When asked, most dentists would say…more new patients.
Yet, there’s a simple strategy used by smart businesses that does not require additional marketing to get new customers. And done properly it’s totally ethical. It so simple, you might kick yourself for not thinking if it.
The beauty of this strategy is that it has ZERO to do with spending more money!
And contrary to what you’ve been told, it doesn’t even require more new patients!
It’s a strategy epitomized by the following statements.
The simple strategy is to…
Increase the average transaction size for each patient.
Not more patients but more per patient.
Obviously, you’re not selling shampoo or burgers. What you provide is way more important, which is why this strategy is even more critical to implement. People will get a significant benefit from what you offer, better than shiny hair or elevated cholesterol.
There are 3-ways to increase transaction size.
This strategy can even be used by practices that are insurance dependent.
Of course, it’s much easier with a fee for service practice, which can strategically raise fees at will. But raising fees today, during economic challenging times, might not be a smart strategy.
But even in an insurance dependent practice, there are services that patients need and/or want that are not covered. And, you can do always do more per visit.
Yes, there’s a catch.
If you hate the smell of the shampoo, you might not, rinse and repeat. And if the burger tastes lousy, you won’t come back.
The key to implementing this strategy is developing a relationship that is based on LIKING and TRUST.
Many general dentists have experienced this phenomenon. When referred elsewhere, the patient says; “But can’t YOU do it?”
When you think about that, it makes no sense. Why would a patient ask a doctor to do something they’re not comfortable doing?
It’s because patients don’t think about anything other than themselves and when they are comfortable, that’s all that matters. TRUST can overwhelm rational thought.
This strategy work better in dental practices than almost anywhere else because people are scared of dental offices. Sowhen they find one they trust and get used to it, they are reluctant to go elsewhere.
Once trust us established, it is transferable. It’s the dividend for being kind, caring and providing a better-than-expected patient experience.
If a patient is referred for treatment of Sleep Apnea, might they have TMJ issues as well? And conversely, if they present for TMJ problems, might they also suffer from snoring or sleep apnea?
THERE’S A MAJOR CATCH!
A patient’s experience does not only involve their interactions with the Doctor. Who’s the first and last person they encounter?
It’s the front desk!
The front desk, often where the least experienced, lowest salaried, hardly ever trained person resides. This is the face of your practice, regardless of whose picture is in your website.
Anna was the face of my practice. Always wearing a smile, she made you feel like a long-lost relative at every encounter. It was a gift.
Of course, she was competent, smart, and well-spoken. But patients first experienced an attitude that was like a pheromone, attracting people like a magnet.
If that’s not part of the job description for a front desk person in your practice, it should be!
Not everyone has natural people skills. One might argue that such skills are becoming rarer in today’s virtual existence.
ALL IS NOT LOST!
The skills required to influence people and ethically persuade them to act can be learned. In fact, in a people-forward business, like dentistry, it must be taught, learned, and practiced.
That’s why I am so pleased to be able to offer access to Dr. Robert Cialdini’s Influence Courses and Certification.
While in practice, I was the one who had to teach the principles of influence to the team. I did it via modeling, infra-office blogs and weekly meetings. Not many doctors can spend the time doing this. Not many know the persuasion principles as taught by Dr. Cialdini.
But implementing the principles of influence throughout the patient cycle increases the likelihood of people saying yes to the best care you have to offer. So, spending the time, making the effort and taking the course makes sense and cents.
You don’t have to do this yourself. In fact, if you’re not the person answering the phone, presenting treatment or finances, the practice won’t benefit as much if ONLY YOU know these techniques. But when your team, the ones who patients interact with every day, know these effective and ethical influence tools, everyone benefits. You benefit from the practice’s success, your patients benefit from getting the care they need, and your team benefits from becoming better team-players.
To win-win-win scenarios,