Now is the time to start preparing for October – failure to do so will leave you caught off guard and scrambling. Many of you know that when it comes to dental practice management it is vital that you continuously look ahead. With the tumultuous year everyone has experienced between being shutdown, a slow reopening and the ongoing pandemic it can be hard to plan far in advance. Through conversations with some of our clients and friends we have discovered that many offices need to start preparing for October now. Listen in as Howie & Mark discuss what you need to do now to be ready.
- A Chasm Looms Ahead
- Where Should I Send Your Charts?
- Pre-Paint Your Schedule
- Now is Your Chance
- The 8 Day Rule
Hello, and welcome to the Dental Marketing Mastery series. This podcast is brought to you by New Patients Incorporated. I’m Howie Horrocks, the Founder of New Patients Incorporated, along with me once again, is my friend and partner and the CEO of New Patients Incorporated, Mark Dilatush.
Howie: Hello, everybody. Welcome to our Dental Marketing Mastery series podcast. I’m Howie Horrocks, here in the sweltering hundred- and 13-degree heat of Las Vegas. And with me once again, is my good buddy and the Chief Executive Officer of New Patients Inc, that would be Mark Dilatush. How you doing buddy?
Mark: Hey Howie, I’m doing good. You have, you have 113 degree heat, but you have the Raiders. So, all is good.
Howie: And the stadium is open, but it’s going to be empty.
Mark: Well, alright, well, you have a stadium. So that’s good.
Howie: And it’s beautiful.
Mark: So yeah, we’ve been away for a while.
Um, actually doing a lot of planning for, basically for everything for mostly for our customers, some for our own company. I’m happy to report that, actually proud to report, that all of our customer marketing plans were brought down automatically by us during COVID.
And then as dental, as our clients went back to work, we have clients all over the place, but as they went back based on CDC guidelines, we ramped up their marketing based on capacity. And I think 92%, so far, we still have a few stragglers because they’re so busy they don’t want, they don’t want us to do any outbound marketing. And some of them we actually said ‘No, you shouldn’t.’
Mark: Cuz you know, you don’t have it. You know? Where are you going to put them you know what I mean?
Mark: But anyway, so that’s where we were.
And we were locked out of our businesses too. We were in a lockdown out in Las Vegas. So, I’m very proud, very appreciative of our group.
They did an amazing job. Our clients can’t say enough about them. They were obviously managing their ups and downs as well, right. So, we were all managing our own ups and downs together. And I’m really proud of everybody.
So now we’re back. We’re back to doing podcasts. We’re back to doing webinars, and we did a little planning so you’re going to be excited about what’s coming down, around the corner.
A Chasm Looms Ahead
Mark: This podcast is about something that’s coming right down the road, the month of well, the best that we can see. It’s October. It’s going to be September 20th through about November 7, for most of you, this is going to be a very, very, very dry period in your hygiene columns.
So, I’d like everyone who listens to our podcasts. If you haven’t yet, put this on pause, go over to your practice schedule and look at the hygiene columns between September 20 and November 7, because all the data that we can see tells us you’ve got just, as almost just as dry of a season, then as you did during the COVID lockdown, because you weren’t seeing hygiene patients. Therefore, you are not booking them out six months, therefore, six months later is going to be almost as barren as the months you were locked down.
Howie: Yeah, that’s right.
Mark: So, the purpose of this podcast is to help you, right like, Oh, my god, what do I do?
Some doctors that I’m talking to… I had a doctor, who is one of our clients, a long-time client, really great guy. Emailed me and says “what do I do with this Google review?” And it was, you know, just some person who doesn’t have anything better to do than to complain about a dentist and, and hear what they want to hear. And I, you know, I gave him some counsel. And I said, you know, don’t worry about it, you’re, you know, you get five, six great Google reviews, you know, five-star Google reviews from your office, like every week, so don’t worry about it, drown them out. And as a side note, I emailed them and I said, ‘Hey, by the way, take a look at your hygiene book, you know, September 20, through about the first week of November, and you know, get started working on that.’
And he came back about 20 minutes later.
Howie: Freaking out.
Mark: He goes, ‘Oh, my God. I had no idea.’
Yeah, and you know…
So that and the Dental Marketing Mastery Facebook group, there’s probably about 1000 dentists or so in there, maybe some office managers and business people. And there’s some consultants in there as well. And we’re all kind of working through this together.
So, we figured we would do a podcast about it because we have, like almost podcast groupies now that listen to our podcasts, and we haven’t done one for a couple months since the COVID thing started.
Howie: Yeah, so we’re back, we’re back.
Mark: We’re back. Right? So, what do you do with October?
One of the first things I would do is, if I were a dentist is, I would have a team meeting or tomorrow morning’s huddle, right. And I would just go to the schedule and tell them to look at it.
Like look, look at the schedule. Okay, look at the schedule now the next month, and then go look at October and then explain to them why you know, it’s not their fault. You know, COVID happened and you didn’t have any hygiene then and then you didn’t pre-appoint it then so it’s not here now. So, let’s make a plan together to make this as bearable as we possibly can.
Now, everyone who knows me knows that my first move will be to fill capacity.
Rather than, you know, cut hours. You can always cut hours. But let’s try to fill capacity first, right?
So, in my view, I’m asking the hygienists for any SRP that they find in patients from now until, whatever September 15 or 20th. Let’s put them all in October. So, all your scaling and root plannings, let’s get them scheduled into October.
I’m going to ask my business team to go back into late March, all of April, early May. And all the overdue re-care patients who have yet to respond and come in.
I know, I know you’re I know you’re busy as heck right now trying to get through them all. Everybody is, okay. But I also know that there’s a handful to a group of patients who have yet to come in. When they call you now, if you can, I would book them into October. Especially if you’re jammed between now and September 15. I would book them into the slow days that show up on your schedule.
Then I would go back to pre-COVID, so maybe January 1, 2020 through let’s say March 20th 2020. And all of you have a list of overdue hygiene patients that should have already come in. You should have already been following up with them. But I also know that they all don’t come in.
Okay, you know, and if you have, let’s say like a Smile Reminder, Demand Force, Revenue Well, Lighthouse, any of those internal… in any of those internal patient communication tools that y’all use?
Where Should I Send Your Charts?
I’m going to set up a pretty significant series of recall follow ups. And it’s not going to be one thing. It’s not going to be just emails. It’s not going to be just texts. Because just emails anger people, just texts anger people, calls anger people. So, it’ll probably be a mix of all three. Like maybe I’ll email them first, or text them first. Then maybe I’ll email them second.
And then whoever’s left over. I’m going to create a call list. And I’m going to call these people and maybe the fourth step is my favorite secret weapon when doing recall, ‘It’s the ‘where would you like me to send your charts?’ line.
Mark: Right. What do you mean, where do you want me to send your charts?
Yeah, literally, where do you want me to send your charts? Because I’m not leaving them on myself like, ‘Where do you want me to send your charts?’
So, you’re all going to have to take a look at your schedule. Now that I’ve told you about it, you can get over it even before you look now.
So, I take all that negative emotional energy out of your day, I hope and just let you know that you know, there it is. And we got to work around it. And it’s, as of this moment, I don’t know when you’re going to hear this, but right now it’s August 19.
You’ll probably hear about this next week, end of August.
So, you’ll have three or four weeks to have your meeting.
Start scheduling your SRP in October.
You’ll be able to go through the people who were overdue that you haven’t, but you didn’t have the capacity to even treat them so far. So, you’re going to have some overflow. Okay, they can go into that dry period.
And I’m going to encourage everyone right now to please, please, please, please go into your open schedule. You’re never going to have this opportunity ever again. Okay.
Pre-Paint Your Schedule
I know it seems really like, nobody wants an open schedule, right? I know it seems really dangerous or down. It’s a big downer, right?
But you’ve never had the opportunity to go pre-paint your schedule for new patients. Not like this. You’ve never had an empty schedule.
So, if you bring if you bring new patients through hygiene, which a lot of you do. If you bring them in through hygiene, go paint your schedule now. Go, go back before COVID get an average number of new patients that your practice had seen over the six months prior to COVID.
Let’s and let’s just say that’s 20. Twenty new patients a month, multiply that times 120% that’s 24. And in the month of October go paint, I use the word paint because block means something else. Right in your practice management software, but go paint 24 what, however long your appointments are for new patients 60-90 minutes, go paint 24 of those in the most prime time appointment slots you have. Which are early mornings and the last afternoon, last evening, whatever the last appointment of the day is go paint X number of those in your hygiene schedule for new patients.
And you say ‘But Mark, my schedule is empty. I don’t care. You know, I can’t like it’s empty. I can’t do that.’
Please trust me. Go paint your schedule for October and then as soon as you get it done for October and you notice how wonderful it looks and how easy it was. Go look at November because you probably filled November already from the end of May’s patients and June’s patients. All right.
And now you’re looking at that and go oh, it’s not so easy look, all the Primetime slots are open. Oh, my patients, really like those most convenient hours of the day? Oh, my hygienist loves to, you know, give them the most convenient appointments for them because they’re nice human beings, of course, makes perfect sense.
But this podcast actually ties in like two or three things together. If you follow our podcasts, you know, we’ve already talked about pre-appointing in the past. You know, I scream from the rooftops that it’s not what you think it is, and it’s harming most of you, not all of you, but most of you.
Howie: We even have a guide about it right?
Mark: We have a guide that, yeah, we wrote a whole guide, right?
Like, stop, stop the insanity, but, and then COVID hit so everybody’s, you know, kind of going crazy with COVID. And now everybody’s crazy trying to recuperate from COVID.
And we might have this nice little time right here, to kind of catch our breath. Look at September 20, through November 7, and go, I’m going to prepare for this. And not only me, I’m going to prepare for this from an overdue recall standpoint and SRP standpoint, putting my whole recall system together, not just one thing, no text – email – call – letter. Got to be, it’s go to.
You, you can use whatever sequence you want as long as the letter is last.
As long as ‘Where would you like me to send your charts?’ is the last thing that they hear from you. Because that’ll be the kicker that’ll kick everybody off the fence. And if they don’t get kicked off the fence, they either died, moved, or they’re not ever coming back to you and you can put them in a different category.
Now is Your Chance
But anyway, so now you get a chance to do that. And at the same time, if you haven’t taken our advice already, and you haven’t painted your schedule, for enough primetime openings to allow for new patient growth. You now have the opportunity because your schedule is so barren and weak in the month of October.
There will be 24 openings in prime time. I know that’s scary as hell to you right now. But to us, it’s actually an opportunity because, we’re a marketing firm and you know what scares us? Getting the phone to ring by patients we know because we know how that we targeted them and the messaging they received who we know are worth 8, 10 12, you know, $15,000 in their lifetime. And there’s no room for them.
So, they call your office to see if they can become a new patient. You say, ‘Yeah, I can get you in and about three weeks.’ They go, okay. Make an appointment. They don’t keep that appointment. They’re not waiting three weeks.
Howie: No, they just, they just hold their place in line.
Mark: Right, they hold their place in line and they don’t have a relationship with you.
Mark: So, why would they call you and tell you they chose somebody else? They wouldn’t, they aren’t gonna cancel their appointment. They’re just not going to call you.
Mark: It’s almost like a phone solicitor at that point. Right.
Mark: So, yeah.
So, you know, and then and then people get buried in that mire, and they get stuck in there and they don’t know how to get unstuck. And what we’re saying is, is as gloomy as October looks, it’s actually, it does look gloomy. I’m not saying it’s the greatest thing in the world, I would rather you have a completely packed schedule. But I would also like you to have enough new patient openings to allow new patient growth to work its way back into your practice.
Because here’s the next point.
We’ve got work to do in October or What did we title this? We titled this October prep now. That’s what we titled.
Mark: So, another thing that I think most of you did. After now, again, we had COVID, everybody was shut down. And we had this period of time where ‘Yeah, I can handle emergencies, but I’m not doing anything else’. Then we had this period of time where, ‘Yeah, you can open up your practice for more than emergencies.’
Right? I almost assure you, none of you gave new patient or new patient flow one second of thought.
So, for June, July, and most of August and probably half of September, your new patient numbers are way down. Because you’re working on all your existing patient because there was this whole gigantic pent up demand. I’m sure you got some new patients. I’m not saying you didn’t, but I bet you they, I bet your new patient numbers went way down.
And that makes sense because that’s, that’s a lesson for you on what happens when your capacity is maxed. Your new patient numbers go down, your attention on marketing goes down. The availability goes down.
The 8 Day Rule
New patients, new patients will not wait any more than eight workdays. Or they will or there’s a much greater chance probability, statistical probability that they will make an appointment with you, choose somebody else that can get them in quicker, never call you back and they’ll end up being in a new patient break.
So, this whole thing this this, this this whole October. We’ve got to pay attention to October, but it’s not just filling the hygiene schedule.
It is filling the hygiene schedule – Yes.
Got to do a little more work, whoever’s on your phone is going to have to be on the phone.
Whoever does your email is going to have to be on emails. Do texts – do text. Whatever you’re going to do.
Oh, another thing if you have LocalMed, if you listen to our podcasts, you know we’re a gigantic proponent of online scheduling through LocalMed.
Dental Intel, Dental Intel owns them now.
And if you’re not familiar with it, you know or if you are familiar with it, and you have LocalMed, and it’s all already working in your office. If you send that link to your scheduling portal in those emails, in those texts, you’ll get a much greater response trying to fill October.
So, if you go back to the people who were overdue during March, April and May, then you go back to the people who were due January 1 2020, through the beginning of COVID. Hell, you can go even go back of all of last year.
All your overdue recalls, if you’re going to send them emails and texts, you might as well put that, that LocalMed link in that email and text.
So, I know this is a first one back after a couple month hiatus. We just gave you a whole bunch of things to consider. You’ve got homework to do. You got enough fodder for the next three or four, the next three or four team meetings.
Or, you know, morning, huddles or you know, how are we doing? You can do this, you can turn around October, you can make it a palatable month. It’s, you don’t have to, you know, can you force your hygienist to go on vacation in October? Sure. Yeah, you can cut hours, okay.
But you can also proactively make up for it. And you have no better opportunity than right now.
So, drop the, drop your headset from listening to this podcast, fire up your computer, take a look at your schedule for September 20 through November 7.
And let’s start you know, let’s start baking a plan if you want to talk to other like-minded dentists about it. Dental Marketing Mastery has a Facebook group. And there’s pretty good activity on this subject right now.
So, just join us there and everybody’s chiming in. I did this, I did that, you know, that kind of thing. So, there’s a lot of help there. That is, you know, real world help that are right in front of the phone, so to speak. So that’s it. That’s October Prep Now.
Howie: Yes, okay.
Mark: We should probably give you some time. We’ll probably do one podcast a month now. We’ll give you a month to get this done.
And then we’ll say something about November and December.
Howie: Well, it’s been great being back with you. And thanks for lending us your ears. We’re gonna return them to you right now. And we hope you tune in again next time. All right. Bye now.