Over the past two weeks I have given you a play by play strategic guide with specific actions to take to combat, overcome, and conquer the tightening of the pocket book you’re bound to experience from your patients.
I always promise truth telling by only dealing with facts. However, I’ll never leave you without ways to immediately and sustainably turn problems into possibilities, obstacles into opportunities, and struggles into solutions.
So, let’s continue on that path again today. Here are three critical actions you must embrace right now…
First, you must maintain control over your own mindset and constantly (daily or even multiple times a day) refocus your team to rebuild their mindset and morale. This isn’t a ‘wait until you need to’ type of a thing. This is a ‘do more than you think you should’ type of thing.
Second, you never want to go into retreat mode, giving into negative thinking, or doing things that diminish your position of power, leadership, and control. That means you do not want to make excuses or use the current circumstances as reasons to fall back into old destructive habits.
You have worked so hard, smart, and diligently to get to where you are at… see it through and charge ahead. Know that quality and value over quantity and volume will always win (unless you somehow figure out how to break the finite limits of your capacity, time, people, space).
In fact, this is your chance to build up more demand than ever before by making fewer exceptions (not more) and being strategic about the way you engineer and orchestrate the path to achieving your goals.
This leads me to the third aspect of protecting yourself against the inflationary, unpredictable, and what many believe to be an impending recessionary economy. That is creating your own economy by doing more to create a healthy, positive, and proactive buying environment for your patients. Let’s dive in, in more detail…
Instead of playing it safe, waiting it out, or going on defense; choose to respond by relying on actions that exemplify your principles, strengthening your foundation by asserting greater control, and going on offense by doing more of the things you already know will work.
Case in point: when patients walk into your office, they should feel a different energy, one void of news and any influence from the outside world. They should feel like the VIPs they are where the attention is placed on them (and only them) and they are celebrated for being there.
Thanked for their trust in you and affirmed for their wise decisions to do something for themselves. Whether this is a cleaning, a new patient experience, or any other type of procedure. Everything is about positive reinforcement for the healthy decisions they are making.
This starts by being proponents of health. Share with your patients how many people are choosing optimal health and how important it is be proactive by committing to a plan of prevention (which is ultimately the best investment anyone can ever make in their lives).
Now, for an advanced approach, I’m going to give you something so powerful that this one single act can be the difference maker for your practice.
Every time a patient says something negative about the stock market, the gas prices, the economy, or rising costs…
Immediately and reflexively respond with something positive such as, “Well, good thing your health is up to you and not the economy.” Or “Yes, it certainly has never been more important to get and stay healthy, that’s for sure.”
You don’t have to take the bait and fall victim to the “trap of sympathizers.” And you should never allow the outside world to be dragged into your sacred environment.
I know what you are thinking, “It’s reality, Scott, how can we avoid this and just pretend it doesn’t exist?” And that’s just it, everyone else won’t resist and they’ll suffer for it.
It’s real simple, no one will feel better when we all agree about how bad it is. You help no one.
A lot of people though will feel better when they are redirected towards something they can control – themselves, their decisions, their health. Your responsibility is to empower patients to do something positive for themselves. Be part of the solution, not the problem.
Did the patient show up today to get news headlines, economic forecasts, or even reminders of how much bacon costs? Or did they show up today to make healthy decisions for the betterment of their lives? They can get all of the bs in plenty of other places; they can improve their health in very few.
I would suggest doing this as role-playing with your team. Feel free to come up with your own answers to the most common things (money, insurance, time, delay).
As I told you before, as long as you stay focused on breaking down money not treatment and you hold the integrity of their complete pathway to health – you will help more patients get healthy faster; which is the whole reason you and your team woke up today.
Now, maybe you are nodding your head in agreement, but what is also important is team consensus and practiced responses for the economy, inflation, uncertainty, etc, that might come up.
The next part of this is to shore up any patient experience issues. First, making sure your patient education is comprehensive, complete, and ahead not behind of the progression of the patients’ mindsets. And that your patient experience system is without holes and inconsistencies from the phone call to the follow-up.
Kevin coined the term “Smart Decision” long ago as the trust building, affirming, patient empowerment phrase to ensure the patient knows they are in control as long as we are unified in the objective; which is not just any decision – not a money or insurance or a delay decision – but instead a smart decision about their overall health.
Therefore, you want this point to become the purpose of your patient education from the welcome letter sent out to the new patient video to the intake conversation that is had when a patient sits down to their routine hygiene visit.
Now is the time to make your practice complete and leak-proof so your patients respond accordingly. There is simply no room for error.
To get there, think about these 5 things…
One, what are you doing to make your patients more ready, educated, predisposed, and determined to invest in their health from the time you pick up the phone until the time they walk in the door?
Two, what are you doing deliberately to have an environment that exudes positivity and encourages smart decisions?
Three, what are you doing to incorporate more patient empowerment from questions and interactivity that drives them to take more responsibility for their own health?
Four, what are you doing to showcase your differentiation factors (your scope of procedures, your pillars of health, your personality) and bring your philosophy of care to life?
Fifth, what are you doing to shore up your systems, processes, and protocols for the patient experience as a whole?
Instead I want to take your mind to a different dynamic related directly to creating your own economy inside of your practice and that’s called ruthlessness against waste and relentlessness with opportunity creation.
We are constantly talking about patients taking responsibility, now we are talking about you and your team taking responsibility for everything.
Whether this is answering every call live and fast, to filing every claim, reviewing every patient for the day, collecting every dollar, presenting full diagnosis, to future focused schedule control, thorough reactivation to keeping patients in motion with proper follow-up.
As I mentioned last week, anyone can do well when times are good and when waste and mistakes go unnoticed because there is more than enough to go around. Now, however, you simply have to tighten up and find more opportunities.
In both fat times and lean, no matter the number of patients you see in a day, it only takes one who wants to achieve complete, comprehensive, optimal health. You just never know which one it’s going to be, so you treat every single patient that way and you end up with more patients to help than you have time, space, people, and capacity for. That’s how you achieve more demand than ever before.
When you make it about something other than money, you get decisions based on things other than exclusively money. People will respond most to how you make them feel – which starts with how you feel. Ignore everything out there and instead be the purveyor of the healthy and the positive.
Next week, I have a surprise for you. I’m going to unveil a mid-year plan to take the next 6 months and turn 2022 into the highest practice profit year of your career. Imagine finishing 2022 in a more powerful position than ever before.
We’ll be turning adversity into prosperity next week—stay tuned.