You are back. Just in case you forgot or have not read last weeks post here is the challenge: Take the next 12 months and commit to spending at least $4,000 every month on a full-court marketing out-reach. This week we will help you look at the one hurdle to making this strategy turn your practice around. Your ability to answer the question I am about to ask will be the key to this year’s success. Please take the time to ponder it honestly. Half efforts and procrastination got you here. Please don’t perpetuate it by not looking very seriously at this one question.
The question is: ARE YOU MARKETABLE?
Three simple words whose answer holds your future to success in 2018. There is no room for error here, and the only answer will have to be yes. If it is no, or even if you have a doubt as to whether you are marketable, you might as well go work for someone else. Your practice will never grow and success will elude you. So why would I have you put all of your eggs in one basket or strategy in the form of an aggressive marketing out-reach? It’s simple. I have spent almost three decades dissecting practices and advising doctors on clinical and practice management challenges. I feel like it all comes down to your ability to get new patients. Without at least 40-50 new patients/month, there will be no growth. Without sustainable growth, systems, staff, and clinical excellence really don’t matter. It just seems like doctors who can attract that many new patients (or more) have their act together and the future is bright with success almost guaranteed. These doctors are also open to making the changes that would continue to help them grow. They embrace change and understand that each year (or sooner) we have to adapt or die.
I can’t tell you how many times doctors tell me that they are doing everything right, but they just need more new patients. Are they deluded or in denial? The truth is that they are not doing everything right and the people that do come in don’t really like what they find. Growth is in itself an acknowledgement of the success you have in systems, staffing, and your clinical dentistry. 30 or fewer new patients per month, less than at least a 50% direct referral rate, twice the number of hygiene hours as doctor hours, and an overhead of 63% or more are all indications that there is room for improvement.
So, it is time to reflect and answer the question: Are you marketable? It will come in the form of these other questions. See how many you can check off.
- Do you have consumer-friendly hours or are you just working Monday-Thursday 8-5?
- Are you getting at least a 50% direct referral rate?
- Are you in-network with the insurance companies that your potential clients have?
- Is the whole family (kids and adults) welcome in your practice, or are you finding that the average age in your practice is way off what the average age is outside your practice?
- Do you offer a wide range of services that continues to grow, or do you refer out a lot of dentistry?
- Do you offer interest-free financing?
- Do you have a 15-25% growth rate every year, or are you flat or just experiencing a 5-7% growth rate?
- Do you consistently tell patients through marketing that you are a great choice for their dental needs?
- Do you experience high staff turnover?
- Do you spend more time, effort, and energy on your hobbies than on your profession?
- Are you excited that you checked just one box in the above questions, because it will take you 90%+ to actually grow? One is not enough. In fact, having all of these checked is probably just the start of what you will have to do in order to succeed in Dentistry today.
You have to ask yourself: If I were a potential client looking for a dentist, would I choose your practice? Your staff? Your protocols? Until you can answer with a resounding YES to the question “Am I marketable?” you will never be in a position to take back your future and control your destiny. This is how you Summit.
Michael Abernathy, DDS
- Two resources you might consider, both available on the Summit website.
Does Your Marketing Have a Pulse? (DVD’s)
Marketing The Super General Dental Practice (book)