Today’s guest blog is by dental consultant Dr. Mayer Levitt of Jodena Consulting. A former dentist himself, Mayer has helped tons of dental practices to achieve better profits, retention, and publicity since 1989. You can learn more ways to improve your practice by subscribing to Mayer’s blog.
Needless to say, it has been tough sledding for any business owner battling the effects of the “great recession”. But lately, everything I read is predicting a moderate rebound in the economy with job creation and less unemployment. Up until now, people have been understandably cautious with their discretionary spending, so there is a lot of pent-up demand for nonessential services. Thus the environment for promoting comprehensive and cosmetic dentistry is probably the best that it has been in almost three years. How can you take advantage?
1. You need to promote “wants” based dentistry instead of “needs” based dentistry. Patients will pay out-of-pocket for what they want, yet will continue to depend on insurance to pay for what they need. Your mission is to get patients excited and emotional about what dentistry can do for them. Please take the time to schedule treatment consultations where you offer choices. Choices empower patients. Remember that people like to buy – but they don’t like to be sold. I am very excited about how dramatic case presentation can be by using an I-Pad.
2. You need to realize that your fees are not preventing people from accepting comprehensive dentistry but rather a lack of flexibility in payment options that you currently offer. If you can give someone a way to budget their payments for the dentistry, and they really want the dentistry, they will accept the treatment. Re-examine how well your financial coordinator is presenting Care Credit or other outsourced arrangements. Scripting and verbal skills are so important. Outsourcing should be a first choice rather than a last resort. You can’t afford to be the bank. By outsourcing financial arrangements and offering extended payment plans, you give your patients the opportunity to pay for the dentistry on a monthly basis, yet you get paid right away.
3. You need to feel comfortable presenting comprehensive cases as well as cases that are essentially cosmetic. Don’t settle for the “one or two insurance crowns a year” mentality. Schedule the time for a decent, well thought out, case presentation where value and health and function and aesthetics can be promoted. Start thinking in terms of quadrants and arches rather than single tooth treatment. Stop presenting treatment “on the fly” in a three or four minute “quickie” at the hygiene exam.
4. Avail yourself of the latest continuing education courses, specifically those that relate to comprehensive dentistry. The world of clinical dentistry is changing so rapidly that it is very easy to be left behind.
It is time to start playing offense – you can do it if you try.