We’ve all experienced the excitement of cheering for our favorite athlete or team, especially when they have a great start! While it is important to take an early lead, that is not always the determining factor in who wins the game; the same is true for dental marketing.
Most practices focus on measuring “fast start” statistics which include: number of calls, number of appointments booked, and production by referral source. These are all very valuable stats, however they are not the statistics that have the largest impact on your return on investment (ROI) and return on time (ROT).
Francis Bacon once said: “A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” I believe this is especially true when it comes to marketing. There are several factors, often overlooked, that will make or break the effectiveness of your advertising.
Diagnostics: At The Academy we spend a lot of time helping doctors develop their service mix, clinical skills, and diagnostics based on sound evidence and risk factors. Never is the phrase…“if all you have is a hammer, then everything is a nail” more pertinent than with diagnostics. What you train your eyes to seek is exactly what you will find. If all you do is composites and single crowns, it is unlikely that you will diagnose and treatment plan full-mouth rehabilitation when the need arises.
Improved diagnostics and case presentation is one side of the coin; boosting follow through is the other.
Follow Through: Bruce teaches that you should comprehensively diagnose every patient. Offering them the opportunity for the best possible option, and understanding that most people will simply choose to start with one area. We benchmark diagnostic success at a 3:1 ratio. This means that 2 out of every 3 patients will not move forward with complete treatment plans in any given month. WOW, what opportunity.
It’s not always about how you start – but rather how you finish that determines the outcome.
Now is a great time to perform chart review and find the 75% of unscheduled treatment that is lying dormant in your practice. Just this week, we helped one of our offices discover that they were scheduling only 17% of the treatment diagnosed. When I asked the doctor what the plan was for helping these patients schedule, the response was, “What are you going to do? Some people just don’t want to schedule. I guess we’ll see them in six months and try again!”
Stop the Race. Let’s back up and try again. Here is my Killer Secret Formula to Success!
Create a 1-31 file. You can purchase a notebook or file folder version of this at your local office supplier. Each day, you either schedule patients for their next visit, or place their treatment plan in the 1-31 file for follow-up. It works like this:
“Mary, I understand that you are not prepared to schedule that visit today. Could I call you next week and check in with you to see what questions I can answer, and help you get scheduled then?”
Choose a specific day of the week, (or date in the future) and file their treatment plan with any handwritten notes in this folder. Each day you simply look behind the calendar day (1-31) and pull the pending treatment plans. This will automatically create a hot list of calls to make each day.
While there are many electronic ways to track unscheduled treatment, short-call lists, etc, we have found this simple manual system to be the absolute best way to keep track of patients who provide permission to call. You are not depending upon the computer, and instead relying on your own notes to look over instead.
If you fail to reach the patient, or they still do not schedule, continue to refile them in your 1-31 folder until you get to resolution. The next step? Either reschedule or have them decide that they indeed want to wait until their next exam to discuss the situation.
Highly productive teams know that when it comes to case acceptance, some patients will say YES immediately; others will need time to think it over, and some will never complete the proposed treatment. By utilizing a 1-31 system you can double your case acceptance rate and immediately impact your marketing ROI.
Think marketing is all about getting the phone to ring? Have you already made your mind up about the second ring meaning they will love your pitch? Hold up on going too fast, or you may not even get to start. Following through and working together as a team to serve the patients, with added willingness to go the extra mile is what really creates a great finish.