Obsessed With Creating Dental Relationships, We Tend to Forget to Maintain and Grow Them!
You wouldn’t think that you need to remind someone of this, but even I occasionally need a little nudge on the subject. It’s true. You need to create relationships with people in your community, but lest we lose them out the back door and become obsessed with our front door, we must realize such tactics would eventually have us run out of people to treat.
Hence, we must take action to not only create those relationships but to build on them to create longer-term relationships with patients such that we not only create lifetime patients but an abundance of referrals who become lifetime patients as well.
This is what dental patient relationship management is all about and why you need to engage in it, whether you automate or not. The function itself must be grasped, understood and accomplished. Here are my understandings and suggestions for you to apply.
4 Phases to Lifetime, Active Dental Patients Who Refer
Face it. If we are to build and manage dental patient relationships, there are multiple facets to its function. We must be efficient and effective dental marketers, we must be masters of dental sales to new patients, have impeccable upselling and re-up skill as well as provide the utmost in service and results, sparking excellent word-of-mouth and a shiny, sparkling reputation among professionals and patient-types alike.
It is one thing to hone the skill of performing these functions, but it is another altogether to get them running. The best salesman on the planet who shuts up and does no selling sells nothing. So the main takeaway of this dissertation is that, whether you plan to delegate, automate or otherwise accelerate these functions, they must occur, even if you have to do them yourself.
For in the absence of any of these functions, no practice growth can occur. In fact, nothing happens at all.
How to Properly Market Dental Care and Ensure ROI
Dental marketing is not only a good place to start, it is the essential building block to any practice. By engaging in dental screenings and advertising, promotional activities and interactions, we fill the practice with its initial new patients. These are our “founding partners” so to speak and mean everything to the establishment of our current and future prosperity.
Jockeying these factors may seem simple, but as volume increases, it is easy to lose track and control of. This implies that metrics are needed for ROI. And, while it may seem prudent to track new patients, income and sales, as many dental practice owners do, more important are the metrics which denote function, for these are the controllable factors which may be manipulated to improve results. Therefore, we need to look at what the revenue we earn represents in terms of the activity and functions it took to create it.
ROI, is a tricky thing. Return on investment tends to be only looked at in terms of money, but should be considered a measure of results gotten. The important thing is not what such statistics show, but what actions these statistics point to. You must have each function measured in terms of the result it has gotten, not just money coming in, as a primary objective and focus.
In other words, tracking recare income, for instance, is a reflection of how many newsletters, cards, birthday messages, etc. that you have sent and is a signal whether to maintain or increase that volume. This is as opposed to the way it tends to get looked at where a high ROI means change nothing and a lwer-than-expected return means “pull the plug, it’s not working!” It’s always working and is a signal of a strength or weakness of the functions (mailings, texts, etc.) which led to it.
The followup actions are not to continnue or cut and run. They are to adjust the controllable functions. You cannot control income directly unless you are in banking or bank robbery. But you can control how much and what types of promotion you do. It’s actually pretty simple.
I mean, how can we know if a marketing campaign worked if we don’t know what came in after the campaign has been taken to term?
Several Vital Importances of Recare to Practice Growth
With new patients found, dental marketing humming (even if done by-hand) and metrics for ROI established, a foundation for the practice is secure. It is only as secure as relationships are fostered, however.
Large companies from whom you buy products know this. They sell to you initially but use tools to manage their relationship with you to keep you as a customer, get you to upgrade and buy more as well as refer others. There are management tools to do and automate this. Most companies today use them.
Whether using a tool or not, however, you must do the function. Understanding how to build a relationship organically and manually is essential to succeeding.
Too many a practice tries to automate their relationships and, therefore, sterilize these to a degree, creating weaker bonds with patients, which can be broken by a competitor with the greatest of ease. I am no longer shocked, but continuously marvel at the weakness of bond dentists create with their patient base and find it so easy to convert people at dental screenings in corporations to come to the clinics I represent.
They leave their existing dentist without a second thought and don’t even look back! just like that.
The function of patient relationships can be summed up under recare but must not be oversimplified to only the recare function. The full functionality of patient relationship management involves excellence of care and getting patients in for repeat preventive, restorative and even cosmetic treatment.
Contacting patients regularly, making them feel included, contacting them on the channels they wish to use and keeping them in the loop are all part an parcel to this process.
Sure birthday cards, newsletters, in-office events and the like are standards. But doing this in ever increasing volume is essential to stimulate growth. Witness my article on recare for the evidence.
Dental Sales to ‘Re-Up’ Services and Upsells
Recare is not just the repeated, revolving door surrounding preventive and restorative care, but the constant flow of information on new modalities, products and services with which to re-up or upsell dental patients and continue their utilization of your services.
Don’t get me wrong. You must provide excellent, in fact, impeccable service which people tend to rave about. All services you deliver, new or old, must follow this model.
How to Create True Dental Referrals
Reputation is everything. You know this. But, reputation with whom and how do you achieve it?
Word of mouth is sometimes referred to as “old school” in this day and age but is by no means obsolete. Old school is something of a misnomer as it has come to imply obsolescence. It applies to today’s dental marketing no less than days of old. In fact, it is even more vital with all the other “noise” going on in the environments of your target market. They are distracted by many messages. Word of mouth speaks louder now than ever.
The best way to be heard starts with being the best at what you do – no question! You must work on this as a primary step and be ruthless about achieving and maintaining it with your entire practice staff. Every RDH, assistant, doctor, dental marketer, etc. must exude this.
“You can create lies in marketing, but there are no lies in word-of-mouth!”
And you can quote me on that. In fact, please do!
Once achieved, your work alone should get people talking. You must, however, take measures to amplify and accelerate this process, spreading the word far and wide, and generating more patients who get to experience the premium care you provide. There is no better dental marketing than this.
Testimonials, videos, online reviews by patients, all of them, are key. This is a game-changer in reputation. Don’t limit yourself, however, to thinking about future patients only. Other professionals in your community should be equally impressed and compelled to send patients your way.
So, it doesn’t generate just new referrals, it also generates those who refer!
My Findings, Conclusions and Recommendations
First step? Get these functioning, any way you can. Even if you have to do it yourself. Ruthlessly do these functions and get them humming perfectly.
Next is to delegate the functions that are now too voluminous to manage. Get them done exactly as you had done them, to your high standard, and get that delegate (dental marketer, assistant, etc.) to improve upon the results and increase volume.
The whole point of delegation is to turn over a function you do part-time to grow your dental practice over to someone who will make it their full-time function. They should, therefore, hold your standard and improve upon it. It being their only function, this is completely feasible and must be driven, hard!
Automate is the final step and can even take the place of delegation. The only governing factors are the number of staff available, the number and volume of functions and the number of hours in a workday. Automation tools can be human or machine and, depending on the required volume, are applicable situationally.
This is how you grow a dental practice. Unsurpassed dentistry and service, a continuous lifetime conversation with patients, recare and re-up as well as spreading the word. These are the vital functions to get going. And they are way more important than the automation to get them done. They must first be understood and basically operational. Only then can automation help. Such being established, automation can create a practice of any size, limited only by the bounds of your wishes and dreams.
In My Experience, This Is the Best Way to Automate
Okay, so I am not about to tell you that you can automate the screening process, although I will give you some tips on how to come close in some future articles about some platforms I know that approximate this. But I can tell you how to automate and grow your volume of connections and conversations with automated dental patient relationship management.
My favorite tool, hands down, and the best platform I have ever experienced in going on three decades is a product called SolutionReach. This baby has it all when it comes to doing the exact things we discussed here.
The Salvation of Patient Relationship Management
You may think, at first glance, that I wrote this article around the functionality of SolutionReach but, I can tell you, it is quite the opposite. I have been pushing these functions and have had a keen understanding of them my entire career. I have been striving to get them implemented in the practices I work with, any of those who follow my coaching and listeners who subscribe to my podcasts. And, when I found out about SolutionReach back in 2016, I thought, “they crawled inside my head and designed a product around what I preach, teach and make happen!” Seriously. That’s what I thought.
SolutionReach is a miraculous platform and is probably the most underrated, largely because dental practices (and many others) who use it tend to get miraculous results with just one or two functions and almost lose interest in the rest of it, leaving lots of patient cases and income on the table, above and beyond the proven ROI (totally trackable with SR) they are getting from what little function they start using.
It is true patient relationship management and is in a class by itself. It integrates with existing EHR software and supercharges it. It is unlike anything being called PRM these days, and those who say other platforms “do all that” are only referring to a fraction of the functions of what SR can do.
Reaching a Generation Who Answer Texts, Not Calls…
I spoke of communicating with patients on a platform they wish to use and SR starts with texting. Yes, your EHR or other product you plugged into it may “do texting” but not like this.
SR begins by turning your office phone number into a two-way textable number which new patients (and existing ones) may use to contact you, in real time, anytime, with your staff able to track with it and respond instantly. It is a game-changer in and of itself.
Fort Knox Secure and HIPAA Compliant
The product itself was designed around medical and is the only of it’s kind. Using military-grade encryption, it boasts to be the only HIPAA compliant platform of its kind and integrates with a variety of other applications.
SolutionReach is a two-way texting, emailing and phone call powerhouse from what I have seen in the two years I have spent endorsing it.
Recare Like No Other
As for reacre, functions to foster this activity mostly involve regular, quality, desirable patient communication. With SR you can not only send newsletters and birthday-card-type texts and emails, but you can send videos, custom-made by you to wish patients a happy birthday, messages they will undoubtedly show to everyone! Your birthday messages alone will go viral!
One practice I know went from zero to 16 “reactivated” patients per week, steady, a practice which had a marketing call center which itself produced a mere 2 per week. This is what initially caught my attention and made me spend 2 hours with a couple of company reps. The obsession with it continued forward from there, and it had never stopped.
Return on investment is hard to track in many cases. How do you evaluate the value of a newsletter or direct mail piece? Often the only way to track those is to decide you get no patients out of them, stop them, crash stats and scramble to get them back in. These are costly metrics.
SR has an ROI function which allows you to look into every function, shows you the direct results it got and even tracks income earned as a result. I have never seen anything like it nor have I seen stats available quite as instantly with usability and functionality of this magnitude. It is a dental practice marketer’s dream, not to mention a practice owner’s best friend.
Best Improvement of Your Reputation With Would-Be Patients and Referral Partners
Your reputation is, perhaps, the most vital of all and, provided you are insisting on premium service from all your staff and accomplishing it, word-of-mouth-boosting functionality cannot be done without. SR provides amazing survey features and, after visits, can prompt people to share feedback with you, track negative feedback and alert you instantly, as well as push reviews to review sites and social media too.
SolutionReach is an all-in-one, one-stop-shop for all things practice growth. No, it can’t provide the superlative service. That part is still up to you. But, did you ever notice that as you grow, expand and help more and more people achieve stellar results how even your results improve? Growing the practice is just as vital as continuing your education.
Your Absolute Best Shot at Attaining Practice Goals!
Supercharge dental marketing and patient relationship management, first by understanding its function, that it is vital and needed and recognizing it must be done, automation or not. Whether you use SolutionReach or not, it is VITALLY IMPORTANT to understand and apply this.
SolutionReach just makes it super easy and no-fail. SR works for you 24/7, with no lip or back-talk, with no deciding to do things its way instead of yours and without ever taking a vacation or sick day, all with trackable ROI to prove the results you’re getting and metrics you can use to ruthlessly hone your results toward practice goals, even if it’s just to maintain your existing size.
It’s a no-brainer!
Did I Mention I Interviewed Jim Higgins, the CEO of SolutionReach, On My Will Work 4 Patients Podcast?
I sure did. I tweeted at him that I absolutely had to have him as a guest, and after he put me in touch with his staff, we arranged it and he appeared as a guest on my show! You can hear it right here:
For more information…
You can read my article about SolutionReach here and even watch a video where I called SR the “Salvation of the Chiropractic Profession” knowing full well it applied equally to dentistry marketing and other disciplines too.
I Will Give Free Marketing Training If You Set Up a Live Demonstration In Your Office
Get a Free Patient Communication Evaluation and Front Desk Mini Masterclass to help your front desk better handle new-patient traffic, all for just scheduling a free lunch session to evaluate the product with a specialist, right in the comfort of your office. You just need to meet a small list of qualifications to take advantage.
Schedule using the link below and I will speak with you for 15 minutes about the qualifications and do a mini eval on whether or not it’s something I feel you should consider or not.
I Will Give You a Free Dental Screenings Masterclass if You Move Forward and Start Winning With SolutionReach
I believe in Solutionreach so strongly that I am giving away the farm just to get you rolling with it. So, take advantage of my offers above just to evaluate it, for sure. This second offer is your incentive to move forward, plug in SR and reap the benefits and ROI which you can track directly and immediately.
Schedule using the link below and I will get with you on a call to help evaluate whether or not you should at consider SR for your practice and goals. You just need to meet a small list of qualifications which I will cover with you in the free, 15-min consult call with me.
Schedule a Free 15 Minute Consult to See What Your Options Are…
Schedule a short consult call and to see if you meet a very short list of qualifications for SolutionReach and to take advantage of the services I am leveraging against you checking it out.
I am betting on the fact that you will find it as awesome as I do!
You may also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org