by Roger P. Levin
With the first quarter of 2015 coming to a close, now is a good time to assess how your ortho practice is progressing toward production goals for the year. Levin Group recommends a target of increasing production by 15% or more every 12 months. If your practice is not on course to reach that target, here’s how you can to turn it around:
Do more with what you already have.
What you already have includes parents of active patients, as well as dentists, who refer new patients to your practice. In today’s more competitive environment, maximize these existing resources to minimize the expense and time it takes to build new relationships.
Parents of Current Patients
Make the most of current patients by making sure they stay on schedule. Reduce no-shows and cancellations through scripting that emphasizes the value of keeping those appointments and preserving the timeline for debonds. Also, set a target of collecting 99% of fees owed to the practice.
In addition to keeping patients appointed and their accounts up-to-date, ortho practices need to encourage word-of-mouth referrals from parents and patients. Endeavor to gain one new patient per year from 40–60% of current families. While aggressive, this target is more attainable than many orthodontists think. If patients’ parents or adult patients are pleased with the practice, they are likely to recommend it to others if asked to do so. The difficulty is that in most ortho practices, no one consistently asks for referrals. The best way to eliminate any uneasiness about how to ask is to write scripts. Whether for the doctor, treatment coordinator, front desk coordinator, or marketing coordinator, scripts enable any staff member to say the right thing at the right time.
It may seem counterintuitive to spend money on a marketing coordinator at a time when production is flat or declining, but this personnel investment will almost certainly yield a handsome return—and quickly, too. A part-time marketing coordinator, working 10–12 hours per week, will plan and carry out your referral marketing strategies, from group events to orthodontist-to-dentist meetings. He or she will not only strengthen existing relationships but also cultivate new ones.
In the new dental economy, few ortho practices can afford to let established personal connections―whether with patients and their parents or with referring doctors―go to waste. Take steps now to get the most out of these relationships and make this year the best it can be.
Attend Dr. Levin’s two-day ortho seminar, Building the Superior Ortho Practice, April 16, 2015, in Dallas, tuition-free with an Educational Grant. Ask your Ortho2 Systems Consultant how to receive one.