Know Your Margins

Do you know your margins? You should… after all, as a dentist you are a business owner, right?

What is your profit margin? Do you have any idea? Come on, please don’t guess. You need to know this. If you are not sure, would you promise to get on the phone with your accountant and ask him or her? He or she should have plenty of time to discuss this because typically this time of the year up until mid-April they don’t have much to do. They are probably just surfing the web and cleaning their closets anyway!

Why is it important to know this number? Because there is not a business person alive that should not pay close attention to their margin. OK, if you do not understand what a profit margin is, it is just another word for how much is left after your overhead/expenses are taken care of. If you have a $1 million practice and your overhead and expense come to $600,000, then your profit margin is 40%.

Here’s an interesting thought. Let’s say you have a really good patient coming in for a crown and you want to give her a 10% courtesy discount. We will use the numbers above and assume your profit margin is 40%. Let’s say your crown fee is $1500.  Since your overhead is 60%, it costs you $900 to service this crown, making your profit before you give any discount, $600. Agree so far?

But you are such a nice guy or gal, you agreed to give the patient a 10% discount. Now please correct us if we are wrong, but that does not make it any less expensive to service the crown, correct? It still costs YOU the $900. So as far as we can see, the discount reduces the profit on the crown by the entire amount of the discount ($150), making your profit only $450.

We are not saying not to give discounts. As a matter of fact, in our one day course we give you some good examples of when you should ABSOLUTELY give discounts. We are only saying it is important to understand your margins so you can make an informed decision and understand what happens when you give a discount.

Speaking of margins, there is one other type of margin you should be aware of. It is your crown margins. How are they doing? Are you still frustrated with the amount of time and adjustment necessary to insert a crown? Have you taken us up on your THREE FREE CROWNS yet? If not, why not? WE are paying for them! There is no risk on your end!

Would you please take a look at the letter below that we recently received via Facebook?

Dear Madow Brothers – Just wanted to let you know how much I like Maverick. I did not realize how many adjustments and remakes I had to do with my old lab until I started with Maverick. No lab is perfect, but so far I have had very little trouble. Thanks again.     Dr. Joanne Block, Owings Mills, MD

Are you even just a little frustrated? Just give Maverick a try. So many Madow members have done so and are incredibly pleased. CLICK HERE for more info. This will undoubtedly help you with several types of “margins!”

Have a great day!

Talk to you soon,?

The World’s Most Amazing Dentist!

When we were kids, our Mom took us to Dr. Isaac Koppel – a man who could be described as “The World’s Most Amazing Dentist.”

The multi-talented Dr. Koppel had no team members at all, and he could answer the phone, collect money from a patient, drill on a tooth and smoke a cigarette – often all at the same time. His amazing multi-tasking abilities surely kept overhead down, but even as kids we knew this was no way to run a dental office. Even so, some of his forty-plus year old amalgams are still in place!

Everyone these days knows that it takes a true team to have a successful practice. But sometimes, as opposed to Dr. Koppel’s office, it may not be clear exactly what everyone does. Sure – we know that the members of the business team deal with financial matters, appointments and other stuff like that. We certainly know that the hygienists provide periodontal therapy and that the assistants help the doctor with patient treatment. Most offices probably have a protocol for cleaning and setting up rooms, ordering supplies and many of the other tasks that go with the day to day running of the practice.

But one thing that we strongly believe is that EVERY team member is responsible for helping to bring new patients into the practice. Here are a few tips to make sure this is being done:

1) Every single team member needs to have personalized business cards. But it is not enough to have them – they must be given out at every opportunity!

2) All team members must know how to ask for referrals from existing patients. Many times it is actually more effective if team members do this instead of the doctor. Be on the lookout for opportunities such as a patient mentioning their spouse, children, co-workers, etc..

3) Let everyone know that you are a proud member of a dental team. All of the people you transact with on a regular basis – school parents, business owners such as dry cleaners, co-workers of your spouse, etc. need to know that you are a member of a fantastic dental office. Make sure that you e-mail signature says so as well!!

4) Telephone, telephone, telephone!! Every single team member needs to be properly trained in correct telephone skills. If this is not the case, your practice is losing hundreds of new patients each year!! We strongly suggest that you check out our  “Profitable Scheduling” training program. Compared to other programs it is inexpensive, fast, and we believe it is the best one out there – guaranteed!! If anything will pay for itself many times over it is getting more potential patients off the phone and into the appointment book!

Even though good old Dr. Koppel may have been the world’s most amazing dentist, he most likely did not have the world’s most amazing practice. It takes an entire team to have a truly amazing practice, and that includes having a great flow of new patients. So remember – don’t ever say “That’s not my job!!!” Take the steps listed here and watch your practice grow!

Testing, Testing, Testing!

We have seen so many dental websites lately that simply don’t “work.” Our very good friend Dr. Michael Barr of www.RevUpYourMarketing.com says in order for a website to be “working,” it needs to be making you money. And there are three important components you need to consider to reach that goal. First, people have to be able to FIND your site. This is typically done by ranking high with search engines on keywords that people are searching on. Next, there needs to be a reason to STAY on your site and actually see what you have to offer. This takes place with compelling information. Lastly, there needs to be a way for your visitors to take ACTION. This would be some type of offer or reason they need to set up an appointment, request a free report, etc.

Another very important thing to consider. With all of the different types of computers out there running different operating systems and browsers, how does your site appear on everyone’s computer? Of course your webmaster does the best job testing this, but the bottom line is that you never really know unless you ask. We recently had our email template redesigned (the one you are reading now). We actually had no idea that in some older versions of AOL mail readers, our heads were totally chopped off. And there were other issues as well. Thanks to Dr. Brian Kvitko of Columbus, OH for letting us know.

The best thing you can do is to ask your patients to check out your site for you. In doing so, they not only get to help you test, but they get to see all of the cool things you are offereing that they perhaps did not even know about. How cool is that?

Along those lines, could YOU do us a favor today? Could you please go to our website, www.madow.com, and check it out to make sure it looks OK on your computer? Take a look at random pages and if there is anything that simply does not appear right, we would love to know!

While you are there, please check out this very special page. Drs. Bodak from Media, PA actually wrote this and we would love for you to take a look. Oh, and by the way, if there is anything on our site that does not appear right on your computer, could you please let us know today? Thanks so much.

Who Are The Best Patients?

Today is “Senior Day” here in Maryland. Does that mean that the state is doing something special to recognize it’s older citizens? No – actually “Senior Day” here means that our beloved University of Maryland Terrapins are playing their final home basketball game of the season and our three seniors, including standout Greivis Vasquez are being honored. Too bad the game is against Duke.

But it should be “Senior Day” in your practice as well – today and every day. So much is written about how great the Baby Boomers are as patients – but seniors may be even better. Why?

  • Many seniors are embracing the new phase in their lives and want to look and feel their best.
  • Scheduling is usually easy as seniors are more than happy to take those harder to fill daytime appointments.
  • Seniors are finished with the big expenses in their lives and are ready to invest in themselves.
  • Got a pesky last minute cancellation? Senior’s schedules can be quite flexible and they will be glad to help you out.
  • As seniors face challenges such as decreased salivary flow, their dental health needs can change.
  • Seniors are usually a pleasure to treat!!!!!

Today’s marketing strategies tend to target families, working people and boomers. But don’t forget to attract seniors to your practice – they can be your absolute best patients!

Write a blog, article or press release geared towards senior’s dental needs and make it clear that you enjoy treating seniors in your practice. Have a section on your website dedicated to the dental needs of seniors and throw in lots of key words so seniors searching for a dentist on the internet will find you. (They are more tech savvy than you think!)

Try a booth at a senior health fair. You’ll be surprised how many people stop over to chat with you.

When asking your patients for referrals, we tend to think about the spouse, kids, co-workers, etc.. Don’t forget to target the parents of your patients. If they come up in discussion, make sure you let your patients know that you love treating this population segment.

If there is a senior in your reception area, chat it up with them and get them to make an appointment! Keep magazines such as AARP in there to make it clear your office is senior-friendly.

Get the whole team excited about this focus, and watch your practice grow with an underserved portion of the population who may prove to be your most enjoyable, pleasant, appreciative and lucrative patients!

More, More, MORE!

Some patients are short-sighted, greedy and selfish.

Extend yourself a little and they’ll want a lot.

Offer a free whitening case one week and they’re angry that it’s not available the next.

“The coffee in the reception area was not piping hot!”

The challenge of winning more than your fair share of the market is that the best available strategy–providing remarkable service and an honest human connection–will be abused by a few people you work with.

You have three choices: put up with the whiners, write off everyone, or, deliberately exclude the ungrateful curs.

Firing the patients you can’t possibly please gives you the bandwidth and resources to coddle the ones that truly deserve your attention and repay you with referrals, applause and loyalty.

Talk to you soon.

(Thanks to our friend Seth Godin.)

Dentistry Is An Up And Down Business

Something familiar to many in the business world is the “Elevator Speech.” Experts say that you should be able to give an enticing and accurate description of your business in the time it takes an elevator to get from top to bottom (or vice versa), thus maximizing your time with a captive audience.

The reason is that many times we have opportunities to tell someone about what we do but only have a few seconds to do it. In this instance, you absolutely have to be prepared.

So when you meet someone and they ask what you do for a living, just saying “I’m a dentist” or “I’m a dental assistant” will most likely not get them to run towards your office. But if you have a ten second or less elevator speech prepared and memorized, you may just pick up a few new patients along the way.

The elevator speech is similar to branding – it is essential to point out what is unique and exciting about your practice – and what makes you better than the competition. And of course even though it is memorized it should sound off the cuff.

So please take a few minutes and think about your elevator speech. Be sure to include information that sets your practice apart from the pack and will pique someone’s interest. Then memorize it and repeat it until it sounds natural. Now imagine this scenario.

You are at the bank setting up a checking account with the bank vice president. When they ask you what you do for a living, instead of just saying “I’m a dentist,” you can now say:

“I’m a dentist in Oak Brook – we’ve been there for fifteen years! We’re really careful about making sure our patients are extremely comfortable during their treatment. We do veneers, whitening and keep up to date on all types of cosmetic treatment – and we see regular families as well.”

Or how about if you are in line at the grocery store and start chatting with the person behind you. When they ask what you do, instead of saying “I’m a dental assistant,” you can say:

“I’m a dental assistant with Smiles On Main Street in Kansas City. It’s a great place – we use all of the latest technology like digital x-rays and lasers, but still have an old fashioned atmosphere that makes our patients comfortable.”

Which will lead more towards a chance to hand out your card and turn a stranger into a new patient?

And while these elevator speeches may seem a bit stiff in print, with a little practice yours will sound totally natural. Even though dentistry has its ups and downs, this is one simple thing you can do to take your practice to the top!