In this podcast, our Founder Howie Horrocks and President Mark Dilatush discussed the impact of the COVID 19 scourge on dental practices, and the perfect approach to turn the looming dip into a wonderful opportunity.
During the pandemic, particularly in April, everybody closed down. Apart from the occasional emergency patient calls for some of us, the whole dental market was closed. There was the need to turn off all the switches regarding client marketing. There was just no sense in spending that huge amount of money at that time. Since businesses and dental practices were closed, there was no need for marketing.
Over time, from the end of May and June, the doors of business were back open and there was an influx of patients. September rolled in, and for the first time ever, dentists loved the month of September. Dentists usually referred to September as suck-ember, but not this time. By September, there was an operational speed of 75%-80%, and this literally continued to November and December.
Now, we are in January 2021, the pandemonium associated with the pandemic has reduced and everything is gradually getting back to normal. The influx of clients is still great, but you can feel it gradually dwindling. It’s time to step up and plan for the new year.
So, what should you do?
First, you should book room for new patients. Yeah, we know, you were so busy seeing existing patients last year that you forgot to block room for new patients. Well, it is not too late to do that now. Remember that your hygiene schedule that is probably empty? Yes, you should fill it up with new patient bookings. This is the best time to draw in new patients, now that the pent up demand is all the way through your system.
Also, the time to conserve costs or move costs is behind us. In March and April 2021, you will experience slower patient growth in your practice and you need to prepare for that now on both ends. So, whatever you were doing before in the form of dental marketing, you should get right back to it. You should pump more resources into your marketing and visibility plans. Let prospective patients see you. Clients need to notice you before they can come to you.
In conclusion, fill up your overdue hygiene patients, but don’t fill it too far. Paint some openings for your new patients. If you don’t have a right hygiene reactivation program, you can use the Sandy Pardue program or practice dynamics. An empty hygiene schedule will give you the opportunity to create openings for prospective patients and then it gradually becomes a habit for you. When you get used to creating new openings for clients, you will amazingly end up with new patients from the same marketing that you have been doing before COVID ever hit.
So, that’s it on this episode of our podcast. To know more about expanding and growing your dental practice post COVID 19, listen to our other podcasts. Sign up today to build your custom made dental marketing plan, and get started on your dental marketing campaign.
Hello, and welcome once again to the Dental Marketing Mastery series. This podcast is brought to you by New Patients Incorporated, and NPIclick.com. I am Howie Horrocks, the founder of New Patients Incorporated, along with me once again is my friend and partner, and the President of New Patients Incorporated, Mark Dilatush.
Hello, everybody. This is Howie Horrocks and Mark Dilatush coming to you once again, after quite a long delay. We’re gonna do a podcast today and we’re glad you’re here listening to us. How you doing, Mark?
Good, Howie. How come we were delayed? Was it like the worst pandemic in the history of the earth?
You know, I heard about that.
Yeah, me too. Yeah.
I think it was actually something to do with it.
Vegas. I’m sure the casinos have heard of it, too.
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, definitely. What’s a casino? I think they closed them all. Right. No, no, they didn’t. So we need to talk about this. Don’t wait, the business and marketing impact in regards to dentistry since this scourge started?
Yes, we do. There’s, yes, we need to do this. And we need to do it in in order. I’m finding myself having the same conversation. And if this helps five dentists, that’s great. Okay, so as uncertain, and I know, everybody hates uncertainty, I know, it. Wouldn’t stab myself in the ear with a pencil every time. But, seriously, we got to walk through this. And in order for in order for the dentists or whoever in the dental practice is listening to this, it matters, we kind of have to walk through this whole thing.
So middle end of March, nobody knew what was going to go on end of March, beginning of April, everybody closed down. Most of us almost all of us were pretty much dormant for eight weeks, some of us took advantage of you know, maybe some emergency patient calls or what have you. But for the most part. Um, you know, the whole market, the whole dental market was closed outside of emergencies.
So, then the States began to open back up in some states sooner than others. Some even locales sooner than others. But over time, around the end of Mayish, Juneish, everybody opened their doors, and oh, my God, we have too many patients. Yeah. Now everybody wants to come in and see us. And we have like, nobody knew what PP they needed, or what other you know, procedures they need to go through. Are you filtering all our air? Are we gonna make everybody bathe in a UV light? like nobody knew what the hell was going on? Right? So And plus, we had to take their temperature and one person in the reading room at a time and I could barely see, you know, half the patients I used to see, and it was kind of crazy.
And no magazines. That’s what bugged me.
Yeah. Right. Right. So, if this ever happened, the chances of this ever happening, again, are almost nil in our lifetime, but if this ever happens, again, I think it’s really important for everyone to understand what we did for the, you know, for our clients, I believe it was March, maybe March 20, where I asked for all the basically all the light switches to go off, turn off all of our client marketing, even, even if they didn’t ask for it. We just turned it all off, because there’s no sense in spending that money at that time.
So we turned it all off, got in touch with our clients and made payment arrangements that were better and all that stuff, right. And then net then, after the closure, as everybody was coming back, everybody was coming back in. Like people in Texas and Florida. We’re fine. I’m open. Let’s go again. Right? But they had people California and Oregon, and Seattle, it would basically closed in they’re like no, or Michigan. No, I’m still, I’m still closed. So you all remember how that was? You remember it as a dentist? We remember it as a dental marketing firm both. Both viewpoints are valid. Okay, you got it.
Let’s, let’s keep moving along with the timeline here. June and July. I bet none of you had an opening. Right because you, you were going to have speed and you had twice as many patients to see. Yeah, okay. You’re probably booked out for the whole month of July in the whole month of August. And September, probably we know how dentists call September Sucktember, because usually the first part of September or September sucks, right? So, um, but this September, most dentists were like, wow, I love September.
Right? That was that pent up demand, you missed April in May, and you still had patients who needed to be treated and you were treating them. Even though you were a little held back by the speed. You couldn’t see as many patients each day but you can still see patients.
By September, you were probably rolling around to maybe 75% operational speed 80% maybe. And then all of a sudden, October hit and you’re like, Damn, what happened to my recare schedule gear? Oh, snap. I didn’t have any patients in April. So I didn’t pre appoint them. Right? Yeah. Massive panic, right? Oh my god, what am I going to do with a layoff on my hygienist and so nobody laid off, or very few people laid off their hygienist everybody made good as best they could, if you listen to our podcast, by the way, we sound a debt alarm in August.
I was just gonna say that we that was the last time we did a podcast,
Give us some prop. Okay, yeah, I got yelled at by a couple of hygienists. Right. But that’s okay. Yeah, they’ll get over it. So anyway, so whether you heeded the alarm or not October, and probably the beginning of November, were very sparse and hygiene. And, you know, you get some dentistry for the doctor out of the hygiene schedules. So that kind of went away, then. Then all your patients that didn’t come in, in April and May, and you know, couldn’t be coaxed in in October finally realized that their insurance runs out December.
Yeah, it was crazy. So you have all these people? Who were, oh, yeah, I need to get in. I need to get in. I need to, you know, and then then you because we hear dentists, we hear the calls, but we also hear dentists complaining about it. It’s like, where were you in October? I was calling you now, all of a sudden, it’s the second week in December, and you just have to get in, right. So dentistry lived through all that. And, and even in January, there’s always every year. There’s this carryover where we maximize benefits on December 31, and then start new benefits on January 1. So there’s always some demand that gets consumed first two, or three or four weeks in, in January.
So here we are. We’re recording this on January 25. And the goal for this podcast was not to make you go through what you went through last year. Again, the goal for this podcast is to actually tell you what’s coming. Yeah. Okay. Most all of well, all the practices that we can see data from have consumed the pent up demand. There is no more or very little pent up demand. We’re already hearing it from around the country. Actually, most of them are prospective new clients. But we’re hearing I’m starting to get concerned about new patient flow. Because here’s the other thing that happened last year, because you were so booked up during those many months. Very few of you blocked room for new patients, right? So you were busy, busy, busy, busy, busy seeing existing patients, but have very little room for new patients.
So, coming around now after December with the insurance flip, and then January with the insurance flip. And then now we’re at the tail end of January, dentists are looking at their schedule going man, I was booked out for five weeks now I’m booked out. Like Justin next week, right? Right. And they’re looking at their new patient numbers from 2020. And they’re going 811 Yeah, more who, right? Not because they couldn’t attract them. But because most of their marketing was turned off and rightfully so. And they were beyond capacity. So even if they marketed right, where are they going to put it? Where are you going to stick them right because that’s a whole other podcast. Yeah. We’ve already done that like, once or twice I get yelled at for yelling during that podcast anyway.
So what’s coming up, if the pent up demand is gone, what’s going to happen here is February, March, April, well, excuse me, February and March, you’re gonna start to see a parachute down in new patient numbers, unless you restart whatever was working for you before COVID happened, okay? Our clients are basically back. I mean, we’re like 93%, where we were before COVID. It’s, I’m not talking about our clients, I’m talking about other people who aren’t our client, other dental offices who aren’t our clients, you guys are going to need to start ramping up like now, now in February and the beginning of March, because what’s coming, you’re not gonna like what’s coming in April and May, April and May, is going to be a reflection on last April and May when you didn’t have anybody in your office and you didn’t pre appoint them.
So you may have seen a bunch of them if you did your homework and October and November of this year, but you didn’t see all of them. So your hygiene schedule is going to be really, really, really empty. Now you can look at that, and you can panic and you know, yell at the team and do whatever you do, you can do it, you can react that way. But another thing you can do is take this opportunity to set up your schedule properly.
With the number of openings you need to properly schedule new patients back before COVID. See, you always trying to find you know the silver lining, right. So back before COVID are the excuses we would get when we would recommend pre painting your schedule in primetime openings for your newest patients. So that your team leaves them open, so that you have a place to put a new patient within let’s say, three or four work days, right? Because if you go past 8 workdays, then your marketing return starts to drop,
So what COVID did, is it allowed office managers to go into a schedule and block because there was nobody in hygiene. They could go in other words, if you bring new patients in through hygiene, if your hygiene schedule is packed, and it’s very difficult to find 20. For instance, new patient openings during primetime in a packed schedule, it’s impossible COVID open that up.
So, if I’m your doctor or office business personnel, if I’m you now on January 25 2021, I’m going out looking at April and Mays schedule in hygiene if you bring new patients through hygiene or if you can bring new patients through hygiene, I’m going into that schedule and I’m painting 120% of the new patient total you received march of 2020. Let’s do let’s use February 2020, because in some cases COVID started at the end of March. So let’s just use February 2020 give you an example. Let’s say you had 20 new patients in February 2020. So you need to go find 20 for primetime openings in your schedule, starting, let’s say at the end of March, through April through May, heck, go through June, go through July paint those primetime openings for your new patients.
Now, while you’re still feeling the impact from COVID, this is your opportunity because if you wait another six months, your schedule is gonna be packed and you’re not gonna have any room and you’ll know people forget they have lives. And they do other things, right. But now’s the perfect time. And this is absolutely the time now that the pent up demand is all the way through your system. This is definitely the time doing whatever marketing you were doing before COVID to start doing it. Well the marketing that was working for you started up again. Alright, there was always a time to shut it off. There was always a time to conserve costs or you know move costs out that’s all behind us.
What you’re gonna see here in March and April and May is you’re going to see you’re going to see a Slower, slower patient growth in your practice and you need to prepare for that prepare for that now on both ends on the new patient end. And on the hygiene end, if you don’t have a right reactivation program, you know get one Sandy Pardue has one. I think practice dynamics has one there’s a there’s a whole bunch of reactive programs out there.
But anyway, I wanted well, we wanted this podcast today to be about, you know, what happened? What lessons can we learn from what happened? You know, we have kind of a different view. In that we actually get to see statistically what happens and we get to listen, you know, obviously to clients and dentists Tell us what happened. So we kind of, you know, in your own world, as an individual dentist, you kind of feel just what’s happening to you, we get to actually see and report and what has to, you know, lots of dentists.
Yeah, we get input from hundreds and hundreds of dentists. So, yeah,
yeah. So that’s sometimes that’ll help you, and what we see coming is a wonderful opportunity. Yeah, do whatever you were doing before that was working, turn it back on. And prep your empty hygiene schedule. Fill it now start filling it now with overdue hygiene patients, but don’t fill it too far. Paint your openings for your new patients. Because an empty hygiene schedule should give you that opportunity, and then it will become habit. And then you won’t forget and then all of a sudden, amazingly, you’ll end up with new, more new patients from the same marketing you were doing before. COVID ever hit.
Yeah. Yep, exactly.
That’s it. Okay, that’s, that’s, that’s our bulletin, for this month.
This, this first one or 2021. Then we’ll be doing more of these. And we hope you tune in and check us out again. Alright, thanks for listening. Goodbye now. We hope you’ve enjoyed our podcast today. You can get all our podcasts on iTunes, Stitcher, and lipson.com. And on our websites, newpatientsinc.com and NPIclick.com.