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Internal Dental Marketing - Undone Treatment... Done

Aug 5, 2008
One of the most aggravating things for a dentist, I might imagine, is having all that undone treatment sitting in files. Hundreds of thousands of dollars - in some cases probably millions. Just sitting there, needing to be done; patients in need. But, what happens to it?

For 99.9% dental practices, nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch.

In my years of coaching, consulting and working with thousands of dentists, I've heard of many different ways to manage this most annoying and gut-wrenching problem. (What? You're not gut-wrenched to think of all that undone treatment? You should be!)

There is a method, or system to handle it. Let me give you a few examples. One is right for you. Personally, I'd do all of them until I figured out how to properly work them.

No. 1 - Call the people who have undone treatment. Yeah, imagine that! A FREE call! And guess what? You'll close a TON of treatment because of it. Additionally, it puts the responsibility squarely where it belongs (my opinion, mind you): on the doctor and staff. You see, you are doing your patients a disservice by NOT having them complete necessary treatment. Cosmetics are a different story and require a different approach. But, for general health reasons, you should do what it takes to get your patients moved to the decision - Yes, I am going to get that treatment done. It's all done by script, so there's nothing that cannot be copied or duplicated by any staff member with idle time.

No. 2 - A first-class, hand-addressed letter. Yes, I am a fan of letters. Similar to the call, except, people don't usually screen mail with the same scrutiny that they may screen calls. Put together a basic letter reminding them of the importance of completing their treatment, then adjust it for particular cases. Try to make it as personable as possible. This gives the sense that you truly care about them, as a person, and not just the money that you plan to get from them. This is also another aspect of building relationships with your patients. This, we all know, is crucial.

No. 3 - Education. Another easy one. If your patients aren't accepting treatment and if money isn't the problem (they drive new cars don't they? And what about the new TV for Christmas? Get on their level!), then you need to educate them more. Do what it takes, morally, ethically and legally to move your patients to the right decision. And just ask them, "If not now, when? It's only going to get worse, as will the pain!" I mean, with all the tools and technology at your disposal, including sedation, air abrasion, and so on, they don't have an excuse!

No. 4 - Offer them an opportunity to pay over time. And keep on presenting this as an option. If they can pay $75 a month for 6 months, then let them do it! Systems control your success or failure in this arena. There are great companies out there that can help you in this area, and they offer great rates to dentists.

No. 5 - Finally, do nothing. If your results are already so good and you're not ticked at yourself for all the undone treatment sitting in that filing cabinet, then do nothing. Or, maybe you have adequate patient flow and you're just not worried about it, then that's okay too.

However, if you want more production, get all those people back in your chair! Even if things are going "okay" in your practice, why not make things "great"? Have a production record breaking month! You know you want to. Just make it happen.
About the Author
James Erickson is the President of EMC Dental Marketing which gives Dentists a resource for turn-key dental marketing programs and dental practice marketing education including new patient attraction, and internal marketing systems. Visit www.EMCdental.com and get a free practice
building kit sent directly to your home or office.
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