In Vegas, the casinos only have a one-percent advantage over the gambler, and the industry yields billions for the house each year.
Wouldn’t it be amazing for a newly minted dentist to get that one-percent edge in the same fashion to pay off school debt and result in his or her owning a practice outright?
Well, it is absolutely possible – once you get up to speed to do the bread-and-butter dentistry – crowns, fillings, molar endo and perio in a timely manner.
A great way to do this is to do your time as an associate in a high-volume practice.
Once you’re cruisin’ along at your speed, the next thing I’m going to share with you is the career game-changer:
The New Dentist Edge
As a new dentist, you have a huge Las Vegas edge here.
Most practice evaluators take the gross collections of a practice and then take 70-100 percent.
The real practice value is what a seller is willing to sell at and what the buyer is willing to pay. Sounds fundamental but it’s true. There are a lot of unmotivated, tired Baby Boomer doctors who are exhausted and looking to get out. This is largely due to the lack of a desire to handle the business side of dentistry.
Most dentists never get any advice on how to recruit lifetime patients who want to accept the treatment they need, so their collections are based upon what they can present, close and get paid for. Case studies show that if you do not have a business model that gets the whole team on board to educate and close the patient, the average case acceptance is 15 percent for new patients and 34 percent for existing patients.
You see, there are three ways to build a practice, and most old-school docs are on the new-patient treadmill. They think the only way to practice growth is by acquiring new patients. But you’re a new dentist, and this is your edge. You’re in the Vegas one percent!
Growing a Practice
The three ways to grow a practice are as follows:
1) New patients
2) Increase patient retention
3) Increase case acceptance
So, let’s take a numerical dive to illustrate your edge.
Ol’ Richard the dentist collects $1,000,000 a year and wants $800,000 for his practice.
He has the following:
- 3,000 patients
- PPO fees
- Gets $1,000 for crowns
- Collects $150 for hygiene exams
- Prophy and X-rays
- He gets 20 new patients a month.
Let’s go inside to see the true value of his practice.
When you change your focus from acquiring new patients and zoom in on building your practice from the inside-out instead, with the emphasis being on complete health, you will increase your hygiene retention and case acceptance.
The benchmarks for practices that do this generate per patient:
- One crown $1,000
- Two hygiene visits $300
- Average annual value of a patient $1,300
With 3,000 patients of record x $1,300 average annual value of a patient, the yield is… $3,900,000.
You will need an associate to help you deliver dentistry once you get to about $1.5-$2 million, depending on how you want to and are able to work. You can see that the selling doctor is only running at one-quarter of his capacity. His untapped asset is his patient base, and his or her focus has not been on increasing retention and case acceptance. We know this because retiring doctors routinely come to us to increase their collections this way so they can sell the practice at a higher number.
So, how do you move from being on the new-patient treadmill to increasing case acceptance to 67 percent and patient retention in hygiene to 80 percent?
Allow me to share with you the Five-Step Healthy Patient BlueprintTM..
This methodology includes five steps, collectively designed to remove your sense of constantly having to sell your services, creating a simple communication system that allows you come from a place of education and permitting the patient the freedom to choose to move forward or not with treatment. It eliminates the guilt or “underserving feeling” that most new practitioners experience when presenting a care option – a feeling that some practitioners never overcome, right up to the day they retire!
Imagine being able naturally to disconnect from making the patient’s problem or condition your problem, to present as an authentic and caring total healthcare giver, and finally, giving yourself permission to lay your head on your pillow, knowing you are doing well by doing good.
The tenet behind these five steps is the concept of enrollment. Enrollment is a process that involves speaking, behaving and operating in such a way that the patient (team member, partner, child) is inspired to make a conscious choice to take action. This is the opposite of pushiness, manipulation, or persuasion. Think of it as holding your patients’ hands and guiding them to the place they want to go.
Step 1 involves locating the patient’s “personal motivator.”
The personal motivator describes what is most important to the patient. It is the emotional reason that brings them to your office. The three things every person wants are:
These are all depending on where he or she is in their lifecycle. Locate this emotional source of desire that already exists within the patient and consciously connect dentistry to one, two, or all three. How do you do this? Often you can gauge the patients’ motivators from the first topics, they talk about when you ask them how they’re doing, or more pointedly, when you ask about the things that are most important to them at this stage of life.
Step 2 is built around a tool called the Healthy Mouth BaselineTM.
Most patients do not know what a healthy mouth truly is. If you don’t establish a healthy mouth benchmark with the patients on every visit, they will more than likely think you are paying off your student loans by working on their mouths. Get together with your team and get agreement on what is healthy from a soft tissue, hard tissue, lifestyle and whole-body perspective. Create a graphical Healthy Mouth Baseline representation on an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet with your logo and use it to begin each recare visit. Always include it in your new patient protocol to review interactively with the patient. You will dramatically increase case acceptance and reduce hygiene no-shows.
Step 3: Problem, Consequence – Shhhhhhh.
People don’t buy solutions to problems they don’t think they have. Using the intraoral camera to educate every patient on every visit is a must. Patients process health information mostly through visual representations. When a patient grasps the long-term health implications of oral-inflammatory disease, you are better able to enroll them into asymptomatic care. Visual evidence drives home the message that when you get the patient orally healthy, it will affect their overall health. The patient also can’t see what you see, having your assistant or hygienist take photos and graphically explain the patient’s oral health situation raises awareness. The patient is then able to focus on the problem and understand the consequences of taking no action. This ties in to the patient’s personal motivator, which means they will begin asking you for the solution to the problem. BUT – shhhhhhhhhh – until the patient says, “How do I get this out of my mouth?” or, “How much does my insurance pay?” then, and only then, should you venture to offer them the solution.
Step 4 is called the Trust Transfer.
One of the biggest “bleeding points” in a practice is the conversation that happens in the back office, when there is no step-by-step system to hand off the patient to the front office. It is essential that the team member up front knows the patient’s personal motivator and also the overview of the discussion that happened during treatment. When the patient knows that the front office team member comprehends the situation, it’s easier for the team member up front to handle objections when the patient poses challenges.
Step 5 is all about fitting the treatment into the patient’s lifestyle.
No one has a budget for dentistry, so it’s misleading to claim that you can fit all the needed treatment into a budget framework. We all find the time and money for things we want. When you follow the first four steps in the process, it becomes a more effortless project to achieve this final step. You have enrolled the patient into the idea of investing in something they want, as opposed to something you told them they need. At this point, he or she should connect with your CareCredit representative and download the financial options sheet. This is a tool that beautifully breaks down the total investment, the insurance portion and then the patient’s responsibility. It automatically calculates a pay-today courtesy for full payment at presentation, and it also breaks the total payments down into bite-size monthly payments that take a $5,000 investment – less a $1,000 insurance estimate – to as low as $199, interest free per month.
So, if you are looking to get patients healthy and do not want to be a tooth-mechanic your whole life – AND if you want to pay off your debt, OWN a practice, get married and have a family and retire early, follow these five steps:
1) Get up to speed
2) Buy a practice with a high patient-base that is valued by a percentage of collections
3) Implement the 5 Step Healthy Patient BlueprintTM.
That’s it – be debt free AND own your own practice outright in five years. This is your reality!