Seven bounce back strategies for dental practices

Ashley Latter shares some proven strategies that his clients are implementing right now to ensure they are not just surviving, but thrivingAshley Latter shares some proven strategies that his clients are implementing right now to ensure they are not just surviving, but thriving.

Ashley Latter has been writing for Private Dentistry for more than two decades. He is the author of the books ‘Don’t Wait For The Tooth Fairy’ and ‘How to Discuss your fees with self-confidence & achieve the income your services deserve’.

If you watch the news on tv, or read any newspaper, you will know that we are currently in challenging times. There is talk of a deep recession, one that might last many years. If that is not enough, there is talk of another spike in the winter.

I have personally lived through four recessions; this will be my fifth and what I have discovered there will be winners and losers. Some practices will do well, others will struggle. So, what can dental practices do to immune themselves from these challenging times so that they thrive?

Here are seven strategies that my clients are implementing right now that are helping them have, in some cases, record months.

  1. Do not take part in the recession

The most important strategy to implement is to make sure that you remain positive. It’s important that you have a winner’s mind set, and that you are not taking part in all this bad news. So, my advice to clients is just decide not to take part.

If you watch the news for a period of time, read the newspapers, they do a great job of enrolling you into the bad news, and all of a sudden you play a smaller game. That is why it is important not to take part in the news. Instead read positive material and mix with other successful people, learn what they are doing and then copy.

Your team, or your nurse, will go home in the same mood that you walk into work in the morning – make sure you a positive 10. If you are, your team will be.

  2. Chase up old treatment plans

Do this right now. Go to your cabinet, look at the old treatment plans of patients who came in for a consultation, who did not go ahead, and chase them up. Telephone them at home. One of my clients did this last week; she made 27 telephone calls, 23 said no and four said yes and appointments were made.

  3. Increase your marketing

During recessionary periods, most practices and businesses stop or cut back on their marketing. This is not wise; this is the time where you need to step it up. The good news is that if you advertise on social media like Facebook, Google ad words and so on, because a lot of practices and businesses have cut back, prices have dropped and you will get more for your money.

  4. Promote cosmetic treatments

Many of my clients are reporting a boom in treatments such as Invisalign, teeth whitening and other cosmetic treatments. There could be many reasons, but here are a couple. Firstly, many people have come out of lockdown and just want to treat themselves. They cannot go on expensive holidays, they have some money, so they are spending it on themselves.

Secondly, if you think about it, the whole population has spent their time on Zoom or other virtual platforms, and they have seen people with nice teeth. It has put their teeth to shame. So, ask your patients questions about their appearance.

   5. Virtual consultations

Surgery time is now at a premium. One strategy you can implement immediately is to jump on a virtual consultation with any new patient enquiry. People are now used to this technology. During lockdown everyone was using it and are carrying on using it. They feel comfortable now and many of my clients are using this to great effect.

As a side issue, we are running courses helping dentists to deliver world class consultations and the results my clients are achieving are excellent. In my opinion, this will play an important role in the new normal.

   6. Increase your fees

This might sound like insane advice and 95% of the dental world will probably ignore this advice, but with costs increasing and fewer patients being allowed to visit your practice, this is probably a good time to review your fees.

Is it possible you could increase some of your fees? Would it make any difference to the sales of these treatments? When I ask this on my Two-Day Ethical Sales and Communication Course, the answer I always get is no it will not. An increase of 10% could mean an increase in your profits of 28%.

    7. Be world class

During recessionary times, when people buy things, they become more demanding. They become less tolerant of poor service and will complain more. This is a time to raise your game, do things that the patient does not expect. For example, calling your patients at home to see how they are. A thank you card sent to the patients home if they decide to go ahead with you will get them talking about you.

I could probably come up with another seven more quite easily. This is a time like never before to really raise your game. The time to become extremely proactive and ensure you are exceeding your patients’ expectations.

If you do this, you might look back at this period as a really good time and your practice did well.


This article first appeared in Private Dentistry magazine. You can read the latest issue here. 

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