Welcome to this month’s issue of SmartBox Insights: What You Need To Succeed.
In From Our Founder & CEO, Colin discusses what is coming for dental practices and why now is the time to take proactive steps to protect your livelihood.
Discover why small changes can mean nothing good in When The Wheels Come Off.
Learn how to escape the “faceless dentist” trap in When The Wheels Stay On.
SmartBox Spotlight is focused on how you can achieve the growth and success you want without working yourself to death.
Thanks for reading SmartBox Insights. We’ll keep you posted about What You Need To Succeed.
From Our Founder & CEO
Everything’s Great! … Maybe
Welcome to the “not-exactly-doom-and-gloom” issue of SmartBox Insights.
I see some problems coming, and here they are in a nutshell.
Incomes in Q2 2019 have increased only 4 percent over 2009 levels.
In the same time period, however, the cost of dental services has increased by 27.37 percent!
Your patients today are even less able to afford more than basic dental care, and they’re highly dependent on dental insurance to pay for that.
Dental insurance, in the vast majority of cases, is tied to employment. Now, with the unemployment rate at a historic low of 3.5 percent as of this writing, it would seem that your current revenue levels are safe.
But the warning signs are out there: the inverted yield curve, the contraction in manufacturing (the worst since 2009), artificially low interest rates fueling growth, and more all point to an end to the party.
I’m not saying that another Great Recession is coming; the fact is that no one knows how bad the next inevitable economic downturn will be. What is known is that when people are struggling to keep the lights on and food on the table, dental care is an afterthought.
Not the message you were expecting, probably. But I can’t escape the fact that 72 percent of economists expect a recession by the end of 2021 – 38 percent in 2020, and 34 percent in 2021.
With this scenario in mind, we’re devoting this issue to proactive strategies to insulate your practice against the worst of what is coming … sooner rather than later.
Thanks for reading SmartBox Insights. As always, I’ll keep you posted.
Keep Moving Forward,
Colin Receveur, Founder & CEO
When The Wheels Come Off
Small Increments Can Mean A Lot
In our Success Academy online, on-demand, video-driven curriculum, we have this graphic.
The takeaway is that incremental gains (10-15 percent) in the true dental practice growth drivers result in a huge gain in top-line revenue.
But the reverse is also true, and that’s something you should watch for … particularly when things go south.
Let’s say that your new patient opportunities decrease by 15 percent – that, or worse, is entirely possible during an economic downturn. You continue to answer the same percentage of calls, but you appoint fewer new patients because money is more of an issue than ever. Of those appointed patients, fewer show up because they’ve had an emergency or even an unexpected expense; they’re suddenly short of funds to cover treatment. And even fewer accept treatment because they simply can’t afford it.
Plug your own numbers into this scenario and adjust the percentages at each step to what you feel is reasonable. What do your average case value and your monthly revenue numbers look like?
That’s a one-month scenario, but downturns don’t go away in a month. You’ll need to factor in month-over-month decreases to get an accurate picture. You won’t like it.
The solution to decreased new patient opportunities is to attract more patients with the discretionary income and the willingness to pay more. They’re out there, even during downturns. Getting our doctors these “better” patients is what SmartBox does every day, so that’s what we’ll cover in When The Wheels Stay On.
When The Wheels Stay On
Say My Name
Becoming The Dentist Of Choice For The Patients You Want
Dentists today are largely viewed as a homogeneous group – one dentist is pretty much as good as another. With that view, patients opt for price and convenience. Those are the strengths of corporate practices, and it’s a losing proposition to try to beat them at their own game.
To attract patients who will pay, stay, and refer, you need to stand out from the faceless crowd. People with money can afford to be selective; you need to take steps to make sure they choose you. This article won’t cover everything that goes into the process of becoming the dentist of choice in your market, but the process begins with this: Stop selling yourself short.
Price-based marketing attracts price-minded patients – the price shoppers, the insurance driven, and the one-and-dones. It’s 3-4 times cheaper to retain an existing patient – particularly one with money – than it is to market to attract a new one. Not only do you make more money with better patients, you spend less … while needing fewer patients to keep your top-line revenue where it’s at now, or even higher.
You may not have the best hands in the business. Your better patients don’t know or care. What they care about is finding a dentist they like, relate to, trust, and regard as the dental expert to solve their issues. It’s important to note that “expert” status is conferred by patients; it’s not something you should try to proclaim yourself.
Your doctor videos, focusing on solutions to patients’ problems and the benefits to them – not on technique or procedures – will humanize you and help confirm your expertise. Responding on social media to questions with helpful tips or sound information will do the same. Happy patients’ video testimonials are powerful proof that you are the likeable, relatable, trustworthy expert that your better prospects are looking for.
When enough current patients say your name, and enough prospects know it, you’ll get those better patients who pay, stay, and refer.
Proven Success In Good Times AND Bad
During the still-dark latter days of the Great Recession, SmartBox helped thousands of dentists turn their practices around. Our Patient Attraction System®, which has been even further refined and incorporated into our comprehensive practice growth orientation, produced record numbers of new and better patients for our doctors.
Don’t take our word for it; you can read the case studies yourself on www.smartboxdental.com. In addition to seeing how we help turn around struggling practices, you’ll also learn how we help boost average case value, make already successful practices even more successful, and provide the most comprehensive practice growth services in the business.
As you’ve read through this issue, you might have wondered how, when you’re already seeing too many low-value patients, you’d find time to protect your practice against the coming economic downturn. There’s a simple solution: SmartBox does everything for you so you can focus on doing dentistry.
Here’s a very reasonable suggestion – explore how you and SmartBox would fit and what kind of results you can expect. Schedule a Practice Growth Call with Ashley Best. By anyone’s standards, she’s one of the top dental practice growth experts in the nation.
On your call, you and she will take a deep dive into your growth and success goals; the competitive forces working against you in your market; and what you’re doing very well and what needs to change to get you the patients you want.
On the second call, you’ll already be in possession of your personalized Summary of Findings and your Practice Growth Roadmap prepared by an entire team of SmartBox experts. Whether you choose SmartBox to handle your practice growth or not, you’ll have actionable steps you can take to solve your most pressing problems.