It’s time to double down and refocus on the things that are going to make the biggest difference in your practice this year.
I will share with you the absolute easiest way to increase your practice profitably, and that is a keyword because there are ways to increase it unprofitably (but who wants that). This is so you can grow a practice where there is more money left over at the end of the month in order to do the things you love…
Give back to your team,
Reinvest in your technology, marketing, and education,
Take money off the table to invest, enjoy, donate, and experience.
Most practices as running such thin margins by the time they “live off their practice” (i.e. income) there is nothing left over to do anything with. There is no wonder why growth is stymied and you’re under constant pressure.
What I want for you is peace of mind more than anything else. Peace of mind comes from Profitability.
The number one way to do that is to cultivate more dentistry per patient – plain and simple. Now, I didn’t say “make it up” or “find it somewhere.”
Surely everyone here knows that I’m talking about comprehensive dentistry and that in order for a patient to see the bigger picture and accept the vision – you have to see it first.
Oh, we are going to talk about new patients, but that’s the easy answer. Most reading this are too busy that the new patients you have now don’t get the full focus and attentive experience that they should. What are you going to do with more?
Of course, there is getting yeses on the dentistry (case acceptance), and we’ll go there too, in more depth and detail than I have ever gone before.
None the less, the rule stands true, you won’t ever make or do a dollar of dentistry that you haven’t first diagnosed.
The ultimate leverage point for profitable growth in any practice is to increase your average patient value (whether new or existing, hygiene or emergency, kid or adult, ortho or implant, it doesn’t matter).
Of course, for our Specialists out there (mainly the ones in the “case start” business), they have a tougher time because they rely on brand new patients and new appliances delivered or ortho cases started. Yet, TMJ patients have therapy and other things that can be done; sleep patients can have follow-up visits, pre-structured appliance replacement programs; and Ortho patients can have phase 2’s built in. Also, there is the potential for increasing of fees to move the needle on the average value as well… or there is unbundling and rebundling, but that’s a strategy for another time.
For the majority however – this is the magic number that controls everything else.
Start at the TOP.
The topline of dentistry is not your Production, not your adjusted gross, not your revenue, and not any other accounting term.
It is your Diagnosis.
“Enough Scott, I get it!” You say to me.
“So, what do I do about it? I feel like we already do enough!”
Ah, and there’s where you’d be so wrong and perhaps even jaded on your “comprehensive diagnosing” and exactly how you present to patients.
Some, granted, are far better and more consistent than others (which by the way is a secret in and of itself: consistency).
Today, I will give you a quick outline of 5 ways to grow and increase your average patient values and have more dentistry to diagnosis.
Of course, this isn’t just about what you find and discover. This is NOT just a number – and please never think of it that way. It is instead about a relationship with your patient, a journey of discovery on ways that you can help them. It should build and compound and even have twists and turns and with every step of the way.
You and the patient continue to gain clarity over what the “big picture” looks like for them. This should be based not on their current reality today but on their state of ideal directly related to your practice philosophy of care. Then the “diagnosis” is all the ways that you can help bring them from where they are to where they deserve to be.
As I love to say: moving from problems to possibilities and everything in between.
This is fun stuff, actually nothing is more fun, including even doing the dentistry. You are discovering the ways you can help people who are – and never forget this part – coming to you because they want YOUR help.
You might want to put that on the wall somewhere so you never forget it. They chose you by coming in and they want your expertise. Otherwise they would be somewhere else or they would have stayed home.
So, here’s how to not mess it up and to build a bigger, more complete case and increase your average patient value by being diagnostically focused.
Let’s start with a review. Every one of these overlap with the way to increase your case acceptance as well (which we’ll pick up on in the coming weeks in a different way). For now, we are talking about how to create a bigger vision first with you over your patients and then your patients over themselves.
More Promotion about what your practice is about (mission, philosophy, purpose).
More Awareness about what you actually offer and provide.
More Education about the reasons why dentistry matters.
More Photographs showing the reality of their mouths.
More Questions about what’s possible and challenging their status quo.
More Stories and demonstrations about benefits and consequences.
The most important part about diagnosing more is keeping the focus on the total overall mouth and not just ‘problems.’ While it is okay and appropriate to focus on the patient’s “chief concern,” they aren’t the experts and you aren’t an order taker. Your responsibility is far greater than that.
There are four key principles to end up with a more comprehensive treatment plan and a patient who desires it which results in increasing the overall value of each patient and your opportunities to help them.
1. Set clear expectations with every patient about your goals and objectives; what you do at your practice for every patient.
2. Present in totality so everyone is on the same page and you are transparent about what you can do to help the patient.
3. Avoid breaking down treatment into sections and therefore plateauing yourself.
4. Never let the ‘rest of it’ get left behind when you are phasing or starting with some portion of the treatment plan.
Okay, there is a very important point here that I don’t want you to miss. You are not taking any cookie cutter, one size fits all, or templated treatment plan and then blowing them away with a giant price tag on what you say they need.
This is a collaborative process. While your diagnosis should be based on the reality of their mouths and getting them to state of ideal, there are different approaches to take and every patient should feel as though they helped you to get the final plan and vision.
Getting them to want more along the way is the only way to not end up with a patient who is shocked and surprised by the treatment that is presented to them.
If you actually engage them, take time with them, talk to them, demonstrate, and involve them in the process, no patient will ever feel sold, pressured, or even overwhelmed. They only feel that way when they do not understand what is happening to them or being said about them.
This is about a mutual vision shared between you and the patient. They walk in with theirs and you shape it with your philosophy for their benefit and best interest.
Remember to ‘complete’ the vision with the patient. “Here is where you are and here is where we are going. Therefore, here is what we are going to do to get there.” Everything links together and this way it is not about pieces and parts, but instead the whole mouth.
Don’t forget, that “whole mouth” and “comprehensive diagnosis” means something different to every Doctor and the result of it is unique, different, and individualized for every patient.
I will leave you with this as we prepare for “Part 2” … if you are serious about helping your patients then you will ensure that your diagnosis is thorough and comprehensive. That means everyone in your practice must be on the same page with what you do, how you do it, and why it matters so much.
You should have locked in diagnostic protocols that are your modus operandi for both new and existing patients so you can do what I always recommend: treat every patient like a new patient every single time. This is not because we are trying to increase their value, but because it’s what is most valuable for them.
All of that will go straight to your bottom line profit because you will have focused on the top line diagnosis by doing what is best for your patients in every way.