If you own a dental practice then you know all about the challenges and rewards that come from building a profitable practice.
It can be frustrating for dentists when their dental practice’s cash flow solely covers monthly expenses despite working 60+ hours a week and trading vacation time for overtime (which, for the record, we don’t recommend!) Often, this leaves dentists feeling lost, discouraged, exhausted and doubting if the profitable dental practice they dream of is even possible.
The first step towards transforming your dental practice’s financial health is to shine a light on the ways that you might be standing in the way of your practice’s profitability.
In this blog, we share the 5 most common ways we see dentists standing in the way of the thriving practice of their dreams. Some or all of these may apply to you; just remember that facts are friendly and that information is power! Getting honest with where you and your practice are will help you get the support you need to make the powerful pivot back onto the profitable path
1. You Aren’t Implementing A Healthy Mouth Baseline In Your Practice
Does your team agree on a baseline for what Complete Health looks like in your practice? As advocates for your patients’ overall wellness, it is your responsibility to educate your patients on the importance of oral health and the role it plays in their complete wellness. The truth is, most patients don’t know what a healthy mouth truly is.
When patients understand what oral health means, the parameters of a healthy mouth and the overall role oral health plays, they become more accepting of your treatments because they understand the objective behind them. This is why it is crucial for you to establish a healthy mouth baseline with your team and a healthy mouth benchmark with your patients at every visit.
2. You Aren’t Nurturing The Patient Treatment Decision-Making Process
A patient’s resistance to accepting dental treatment can prevent them from getting the care they need. These barriers often include cost, fear of treatment, lack of dental education and more. Understanding how a patient moves through the treatment decision-making process empowers dental practices to address the patient’s resistance with education, support, and compassion.
This process includes five key steps that every patient moves through during a visit to the dentist. Each step is an opportunity for the patient to say “Yes” to treatment. When patients say “No”, we can explore if additional resources and guidance is needed for the patient to become a “Yes.” We step away from the sleazy salesperson model and into the space of service for our patients with the focus being their optimal health.
The five steps of this process include: Identify The Patient’s Personal Motivator, Use Your Practice’s Healthy Mouth Baseline, Communicate Any problems your patients have, the team transfer (to the front desk in a trusting manner), Fit treatment into the patient’s lifestyle.
3. You’re Not Consistently Improving The Patient Experience
How a patient feels from the moment they enter the doors of your practice until they exit their appointment is no small thing. Building rapport and establishing trust with every patient help create a space for them to feel safe and heard (let’s not forget that going to a dentist appointment usually isn’t on a patient’s ‘these are a few of my favorite’ list). Being present with your patients and actively listening also cultivates trust between you and your patient which helps them to see you as an expert in their oral health care. So, the next time you share with them your healthy mouth baseline and offer them the treatments they need to reach that baseline…they will be receptive to your recommendations and hear your genuine desire to help them and not more dollar signs.
4. You’re Patients Are A ‘No’ To Treatment
Understanding the patient treatment decision-making process, communicating the healthy mouth baseline to your patients at every visit and taking the time to connect with every patient that walks through the doors of your practice will dramatically increase your treatment acceptance percentage overall. Not only that, you will no longer feel like a sleazy salesman just trying to make an extra buck but will connect to your sincere desire and passion to help your patients. Your patients will feel that energy from you too and will be the first one to refer you to their family and friends. This will improve patient retention and patient acquisition at the same time in a way that feels organic, natural, easy and in alignment with your values. A true win-win for all!
5. You’re Spending Too Much Money Overhiring/Overscheduling
Team salaries add up! This may seem obvious yet so often we see dentists hiring new team members too quickly or getting stuck in the habit of overscheduling team. Before you hire a new team member or create your weekly schedule take a moment and ask yourself; “Is hiring someone really the solution”? “Do we really need this many team members scheduled today?” “Will not hiring this person or scheduling this team member affect the overall patient experience?” If the answer is yes…awesome, do it! Remember, the patient experience is critical to a profitable practice. We don’t want you shortchanging that experience for your patients however a lot of times the answer to these questions, once asked, is actually “no”. This check-in and reflection can ultimately save you and your practice a significant amount of money.
These are the most common ways we see dentists standing in the way of their practice’s profitability. Which ones resonated with you? What steps can you take to improve each of these areas? How empowered do you feel around your practice’s healthy mouth baseline?