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12 Ways to Recession Proof your Dental Practice

by Graig Presti

I’ve coined 2016 “the year of the bankrupt dentist”. the reasons for this are simple. corporate dental practices are invading cities and breaking private practices over their knees in a matter of months. Patients are spending less money (hoarding cash due to uncertainty, looming elections, terrorism etc.). these lArGe private mega practices are buying up everything in sight, taking over market share, expanding dental hygienist practices (reducing the need for dentists)… not to mention manipulating insurance and flat out dominating the marketplace. the time has come where we need to protect our businesses so that they can thrive through any onslaughts and hardships. that said, let’s go over some strategies for how to prosper no matter what the dental economy is doing.

Strategy #1: Take responsibility

First thing we have to do is take complete responsibility for what is going on in our lives. If you’re not happy about your situation, the only person who can change it is you.

When I find myself frustrated about results, I have to remind myself: “Look Graig, you made a decision to do these things and to have these things in your life. You created the bed that you’re sleeping in.”

Whenever we are affected by external forces such as the economy, corporate dentistry, decreases in consumer spending, etc., it comes down to the decision you make about owning responsibility for what’s going on.

Instead of going into the blame mode and a victim mentality, just ask yourself a completely different question: “What can we do to get us to our goals?”

It is a completely different mindset, a completely different energy; a completely different perspective.

Strategy #2: Setting Goals with Patients

The second strategy is to focus more on setting goals with patients rather than trying to get the big case upfront all of the time. When you create a treatment plan for patients, it’s really important to create “good,” “better” and “best-option” dentistry.

I call this Mandatory, Elective and Cosmetic.

Mandatory: What is the dentistry that must get done immediately… otherwise it might create infection, disease or major problems?

Elective and Cosmetic dentistry are things you don’t necessarily need right now, but you might want. We need to present treatment in that way where we give patients opportunities to choose minimal treatment at this time, all the way up to the best option. This is really important because it allows you to not sell or push people too hard.

When you’re talking with a patient, you don’t necessarily push too hard on purpose. But, sometimes, when we offer only Best-option dentistry, we create a “sticker shock” experience with patients. Some trust might be lost there and a negative association or negative anchor is created. We don’t want that. You want patients to associate their visit to you as a positive experience and a great opportunity to be healthier and more attractive.

Strategy #3: Focus on revenue Generation First

Focus on revenue generation even before focusing on cutting expenses. Cutting expenses is going to be one of our strategies but revenue generation comes first.

If you read any book or have heard any story about anyone who has become extremely wealthy, one of the commonalities you will notice is that their focus is on revenue-generation.

Revenue generation will get you wealthy much faster than cutting expenses because cutting expenses usually depletes resources overall. It is a minimalistic mentality.

I see doctors making mistakes where they cut resources and they squeeze their ability to produce more because they have to personally do more. They are working longer hours yet they don’t have the people or the resources necessary to produce better and better dentistry.

Strategy #4: target better-Quality Patients

If you pose the question, “Who is going to spend good money on high quality dentistry even if we are in crazy economic times,” what answer comes to your mind?

My answer is “people who are in pain.” People who are in massive amounts of pain are going to come and see you even if they don’t necessarily want to. Their pain requires attention. People in pain are going to find money or take action even if they don’t have the means to do it, while you simultaneously are helping them get healthy.

Number two is disease. People who have some type of disease, and it is creating a major problem for them, will take action to go to the dentist because it is something they have to take care of.

Number three is people who are niche-specific and I would say condition-specific. Some of these overlap a little bit so bear with me. I am trying to give you a framework to start targeting more effectively.

The reason I created the Implant 2.0 Marketing Program is because patients who are missing teeth or frustrated with their dentures want to look younger and feel younger. The more our population learns how to live longer, the better we are going to do. There are going to be more and more of these types of patients popping up.

Strategy #5: Affluent Patients

Targeting affluent consumers is about going after business owners and households with higher incomes and bigger homes. A good starting point is to just go around your neighborhood, identify where there are better homes and send targeted lead generation direct mail to those people. However, most dentists are too busy to do this.

If you are doing condition-specific marketing like implants and sedation, you should target populations that represent your ideal patients and send targeted direct mail two or three times a quarter.

Even acquiring small lists of 5,000 or 10,000 people, you can generate massive amounts of revenue and profit by targeting a small niche.

Strategy #6: Online

Ready for the bitter truth? Here it is: the majority of patients are searching for doctors online. That’s the truth; you can’t argue with it or fight it, it’s just a cold, hard fact. So it’s critical to spend time, money and effort getting your “Google House” in order.

I’m NOT talking about your website, that’s a glorified brochure that won’t generate referrals or new patients. I’m talking about letting Google do the promoting for you! You do this with 5-STAR Google reviews, optimized video testimonials, online press releases, branding, and Google AdWords. Do all of it.

People going to the Internet are seeking information to solve their problem. If you can get a prospective patient who is seeking information, you have the opportunity to educate them and they will become a higher-quality patient.

Strategy #7: Use more media to Attract Patients

The majority of dentists do very little to no marketing. You need to use every available media source that you can make profitable. My most successful, 8-figure clients use radio, TV, direct mail, online ads, press releases, billboards, newspapers and newsletters.

My advice is to pick two to three and start testing your offers. Track every bit of each campaign.

Strategy #8: Longer marketing cycles

One way to prosper during any economy is to have longer marketing cycles with everything you’re doing. If you’re

promoting Open Houses or Patient Appreciation Events or Seminars, do not just do one step or two steps. Do four or five or eight steps. Do as many as you can to get as many people to attend.

10 years ago you could simply mail a customer base once every month and make money. You could mail prospects twice a month and get a good response.

Now it takes more investment and much more innovative strategies to get people to respond.

Right now, we use a ton of video and multiple blogs. Why? Because the best way to get response is to create a meaningful, interactive relationship where there is value created for the user. And it needs to be done really, really fast.

Strategy #9: Know the Key numbers in your business

You need to really drill down on your numbers and know where your profit is and where you’re losing money. Many clients say they have cash flow problems…


• They don’t know how much money is in their bank account.

• They don’t know what their expenses are on a monthly basis.

• They don’t know what their fixed expenses are.

• They don’t know what their personal expenses are.

It might seem like a tedious exercise, but when you’re trying to hit your goals you must have a certain amount of money that you are dedicated to putting away to your walk-away point on a monthly basis.

A lot of dentists don’t have clarity, so they have doubt, confusion and lack of motivation. They may be experiencing burnout and spending time on low-quality activities. All of those things will get you nowhere other than doing the same amount of things that you’ve always done, which will get you the same dismal results you’ve probably always gotten.

Strategy #10: Develop your Personal capabilities

You’ll get better results if you take time to expand your personal capabilities. The first capability of a true business leader is creating a vision. Secondly, it’s the ability to pick and develop the right team for your practice.

Next it’s the ability to delegate and focus solely on your highest return on investment activities.

Strategy #11: Eliminate Wasteful Spending

The next strategy is to cut expenses and eliminate wasteful spending. Audit your personal and business expenses. Ask yourself: Does spending my money on this bring me closer to my goals or further away?

If it’s a personal expense – such as the lease on your car – is it necessary or does it create fulfillment or value in your life?

If the answer is yes, then you can keep it. If no, then you have to re-evaluate what to do with it. Make sure you look properly at your marketing and education expenses.

While those might be in your expense category in a profit and loss statement, they are generating revenue for you so they are investments into your company.

I would challenge you to start thinking in terms of investment. Try to think like you’re the Warren Buffet of your own company.

Strategy #12: Attend Webinars and online events

I know it might sound like a sales pitch for my own events, but you have to attend webinars and trainings because that is where all the magic really occurs. And you don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home. Your life is not really going to change until you start moving yourself into an entrepreneurial, business-owner mentality and you realize you can acquire some of these tools to really expand your capabilities quicker. The way you do it is to get to a webinar event.

Graig Presti is founder and CEO of Local Search For Dentists™ and has been recognized as one of the world’s top market leaders in the dentistry world. Graig has led the marketing and PR campaigns that have driven more than 10,000 dental practices to have record years.

Graig’s new and highly-praised report, How To Stop The Corporate Dental Takeover, has served as a blueprint for dentists nationwide who want to protect their practices from the everincreasing threat of corporate dental attacks. The report shows dental practice owners how to not only get and keep high-quality patients, but streamline their practices so they become leaders in their markets.

To receive your own complimentary copy of Graig’s report, How To Stop The Corporate Dental Takeover, visit www.CorporateDentalAttack.com

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