I’m sitting in my office, sipping on a cup of hot tea with lemon. My voice gave out yesterday, because I’ve been fielding hundreds of emails, calls and text messages every day for the last two months.
These are coming from desperate dentists, worried about what is going to happen, how they’ll pay their bills, make payroll and get new patients…not lose it all.
Let’s face it: times are tough. America isn’t sure whether to stay open or close its doors in fear, and many Americans can’t even pay for treatment. This week another 1.5 million people filed for unemployment as Covid-19 infections have spiked. This raises a huge amount of doubt among most economists that the US will experience any sort of rapid recovery, and
unfortunately we are now close to 46 million people on unemployment.
As jobs shrink, so do insurance benefits. Exam chairs will remain empty.
Face it; no government stimulus plan is going to save you. These one-time payments are flimsy band-aids, and don’t make up for a long-term reduction in patient income. You have to take the bull by the horns you must protect yourself and your business, or things will end in complete disaster.
What You Can Do To Protect Yourself and Your Practice
There’s a reason why some businesses can weather economic storms and why others get swept into the sea. Put simply, they have the cash set aside to take care of accounts receivable, office rents, payroll, etc.
It’s not a difficult concept to grasp…you have to assume there will always be economic turmoil, natural disasters, worldwide pandemics, civil unrest, etc. Flip through any world history book and you’ll see that the world is constantly enduring ups and downs.
Stay prepared for the unexpected. Keep your coffers full with 6-12 months’ worth of cash to cover any and all expenses. You might even consider sticking this money into a high-yield business savings account. These accounts typically earn 1-3% per year, which if nothing else will help that money keep pace with inflation.
Fear is the enemy of change. And change is the only thing to keep your business afloat.
The world is different than it was 5 years ago, as is the world of dentistry. For one thing, people find dentists differently these days. But the way we administer treatment has evolved as well.
Build out a portion of your practice to focus on virtual consultations. Patients right now are searching Google — the largest media in the world — for dental offices that offer “eConsult” virtual consultations and other methods where you can offer service to patients on a remote level. I can do a secure video call with my doctor right now without even leaving my couch. This is what your patients want.
With people waylaid at home, this is the perfect opportunity for you to capitalize on this market now. Imagine being the go-to virtual dentist in your area; you’d be one of the very few that does it. People of all ages have an iPhone or an Android device in their pocket right now where you can securely video chat with them to a digital consultation within minutes.
Believe it or not, this goes a long way to building your patient base because that is invaluable trust that they will stick with you forever and they will also pay, stay and refer more than other patients.
Become A Trusted Community Adviser
Do people in your community see you as the go-to expert on dental health in your area? If not, it’s time to do something about it. Here are three actions you can (and should) take this week to make this happen:
- Claim your Google Listing
Your patients are looking for the best dentist in the area, and Google is the first place they turn. If your listing has no reviews, no pictures or videos, and nothing that tells them what it feels like to come in for treatment, they’ll skip right over you and go to the next one on the list. So, take time to refine your listing with warm images of the office, and ensure that the location is correct.
- Create Dental Education Videos and Upload Them to YouTube
Google owns YouTube, so the search algorithm will look kindly on your Google listing if you’re uploading good content. Plus, patients will see you as the local expert and be more likely to call you first when they’re ready to pick a dentist.
You don’t need a $50,000 TV studio to do this, either. Find a nice spot in the office and set up your iPhone. Record 5-10 segments, each 1-2 minutes, and upload them to YouTube. Then post them to your website and social media channels (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) It’s a lot easier than you think, but if you need help, ask your office staff if they can lend a hand.
- Cultivate 100s of 5-Star Google Reviews
As I said earlier, patients will pick you as their dentist if you show them you provide a comfortable, pleasant and pain-free experience. But you can TELL them that and have them simply believe it. The best way to communicate trust in this day and age is through Google reviews. Google is the biggest media on the planet, and it’s the first place people in your community are vetting their service providers. So, focus on encouraging your patients to leave reviews of their experience with your services, and this will encourage others to follow suit.
Hope that helps. Now, back to my tea. However…
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take and it’s time to take action and let me, someone who’s helped 1000’s of dentists all over the world systematically improve profit and cash flow via more quality fee for service patients…
If you’d like to learn more about how to utilize Google and other online platforms to attract more highly qualified Fee for service patients WITH MONEY…click here for a proven practice specific dental marketing game-plan => https://lsfd1.wpenginepowered.com/game-plan
Have Fun & Do Something Great!
Graig J. Presti MBA
CEO Local Search For Dentists ®, The ONLY 4-TIME Inc. 500/5000-Approved Dental Marketing Agency
CEO New Patients For Life™ Podcast
#1 Best Selling Author
Dental Economics and Dental Products Report Magazine Author & Contributor
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