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An Old Nissan, Five Dollars and Your Dental Practice

“Here’s the scoop,” writes futurist, marketer, speaker, CMO and frequent blogger Greg Verdino in a post at his blog. “I drive a Nissan Altima and I’ve been reasonably happy with it. It’s neither the best car I’ve ever owned nor the worst, but I’m not a car guy so if it gets me from point A to point B safely without costing me an arm and a leg in gas money I’m satisfied. The Altima more than fits the bill.”

This may not be the world’s greatest endorsement, but it is most likely representative of how many Nissan owners feel about their cars – it’s not amazing but it certainly works well. Like it or not, this also may be how many (or most) of your patients feel about your practice. Let’s keep going here.

One morning Greg realized that his $315 lease payment was due THAT DAY! “Luckily,” he recalled, “Nissan offers an online payment option—so I logged onto their site and authorized an electronic deduction from my checking account.” The catch? Nissan charged a $5 fee for the convenience, and even more for using a credit card.

Here is Verdino’s take on the situation.

“In terms of dollars and cents this charge may be smart business. But in terms of perception and sense, I’m not so sure. Like I said, I’m a pretty happy Nissan driver but this morning I’m pretty annoyed with Nissan as a company. Even a minor inconvenience (in the form, ironically, of a convenience charge) takes its toll on how I feel about the brand itself and my experience as a customer. So much so that I’d not consider trading in and trading up to another Nissan when the time comes? Maybe. I’m not sure. But if that were to happen, wouldn’t the lifetime cost to the company (in the form of lost opportunity and lost business) outweigh the near term $5 windfall?”

Customers (and patients) expect to be rewarded for doing things right – not penalized. Nissan’s accounting department made a decision that the customer service department may feel is horrible! The explanation? What is comes down to is basically – “Sorry – that’s our policy!”

So how about your dental office? Do you have any procedures or policies that may make sense financially or even clinically – but could be turning off your patients?

Here’s a classic. Say this loudly in your best snooty tone.

“In OUR office, no new patients can get a cleaning on their first visit. They must be examined by the doctor and then reappointed.”

Is that the ideal way to do it from a purely clinical standpoint? Most likely. But how about from the potential new patient’s perception of how they would like to be treated? Is it convenient for them? Does it make sense? Is it making them jump through an unnecessary hoop to become a patient in your practice? Absolutely!

How many policies or standards do you have that may be 100% correct but are turning off your current patients or cutting off new patient flow? Probably more than you think! Even something that appears to be a nice service (i.e. offering “in-house” financing) can turn patients off when it comes time to make that collection call – and they most likely will stop coming in and certainly won’t refer their friends.

So take a few hours to brainstorm with your team things that you are doing, big or small, that may be “right” theoretically but in practical terms are turning off your patients. Remember – next time you see Greg Verdino he will be driving a Toyota!!

Special treat: If you are not seeing as many new patients as you would like – chances are you are doing many of the same things that Nissan did to Greg. Our new program will help you figure out how to eliminate them and increase your production like crazy! Check it out by clicking here!

SHORT WEEK? LOWER YOUR OVERHEAD!

The upcoming Thanksgiving holiday means so many things – sweet potato pie, the chance to say “pass the stuffing” with a straight face, playing football on the lawn like The Kennedys, crashing on the couch in an L-tryptophan haze, being with friends and family – and if you are a dentist, complaining about all of the revenue being lost due to a three day work week.

Well now you can take that well deserved break knowing that even though your production may be down due to the holiday you are also taking steps to lower your overhead immediately AND in the upcoming years as well!!

Two of the biggest overhead items in the dental office are wasted chair time (i.e. spending chair time on non-productive procedures) and lab costs. So what would happen if your crowns popped right in with very few adjustments or remakes necessary AND your lab bill was lowered at the same time? Obviously there would be a big chunk taken out of your overhead. But let’s face it – sometimes we reach a certain comfort level with our lab and are willing to put up with them because it is easier than switching. It takes a lot to get a dentist to switch a lab – maybe getting sent the wrong denture (“Wow – I’ve been adjusting this thing forever and it still isn’t close!”), not getting cases back on time, having little insects included in the lab box, and the like.

Over the last three years we have researched hundreds of labs, interviewed the owners and even performed site visits, all in order to answer the question – “Can you guys recommend a great lab?” And wow did we find a winner! As a matter of fact we were so impressed with Maverick Dental Lab that we actually teamed up with them! Why? Because we wanted to offer a fantastic high quality lab with unmatchable customer service owned by ethical caring people – and give you incredibly low prices!

The fact is, sometimes we tolerate mediocrity in a lab because it is just easier than switching, or maybe we don’t really know where else to go. That’s why we are going to make you an offer that is impossible to refuse! Try Maverick Lab this week and cut your overhead even more by getting THREE FREE CROWNS! This is an unbelievable opportunity to make your practice better and cut your overhead at the same time!

Think about it – how much better would your life be with better fitting crowns AND a lower overhead? Why wait? Check out our offer of three free crowns before you do your next impression! Just click here or call 1-866-318-6624. Now you can enjoy your Thanksgiving more with fewer remakes, lower lab bills, and three free crowns!!

By the way, to lower your overhead even more, be sure to ask Maverick about fantastic prices on top quality burs! Why pay retail if you don’t have to? Call 1-866-318-6624 now!!

The Easiest Way To Lose New Dental Patients!

According to a recent study, over 30% of telephone calls to dental offices never actually get answered. Of course we didn’t believe this – so what did we do? Called a bunch of dental offices!

Believe it or not, our anecdotal research showed that it was indeed true. Amazingly, most offices did not have phone coverage during their day off (typically Wednesday, Friday, or both) and just about every single one had an answering machine on during the absolute best time for new patient calls – lunch! Even more amazing – it was not uncommon to get a message such as “We are busy treating patients right now and cannot answer the phone…..” YIKES! Why not just scream to a potential new patient – “We are too busy for you!”

Think about it – if you are closed one day per week with no phone coverage and put the answering machine on during lunch, you are automatically losing 30% of your calls. Many of those are potential new patients who will never call back!

Now think of how much it would cost you in staffing to have the phones answered during these times. With a new patient being worth anywhere from $3600 to $10,000 (depending on whose statistics you like) – can you really afford NOT to have the phones answered?? Having constant telephone coverage is a guaranteed way to increase new patient numbers AND existing patient satisfaction.

For more tips on scheduling LOTS more new patients, click here to find out about our great new program, Profitable Scheduling, or call us at 1-888-88-MADOW.

Special Letter that will get you New Patients!

Greetings and thanks for taking the time to read this Special Letter geared to getting you new patients! The information contained herein has never been timelier.

Do you know that quarterly profit reports are about to hit the street? Unfortunately no one knows what type of impact this will have on the economy, the financial markets, and hence your dental practice.  Please listen… you cannot bury your head in the sand. If you do, the outcome is predictable – you lose your practice that you have worked your lifetime to build. If you do not believe me, please open your eyes. It’s happening in other industries. Dentistry is next if we don’t take action.

There is some good news that we may glean from this. You as a dentist are in control over many parts of your business. And yes, I use the word “business” here over “practice” because that’s what you are in – a BUSINESS!

One of the major things you CAN control is new patient acquisition. Have you ever stopped to think that you as a dentist, no matter how busy you may be, need a regular flow of new patients? It’s true. If you are not consistently getting new patients, you are losing ground. Getting new customers, clients, etc. is a basic principle of ANY business, not just dentistry! No matter how bad the economy is, you can NEVER lose sight of the fact that there are people in your area right now who are making the decision to see a dentist. Please listen very closely –

YOU need to be the one who gets those people into YOUR practice!

But let’s back up for just a second. My bet is that you have tried getting new patients many different ways. Of course you have. We all have. Some methods may have worked, others may not have. Some you may think work but are actually causing you to lose money. Not only that, if you don’t have an extremely accurate way to track every new caller to your office, a way to see what percentage of the callers actually make appointments, which ones come in, accept treatment, pay for their treatment, stay in the practice, and refer others, then you may be playing the “guessing game” that just about 99% of all dentists are playing.

Doing the type of tracking I referred to above can be very difficult and tedious, therefore most of us (unless you were an accountant in a previous life) don’t mess with that type of detail. The good news is that you don’t really have to be an accountant. But having said that, you absolutely must have a system in place that is proven to bring new patients to you consistently, at a rapid rate with a very good return on investment (ROI). Yes, this part is crucial if you want to get through this bad economy and have a long-term successful practice. The problem is you may not know what the absolute best ways to get new patients are!

As you may know, Dr. David Madow and Dr. Richard Madow are in the business of helping dentists become and stay more successful and profitable. They have been teaching dentists for over twenty years now. If you give me a few minutes of your time, I will reveal their best new patient secret ever!

David discovered this very early on, when he just started his practice, and it turned out to be the most powerful thing he would ever use to get new patients. He and Rich teach this to dentists all across North America in their “How to Love Dentistry, Have Fun and Get Rich” seminar. But now you don’t have to attend the seminar to learn it!

Many years ago when Dave first started his dental practice, the country was in the midst of a terrible economic crisis. Interest rates were sky high. And Dave was pretty darn naïve back then. He risked a lot of his own capital to set up an office with three treatment rooms located in a very nice townhouse office building in Ellicott City, Maryland, an affluent suburb of Baltimore. Nice furniture, the best equipment, and all of the supplies that his dental rep told him he would need. Of course he ended up having to borrow a lot of money from his “friendly” banker (at a very high interest rate).

Dave signed a five year lease. He hired an assistant named Jan and of course had to pay her. On the very first day the office opened, Jan and Dave were sitting at the front desk staring at each other, waiting for the phone to ring. He had zero patients

He was scared to death. He owed lots of people a lot of money and he realized he needed to do whatever he could to get patients in the door. He tried all of the regular ways. Yellow Pages, coupon mailings and ads in the local papers. He joined the Rotary Club and gave talks. He networked. He passed out his cards to neighbors and friends. Some of that stuff worked but it was slow. He needed patients and was not getting enough of them!

Dave had always considered himself a pretty good writer. One day while sitting at his desk with no patients on the schedule, he came up with a brainstorm of an idea. He wrote a very compelling one-page letter with the idea being that if someone in the neighborhood would receive it, they would read it and immediately want to call his office. And he had such confidence in Jan that he knew she could get practically any caller to come in as a new patient to give them a try.

By the way, let’s digress for just a second. Please re-read the last sentence. In this economy (or any economy for that matter) it’s absolutely crucial for you to have systems in place for your front desk people to convert a VERY HIGH PERCENTAGE of callers into patients. We will address this in a future report.

So back to the writing of the letter. He wrote it and loved it! As soon as it was finished, he knew it was a total winner. Everyone he showed it to, including Jan loved it and was confident that it would work. It was so simple but extremely compelling. So his plan was to mail one to every person within a certain radius of his office.

Dave researched what it would take to send these letters out. He found there was a little problem. Actually a big problem! The problem was between the cost of printing, renting the list, postage, etc., there was no way he could afford to do this. He would have had to actually borrow more money. He was considering a home equity line of credit but his accountant firmly warned me that he was too overextended and that he should not take out any more loans. As much as he wanted to quietly go against his advice, he did end up listening.

So Dave reluctantly put the letter on the shelf because there was nothing he could do with it! He did continue with the standard ways to get new patients, but they were working very slow, if at all. And one thing he could not afford at this point was slow!

Things were getting difficult and it was very tough for him to make ends meet. He was juggling bills and taking home much less than he needed to live on. He was really stressed. Because of the stress, he wasn’t eating exactly right and his lack of exercise was beginning to show in the way of weight gain around his mid-section and being tired a lot. Not a good situation.

He would often sit at his desk at work and imagine what it would be like to have a busy successful practice. He would sit there and say to himself “David… just concentrate, concentrate!”  But nothing much happened.

After carefully thinking about his dilemma for a few months, he came up with an interesting thought. Dave realized that there was a small group of people in his area that he should focus on. There was actually something special about this group. The something special was that

every single one of them needed a dentist!

Now you may think there is no such group of people where every single one of them needs a dentist, but please believe me – there is!

Now remember, Dave’s practice was in Ellicott City, Maryland, which is a suburb of Baltimore. So think about this. If someone new happened to move into town from California, Kansas, Ohio, or even from another location in Maryland, of course they would ultimately be looking for a new dentist. There was just no way they would be traveling long distances back to see their previous dentist.

And the good thing about this group of new people moving in was that it was small in numbers. That was good because he would now be able to afford to mail to them. The whole thing just made so much sense Dave was surprised that no one else had ever thought of this idea before!

So he went back to the shelf where he had placed his one page letter a few months earlier and took another look at it. When he re-read it, he absolutely knew this letter was a total winner. Dave believed that if he were to mail this letter to the new residents, most of them would want to call his office. And because of his confidence in Jan’s skills, he knew ultimately he could get them to come in to become his patients.

So with a little ingenuity, some research, and maybe even a little luck, Dave found a way to get a list of all of the people that had moved into my area over the last month. He was able to get his letters printed. He addressed some envelopes, folded them neatly, and stuffed the letters into the envelopes. He put stamps on each of them and dropped them into the mailbox near his office. Oh, and by the way for good luck, he kissed each one before actually dropping them into the mailbox! Dave is not really superstitious, but he figured there was nothing to lose. He needed all the luck he could get.

Then came the waiting period. This was actually the toughest part because even though Dave was certain that he was going to get many calls, there was always that bit of uncertainty. And by the way all of the bills were still piling up so he was counting on this working 100%. Dave was scared to death because he realized in the back of his mind if this did not work, I’d have to take drastic measures, which would mean borrowing more money (against his accountant’s advice) or possibly selling his new practice at a significant loss.

So Dave and Jan waited. A few days went by and nothing happened. He was a wreck. He started thinking the worst. This sure way of getting new patients was flopping.

But on the fifth day after he mailed the letters, they got a call. It was from someone who received one of his letters and wanted to come in for a cleaning. Dave was excited, even though it was only one call. And Jan had a little spreadsheet she kept at the front desk with a bunch of columns. Each column had a particular way a new patient would find out about the office. For example, the first column was labeled “Yellow Pages.” Jan was instructed by Dave to ask every single caller how they found out about his office. And if they had heard about him from the Yellow Pages, she would simply make a little check mark in the “Yellow Pages” column. By the way, this is absolutely crucial. I cannot emphasize how important it is to track every single caller to your practice. You may think you know what is working and what is not, but unless you are tracking every single caller, you are simply playing a very dangerous guessing game with your marketing.

And by the way, oftentimes callers found out about Dave’s practice from more than one way. So Jan would always question them. And if they found out about him by the Yellow Pages and they saw his sign, she would place checks in multiple columns.

So getting back to the person who called from the new resident letter. When the call was completed, Jan placed a check mark in the newly labeled column “New Resident Mailing.” Although Dave probably felt great to get a patient that appointed from the mailing, one patient was obviously not going to pay all of his bills!

The next day they received another caller who went ahead and appointed. Another check went into the new column! Over the next few days they received a few more! Something was finally starting to work with his marketing. Dave was starting to feel real positive about his practice all of a sudden.

But he didn’t want to jump to any conclusions too quickly. After all, just because this worked once, could it be repeated again with the same results? He then tried mailing the same letter the next month to a brand new group of new residents. Made sense, right? Guess what happened! You probably guessed right. They got many calls resulting in some really great new patients.

So Dave kept mailing this “Magic Letter” out at the beginning of each month and it kept getting me new patients. Lots of checks in the “New Resident Mailing” column. As a matter of fact, this new resident mailing was the best thing Dave EVER did in his practice to get new patients. It was extremely predictable. The really cool thing about it was that he could be on vacation with his family at the beach and his “Magic Letter” would be working for him!

The thing about new patients is that they give you the latitude to afford things. Dave was able to start paying most of his bills on time. He took some good courses to further his education. He went on some vacations with his family. He even started eating better and exercising (and yes, his midsection had begun to look much better!).

Well, in case you are curious, Dave built his practice up very nicely over the next few years. Nice steady growth and an income better than he ever thought. And I must tell you, Dave swore that he never would have been able to do it without sending the “Magic Letter” that he wrote to the new residents in his area. That was essentially the secret!

I appreciate the fact that you are reading this report.  I don’t want to see you make the same mistakes that David Madow made. If I can pass on some knowledge , I am happy to do so.

There are a few important points that you should remember. One point is that no matter what you are doing to get new patients now, I would like to see you tracking every single call. That is the only way to learn what is working and what is not. And remember, there are normally multiple ways that your callers are finding out about you. Make sure you record them all.

Another point (and this is by far THE MOST IMPORTANT) is that you have new people moving in around the area of your office. It is taking place every day. These new residents will all be looking for a dentist. They will eventually be going somewhere. Why don’t you make every effort to get them to come to you? Because remember, if they do not come to YOU, they will go to your competition!

After Dave’s huge success, he began making his “Magic Letter” available to dentists across the country. These dentists have reported phenomenal results. What causes it to work is the combination of mailing the “Magic Letter” to the new residents in your area. I cannot stress to you how easy it is to do this whole thing. It makes so much sense.

Why don’t you do your practice a favor? Give us a quick call at 1-800-258-0060. Tell us how many new patients you would like each month and we can help you reach that goal. Perhaps you need just a few to fill in some gaps in your appointment book. Or maybe you need larger numbers. Whatever you need, we can help you. I am absolutely certain of this. Chatting with us is totally free. Seriously, there is no obligation in any way!

Let me tell you something else. We hear so much bad news about this terrible economy and the recession. And no one knows how long it will continue. Well, we have a choice and I don’t know about you, but we absolutely REFUSE to participate in this recession. The dentists whom we teach are making great money these days. Why? Because they am doing smart things when it comes to marketing. Same with the offices that are using our marketing strategies! And believe me, you can do the exact same thing. I really hope you do.

If you have read this report and are not quite sure what to do, please call us and we can help you. The best part is that you determine your level of participation!

Always remember one thing…

The Letter ­­­+ The New Movers = SUCCESS For You!!!!

Now that’s the easiest math equation you could ever learn!

We at The Madow Group would really like to help you. We have some ideas for you. Sometimes we find that just chatting on the phone can get you into a very positive mindset to boost your practice. It’s worked before and could work with you! So please call us at 1800-258-0060 today! Tell us that you read this letter and you’ll get a free gift!

P.S. If you think the information in this Special Letter was helpful, would you please forward it to a colleague of yours?  We need to stick together to make sure our great profession weathers this unpredictable economic storm. Thanks!

1-800-258-0060 is our “help line.” Tell us that you saw this letter!