One thing that SmartBox hears from dentists across the country is that they’re busy. In fact, most of them complain of being slammed with patients. That might sound like a good thing, but it’s not.
In almost all instances, those dentists’ schedules are packed with low-value, insurance-driven, one-offs. Yes, they’re making money on those patients, but they’re having to open earlier, stay later, and even add days to meet the demand. The upshot is that they’re working too hard for too long for too little, and that is not a success scenario.
It’s also nearly impossible for a dentist in that situation to grow the practice in any meaningful way. A solo dentist would have to work impossibly long hours to have a large enough patient base to even consider taking on an associate.
Doctors with waiting lists find it difficult to schedule many elective cases. A patient with the means and the willingness to go fee-for-service would have to be given excellent reasons to wait another 4, 6, or even 8 weeks to get the service they want.
However, there is a way out of this quagmire for dentists who offer higher-value services.
Call In Your Blockers
The short answer is to block out times on your schedule for higher-value cases. Now, you might think that’s an insane suggestion – you’d be losing money if you don’t fill that appointment slot.
However, it’s not the slot that’s important; it’s the value to your practice of the patient who fills it. How much do you really make on a routine exam? How many routine checks would you need to do to equal the value of a one patient wanting full veneers?
That’s worth blocking out a few hours on your schedule each week – to start. How much of your schedule you block out depends on the demand for higher-value services; there’s no need to go overboard at the start.
You might have some experience or anecdotal evidence about the best days/times to block out those appointment slots. If not, it’ll be a trial-and-error process.
But that brings up the question of how to attract more of the higher-value patients you want to fill those appointments.
It’s Not The Service, It’s The Dentist
Whatever higher-value service you hope to offer, it’s unlikely that you’re the only dentist in your market that has that capability. Don’t get into a price war; that way lies ruin.
Instead, focus on providing your prospects with reasons to choose you to solve their dental issues. People do business with people they trust, and people with discretionary income choose the dentist who they know, like, and trust.
That may require a retooling of your marketing approach. Most dentists’ websites have a “we-we” problem; we offer this, and we have this training, and we have these certifications. Your prospects don’t care. They’re interested in other things; specifically, they want to be reassured that they’ll be understood, that they’ll be cared for, and they’ll get the potentially life-changing results they want.
Positioning doctors as “the only dentist in town” is something that SmartBox does for dentists every day. If you’d like to see what we can do for your practice, schedule a Practice Growth Call.