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November Ideas From Coach Betty

There is still time to make your final quarter of the year your best one yet. To help make that happen, here are a few dental marketing & practice management tips & ideas for the month of November…

Candy Buy Back

Many of you will be starting off the month of November hosting and celebrating your office Candy Buy Back events. Consider doing a Facebook Live Video to promote your event. Be sure to alert the local TV news, online & print newspapers and social media sites about these events.

“Plaque Friday”

Why have Black Friday when you can have “Plaque Friday?” Offer special pricing on teeth whitening, electric toothbrushes, ortho consultations, or a new patient visit.

Dental Education Opportunity:

November is National Diabetes Month

Over 30 million Americans have diabetes. People with diabetes are twice as likely to develop serious gum disease. Use this month to educate your patients about the connections between diabetes and gum disease while they are in the chair and or via email, office newsletters, and your social media sites.

International Stress Awareness Day: November 7th   

Share tips on how to reduce stress & the relationship between stress and oral health. Service/Treatment Feature: Mouthguards.

Flossing Day: November 23rd

Post fun floss facts & tips on your social media sites. Make a video and share on Facebook, YouTube & Pinterest demonstrating proper flossing techniques. And if you’re not totally sick of seeing videos of people doing the floss dance…well, go ahead and incorporate a little dancing into your educational videos. Because…why not?

Cosmetic Dentistry Opportunity:

Many of your patients will soon be attending holiday parties/events and typically with these special occasions comes a lot of picture-taking. Now is a great time to help them see how they can easily get their smile ready for the camera with teeth whitening and other cosmetic treatment/procedures. Be sure to make Dental Gift Cards/Certificates available for purchase.

November Reminders: (I know I sound like a broken record with this first reminder, but it is too important to your success to ignore…)

Incomplete Treatment & Insurance Maximum Renewals

Do you have any patients with incomplete treatment or ones that are due/past due in hygiene with remaining insurance benefits that are going to run out at the end of this year? Do what you can to help them see the need and value in scheduling an appointment this month before the end of the year rush really shifts into high gear!
If you’d like a sample “Use it or Lose It” letter send us an email and we’ll get it to you.

Social Media Post Ideas to Boost and Encourage Engagement

11/4: Daylight Savings Time Ends

11/8: X-ray Day (Share why you take/need x-rays.)

11/11: Red Lipstick Day          

11/15: Great American Smokeout

Have a fantastic November, and please let us know if we can help 2019 be your best year ever! (Hint: we can!!)

Yours for Greater Success,
~Betty

Betty Hayden is the lead coach at The Madow Center For Dental Practice Success. She has over 25 years of experience in the dental profession. Her expertise is in effective telephone answering techniques, profitable scheduling, marketing campaigns, communication, social media, new patient acquisition, practice growth, and much more. She is called “The Idea Woman” because she grows practices!

If you have a question for this column, please write to us at coaches@madow.com. And remember, we would like to offer you a complimentary 30-minute coaching session! Please CLICK HERE to schedule yours. Doctors only please.

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End Of The Year Insurance Letter – Use It Or Lose It!

Hello all!! Lead Coach Betty Hayden here – welcome back to Coaches Corner! 

A question I am frequently asked is “Do you have a good end-of-the-year insurance letter?” After all, we don’t want our patients to leave insurance money “on the table” when they need treatment, and neither do they! 

 
Here is a good template for a letter you can send to your patients who have diagnosed but unscheduled treatment or are overdue for their preventive visit. Of course you should customize this to your office needs and culture.

Dear Theresa,

It’s that time of year again, when you are busy with school schedules, getting ready for cooler weather, and making upcoming holiday plans. During this hectic time, you may not be thinking about your available or unused dental insurance benefits.

Whether you have insurance benefits remaining or if you have funds set aside in a flexible spending account (FSA) or healthcare saving account (HSA), now is the time to schedule treatment so your co-payment amounts can be applied to this year’s deductions.

Make sure to use all available benefits to complete any outstanding treatment or for your all-important preventive dental hygiene appointment (“checkup and cleaning”). Almost all plans do not allow you to rollover unused dollars to the next benefit year, so it’s “Use ‘Em or Lose ‘Em!”

Call us today to schedule your appointment. We find that the upcoming holiday season is always our “busy time” and we are certain it is a very busy time for you too.

Beat the end of year rush and get in early! Just give us a call at 410-761-6454 to schedule. Do it right now before you forget!

Please know we are here to assist you and answer any questions you may have regarding your dental treatment.

Yours partners for better dental health,

Dr. Rightley and the team at Pasadena Smiles

A few more tips:

Personalize  – When mailing out remaining maximum letters, be sure to customize for each patient according to their treatment plan. This will help to re-create the urgency and value for treatment.  For some patients, it will take some type of additional incentive to get them to act.

Mailing Tip –  Use a bright-colored envelope and neatly hand-write the name and address. Use a “live” stamp.

Phone Calls – About a week after you mail out your letters, go ahead and start calling them to see if they received the letter and to schedule their appointment.

Document – Be sure to document that a letter was mailed, phone calls were made and what type of response you received from each patient.

Important Reminder – Before sending out these letters and making calls to your patients be sure to review your upcoming appointment schedule… Where is your open chair time? Will pre-blocking some open time be helpful? Also, before scheduling last minute appointments that require lab work, be sure to communicate with your lab guy/gal that they can in fact, get these cases back to you in time.

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Yours for Greater Success,
~Betty

Betty Hayden is the lead coach at The Madow Center For Dental Practice Success. She has over 25 years of experience in the dental profession. Her expertise is in effective telephone answering techniques, profitable scheduling, marketing campaigns, communication, social media, new patient acquisition, practice growth, and much more. She is called “The Idea Woman” because she grows practices!  

If you have a question for this column, please write to us atcoaches@madow.com. And remember, we would like to offer you a complimentary 30-minute coaching session! Please CLICK HERE to schedule yours. Doctors only please.

To sign up for our mailing list CLICK HERE

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Kind Of A Stupid Dental Phrase

We’ve heard it recommended by many dental “practice management experts” and have witnessed it being uttered in offices across the country – but that doesn’t make it right!

It’s a phrase said by the scheduling coordinator and involves “block scheduling” – for example, having a scheduling strategy that places the most productive procedures in the morning. (Whether or not this is a good idea is a topic for another day.)

It has been suggested by many that when getting a patient to do a highly productive procedure early in the day the following verbiage is used:

“Let’s schedule this first thing in the morning
when the doctor is fresh!”

Hmmmm….so what happens if the patient can only make it in the afternoon? They get a stale doctor? The treatment will not be as good? There will be mold growing on their brand new crowns? This is a silly phrase that should immediately be dropped from the vernacular!
Sometimes we slip into habits with things we say or do. Maybe they made sense at one time, or we were just blindly following advice (as with the old “fresh doctor / stale doctor” thing). Or maybe we just never gave it too much thought.

But please remember – every single word you say to a patient is extremely important!! Don’t take it casually and don’t wing it!

A great topic for a team meeting is to “calibrate” your responses to the most frequently asked questions patients ask and come up with great answers that will be used by everyone.

It’s so easy to fall into bad habits. Try to make it your goal that everything you do and say in your practice will be for a reason (hopefully a good one!)

What are some things you are saying or doing that can be improved?

What are some every day procedures and protocols that can be changed to create a better experience for your patients? This is a great topic for your next team meeting!

Coach Rich
Coach Dave

Dr. David Madow and Dr. Richard Madow are actual dentists who have been helping dental offices become more successful for over 28 years. They are down to earth, real people who personally connect with their clients and are proud to call them friends. If you have a question for this column, please write to them at coaches@madow.com.
We are now offering a complimentary
30-minute coaching session!

Please
CLICK HERE to schedule yours. Doctors only please. 

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The Letter

Welcome back to Coaches Corner! We are happy to share our years of experience working with dental offices all across North America.

Today’s question comes from Dr. Alan Chilton of Memphis, TN

Dear Coaches,

I haven’t raised my fees in over three years and realize this is long overdue. But I don’t want to scare my patients and chase them away. Do you have suggestions for a letter I can send them that explains everything?

Thanks for you help.

Alan Chilton, D.D.S.
Memphis, TN

Alan-

First of all, congratulations on the decision to raise your fees. It is one of the easiest ways to increase your revenue overnight, and three years is way too long to wait.

Here is our suggestion for a letter to send to your patients. Don’t do it. Did you hear that?

DON’T DO IT!

As far as we know, there is no legal or ethical reason to do this. And should you choose to notify everyone, it will cause more harm than good. When is the last time you got a notification from the grocery store that the price of a jar of mayonnaise is on the rise? An oil change at your car dealership? Has your physician announced that the fee for a colonoscopy is going up? (“Going up, my ass!!” “Yes, that is correct, sir.”)

Look. Your patients think your fees are too high anyway. When is the last time you presented a fee and the patient thanked you for providing such a bargain? It just doesn’t happen.

So please – give your fees (and yourself) a hefty raise. After three years you deserve it. After all, the price of everything else has gone up. No announcement is necessary. It is totally fine, and hardly anyone will notice.

Or, you could do this…..

Coach Rich
Coach Dave

 
Dr. David Madow and Dr. Richard Madow are actual dentists who have been helping dental offices become more successful for over 28 years. They are down to earth, real people who personally connect with their clients and are proud to call them friends. If you have a question for this column, please write to them at coaches@madow.com. We are now offering a complimentary 30-minute coaching session! Please CLICK HERE to schedule yours. Doctors only please.

 

The Most Common Mistake


Welcome to our brand new column, Coaches Corner! We are happy to share our years of experience working with dental offices all across North America.

Today’s question comes from a doc in Atlanta.

Hey guys, would you be willing to share the most common mistake or problem that you have observed from the offices you have worked with over the years?

Dr. Mike H., Atlanta, GA.

 

Dear Dr. Mike,

Great question. There are so many things we have observed over the years, but one thing stands out in our minds for sure. The most common problem we see even today is offices that are overly concerned with how many new patients they are receiving. Everyone wants more new patients. But most docs think that more new patients are the panacea – the answer to all of their problems.

So we get into a conversation and we ask why they want more new patients. It always comes down to wanting to earn more money. Then we ask questions. How is your cash flow? What do you mean you can’t pay your bills? Why aren’t your current patients making appointments for their recommended treatment? Why did you just go into more debt to purchase that new piece of equipment? A salesman told you it would increase your production? Do you really think it’s going to help you? Why do so many patients owe you money? You have an associate doctor who is making more money than you? Can you explain why? Do you even need an associate? What is your overhead? You don’t know? Well let us share this – it’s about 90%. Why aren’t you treating any periodontal disease in your hygiene department? Is it that your hygienist doesn’t own a perio probe? Or is it that she has no time to use it or discuss perio with your patients? Do you think your front desk person is actually getting patients to make appointments? Doesn’t look like it. She needs help badly. Have you looked through your file cabinet lately? No you haven’t. It’s FILLED with patients that need to come in. Do you know how to get them in? You are taking a course to treat headaches and you can’t even treatment plan a crown? REALLY? Do you honestly believe that dropping all insurance is the answer? Your problem is NOT new patients!

Dr. Mike – Sorry about the rant. But you asked. We see this situation almost every day.

 

Coach Rich
Coach Dave


Dr. David Madow and Dr. Richard Madow are actual dentists who have been helping dental offices become more successful for over 28 years. They are down to earth, real people who personally connect with their clients and are proud to call them friends. If you have a question, please write to them at brothers@madow.com. If you would like to ask a confidential question, please CLICK HERE to schedule a free call.

Say this, not that…

SAY THIS

“We would love to see you as a patient in our practice! Would tomorrow at 3:00 PM or Tuesday at 11:00 AM be better for you?”

NOT THAT

“Would you like to make an appointment?”

SAY THIS

“I know what the problem is and I can help you.”

NOT THAT

“This tooth needs a crown.”

SAY THIS

“Would you mind if I place you on a brief hold? I’ll be right back and able to give you my full attention.”

NOT THAT

“Dental office – hold please….”

SAY THIS

“We have some fantastic financial options to help make the cost of treatment more comfortable.”

NOT THAT

“Sorry – it’s not covered by insurance.”

SAY THIS

“Hello Mrs. Costello, I’m Dr. Luther. What may I help you with today?

NOT THAT

“Open wide please…..”

SAY THIS

“Thank you for calling Hill Valley Family Dentistry, this is Lorraine – I can help you!”

NOT THAT

(Voice mail answers) “If you’re hearing this message during normal practice hours, we are busy treating other patients…”

SAY THIS

“When you return for your next cleaning and examination in three months, we want to pay close attention to that area on the lower right to make sure the inflammation is under control.”

NOT THAT

“You’re due for a check-up in six months.”

SAY THIS

“If you were a member of my own family, that is the treatment I would recommend.”

NOT THAT

“If you can’t afford a crown we can always do a large filling.”

SAY THIS

“Yes!”

NOT THAT

“No…..”

Think about it

Picture this. You are presenting a treatment plan to a patient. Everything is going great. You think you have it wrapped up. But then they pull out the dreaded excuse…

“Let me think about it.”
You know from past experience that whenever you hear this objection there is a 99% chance this patient will turn into a ghost, not to be heard from in ever again.

Up until now you have tried all of the crappy comebacks that the two-bit consultants have taught you over the years but you know in your heart they just don’t work.

Today we are going to give you a new response to “Let me think about it” that should take care of this problem once and for all. It has proven to be very effective in our testing.

Can you guess what the best response to  “I need to think about it” may be?

Here is our suggestion:  DO NOTHING!

That is correct. When a patient tells you that they need to think about it, you know damn well it’s simply a stall tactic. There is something else on their mind but they are not saying what that is. Maybe it’s financial. Perhaps they are worried about the actual procedure. Pain. We are not sure.  If you just let them go and tell them it’s ok to think about it, you will not hear from them in 99% of the cases.

So try this. When they tell you they need to think about it, don’t say a word. That’s right… just keep quiet. You can look at them or look down a little bit. Or a combination of the two. Your body language must convey that you are concerned. But remember…

Do not say anything!

So what will happen next?

After a short time, your patient will feel very uncomfortable with the dead silence. Human nature is such that we want to fill in silence with words. So he or she will begin talking.

Once he begins talking, he will normally make his objection very clear and oftentimes come up with a solution without you even getting involved.

For example after a period of silence he may say “I don’t have the money at the moment but I am getting a fairly nice inheritance in October so would it be okay to wait until then?”

Bingo! You win.

Your response is “Sure Mr. Jones, why don’t we have Madge set you up right now for mid October?” Then have Madge give Mr. Jones two good options on dates and times and you are all set. You have treatment scheduled that in the past never would have happened.

Understand this. The silence at least gets them talking. Then it’s up to you to take the objection that comes up and turn it around and come up with a solution.

Will this work 100% of the time? Of course not. But we do guarantee it will increase your acceptance MUCH MORE than what you have been doing up until now.

Did you like this tip? Our goal is to make you more profitable! Please stay tuned for more answers to some of the most common objections in dentistry! We want you to be incredibly successful, and knowing the best responses will be a tremendous help to you and your practice! Stay in touch!

Stop Cancellations On The Spot!

 

It’s a constant problem in dental practices – a patient calls at 10:00 AM to cancel their 2:30 PM appointment. What do you do?? Can the appointment be saved?

 

What you DON’T want to do is get into a fight with the patient or start asking them a million questions about why they can’t keep the appointment. They will most likely get defensive and nobody wins.

 

So what do you do? Here is an amazing trick that is simple to do and actually saves around fifty percent of your last minute cancellations!! When the ubiquitous Mrs. Jones calls to cancel, simply say:

 

“Mrs. Jones, please allow me to put you on a brief hold while I retrieve your patient record.”

 

This is pretty much the ONLY time we recommend putting a patient on hold. Keep them there for around two minutes while you look at their record and have a brief conversation with the doctor or hygienist if necessary.

 

They are now listening to your great on-hold message, getting a little squirmy, and feeling kinda guilty. Then come back and say…

 

“Mrs. Jones, thanks for your patience. It looks like we have you scheduled for a thirty minute appointment to do a tooth-colored filling restoration on the lower right. Dr. Sardonicus is CONCERNED that if you don’t get this taken care of as soon as possible, the decay can grow and cause an even bigger problem which will need more extensive treatment. Is there any way possible you can keep this appointment?”

 

Do the same for hygiene, but say something like…

 

“Your hygienist Becky is CONCERNED about the area of inflammation and infection on the upper left.”

 

Amazingly, using this technique saves around fifty percent of those pesky last minute cancellations. That is good for your patient, good for your schedule, and money in the bank!!

Doctor, we are slammed at the front desk!!

A frequently asked question / observation we often get at our seminars:

“You guys are up here stressing customer service, treating every patient like they are the most important person in your practice, never putting anyone on hold, listening patiently, etc…

Unfortunately you have NO IDEA what it is like to be in the front desk hot seat. What are we supposed to do when we have a patient on the phone and the other line keeps ringing? What if there is a patient waiting at the front desk to talk to us? Doesn’t a live person deserve priority? It’s not easy to juggle five things at once you know….”

If your office is frequently in this situation – congratulations! You are busy! People want to come to your practice! Way to go – you must be doing something right!!

But if the front desk is constantly slammed, you are losing new patients left and right. Possibly center too.

Doctor – it may be time to crowbar your wallet open and invite another talented team member in. And the good news is – that team member will pay for themselves many times over!

Think about what a great front desk team member would earn. Then think about what a lost new patient costs your practice. (By some estimates it $10,000+!) This is what’s called a no-brainer!!

Staff up, offer the best customer service possible, and watch your practice grow!!

A great phone tip for the holidays!

The holidays are getting close! Here is a great phone tip that we actually teach all year long, but is especially helpful in the next couple of weeks when you’re planning on taking some time away from the office.

Instead of using your answering machine, voicemail or answering service when your office is closed, try this and you will make it much more convenient for new patients as well as patients of record to get in touch with you and get on the schedule.
When you close the office, forward the office phone to ring to a dedicated cell phone. Give the cell phone to a trusted team member who is enthusiastic about building the practice. When the phone rings during the off hours, no matter where she is, ask her to answer the phone exactly as if she were sitting in the office. Remember our article from last week? In our office, we answer the phone
 
“Thank you for calling The Madow Group, this is ____________ speaking, I CAN HELP YOU.”

When the caller asks a question, your team member will do her best to simply answer the question. It is helpful if she has remote access to the appointment book. This should be easily accomplished in a paperless office. If at all possible, make the caller an appointment if this is appropriate. And if for some reason, the answer must wait until office hours, it is very easy for your team member to say “I’m sorry Mrs. Jones, I am not at the office right now so it is difficult for me to answer your question. But I will be back at my desk on Monday, so how about if I call you Monday at 9:00AM? OK, and your phone number is ______________ ? Great I will speak with you then!”

Simple, huh? You would not believe how many offices report back to us how this technique has helped build their practices since calls NEVER go unanswered. Try it… you’ll love it. And feel free to work out a fair arrangement with the team member who takes the phone home. Many offices do it differently, but one example would be to pay her a flat amount for any new patient she is able to schedule. Or pay per call taken. Just figure out what is fair for your office. It needs to be a win-win-win!

And speaking of the phone, here is one more important point. No matter how high tech we are, the telephone is still the main artery into your dental practice. It is crucial that every single person on your team possess good phone skills to get patients from the phone into the appointment book. There are all kinds of expensive systems and institutes out there that claim to teach this. Our “Profitable Scheduling” system is the best because of its very quick learning curve and its affordability. And right now if you order Profitable Scheduling through the end of the year we are giving you a very special price. Regularly it is $597 (a great deal) but order now and we’ll give it away for $397.

Please take advantage of this now because as soon as the clock strikes midnight, it’s going back up to regular price. Order now so that you do not forget. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION! Your team will love you for it. And so will your accountant! You can write it off for this year!!!

Again, go to https://www.madow.com/profitable-dental-scheduling.html for more information or to order Profitable Scheduling! Call us with any questions. Our lines are always open!