We are currently in challenging times. On top of the pandemic, there is talk of a deep recession, one that might last many years. I have lived through four recessions, this will be my fifth, and what I have discovered is that there will be winners and losers. Some practices will do well, while others will struggle. So, what can dental professionals do to immune themselves from these challenging times, so that they just do not survive, but thrive? Here are seven proven strategies.
- Do not take part in the recession The most important strategy to implement is to make sure that you remain positive, that you have a winner’s mindset, and that you are not taking part in all the bad news. My advice? Just decide not to take part. The media does a great job of enrolling you into the bad news, and all of a sudden you play a smaller game. That is why it is important not to take part in the news, instead read positive material and mix with other successful people, learn what they are doing and then copy. Your team will go home in the same mood that you walk into work in the morning, make sure you a positive 10. If you are, your team will be.
- Chase up old treatment plans Do this right now. Look up the old treatment plans of patients who came in for a consultation, who did not go ahead, and chase them up. Telephone them at home. One of my clients did this last week, she made 27 telephone calls, 23 said no but four said yes and appointments were made. If she had not made the calls, she would have lost four sales and income that totalled five figures.
- Increase your marketing During recessionary periods, most businesses stop or cut back on their marketing. This is not wise; this is the time where you need to step it up. The good news is that if you advertise on social media like Facebook, Google Ad Words etc because a lot of practices and businesses have cut back, prices have dropped and you will get more for your money.
- Promote cosmetic treatments Many are reporting a boom in treatments such as Invisalign, teeth whitening and other cosmetic treatments. There could be many reasons, but here are a couple. After the initial lockdown, many people just wanted to treat themselves. They cannot go on expensive holidays, they have some money, so they are spending it on themselves. In addition, many people have spent their time on Zoom or other virtual platforms, watching themselves and noticing their less than white, perhaps slightly crooked smile. So, ask your patients questions about their appearance; you never know, somebody might just want to make a change. If you do not ask, you will never know.
- Virtual consults Because surgery time is now at a premium, one strategy you can implement immediately is to jump on a virtual consultation with any new patient enquiry. People feel comfortable using this technology now, and many of my clients are using this to great effect. As a side issue, we are running courses helping dentists to deliver world-class consultations and the results my clients are achieving are excellent. In my opinion, this will play an important role in the new normal.
- Increase your fees This might sound like insane advice and 95% of the dental world will probably ignore it, but with costs increasing and less patients being allowed to visit the practice, this is probably a good time to review your fees. Is it possible you could increase some of your fees? It is unlikely to make any difference to the sales of these treatments, but an increase of 10% could mean an increase in your profits of 28%.
- Be world-class During recessionary times, when people buy things, they become more demanding, they become less tolerant of poor service and will complain more. This is a time to go above and beyond, do things that the patient does not expect, such as calling them at home to see how they are, a thank you card sent to the patient’s home if they decide to go ahead with you, will get them talking about you. The good news is that your patients will not expect it. This is a time like never before to really raise your game, to become extremely proactive and ensure that you are exceeding your patient’s