patients.
Patient involved initiatives like these offer great ways to spread the word about your practice while building deeper relationships with current patients.
To involve your patients in your marketing start by choosing a campaign that involves your patients. We’ll use a coloring contest as an example. You can give away free dental care or even gift cards to local shops for winners. Then, hang flyers around your practice so everyone who comes in can see what you are doing. Have your team members encourage patients to submit an entry to the coloring contest, too. In addition, send out emails to your patients about the contest to get patients who are not scheduled to come in involved.
As you get entries, share pictures of the entries on your Facebook page so all of your Facebook fans can see the camaraderie you have with your patients. And involve your team or Facebook fans in choosing a winner. You could even put all the entries on your Facebook page and hold a public contest where the pictures with the most likes and shares wins. That will make it so your patients share posts with their friends and family members and encourage them to interact with your Facebook content.
When we involve patients in our marketing, we create tremendous goodwill and excitement about our practice. People see our practices differently. And they spread the word to their family and friends. And all that leads to spreading the word about your practice.
2. Get your community to market our practice for you.
It’s a lot easier than you think to get your community excited about what you’re doing in your practice. If you’re doing something like a Project Smile makeover competition or treating kids for free one Saturday, your community will likely be very excited to help you spread the word. And the fastest and easiest way to do that is to do a Facebook Live letting people know what you’re doing.
When done correctly, you can have thousands of people in your community seeing and sharing your message. Just start a Facebook live, introduce yourself, let people know what your practice is known for, and tell them what you’re up to. Then ask them to take part and spread the word. Your energy and authenticity will go a long way to ensuring they share your message with their friends and family
After you record your Facebook Live, share the link with your patients by email and ask them to get involved, too. As they watch and share your content, your reach will continue to grow.
3. Think through what great experiences you’re providing for patients in your practice.
If you’re giving patients amazing experiences your marketing can get even easier. For example, in my practice, one of our primary goals is to ensure patients leave feeling pampered. When they arrive, we give them a tour of our practice. We show them our core values. We let them know what we’re known for. We show them new technology, safety measures, and more. We also give them warm peppermint-scented towels to wash their faces and give them gourmet coffees and teas.
Of course, we also provide top-quality dental care on top of all the benefits and amenities After all that, our patients frequently tell us how much they look forward to coming to the dentist. Imagine that!
At the end of each appointment, we ask patients, “How was your experience today?” When they let us know it was amazing, we ask, “Would you be willing to do a quick video to share that experience? There are so many people who are afraid of going to the dentist, it just might change someone’s life.”
You might be surprised by how many people say yes. When they record a video, we can then share it on social media and to our patients by email.
By giving amazing experiences everyone wins. Our practice becomes more enjoyable for us and our patients. And we get patients regularly recording videos encouraging people to come to our practice. While us telling people why our practice is so special is helpful, patients telling them is even more helpful
Are you struggling to market your practice?
If you’re struggling to market your practice, patient participation, community involvement, and experience enhancement might be what you need to start marketing like a boss.
If you don't want to go at it alone, we are helping hundreds of practices during this time in our Platinum Mastermind Gold Program, and are offering special value for you and your teams!
If there’s one thing that’s sure in a post-covid-19 world, it’s that the future of dental practice cash flow will be different. That doesn’t mean it has to be worse, just different.
So how do we position ourselves to ensure the future of our practices will be strong? One way is to be very intentional about how we open back up. We must take social distancing and PPE requirements into account when we open up.
If we plan our opening to minimize the impact of social distancing and PPE requirements on our patients and our practices, everyone benefits. Patients benefits by ensuring they get the best care as safely as possible. Our practice benefits by opening up with stronger cash flow to support our team members and operations. And we benefit by being in more control of the future of our practice.
Here are three ways to get cash flow back in your practice as fast as possible while continuing to provide incredible care for your patients.
1. Use block scheduling to maximize production.
When we operate at full capacity, it is easier for the patient and the practice to break treatment plans across multiple appointments. With limited capacity, this could cause issues to go untreated for months. It was also easier to mix less urgent care with more urgent care with so many available appointments.
With lower capacity and additional time required between patients, we will have fewer available appointments for patients. Thus, we must look through our patient population and prioritize.
That might mean prioritizing patients who need scaling and planing. These patients have infections or inflammation and have already delayed treatment. They need to be a high priority. It might also mean prioritizing perio patients. In my practice, we are also focusing on patients with more extensive treatment plans, such as crown and bridge patients.
In addition to prioritizing, we want to have conversations with patients about doing more care in one appointment because of our limited capacity. If they need to spread out the care to spread out the costs, we should be prepared to help them spread out the costs through financing even if they do all the care in one appointment.
Having your patients come in and do more per visit is going to allow them to be able to get their treatment done without gaps in time. And it’s also going to allow you to be able to have fewer patients in the practice. That will also increase cash flow because you’re going to be doing higher production and higher profitability types of procedures.
2. Minimize patients per day.
I’ve long been a proponent of block scheduling for your dental practice. It helps us maximize productivity by prioritizing high-value procedures. But with new PPE requirements, block scheduling also saves us money.
The more patients we see, the more PPE we need to buy. And with it being hard to get and more expensive than ever, those costs add up. Some practices are passing through the charges. We chose not to in my practice. Instead, we are minimizing the number of patients we serve as well as the number of appointments for each patient so we can minimize our PPE use.
We’re talking with our patients about how they can help us care for more people and minimize the PPE we need to serve people by maximizing their procedures per visit. With financing options available if they need to spread out costs, they understand. We’ve built amazing relationships with our patients over the years.
So we are asking our patients to help us minimize PPE use. We’ve gone from seeing twelve patients per day to six. That alone can cut your PPE expense down quite a bit. And your patients can get the care they need without having to take multiple days off of work.
Many doctors are uncomfortable having conversations about what’s going on in our practices with patients. But if you have always been there for your patients to take care of them, they’ll understand and support you.
But you can’t minimize your need for PPE without block scheduling for productivity and minimizing the both the patients per day you see and visits per patient for each patient to complete their treatment plans.
3. Set specific goals for your practice.
There’s an old saying in business: “What gets measured gets done.” If you open your doors without specific goals, you will never maximize cash flow and production, even with more efficient scheduling.
No matter what your history is with setting goals, setting new goals for your practice can help you get all of your team members focused on the same outcomes. Once you set your production goals, bring your team together each morning, and take a look at your progress.
If you’re falling behind on some goals, ask team members what can be done to get back on track. What can the scheduling coordinator do? What can your doctors do? Do you need to jump onto Facebook and do a Facebook Live discussing a procedure you want to promote? Do you need to bump up your marketing?
When running a dental practice, simpler is usually better. It’s true with systems and processes. It’s true with messaging. And it’s true with growth.
And these days, with so much going on, the simpler the better. We have more than ever on our plates. So, simple strategies to improve our practices are even more valuable.
There are few simpler growth strategies for your practice than to use a budget and profit sheet organized by procedure. If you don’t track revenue by procedure in one place, now’s a great time to start. Without it, you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities to learn what’s working best and what might be falling through the cracks, all in one place.
Once you have that set up, all you need to do is follow a few simple steps to identify gaps and growth opportunities for your practice.
Identify top performances.
Take a look at the past twelve months and identify your most productive months. Start with your best overall month. What procedures contributed to that? What procedures stuck out as low? You might be surprised at the answer to both of those questions. Many practice leaders are.
Did any procedures spike in on or two months? When you identify outlier performances for procedures, think back to those months and see if you can identify what was going on with those procedures that month.
When I did this in my practice, I noticed my best months had spikes in sealants, perio, and even dentures. That’s important because many practice leaders don’t think of dentures as a top contributor. We think high revenue will come from crown and bridge or clear aligners. But we did more than $10,000 in denture production during our best month.
Set goals and take action based on what you learn.
There’s a saying in business that people “vote with their wallets.” In other words, while it’s helpful to listen to what patients say, it’s even more helpful to watch what they do.
So, if you see production it tells you your patient pool is interested in those procedures. Take that information and use it to grow your practice and serve your patients better.
First, set big goals for those procedures. Several years ago, I hired a coach who challenged me to set bigger goals. It started with me setting goals. I was so proud of my goals. She was happy with them, too. But then she told me to double them. I was thinking too small, she explained. If you think too small, you act too small.
So I’d encourage you to set goals for those procedures that start at your best performing months. Set out to make your best month over the past year your lowest month over the next year. When you think bigger, it forces you to take bigger actions.
Once your goals are in place, identify the actions you need to take to make them happen. Identify patients who need those procedures. Get them scheduled. Talk with them about those procedures.
Turn on some marketing relating to those procedures. Do Facebook Lives about the procedures. Email existing patients about the procedures.
Talk with your team members about your goals, so they can be on the lookout for patients who might need those procedures.
Update your sheet weekly and review results at least monthly.
Once you set goals and devise a plan to achieve your goal, have a team member take five minutes per week to input real-time results. It takes just a few minutes for a member of the team to take the production by procedure code report and input the numbers for each service once a week. Update your numbers each week so you have the most up-to-date numbers and can adjust as needed.
At the end of each month, review the results from the past month and adjust goals for the following month as needed. As you hit your goals, you might need to set even bigger goals for the following months.
Are you looking for gaps and identifying opportunities?
If you don’t maintain a sheet of revenue by procedure, you’re missing a big opportunity to find gaps and discover hidden growth opportunities. These simple steps can help you turn that simple information to high growth for your practice in any environment.
With the pandemic, there’s no denying times are different. We're all making big adjustments to be careful about Coronavirus—especially business professionals like dental practice owners. As we begin to reopen, we need to take control of our marketing efforts to make sure we get the right return on our investment over the long-term.
That means truly understanding our audience and then taking three simple steps to ensure your marketing fulfills your intended purpose. That's always the case. But it's even more important when marketing through turbulent times. Earlier, we talked about some of the mechanics of impactful marketing during a pandemic.
Today, we're going to talk about how to craft effective marketing content during the COVID-19 pandemic. As you'll see, it's as easy as three simple steps.
1. Take time to understand what your marketing campaign's ideal audience wants and needs.
Often, the dental services we promote vary. That means our audiences and messaging needs to vary as well. Now is no different. Take a moment to understand exactly who you want to reach with your marketing. Are you looking to reach emergency dental patients? Are you looking to reach current patients? Are you going to be talking to others in your community?
Once you know your audience, craft content that matches what they want to know. For the community, you might want to show your social responsibility as a dental practice and business. If you want to talk to current patients, you might want to craft content about safety and cleanliness. If you want to reach emergency patients, you might want to discuss virtual consultations, safety procedures, and readiness to serve.
2. Create content that directly addresses the ideal audience member's needs and desires.
Once you understand what your audience wants, create content that directly addresses it. For example, if you're creating an ad for emergency patients, you will get better results with a video describing safety measures than an image showing you wearing a mask. That's because the picture only implies you have safety measures in place. Your video will directly address all the safety measures you have in place.
This is another rule of thumb that matters regardless of the pandemic. When you’re creating any content for a marketing effort, make sure the content directly addresses what your audience wants and needs from a practice like yours.
3. Include a simple call to action.
Once you create the right content for the right people, add a simple call to action at the end to let your audience members know exactly what to do next. Is the next step to schedule a virtual consult? Tell them and include a link to schedule. Do you want them to call your office to make an appointment? Say so and include your phone number.
Make it as easy as possible for your audience members to take the ideal next step based on your marketing campaign and you will get much better results from your marketing.
Are you crafting impactful marketing content for your dental practice?
If you've struggled to achieve a high return on investment on your marketing, these three steps will help.
If you don't want to go at it alone, we are helping hundreds of practices during this time in our Platinum Mastermind Gold Program, and are offering special value for you and your teams! If you have been wanting to dive into Facebook Marketing though our Facebook Bootcamp Program, now is also a great time to start preparing for when you reopen!
Our options are limitless, too. We can make physical adjustments to our practice to promote physical distancing, such as plexiglass barriers at the front desk. We can change policies and procedures. For example, you could only allow patients in our office and doing all intake and paperwork in the operatories. You could also check the temperatures of all team members and patients. Finally, we can invest in additional safety protocols.
Together, these adjustments help us create a safe environment for everyone who comes into contact with my practice.
Maintain consistent communication with your team members and patients.
While we know what we’re doing to ensure our practice is a safe place, our patients and team members might not know everything we’re doing, and why.
This is important because other doctors, team members, and patients are rightfully concerned about their physical safety these days. Thus, not only is it important for us to invest in safety measures, we should also communicate what we are doing to our team members and patients.
Put a new page on your website that shares everything you’re doing to keep your practice safe. Send your patients an email or text message directing them to that page.
And make sure your team members know what you’re doing, too, so they feel safe and comfortable coming to work.
Don’t let it be a one-and-done communication, either. Communicate regularly about what you’re doing so everyone knows you take their safety seriously.
Be a leader in your community.
I’m consistently asking myself how I can be a better leader in my community, not just in my practice. I challenge my Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind members to do the same, too.
So, how do we be leaders in the community? We start by creating a safe environment and staying in communication with our patients and team members. In addition, we do things such as investing in the best and latest technology and top systems and processes to keep everyone safe. We research PPE. We research air quality. And we research tools and technologies to help create safe spaces.
We then share that information readily in the community. We connect with other business owners in the community and share what we found out and are doing for our businesses. This helps them make better decisions for their businesses, too.
Are you preparing for a strong dental practice reopening?
As you prepare to reopen your practice, invest in safety, communicate with your team and patients, and continue your role as a leader in your community. That will help you come back strong as you reopen your dental practice.
That means putting the right preparations in place to make your practice stronger than ever once things start coming back. Your practice can grow again. And it will grow again if you build growth into your recovery plan. One of the best ways to build growth into the day-to-day operations of your practice is to offer services that generate repeat visits and recurring revenue. Here are three ways you can promote recurring revenue in your practice.
Offer and regularly promote teeth whitening.
People aren’t always coming to our dental practice to receive treatment. They're not always coming in to improve their dental health. Often, they’re coming to make their smile shine brighter. And while many practices offer teeth whitening, many still do not. Of those that do, many leave a lot of opportunity on the table by not promoting it consistently. If you fall into either one of those categories, now might be the time to start offering or promoting your teeth whitening.
Teeth whitening is easy to do. It's nice and quick and can create a great source of recurring revenue for your practice. It might be a low-ticket offer, but it can bring in a high volume of patients. And it can add additional revenue opportunities from existing patients who might have no idea how easy it can be to leave your office with a bright white smile.
Teeth whitening services can be very helpful in growing many parts of your practice, too. You could offer a deal for a first-whitening. Or you could offer it as a free add-on service for high-value procedures.
But teeth whitening is also just a great add-on service you and your team can offer all patients who come through the door. They will leave feeling better about themselves while you enjoy being able to grow your practice and earn recurring revenue from future whitening sessions.
Conduct oral cancer screenings.
Preventative care in dentistry takes many forms. Hygienists can find periodontal disease before it progresses. They can offer treatment methods to preserve a patient's gum health and subsequently preserve their heart health. Dentists can extract teeth in order to avoid crowding as well as the pain and dental issues that will result from the crowding.
All of those things can lead to health problems down the line, which helps patients in many ways. But we can also help patients while growing our practices and adding recurring revenue to our practices by conducting regular oral cancer screenings.
Offering oral cancer screenings won’t only help save lives, but it’ll help you create recurring revenue for your practice. Patients often readily agree to screenings and both you and your patients sleep easier knowing you're helping them catch issues early.
Dental membership programs give patients an alternative to insurance, which often gets in the way of dental care instead of helping patients get better dental care. Frequently, the complications of dental insurance causes many patients to pay more out-of-pocket than they should. Many times, patients choose to forego treatment they need for financial reasons.
With dental membership programs, you can offer patients more choice and freedom with their care while simultaneously generating regular monthly income for your practice. This will be especially important for patients who lose their insurance and need an alternative way to get the care they need.
What options have you implemented in your practice to unlock recurring revenue?
There are many ways to strengthen a dental practice. You can invest in leading your dental team well. You can invest in Facebook marketing for your dental practice. And you can build dental marketing funnels. The list goes on. But some of my favorite ways to strengthen a dental practice are the ones that simultaneously help patients improve their health while generating recurring revenue from your practice. These three strategies can help you do both of those things in your practice. What are you doing to unlock recurring revenue?
When times are slow, understanding what to do to work on your business can be challenging. But when you find the right opportunities, you can create momentum to help you come back stronger than ever.
Three of the most important parts of our businesses we can strengthen during slow times are our practice vision, branding, and systems. Together, they define where we are going, the relationships we build to get us there, and the methods we will use to achieve our vision. Here’s how to improve each of those areas when times are tough.
1. Refine your vision.
If you don’t have a practice vision, it’s tough to make strategic decisions. That’s why it’s so important to have a practice vision. It guides you in making decisions that lead you closer to your vision. Slow times are prime opportunities to revisit and refine your vision.
Refining your vision can be as simple as asking yourself questions about where you want to go in your business or personal life. How many days do you want to work every week? What roles do you see as being most important in your practice? What do you want to be able to delegate to others? Would you rather focus on the business side of things and be a practice owner or would you like to have somebody else manage the business side of things so you can just do dentistry? What type of practice culture do you want? What do you want patients to feel when they walk in the door?
Write down your answers to these questions and start thinking about any changes you need to make to build a practice consistent with your vision.
2. Work on your branding.
What do you want patients and people in your community to say about your practice when you are not around? It doesn’t matter how nice your website is or how pretty your logo is, your brand is determined by your reputation among your patients and the community. If they think your practice is high quality and spa-like, that’s the brand you have. If they think your practice is behind the times, that’s the brand you have.
Take a look at how your practice is presenting itself to your patients and the community. What do you think those messages are causing people to say about your practice? Does it match what you want them to be saying? If so, great! Lean into that and think of ways to do even more when things pick up. If not, what do you need to change?
3. Improve your systems.
Your operations are a sum of the systems you have in place. Do your systems make your business run like a high-quality engine? Do your patients get a consistently WOW experience at your practice? Are your team members consistently performing? If consistency is a problem in your practice, better systems are your solutions.
What are you doing to work on your business right now?
While the pandemic might make things feel hectic right now, this slow time offers a great opportunity to work on our businesses even if we can’t work in them in the moment. Eventually, this time will pass and we’ll all be back in the swing of things. Taking time to work behind the scenes will make our practices stronger than ever once everything turns around.
Reopening a dental practice post COVID-19 is a welcome event. But while opening the doors is a welcome event, it's not as simple as opening the doors and getting back to normal.
We have new guidance to follow. We have new demands from our government, team members, and even patients. Expectations of our practices have never been greater. Our patients need to be confident that they are safe in our offices. Our team members need to as well. Thus, we must take very deliberate steps to ensure our practices are a safe, welcoming place for everyone.
We've been monitoring the best and latest information for you to help you successfully reopen your practice. Here are key steps to minimize health risks when reopening your practice post COVID-19.
Prepare Your Dental Practice for New Oversight and Regulations
Regulations and oversights used to move slowly. COVID-19 changed that. In a matter of days, we were told to cancel elective dental procedures. That forced many dental practices to close completely. Others were open only for emergency visits.
As we reopen, consider whether you want to perform emergency procedures or even virtual consultations should COVID-19 flare up again. Put a plan in place should regulations return over the summer months or even next fall or winter. Will you perform emergency procedures? Will you conduct virtual consults? If so, how? Who will handle those? Will you promote that your office is open for emergencies and virtual consultations? If so, have your messaging in place so you can get started quickly.
Similarly, connect with communities of practices, like the Delivering WOW Dental Hangout Facebook group. There, you can connect with other practices navigating the post-COVID-19 world. You can share resources and information to maintain flexibility and be in a better position to navigate any future disruptions.
Establish Additional Safety Procedures for Post-COVID-19 Heath Risks
For example, before dental care begins, the ADA recommends you address the following three issues.
1. Dentist and Dental Team Preparation
We must have procedures in place to ensure the safety of the staff. This includes ensuring all dental health care personnel have received their seasonal flu vaccine. Any team members experiencing influenza-like-illnesses should know to not report to work. Those who are of older age, have pre-existing, medically compromised conditions, or other high-risk qualities should take extra precautions.
Practices must also ensure team members self-monitor, check their temperatures, and remain alert to symptoms of COVID-19.
Other preparation suggestions include:
Being diligent in ordering personal protective equipment. These items may be in short supply from time to time.
Removing magazines, reading materials, toys, and other objects that may be touched by others and which are not easily disinfected.
Scheduling appointments apart enough to minimize contact among patients.
Preventing patients from bringing unnecessary companions to their appointments.
Together these preparations will minimize the spread of COVID-19 for everyone in the office. Communicate these procedures to all staff and patients so they can comply. They will also be comforted that you are taking these precautions.
2. Screening for COVID-19 Status and Triaging for Dental Treatment
While minimizing the spread is important, the ADA also recommends putting in place screening and Triaging procedures.
Specifically, the safest way to reopen is a phased approach, focusing only on emergency or urgent care.
While doing so, the ADA suggests making every effort to interview patients by telephone, text, or video before their visits. Utilize these COVID-19 interview and assessment guidelines from the CDC when interviewing patients. Review the ADA interim guidelines for how to handle patients with various symptoms. The ADA recommends that only asymptomatic patients, patients who have tested negative for COVID-19 infection, or recovered patients (after 3 days since the resolution of signs and symptoms) be seen in dental settings.
3. Take precautions upon patient arrival.
When a patient arrives, permit them to wait in their personal vehicle. Communicate this policy before the appointment.
Ensure team members keep adequate supplies to reduce the spread of germs, such as appropriate hand rum, tissues, and no-touch trash receptacles.
Take precautions during dental care.
The ADA recommends taking extra precautions during dental care, as well, including the following.
1. Adhere to both Standard and Transmission-based Precautions and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Standard precautions are the minimum infection prevention practices. This includes:
use of PPE
safe injection practices
sterile instruments and devices, and
clean and disinfected environmental surfaces.
In addition, implement transmission-based precautions, such as:
patient placement (e.g., isolation)
adequate room ventilation
respiratory protection (e.g., N-95 masks) for team members, or
postponement of nonemergency dental procedures.
The ADA also recommends replacing PPE frequently, with surgical masks being replaced between each patient. Wear face shields to protect yourself, especially during procedures likely to generate splashing or spattering of blood or other body fluids.
3. Address suspected unintentional exposure quickly and schedule appointments to minimize risk.
Follow CDC recommendations in the event of suspected unintentional exposure. This includes having instructions on hand regarding when and where to go for testing. Include information about how to justify the need for testing and how to contact the dental practice to report results. If a test is positive, the office needs to report the exposure to all team members or patients at risk.
Additionally, schedule appointments to minimize risk. For example, the ADA suggests aerosol-generating procedures should as the last appointment of the day.
Put post-dental care procedures in place to increase safety.
Put policies in place to ensure safety post-dental care. This includes both practice procedures in between patients as well as adjusting post-operative instructions for patients.
1. Enhance safety procedures in between patients.
While practices regularly engage in cleaning between patients, take extra care to reduce transmission risk. This includes cleaning or replacing PPE and disinfecting non-dedicated and non-disposable equipment.
2. Update post-operative instructions to patients.
Review the latest guidelines regarding appropriate post-operative treatment. For example, there is controversy regarding whether ibuprofen is appropriate to take in light of data suggesting it might harm patients with COVID-19. Thus, you might consider recommending other medications to manage pain in case a patient has COVID-19 but is asymptomatic.
Teach team members to protect themselves and their families after work.
The ADA suggests team members should change from scrubs to personal clothing before returning home. Upon arriving home, they should take off shoes, remove and wash clothing, separately from other household residents, and immediately shower.
These activities will help reduce the risk that a team member brings COVID-19 to their families.
How are you preparing to reopen your dental practice post-COVID-19?
While reopening your dental practice post-COVID-19 is exciting, it must be done with safety in mind. Not only will that protect you, your team members, and your patients but it will also help you make everyone feel safer in your office.
Running a dental practice is a team effort but, as dentists, sometimes it feels like we’re doing all the work. The reality is, that’s not the case. In fact, your practice wouldn’t be as amazing as it is without your team members contributing greatly. Your practice might not feel amazing right now. But with a few simple shifts, you can experience incredible growth and fulfillment.
While these challenges are important to overcome in any environment, now is an even better time to help get them done. The covid-19 crisis, and the resulting pause to our practices, gives us an unprecedented opportunity. During this pause, work on putting simple strategies in place to come back stronger and with an even more productive and motivated team.
Here are two daily challenges many practice owners express and how to solve them.
“My team member isn’t getting done what I want them to get done on a daily basis.”
With this one, sometimes the cure is a dose of hard truth. When this feeling comes up, are you sure the issue is with the team member? To find out, ask yourself, “What did I not do to make this person as good as they could possibly be in their position?”
Oftentimes, frustrations cause us to only focus on a team member's mistakes. That causes us to think about taking measures to replace them. When that happens we need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and remember the value of that team member. They’ve surely done a lot of amazing things for your practice. If not, it's possible they need to be transitioned out to protect the rest of your team. But many team members just need better direction and management from us.
A great way to point your team member in a better direction, and ensure they get done what you want them to get done, is to create a task list. Reprioritize their responsibilities. When you do this, you might even realize that your current expectations are unrealistic. You might be asking them to do too many things. You might be asking them to do low-value tasks that cause high-value tasks to go undone. Or, you might ask them to do things that are too difficult for them to do.
Create a realistic, prioritized task list that has your team member focusing first on what you want them to get done every day. That way, they’ll get the high-value items complete first. They’ll also be much happier and motivated. They aren’t being given a daily list of duties that leaves them feeling unproductive and overwhelmed.
“My team members aren’t implementing my processes.”
When you strive to deliver a WOW experience to patients, you’re going to do unconventional things. You'll hand patients warm towels when they come in or offer them gourmet coffee. You might spend a whole lot of money to get all these processes put in place. And then you might get annoyed when you realize your team members aren’t giving the patients what you want them to give them.
If your team members aren’t implementing your processes, educate them as to why they need to put those processes in place. To use the example of handing out warm towels, explain that patients come back to your practice for the experience rather than the dentistry. Talk about how this motivates people to get dental care they need and improve their health. Your team will be more motivated knowing handing out towels helps people avoid big health issues in the future. All of your processes can be tied to a motivating positive outcome. Your team members will begin to see the importance of them.
Motivate them further by telling them that increased productivity will result in an increased bottom line, which will result in them getting bigger bonuses. Dangling the carrot of a big bonus is an incentive many dentists use when trying to get the best work from their team.
What issues are you having that we can help you with?
Are your team members regularly completing their tasks or following procedures? If not, ask yourself whether a shift in the way you lead them is the answer. And try these tweaks to the way you lead them. They might be just what you need to take your practice to new heights.
If you want more help with building a WOW practice, join the Delivering WOW Platinum Coaching Program where you can access top training and coaching from experts in all facets of running a high-growth dental practice.
During crises, people’s natural instinct is to stop marketing. While that’s a smart instinct, completely shutting down and going into hiding can cause even more damage to your practice than the crisis itself.
With the COVID-19 crisis, for example, a large percentage of the world is sheltered in their homes. Many practices are closed. Some are open only for emergencies. So, continuing your normal ad strategy of promoting high-value services like Invisalign or crowns is not money well spent.
But what about continuing to build relationships in your local community? What about being a source of joy, help, and inspiration for people stuck in their homes? Is that money well spent? Absolutely, if you do it right.
Right now, with so many businesses turning off their ads, it has resulted in more supply and less demand for Facebook ads. That means the costs for ads have come down significantly and we can make an incredible impact on our community while strengthening our practice with a very small ad budget. Here’s how.
Share community-building posts and start a fun challenge on your practice page.
During crises, we might not want to spend money promoting services we aren’t providing. But we do want to make sure we are still connecting with our communities, helping them get through being at home.
That means continuing to share videos from our homes. My team and I have made videos telling people we miss them and letting them know we can’t wait to see them when things settle down. Those videos help us stay in touch with patients and reach new ones with a caring message of positivity.
In addition, this is a great opportunity to connect with a fun at-home challenge, like a push-up or squat challenge that promotes healthy habits. It doesn’t matter if you can’t do push-ups or squats. Those are just details. Do something. Jump rope. Do jumping jacks. Do arm curls. Dance for thirty seconds. Anything that is fun and gets people moving will work.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. I’m not great at exercise. It’s fine.
Then, post your challenge video on your practice Facebook page with a caption that reads, something to the effect of “Let’s get moving. Post your videos to our page in the comments so we can exercise together while we’re all at home. Then tag a friend to challenge them to do the same”
Get your whole team in on it, positing videos in the comments to start building momentum. This will help your post start to go viral—and you know I’m all about getting videos to go viral.
People will love this type of post and feel closer to you because of it. You’re connecting with your community. You’re getting them moving. You’re getting them off their TVs, off their sofas, for a little bit and just moving and thinking about fitness.
Share your post on your personal page to continue building momentum.
After you post it on your practice page, share it on your personal page with all of your Facebook friends.
Not only does this spread a positive message but it also helps build your Facebook audience for future advertising. Anytime someone watches the video, Facebook will register anyone who watches the video as a three-second, 25%, or 50% video view.
That means you can create a Facebook target audience of anyone who watches the videos in the future.
Increase organic engagement.
Anytime you have someone engage with your post with a comment, like, or share, that is considered “engagement” from Facebook. So getting your team members involved and everyone sharing the post to close friends will naturally increase organic reach.
You can also ask some friends who you know to participate by posting videos to your practice page and personal post. Ask them to help you spread joy. Ask team members to do the same to help you build strength for your practice for when things settle down.
All of this organic engagement will tell Facebook that your video is something people enjoy. Facebook doesn’t watch our videos. But they calculate how many people engage with our posts. The more people engage, the more Facebook will promote our posts for free. That means, calling out friends in the comment to take the challenge and call out more friends will help.
If you’re a member of a Facebook group that allows sharing posts like this, share it there, too. For example, when I taught this marketing strategy in their posts in the group so the 15,000+ people could help create organic engagement for you.
Some groups won’t allow this, so be sure to follow group rules. But in these times, I want to help as much as possible so I invited people to share their video.
Boost to your local community.
So far, everything we have done has been organic. I’d highly encourage you to invest a few dollars boosting your post to your local community. If you already have your dental practice’s Facebook target audiences set, boost your post to them. If you have your Facebook super audience set, boost it to that audience. I suggest starting with just $25.
When you boost, you want to make sure you filter so your boost is only to your local community. If you have people from outside your community who like your page or on your personal feed, your organic reach and organic engagement will be from the world. But I only want you paying to reach people in your local community to get the best return on investment.
Your challenge is to start a challenge.
Anytime we have situations like what we have now, we focus more on planting seeds for the future. Facebook costs are low now. Grow your audience and help bring a positive message to your community.
Now is the time to show up and shine brightness in your community. When the market normalizes, we will be in a much better position to come back stronger with ads letting people know we are open.
If you don't want to go at it alone, we are helping hundreds of practices during this time in our Platinum Mastermind Gold Program, and are offering 4 Weeks Free Training for you and your teams! If you have been wanting to dive into Facebook Marketing though our Facebook Bootcamp Program, now is also a great time to start preparing for when you reopen!
And be sure to join the Delivering WOW Dental Hangout Facebook group to connect with, support, and get support from other dental professionals working hard to strengthen their practices, even in tough times.
Most dental professionals went into the business of dentistry to improve the lives of people who require dental care. So, naturally, we care about helping those in need. But we can use that same desire to make an impact on individuals, our communities, and the world.
These days, charitable initiatives can make more of an impact than ever. Coronavirus is putting everyone through so much stress, and some people could really use help—and hope—right now. It's not hard to get involved in something that will make a positive impact. You could do something as straightforward as sponsoring virtual events. Or even attending virtual events yourself—like hosting a contest to give dentistry to those who need it but struggle to afford it when it's safe to do so. You could even do things outside of dentistry, such as shopping for vulnerable people until it's safer to shop for themselves.
Many of the best and most successful practices regularly participate in charitable initiatives and other ways of giving back. Not only are these great for the world but they are also good for business. Here are just two of the benefits many practices see when they invest in doing good for the world.
Attract and Retain Ideal Team Members
Those who are passionate about what they do, and aren’t just going through the motions, are the team members you want to attract and retain. But it’s hard for some team members to be passionate about what they do when they don’t feel like they’re a part of something bigger.
An ideal team member is filled with ambition from head to toe. But this ambition often makes them want to make a bigger impact than what’s happening within the walls of a dental practice. So, offer charitable initiatives that can help team members make that impact. If you do, your ideal team members will hear about it and will be applying for a job at your practice in no time.
It’s appealing to potential team members when they are looking at your job listing. It’s also motivating for them once they start working at your practice. They can wake up every day with a smile on their face. They can get out of bed knowing they’re changing the lives of patients more than most dental professionals. They're not just helping them get the dental care they need, but they're working for a practice that's going above and beyond to give to the greater good. That’s sure to keep them around.
Getting everyone to have a smile on their face because they’re changing the world could make your team go from good to great. Some average team members might evolve into amazing team members from that extra motivation and morale. They'll work harder because they have a renewed passion for what they’re doing. Nothing makes a job more special to your team members when they know they’re there for a cause, not just a paycheck.
Attract and Retain Ideal Patients
Corporate practices typically offer cheaper services. But one of the biggest reasons patients choose your practice even if it's more expensive is that they align with your purpose and have a much better experience. When you have a brand that is known for giving, people are more willing to use your practice. And if they're deciding between two independent practices, the one that gives them the best experience and gives back to the world has a big advantage.
You can also attract patients through the specific initiatives you support. You can meet patients at events. People can see your practice listed as a sponsor. And current patients will be able to talk about your practice to their friends, family, and colleagues in a way other practices' patients cannot.
Moreover, patients who appreciate your charitable side are likely to be even more loyal because of the bond you form through your charitable efforts. They will know their dental visit is about more than just teeth; they’re joining a movement with you.
In today’s society, people are begging for meaning—they’re begging to be a part of something that matters. By having charitable initiatives in place, you enable your patients to be a part of something that matters just by getting treatment from you. That’s a connection that will make them raving fans of your practice and they’ll come back time and time again.
What charitable initiatives could you invest in?
Find something you’re passionate about and see what charitable initiatives you can get involved in. By doing so, you will create a tremendous win for everyone impacted by your generosity while improving your practice for your patients, team members, and you.
If you want help with growing your dental practice, join the Delivering WOW Platinum Coaching Program where you can access top training and coaching from experts in all facets of running a high-growth dental practice.
One team member that directly impacts the growth of your practice is your hygienist. Hygiene is one of the most important factors in the profitability of your practice—30% of your revenue will come from hygiene. That’s why you need to do these things to set your hygienist up to reach peak productivity.
Make sure the hygiene schedule is productive.
Oftentimes, your scheduler will block out a whole hour for your hygienist to treat a patient. And, oftentimes, your hygienist will finish treating them before the hour is up. You don’t want there to be periods in between appointments. It's an unproductive day if they spend portions of it sitting around, bored, and twiddling their thumbs. It doesn't matter if they're only doing that for thirty minutes or ten minutes. That unoccupied time is going to add up to a lot of lost revenue.
So, make sure there are no gaps in time. Make sure your hygienist is getting as many patients in their chair as they can with the time allotted. Getting more patients in their chairs means better productivity. Better productivity means better profitability. Better productivity and better profitability mean better practice growth.
However, don’t overwork your hygienist. You don’t want them overwhelmed and laboring until they get so stressed they up and quit.
Train your hygienist to explain a patient’s needs to you before you evaluate them.
Train your hygienist to share a patient’s medical history with you and explain their needs immediately when you come in to check on them. That way, you aren’t coming in and poking around the patient’s mouth for a few minutes to determine what treatment they need. You can speed things up by having your hygienist explain the issue at hand so you can direct your time and focus toward it right away and save time.
Teach your hygienist the right communication skills.
It can get monotonous for your hygienist to constantly do the same thing every day. But there's a way to boost the treatment experience for both your hygienist and their patient. It's all about learning the right communication skills.
Teach your hygienist to use the right words when discussing treatment. Encourage them to converse with the patient in a natural way rather than speak dentalese. Show them how to make the patient feel like a VIP. This will lead to a connection between your hygienist and patient that will spice things up. It'll make the time more enjoyable for them both. That smooth relationship will result in increased case acceptance from patients and increased engagement from your hygienist.
Allocate a bigger budget for optimal dental-hygiene instruments.
You want integrity in your dental tools if you want to provide the care your patients deserve and make your job easier. Part of that is sharpening your instruments on a regular basis and keeping good care of them so they can last longer. But you can’t use your dental instruments until they’re rusty.
Put yourself in the shoes of the patient: would you want to be treated with dull, old instruments? Now put yourself in the shoes of your hygienist. Would you want to have to use dull, old instruments to treat a patient? It’s like giving someone a butter knife to cut a steak! It’s a great way to get carpal tunnel, that’s for sure. Make it easier for your hygienist to treat patients efficiently by giving them optimal dental-hygiene instruments.
Have everyone on your team use scorecards.
Every dentist has a vision they share with their team and, if they don’t, they should develop one. But if your team members aren’t measuring anything, how do you know where you’re going? That’s why every team member, especially your hygienist, needs to be using scorecards.
Is your hygienist helping your practice reach peak profitability?
If your hygienist isn’t doing these things, then money could be flying out your back door. You can make your practice a whole lot more productive just by making these simple adjustments.
If you want more help with getting practice to be as productive as it can be, join the Delivering WOW Platinum Coaching Program where you can access top training and coaching from experts in all facets of running a high-growth dental practice.
In dentistry, it’s not a matter of if challenges will arise. It’s a matter of when those challenges will arise and what the nature of those challenges will be. They can be practice specific, due to a local event or health problem with yourself or a key team member. Or, they can be broader, like the Covid-19 pandemic that started in late 2019. Challenges test our practice and leadership strength. If our practices are sound, we will be better prepared to navigate the challenging times. If our leadership is strong, we will be much better positioned to support our teams and maintain a healthy practice.
But none of it is easy. And some of it is out of our control. No matter what, the way we respond to the challenge will go a long way to determining how it works out for our practice, our team members, and ourselves in the end.
Here is how you can rise to the occasion, to lead your practice with strength, even in the most challenging times.
1. Stay true to who you are.
The first steps to building a WOW practice include setting a vision for your practice and determining your practice culture and values. During challenging times, it is even more important to lean into your vision, culture, and core values. Use those as a filter through which you make decisions. If you need to make cuts to save the practice, how can you do that in a way that stays true to your culture and core values? How would you deliver the message?
Difficult decisions and conversations often must be made. Make those decisions consistent with your vision, culture, and core values but within the context of your circumstances. That will help you make better decisions and conduct any challenging conversations with the right heart.
2. Focus on relationships, not transactions.
Any crisis will make people worry about their jobs, especially one that reaches far and wide, like the Covid-19 pandemic. That does not only include your team members. It also includes your patients. Be sensitive to the reality of the world around you, and focus on building deeper relationships with the people who matter most to your practice—your team members and your patients.
With the Covid-19 pandemic temporarily closing many dental practices for non-emergencies, you have an opportunity to build deeper relationships with the people who matter most to your practice. This can take several forms, including having team members reach out to patients to check in on how they are doing without any attempt to schedule an appointment. Let them know you care about them and wanted to call and see how they were doing. They will appreciate the outreach and see you for who you really are: a caring group of neighbors.
If you can perform emergency procedures, let them know that, while you are closed for non-emergencies, you are here for them if they need urgent care. It will help put their mind at ease that while you are closing for the greater good of the community, you are not abandoning them. If you are looking for solutions for virtual consults, have a listen to this interview about how virtual consults work.
Also, let your team members know how much you appreciate them and keep them informed with the reality of the challenge. Be open and transparent about the reality and, if you need to let people go, help them apply for available benefits. You can even reach out to them to keep them updated on when the practice might be in a position to hire them back. Here is where you can learn more about Employment Considerations in Uncertain Times.
Investing in treating the most important people to your practice well—and not just focusing on patient or employment transactions—will pay dividends for years to come.
3. Look for opportunities.
In every challenging time, there will be opportunities. There will be opportunities to help. There will be opportunities to limit the downsides. And there even will be opportunities to thrive.
What opportunities do you see around you? Could you invest in training for your hygienists? What about your front office team? Could you invest in putting new systems or processes in place? What about putting together a social media strategy for your dental practice or building dental marketing funnels for when things pick up. Zoom is a great resource for having virtual meetings with your team to work on the business.
Can you start a Facebook group for local dental professionals navigating the challenge? You could rise to a community leader and even find high-performers to hire for your practice when things turn around. Whether it’s internally or externally focused, in any challenge, you will find opportunities to come out on the other side of the challenge stronger.
Delivering WOW is here to help train your teams during this time and is providing FREE Training for the next 4 weeks through our Delivering WOW Platinum online training portal. (Use the code FIGHTCOVID) to get started. We will also be hosting a Facebook Live 12 Day Summit on the Delivering WOW Facebook Page starting Monday, March 23rd.
4. Focus on the present, not the past or even the future.
When challenges arise, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut focusing on things of the past or stressing about an uncertain future. The strongest leaders, however, focus on the present. If your systems weren’t strong, put new ones in place. If your team training was lacking, start training your team. Stressing about what put your practice in the condition it is today is natural, but it won’t help you come out any stronger.
The same is true about the future. An unlimited number of variables will impact the future, and there’s no way to predict exactly what it will look like. And when you’re in the midst of a challenging time, it’s hard to see a positive future ahead. But we have gone through crises before, and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes the tunnel is longer than we expect. Sometimes it is shorter. But the tunnel will end, and the future will be better and brighter if you focus on making the best decisions in the present.
5. Decide who you want to become, and begin working toward making that a reality.
What type of leader do you wish you had during times of crisis? What type of leader do you think your team members need? Visualize that leader, and work toward becoming that leader.
Crises give us an opportunity to rise to the occasion and become the leader we were meant to be. It happens with every crisis. Someone rises to the occasion and shows grit, resiliency, and determination they didn’t even know they had inside them. You can be that leader, rising to the occasion to lead your team like never before.
6. Focus on what you can control.
You can’t control your circumstances, but you can control your responses. Even in good times, life is unpredictable. And in challenging times, there will be many more things that are out of your control than are in your control.
But at all times, there will be one thing you can control: your response. Your results will be determined by how you respond to the events around you. When times get tough and the stress levels rise, ask yourself what part of your circumstances you can control. Then make the best decisions possible about what you can control, and you will make the best out of any situation.
7. Be creative and resourceful.
It can be very hard, especially for those of us who are used to a routine but, in challenging times, the most creative and resourceful leaders will come out strongest. Encourage your team members to do the same.
This could be as simple as looking for alternatives to in-demand items before you need them. Be ready to order those alternatives because those might be in short supply down the road. Resourcefulness is a skill that will come in handy for a long time.
8. Express gratitude daily.
No matter how bad things get, there will always be room for gratitude. Every day, wake up and name three things you’re grateful for, even if it’s just clean linens, hot coffee, and fresh air to breathe. When things get stressful, take a moment to repeat the exercise. Look for things to be grateful for in everything you do. Gratitude is powerful. It puts things in perspective. It helps us focus on what matters most in life. It often makes us realize that, no matter what happens with our practices, we have what matters most in life and will be okay in the long term.
The other leaders will help share vital information about resources, restrictions, and decisions they’re making. They will also be shoulders to lean on to help you more confidently lead your team well.
You have what it takes to lead your team through challenging times.
If there’s one thing that’s true about dental professionals everywhere, it’s that we all have the ability to lead our teams well, even during times of crisis. We have a strong work ethic. Otherwise, we would not have made it through our education and training. We have strong decision-making skills. Without them, we would not be able to help patients make the best decisions for their health. And we have strong interpersonal skills. Otherwise, we would not survive in such a high-touch industry like dentistry.
And in times of crisis, we have an opportunity to demonstrate the best of our abilities and lead our teams better than we ever have before. You have what it takes. If you need help, join me and thousands of other dental professionals in my FREE Facebook group, the Delivering WOW Dental Hangout. We’re here to support you.
We can work towards our vision by sharing our objectives with our team, and this can be done easiest during the morning huddle. But even if we meet every morning, sometimes we can find that our team still isn’t doing their best work. Believe it or not, it’s usually because one of your team members is upset — and their negativity is contagious. Their sour mood has a huge impact on your patients and other team members.
Your team is your family. The key to getting them started off on the right foot every day is being there for them through thick and thin. Here are two ways you can ensure they’re feeling in good spirits every morning.
1. Focus on how your team members are feeling during the morning huddle, not the numbers.
It’s great to monitor KPI’s and make adjustments during your morning huddles. But that’s not the only thing you should be focusing on. Measuring stats should only be a small part of the meeting. Designate the majority of the huddle to check in with how your team is feeling.
If one of your team members is grouchy, it’s going to breed drama. It's going to put a dark cloud over your practice where everyone is in a bad mood. Energy vampires can ruin the mornings for everyone else.
So, in your team huddle, ask one question: “Who is not at ten today?” Encourage your team members to be honest about their current mood. If someone is feeling at three, then it’s up to the rest of the team to support them, build them up, and bring them up to a ten.
Even if everybody is at a ten, continue to support them by showing appreciation. It's demoralizing when you work your butt off at work and nobody ever shows that they appreciate you. You’ll feel like you aren’t worth anything to anyone. You won’t be enthusiastic about getting out of bed on a cold morning. It won't be exciting to make the commute into the office and interact with your team or do your job. But when your team members come in feeling like they’re a big part of the practice, they’ll be happy to get to work and they'll be more engaged.
2. Put the morning people upfront and the non-morning people in the back for the first hour of the day.
We all know someone who isn't a “morning person.” If you have a front desk team member who isn’t a morning person, get into a routine where they sit in the back for the first hour of the morning.
Have another front desk team member who is a morning person replace them for the time being. That way, the non-morning person isn't shooing patients away with an unhappy-looking face. They can remain productive in the back. Have them handle insurance or whatever other tasks they can do that doesn’t require interacting with patients.
Now, that being said, you wouldn’t put a hygienist up at the front desk. That’s not what they’re trained to do and it’d mean patients aren’t getting the treatment they need. But, if your hygienist is a non-morning person, tell your scheduler not to book the hygiene appointments in the first hour of the day. They can stay an hour later, instead, so you can still meet those productivity goals.
Is your team getting started off on the right foot every morning?
A lot of the time, you don’t know what’s going on at home that’s making one of your team members grouchy. They could be dealing with a really bad situation that’s spilling into their attitude at work. A loved one could be sick. Their newborn could be keeping them up all night. They could be going through a divorce. The possibilities are endless.
For some team members, the issue might just be that they're not a morning person. Regardless of what's going on in the lives of your team members, you need to be emotionally available. Being sensitive to the needs of your team members is the key to getting them started off on the right foot every day.
If you want more help with building a WOW practice, join the Delivering WOW Platinum Coaching Program where you can access top training and coaching from experts in all facets of running a high-growth dental practice.
Kindness goes a long way. If your patient is having a bad day, and even if they’re not, you can get them to smile when they come in by just giving a simple compliment. Don’t be ingenuine about it, but if you like the color of their dress or the design on their t-shirt, let them know.
2. Ask them about their life.
Needless to say, your patients have a life too. They have families, hobbies, passions, and things that matter to them. Don’t only have small talk with them about the local sports team (unless they’re a coach, their son plays on it, or they brought it up). That doesn't mean you should pry too much and ask for details that make them uncomfortable. But they’ll feel special when they know you care about them. They'll feel complimented if you're interested in them beyond just getting them in your chair.
If you find out they just became a grandfather, ask them about their newborn grandchild the next time they come in. If they just got married, ask them about where they’re going for their honeymoon. Patients want to feel like more than a number—they want to feel like you value them as a person. They want to know that you remember them. They don't want to feel like you're just churning through appointments impersonally, trying to make money and nothing more.
3. Give them gifts.
You aren’t Santa Claus, but you can give your patients small gifts. These gifts will make them feel special and, meanwhile, market your brand. There are a million websites where you can buy things like stress balls, toothbrushes, reusable water bottles, and so on. Pick whatever items you want to put in a goodie bag. Then put your logo on them and give them to patients as gifts.
4. Offer custom scheduling.
Ask your patients how long they’d like their appointment to be. Not every dental appointment needs to take an hour. Oftentimes, a patient will come in for a cleaning and their treatment will be finished twenty minutes early. If you can schedule them for specific time increments—half an hour, 45 minutes, etc.—ask them what they prefer. Maybe they need to get somewhere and those few minutes will make a big difference in freeing up their schedule.
5. Accommodate them.
At Delivering WOW, we believe in giving patients a WOW experience by making them feel like they’re VIPs. We offer warm towels, iPads, gourmet coffee, and more.
If you do too, your front desk members shouldn’t just point out these accommodations and let the patients do what they want to do. They need to interact with them more than that. Tell them to go above and beyond when serving them. They should be grabbing waiting patients the cream they want with their coffee or whatever else they’d like.
6. Keep them comfortable during conversations.
When your patients are sitting in your chair and you’re treating them, lying down is the most comfortable way for them to sit. But if you’re talking to them, then you need to sit them up. Take your mask and glasses off and read their body language with eye contact.
A patient isn’t going to like lying down, unable to make eye contact or see your face, with your hands and metal hooks sticking in their mouth. That’s uncomfortable for them and they won’t feel like you care about what they have to say.
Are you making your patients feel special?
Even if you offer the best dentistry in the world, patients won’t become raving fans of your practice and refer you to their friends and family if they just feel like a customer rather than a VIP. That’s why you need to offer a WOW experience and interact with them the right way so they feel super special.
If you want more help with building a WOW practice, join the Delivering WOW Platinum Coaching Program where you can access top training and coaching from experts in all facets of running a high-growth dental practice.