I don’t want those patients, I want these patients.
“The ad worked great. I performed 2 big cases from it, but I also saw a dozen of patients that expected their insurance to pay for it. Can you write an ad that only brings in patients that are ready to pay cash?”
In my 17 years of talking to dentists, I am still entertained,and a little puzzled, by the dentist that expects only to attract big-case-ready-to-pay patients. Maybe after years focused on the perfect marketing plan you can create this environment, but who has that kind of time?
I have a way to create something close to ideal.
Most Dentists would describe the ideal new patient as someone who needs a lot of work to be done. They know they need it and they have the cash to pay you on the spot to get started. Right? It is such a great feeling to be able to start and finish a ten or twenty thousand dollar case with a totally compliant patient. But patients with a high dental IQ and the financial means to get the work done are rare.
In my experience, the most extensive cases are in the mouths of patients that have no idea they need dental work at all! They do know they have been avoiding the Dentist. It usually takes some acute pain or a nagging spouse to get them to the dentist. I’m no longer surprised when I see a problem free 60-something years old patient on the schedule that has not seen the dentist in 10 years. That is usually a 10k case right there!
What I have found is that the patients that have the greatest need for dentistry are the procrastinators, avoiders and the low dental IQ patients. The patients that have a high dental IQ see the Dentist regularly and usually need no or very little dental work!
The secret is this, promote to people that are avoiding the dentist and are in pain. Then be ready and willing to see all true emergency patients the same day.
How you do this is to stop thinking like a dentist and start thinking like a person who is avoiding the dentist.
Here’s what I mean.
Ad from a dentist who thinks like a dentist: ” John Jones DDS MBS CRP BSS have 27 years experience and me and my staff are dedicated to helping you keep your teeth and gums healthy for the rest of your life. We take all your insurance plans so call us soon.”
Ad from a Dentist who thinks like a patient avoiding the dentist: “Are you avoiding the Dentist? Has your Spouse been nagging you to call and your putting it off?” Or, “Are you experiencing pain in your teeth?”, “Are your gums swollen and bleeding?”
Do you see the difference? I guarantee you the second approach will get more calls from patients that need more dental work than the first.
Are these patients easy to convince to do treatment? Not necessarily, that is why dentist do not like to see those patients, but how you overcome that is the subject for another day.
Right now start looking at your advertising from the viewpoint of a procrastinating patient and not an educated doctor and your practice will grow.
-Jeff Palmer, Effective Management Solutions
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