Exhausting isn’t it?
Keeping patients coming in the door.
Competition is fierce.
I’m not the first to notice the influx of dentists into the market in recent years.
It’s easy to believe that there are too many dentists opening up around the country.
If that’s the case, what are you going to do about it?
Or maybe the question is, what can you do about it?
Well, you can’t do anything about the number of dentists, but you can do something about how that influx affects your dental practice.
The Grim Reality
As I travel around the country talking to dentists in all sorts of practices, many tell me they are anxious about the future.
Numerous dentists have defaulted on loans. Some have lost their homes.
Many are making less money, and seeing the value in their practice diminish.
This is due to the changing face of the environment, the number of new dentists, and the fact that dental health is now considered “discretionary spending”.
The fact is, traditional dental practice management, doesn’t work like it used to. So what you need is a new approach.
And it all comes down to patient retention. That is the number one profit leak in your business. It’s also your number one dental marketing strategy – or it should be.
How To Create A Compelling Reason For Patients To Stay
Build Strong Relationships
Your biggest advantage right now is that dentistry is a relationships-based business. Smaller boutique practices are in a better position to offer a more personalised experience and they have the opportunity to out-perform in this area.
Dental marketing starts by having a “fireside chat” to gather as much information as you can, in as little time as possible.
Initially, when you do this you want to find out their complaint, dental history and dental aspirations. You also want to gather as much personal information as you can.
Because you can use this information to build rapport. If they tell you about their grandchildren, you can inquire about them next time.
Remember, it’s the little things that count.
Build Patient Loyalty And Trust
One of the most important factors affecting patient loyalty is trust. Trust is at the heart of every relationship we have, whether it is personal or professional.
Trust comes down to three broad groups: Ability, Behaviour and Character – the ABCs of trust. Having the ability to perform a treatment correctly and with the right result promotes certainty. This is a basic human need.
When it comes to behaviour, our deeds must match our words. We need to be congruent with what we say and what we do.
Character is at the core of a person’s credibility. A key component is integrity and without that, you are missing one of life’s moral codes.
When you create value, you will be seen as an expert and trusted adviser.
Patients will make their dental health a priority and more and more patients will proceed with treatment, increasing your case acceptance.
To effectively build value, you must communicate it before, during and after the appointment.
Talk with your patients about what the treatment will entail and why it’s important before the appointment. During the treatment, explain what you’re doing at every step and then, debrief them afterwards.
When the patient is at reception, debrief the receptionist on what you have done and why – this is for the patient’s benefit.
Establish A Community
People like to be part of a community.
Because it nurtures positive relationships and gives a sense of belonging and security.
One of the consequences of building authentic relationships based on care and trust is that over time your patients start to see you as part of the wider community.
Being part of a community leads to shared experiences and fosters the development of community norms and cohesiveness.
Patient Retention Is Key
These four things combined will get your patient retention strategy off on the right foot.
And patient retention is key when it comes to creating and growing a stable dental practice.
Which is what you want, isn’t it? A stable practice you can grow.
Well here’s something that no one else will tell you.
That stable practice starts with you.
You can create a community of loyal patients who value your efforts.
You can build strong relationships with people.
You can create value for every one of your patients, so they see you as their trusted adviser.
You can sit there and wait for more patients to walk in, or you can create a strong business you can rely on.
Which will you choose?