Practice makes perfect – generating quality not quantity
Nigel Jones highlights that by changing your marketing to manage new patients, you can boost the chance of filling your diary.
The supply and demand imbalance in respect of dental care, as evidenced by the widespread waiting lists, are obviously creating challenges.
Some are big picture issues such as the lack of availability of associates. This drives changes to NHS dentistry much faster than any contract reform seems likely to do. Others are more tactical in nature.
One of the latter was brought in to focus for me during a train ride back to my new home in Keswick. I found myself sitting opposite a member of the profession. We inevitably got into conversation. I found out that he was a fully private dentist with a fully private practice.
Attracting the right patients
Pre-Covid, the odds would have been low that one of the challenges facing such a dental professional was ensuring enough new patients come in through the door. Post Covid, however, the opposite is true with my travelling companion explaining that, with the exception of his website, he has ceased all marketing as the practice simply can’t cope with the level of interest. It will be a familiar picture for practices up and down the land. For many, the challenge is less about generating the right quantity of new patients and more about the right quality.
In this context, the right quality doesn’t and shouldn’t simply mean most income generating. Of course, as independent contractors with a small business to run, that commercial consideration has to come into it somewhere.
However, the current environment means you don’t have to strive to be all things to all people. You can be more discerning about the type of person that you want to benefit from the professionalism of you and your team.
In a tactical sense, this can mean fine tuning your marketing and approach to managing your new patient enquiries. This maximises the chance of filling your diary with the right quality of patients, that you look forward to seeing.
In a strategic sense, you have the opportunity to turn those theoretical ‘dream practice’ mind maps into reality. That starts with being ultra-clear about the purpose of you and your practice team.
There are so many operational challenges. For many, it feels enough of a purpose to survive to the end of each week or even clinical day. But if from somewhere you can summon the energy to put some thought into the longer term, opportunity awaits.
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