I am one of the fortunate few dentists who can honestly say I have treated thousands of obstructive sleep apnea patients. With numbers like that, it’s not hard to understand why dentists ask me, “Avi, what have you done to see so many patients?”
First off, my results didn’t come overnight. Second, knowing what I know now, I can clearly see that I did it the hard way. I worked a lot harder than I needed to.
Don’t get me wrong, my results have been extraordinary, and I’ve accomplished some remarkable things along the way. I’ve spent more than 15 years perfecting my craft, actively looking for anyone who could teach me something new or provide me with an insight I didn’t have… anything I could do to help me improve. I took as many courses as possible and even became a Diplomate with the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine.
In spite of all of these accomplishments and accolades, it’s taken a ton of effort and dedication (not to mention spending millions of dollars) to attract all those patients. Fortunately for you, there are much simpler ways to get the type of results I have experienced without going through everything I did.
You see, I discovered there’s a weakness in virtually every sleep apnea training program: each teaches you how to treat sleep apnea patients, but when it comes to the business side, you are left to your own devices. I can honestly tell you that learning the clinical side of treating sleep apnea is the easy part! In a single weekend, an excellent instructor can teach you much of what you will ever need to know.
But then you’re on your own. After revealing the “big secret” to attracting patients is to work with sleep doctors and sleep labs, you are sent off to struggle against impossible odds… without any further advice. With training like that, is it any wonder the average sleep dentist only treats 2-4 patients per month?
Here’s the honest truth: The hardest part about treating sleep apnea is finding the patients. With an estimated 32 million Americans with sleep apnea, I realize that it is counterintuitive to think that’s where the biggest challenge is. You could be blindfolded, throw a rock in any direction, and you would more than likely hit someone who suffers from OSA. With all this pent-up demand, it’s hard to see why dentists have to work so hard to get patients. Yet, we all know how many patients an “average” sleep dentist sees per month… and the figure isn’t pretty.
When I first started out, it was a struggle for me too. I was only averaging 2-4 patients a month. Don’t get me wrong, it was great to be treating patients, but I was pulling my hair out with frustration because there weren’t more. I couldn’t figure out why there wasn’t a line of patients out my door.
At first, I thought it was me… so I went searching for more training and received more certifications and distinctions. But it wasn’t enough. It was obvious if I used the same mentality as everyone else in sleep, I was going to go broke, starve to death, or both. I decided if I wanted to be a successful sleep dentist, I was going to have to do things differently. It took me years of my time and a lot of lost money but success did come. I give courses on the subject monthly and it would take a long book to write all the steps needed to succeed but all successful programs have things in common. Here are my top 10 keys to success in the world of dental sleep medicine.
1 You need a proven system
Don’t reinvent the wheel. Look to those who have already succeeded in this business. There are reasons why 99 percent of the dentists who have taken a sleep course are not successful. It’s because they were taught by people, who did not achieve success. Make sure your teacher has at least reached the level of success that you desire to reach in sleep. For example, If you want to treat 20-50 patients per month make sure your teacher has done the same.
2 Make sure the program you are working with is complete
One of the most frustrating components of virtually every program in sleep is they provide the broad strokes, but you’re left to fill in the details all by yourself. This is because most other programs only focus on how to diagnose and treat sleep apnea. Make sure the company you work with, takes it a step further and teaches you the business logic, patient attraction, and all the financial and legal aspects of the sleep business.
3 You need a great team
It doesn’t matter where you look, you’re not going to find a successful sleep dentist if they don’t have a great team. You need to find qualified, motivated, teachable, caring individuals who all share the same goal: helping you treat more sleep apnea patients, who will benefit from your care.
4 Ability to overcome objections
Your systems should be light-years ahead of your competitors. Virtually every challenge, concern, or shortcoming that is preventing you from achieving the results should be addressed. Make sure that you have thought of every objection possible out there in the world of medicine and then make sure you have the ability to overcome every one of these objections.
5 Get properly trained
There are few companies (I believe IAOS is by far the best) out there that provide in-depth training programs. These companies should take you through each one of their proprietary systems. These systems take the guesswork out of how to actually profit, while helping countless numbers of patients, get the care and treatment they desperately need.
6 You need constant support
This is where almost every sleep program fails. You spend your time learning how to treat sleep, and then you are left to uncomfortably flail on your own. Most sleep courses are so immersed in science that you get home from the course on Monday and your question is usually OK Now What! You need constant support you after the event. This includes open access to a coach and a team who are able to help you every step of the way. You should have regularly scheduled calls with your coach and their team at least once a week.
7 You need a great network of likeminded people
When was the last time you can honestly remember being in a room with 50-100 other dentists who were actually experiencing massive results or were genuinely interested in getting there? That network of dentists is needed to help push you forward in the world of sleep. Together you can achieve more, learning from, and motivating each other. That’s the power of a network of like-minded, motivated dentists, and that’s what you need to succeed. These networking events should take place at least once every three months and are crucial to your growth and motivation.
8 You must think out of the box
Most dentists are involved in sleep for two reasons 1) They would like to help more patients and 2) They want to create a significantly increased revenue stream. The Successful dentists also understand, that if they don’t get out and actually do something drastically different than the norm, nothing is going to change in sleep medicine. You have to be open to different ideas. Try to connect with others who think differently as well. The right network and coach is crucial here. They know what must be done in order to be successful and – the real beauty is – they make sure you do the same.
9 The opportunity
The world of Sleep Medicine truly has an “Unlimited amount of Sleep Patients.” 90% of sleep patients have yet to be diagnosed. Anywhere between 4-10% of the population has undiagnosed sleep apnea. When you know where to look sometimes 50% of a room can have undiagnosed sleep apnea. It doesn’t matter where you live or work… like I mentioned earlier, it’s almost as though you could throw a rock and hit someone who suffers from sleep apnea. The potential is huge. Now you just need a good blueprint to find them
10 The results
Throughout my career whether as a general dentist or a sleep dentist I have experienced both average results and extraordinary results. I can tell you from experience that “extraordinary” is better. When I operated on another level, my patients, practice, and bottom-line all showed it – and I really enjoyed what I did. When you have a great sleep practice with 20-50 patients or more coming in every month you have the keys to tap into the massive potential all around you. I know treating 50 new sleep patients a month is possible for anyone, anywhere; I know getting an average reimbursement rate of $3000 is achievable at the very least; and the ability to reach these goals without spending a fortune on advertising budget or getting stuck at obstacles is exciting.
Avi Weisfogel is the Business Director, International Academy of Sleep. You may reach him at Dr. Weisfogel, send an email to dentalsleepmasters@gmail or call 908-258-0341.
At Reveal events we go into every step mentioned above in detail. We review all of the systems that have allowed our members to treat 20-50 patients a month and discuss all the documentation necessary that allows them to get paid at the highest reimbursement level possible. To sign up for one of the Reveal courses go to iaosleep.org and click on events or call us at 908-258-0341.The IAOS Reveal is held monthly and is coming soon to a city near you. For a full list of events go to iaosleep.org.