As all of us head into December, nearing the end of another calendar year, wondering where the time went, many of us give thanks and appreciation for the wonderful family, friends, and clients we have that make life so enjoyable.
Also, many of wonder what can we do to make 2014 a ‘banner’ year for our practice, our business, our company?
Seeing literally hundreds of dental clients at the many dental events our laboratory participates in during the course of a month, a great number of dentists seem to have the same questions: How is it out there (tentatively declaring it is ‘very slow’) or Are you guys busy (thinking that a dental lab’s own ‘business’ would be a measure of reality?)…
My answer to that is you cannot compare my lab’s own situation, where we truly try to be everywhere in our target marketplace (primarily New Jersey with some reaching out to the Tristate areas), including literally over 100 dental events a year we participate in, not to mention: emails, direct mail, newsletters, office visits, and of course this website amongst tons of other communication tools we use to help the dental community.
So, the average dentist works 32 hours a week (although recent comments from hundreds of dentists tend to prove to me they are working much less hours). I am just wondering….what are the dentists ‘doing’ the other hours during the week? Are they all single parents raising their kids? Do they have another job? Are their hobbies very demanding of their time , for example, training for a marathon, or mountain climbing,maybe traveling?
I would hope and think, that it makes sense to devote several hours a week, ‘outside’ the practice, to spend that time on ‘building’ your business.
But here’s the challenge: Dentists went to school because they loved science and wanted to serve the public. They did not ‘major’ in business or marketing or public speaking. However with the vast resources this world has, it’s never too late. Why not start learning,reading,speaking, networking, and putting into action, all the tools you need to do, to make 2014 your best year ever.
Spend a couple hours a week at Barnes & Noble, learn from marketing guru’s like Jay Abraham, Dan Kennedy, or Jay Conrad Levinson.
Start looking at ‘other’ industries to learn how their businesses became overwhelmingly successful and apply those aspects to your own.
Place systems and training into your practice, get your staff trained, take them everywhere, to all kinds of business & dental seminars. Send them to terrific half or full day courses like Fred Pryor or Careertrack offers in every city!
Start getting in front of groups: Lions, Kiwanis,Chamber of Commerce,and tons more. Make your practice a household name to every MOM within 5 miles of your office! Think about the schools nearby,sports teams, how you can get in front of them!
Never took a (okay,here comes the dirty word ‘sales’ course? Better start reading Jeffrey Gitomer books, and make sure you see this guy IN PERSON when you can! (of course bring your staff)
You are in control, this is your practice,over 50% of the public doesn’t bother to see a dentist regularly, your potential is unlimited, people want your services, you simply need to explain it (‘sell it’) in a manner in which they will understand & appreciate. Educate them, use intra-oral cameras(you can purchase a wired one from us for $79 with a 30 day money back guarantee!!!), spend time with your patients.
Want to get to the next level,consider a coach for your practice.
When I walk into a practice, I can tell within minutes if the office has been through a formal coaching program. The front desk is polite, energetic,happy, acknowledges you, the areas are spotless, there are no signs (usually unframed) like ‘You Must Pay’ or ‘ If you’re late there’s a charge’ etc., all policies are already understood by the patients….I could go on and on.
What will you do different in 2014 to better your business,keep a notepad handy and take the next month to start thinking and in the meantime, have a very safe & happy holiday from all of us here at Asteto Dent Labs!
Having contact with with literally hundreds of dentists a month, I can see clearly what’s going on between the successful dentists and ‘the others’ and it’s a lot like Dr Howard Farran (dentaltown.com the largest resource I have ever seen in dentistry) says, all successful dentists can be found taking lots of continuing ed,whether it’s an evening, full day, weekend, or week, you’ll find happy ambitious dentists at continuing ed events.
Yes, we’ve got to control costs, get our staff trained, have systems and policies (and enforce them) but there are tons of resources and companies (and people) who can help you with that.
You, yourself, need to be ‘out there’ amongst your colleagues, see what’s going on, network with vendors that are here for the long run, and keep up on the latest trends.
Years ago, I referred my brother & sister n’law to a dentist (actually a long time friend & customer of mine) and when he sold his practice recently, she asked me for a dentist this time closer to her home.
After visiting him, she raved about his digital x-ray,and the fact she gets a text on her phone reminding her of her appointment(!) and that proves that technology in a dental office IMPRESSES your patients; They are talking about it,they love the emails, texts, the hi-tech office!
And yes…if you don’t have a website..well…you need to get started yesterday,and don’t forget to make it mobile (phone) friendly!
Forget about the fact that your patients do check you out on your website, but there are thousands of prospective patients ‘searching’ for a dentist on their phone(!) every month! I know offices getting 15-20 new patients a month from their website and using various Google tools.
Market to those ‘Moms’ within 5 miles of your practice,get out in the community,network with the businesses in your town(city), and if you cannot do it, get someone in your office(hopefully an outgoing positive person!) to do it!
Everything takes work, there are opportunities out there, us vendors are counting on you!
As this year comes to a close, our laboratory is preparing for a 2013 year that includes hundreds of opportunities for our valued clients and the dental community to participate and further their education through our vast network of continuing education events.
You can even plan a beautiful cruise vacation on the mega-ship Allure of the Seas where you will learn from Dentaltown’s Dr Howard Farran about the business aspects of running your practice and achieving new levels. This will leave out of Ft Lauderdale June 23rd (through 30th) for 7 nights and visit St Thomas, St Marteen, and Nassau(Bahamas),simply call Adam at Land&Sea Vacations 1-800-485-4010!
If your laboratory, your suppliers, are not connecting you to the latest trends, the latest info, consulting with you on your patients expectations & challenges, if they are not providing your practice with lunch n learns, even continuing ed opportunities, in today’s economy, your practice demands to have vendors behind you that will support your business. Surround yourself with vendors that are not order takers, surround yourself with contacts that will benefit your life & your business.
Start the New Year thinking about training, training your staff,training yourself ,getting systems & policies into place,making things happen.
Thank you to all those who supported us this past year and have a safe & healthy happy new year!
With our laboratory sponsoring Dr Howard Farran, CEO & entrepreneur of Dentaltown.com & Farran Enterprises, it reminds me how badly our industry needs straight forward honest hard hitting advice that Howard provides in his events.
Dental schools have trained our clients to be good and great clinicians, even scientists, ‘Doctors’ if you will , however when it comes to people skills, marketing, and business management tools, the dental schools have disregarded them.
Now, I find many dentists ‘catching up’ on these business skills, as they find themselves in a business that they must take control of, including cash flow/accounting skills,people management skills, purchasing & selling skills,and much more.
The ‘wake-up’ call that Howard provides in his courses is done so in a most entertaining way which also motivates us to bring him back to NJ each year. Dr Farran can be so brutally honest and use humor to get his point across, that some may find offensive. If that’s the case, I’d suggest a must-read book by Miguel Ruiz called ‘The Four Agreements’ where you will learn in detail not to take things personally(anything!), how to ‘do your best’ , never to ‘assume’ and be ‘impeccable’ with your word. Every business owner should have this book(or every human being!).
With over 100 registrants for our lab’s full day (Oct 3rd) upcoming event with Howard at the beautiful scenic Highlawn Pavilion in West Orange,NJ, there are but two or three specialists at most attending; This is so hard to believe because the income that most specialists count on, is from their referring GP’s. Why wouldn’t you want to be wherever your target and potential referrers are, for two reasons : One is to network with and meet them, and secondly to understand the nature of their business and what their challenges are.
Personally, I have been to and sponsored literally thousands of dental seminars. The education of learning what the average dentist has to go through on a daily basis is amazing. Every vendor should be at most of these seminars and events, so that they learn what their customers are faced with on a daily basis. Then one can truly appreciate their relationships and be in a position to help them.
Our laboratory cannot think like a typical vendor in today’s challenging economy; Today you must be a resource for your customers, and continuing education is the best way to do that.
Keep learning and use dentaltown.com to learn & network with your colleagues!
Well, you are probably going to skip this section if you just finished yet another record setting Summer and are up in revenue so much already this year you are thinking of taking it easy the remaining months.
But, for those of you (including the hundreds of NJ/NY dentists I speak with each month) who have been seeing the papers (that your patients read) exclaiming that NJ has the highest unemployment rate (almost 10%) in 35 years, and the roller coaster of the stock market scaring people…well…isn’t it about time you thought about: ‘marketing’ yes, marketing, the second ‘dirtiest’ word to ‘selling’ and most feared word in the history of dentistry!
It’s very simple: You have a service & product you’d send your own family to, you should be telling everybody, proud , and confident without any doubt in your mind that your patients are better off with you than anywhere else.
To start translating this enthusiasm, let’s start with making sure you always carry around your crisp new business cards (with some sort of enticing offer on the back for new patients) but don’t forget to make sure your ‘staff’ also has their own business cards.
Now, let’s get into marketing: You should be familiar with and using the following two websites:
Constantcontact.com (or a similar service)
Use constantcontact to email all your patients (yes, you’ll need to have their email addresses) every month a new FUN type offer if they refer you a new patient(for example: FREE dinner for 2 if you refer a new patient this month!) (of course you know how to purchase beautiful restaurant giftcards at 40-50% off,don’t you?) (if not keep reading)
Use odesk.com to hire well English spoken telemarketers at $3-4 an hour to do perhaps the following:
(you’ve got to start thinking out of the box)
1. Call every business or company (it’s easy to purchase a list or simply find out by googling) within 10 miles of your practice and offer for them and their employees to become new patients,perhaps an initial exam & x-rays FREE etc,make sure you mention your new hi-tech toys, your very convenient hours,etc. Better than offering them this through the phone, you may simply want to use the telemarketer to call these companies and attain the personnel director’s name & email so you can send all of them an email about your practice.
2. Call every new resident (easy to get a list) and make a special offer to them to come in as a new patient.
Total cost,well, 20 calls an hour, $3-4 per hour, let’s say a very small risky investment(!).
Oh yes, dinners at 40-50% off,and no I am not talking about those (although they are good) restaurant.com certificates, I am talking about genuine giftcards or gift certificates,if you cannot buy some on skyauction.com (there are MANY high end restaurants in NYC and other major cities selling these through auction style sales at 50+% off) why not approach a couple restaurants in your area: tell them what you’re planning to do,and ask them if they’d be interested in getting new clients themselves,by selling you giftcards(certificates) at 50% off (not valid for tip,tax,alcohol),it’s a win-win for everyone.
Don’t forget the website: icitycerts.com where they sell giftcards to tons of restaurants online: the trick is to ‘google’ : “icitycerts promo code” and get the code and perhaps save 40-50% off the cost of the giftcards!
One more tip, don’t do this for one month, commit to twelve months, many people like repetition, they like to know you’re for ‘real’ and are here to stay. OK, be sure to check back every 1-2 weeks for more ways to build your practice!