THE MILLIONAIRE DENTIST PODCAST

EPISODE 91: FOCUSING ON PATIENT RETENTION YIELDS RESULTS

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EPISODE 91: FOCUSING ON PATIENT RETENTION YIELDS RESULTS

Casey and Jarrod discuss the importance of marketing to get new patients, but after that what keeps them coming back? Working on ways to improve patient retention is a more important goal than dumping money into marketing.

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EPISODE 91 TRANSCRIPTION

Announcer:

Hello, everyone. Welcome to The Millionaire Dentist Podcast, brought to you by Four Quadrants Advisory. On this podcast, we break down the world of dentistry finances and business practices to help you become the millionaire dentist you deserve to be. Please be advised, we do speak with an honest tongue and may not be safe for work.

 

Casey Hiers:

Hello and welcome. This is Casey Hiers. Back at it again at the millionaire dentist podcast, in studio with cohost, Jarrod Bridgman. How are you, sir?

 

Jarrod Bridgeman:

Good. How are you?

 

Casey Hiers:

Let's talk about a word that my three and six-year-old say a lot, more. Ice cream, candy, whatever it is, more daddy, more. That's a word that if there's something good, we want more of. In dentistry, there's two ways I hear this word and I wanted to talk about it today for our listeners. The first one is if you want more, just produce more, but the second one is more patients, so then you want to do more advertising, more and more and more. Let's peel that onion back a little bit and see what that means.

 

Jarrod Bridgeman:

Sure. Obviously as the marketer guru here, that's always my go-to. That's my background. That's my extent of my knowledge base. Not the extent, but that's a lot of what I know is yes, you advertise, you market. You do things to draw the attention of people. That's what I always suggest to people, but other things have shown, I've been talking to other people like you and other people in this company, maybe that's not always the best thing to do.

 

Casey Hiers:

We have robust conversations here, obviously with a lot of practice owners from around the country with different situations. Today's going to be a little bit about marketing, and advertising, and new patients and things of that nature. More and more and more, that's our theme. That's our title for the day, but here's some things people need to realize, more can be a bad thing if your house isn't in order. Is there an analogy we can use? I think we were talking about houses earlier.

 

Jarrod Bridgeman:

Well, think of marketing as making things look prettier. If you compare that to a house, realtors call it...

 

Casey Hiers:

Landscaping.

 

Jarrod Bridgeman:

Landscaping. I was going to say curb appeal, but yes, don't spend a ton of money getting your landscaping looked great if you have a giant hole in your roof. If you have structural, fundamental problems, there's better places to put your money.

 

Casey Hiers:

There it is and I think that's the connection we want to make with a couple of things. The first one is getting 20 new patients a month is a good benchmark. That's a good metric. Hopefully, word of mouth and good reviews online, and things of that nature can lead to that, but if you're spending a lot of money on digital marketing and advertising, and you're bringing in 20 new patients a month, but 30 are going out the door, that's a net loss of 10. Again, you've got to go back to the understanding of the why. Is it cultural? Is it your hygiene department? Is it not enough time with patients, case acceptance? What is it? But before you go dump a bunch of money in advertising, make sure the house is in order. Get the great landscaping, but let's make sure, to your point, structurally, the house is sound.

 

Jarrod Bridgeman:

The important thing is patient retention. Hopefully, people are coming to visit you every six months. When I was younger, I wasn't so great at it in college, I was too busy studying was what I would say, but you need to find ways to keep the patients and retain patients and have them come again, and again, and again. If you're bringing in a bunch of new people and as you said, even more are leaving, advertising, you're bringing in people, but for one-off things.

 

Casey Hiers:

It's a revolving door, right?

 

Jarrod Bridgeman:

Yeah.

 

Casey Hiers:

We see some of those different advertisers where maybe you're promoting something and you're getting those one-time drill and fill people who are just looking for a bargain. You've got to sit back and look at that and say, "Is that worth? It is my marketing and advertising budget accomplishing what I want it to accomplish?" Again, is there a good case acceptance? Is the dentist and the team confidently securing case acceptance? Is there enough time? What does that look like? If that's all spot on, then let's look at insurances. I mean, you don't want to advertise and bring on 50 new patients a year who have the worst insurance in town. That's going to be another component that needs to be measured to understand-

 

Jarrod Bridgeman:

Where you're making cents on the dollar.

 

Casey Hiers:

Correct? Yeah. You're spending tens of thousands of dollars to advertise and ultimately, you need to know what those metrics are, but you're bringing on X amount of patients who are with certain dental plans where ultimately, your good patients are simply getting further and further booked out. Your schedule's filled up, but it's not moving the needle. Too often, again, it's just more, more marketing, more production.

 

Jarrod Bridgeman:

Well, and if you start doing a lot of that and and you get booked out too far, then all of a sudden you're like, "Oh, maybe I need to hire more people, or maybe I needed an associate." Then you're potentially losing out on even more money.

 

Casey Hiers:

Well, you're opening up a problem with right now, hiring market stuff with hygiene and the dental world. That more can be misleading. Now, if you're fee for service, if you are staffed adequately, if culture's good, time with patients is good, case acceptance is good, look at that. Maybe that is a good time to up some marketing. We've done a podcast in the past, Jarrod, where people would spend a lot of money marketing and it wasn't leading to what they want. We said, "Well, what if you don't spend that money marketing? What if we look around for an older practice nearby where basically, we can purchase the patient base? Is that an option?" It's really taking a step back and looking universally at something and not just throwing money at a problem. What's today's... Throwing a screen in front of your kids so they stop stop whining. You can't just throw marketing at a problem. Sometimes the problem is other than simply getting new patients.

 

Jarrod Bridgeman:

Exactly. Now we're not saying ditch all marketing. Obviously, you're going to want a website. You're going to need something out there that shows that, hey we're a real live breathing company or practice. You do want a Facebook page. You do want a website. You do want those things because otherwise, how are people you're going to review you in the first place? Positive reviews do do a lot.

 

Casey Hiers:

There's technology out there that you can make it real simple for your patients to simply text back something where you're getting some reviews. You're capturing that so that when somebody gets on the worldwide web and does a duck, duck, go, or a Google search that oh, wow, look at all these good reviews. That's important, but there's so many factors to make sure you have in line before just throwing money at marketing. Then we've talked about this in the past, digital marketing. It seems like now mailers are popular again. What's old is new again. People are used to so much digital marketing that now mailers, if they're good and they stand out, those will get people's attention. Maybe sponsor a little league team.

 

Jarrod Bridgeman:

Well, just think about it. I remember way back in the mid 90s, got my first family computer. We finally got the internet in the old, tiny Indiana town I'm from. We were excited to hear, you got mail. It was really cool to get email. What is this? People get tired of junk mail and things like that, but now all of that's been parred down and people get nonstop, I would say, junk email or spam email. Whatever you want to call. I get stuff because I sign up for everything on the planet hoping for free things. That's just how I am, but I get so many of those that unless it's specifically a brand or a company I'm really looking for things from, I delete them right away.

 

Casey Hiers:

What it comes down to, advertising and marketing is a good thing, but it's not the most efficient way to move the needle. There are handfuls of areas that you really need to look at, really need to get your arms around, really need to understand. I was talking earlier today, total accountability. The Navy Seal, Jocko, who wrote the book, Extreme Ownership. Too many practice owners want to look outward at all the reasons why something's not working. A lot of times, it has to come from the practice owner. Number one, them taking complete and total ownership and accountability of it. Whether warranted or notm that's leadership. People are going to see that and then they can actually go out and look and improve things, but if it starts with you, the owner, it's going to be more receptive.

 

Jarrod Bridgeman:

I mean, it's just like last week's episode where we talked about Fantasy Football. The practice owner is also the coach. At the end of the day, it's really up to that person that's in charge.

 

Casey Hiers:

I think that's the missing component sometimes is it is easy to point to, well, it's hard to get hygiene, or I've got some employees and my office manager's not great.

 

Jarrod Bridgeman:

I'm in a bad area or whatever the case may be.

 

Casey Hiers:

I don't like my cash flow. They want to complain and look everywhere else. Again, practice owners, take ownership, take leadership. Make sure the house is in order. Make sure that you are checking the boxes on all these areas and then once things are in a good spot, advertising and marketing, that's probably money well spent, but boy, do we see that a lot. Throwing money at advertising and marketing, throwing your hands up, shrugging and just going, "I don't know what's wrong."

 

Jarrod Bridgeman:

Let's say you start marketing heavily and the marketing works really well. Then you get a huge influx of patients and all of a sudden, you're overwhelmed. You don't have the time or the space to even take care of them.

 

Casey Hiers:

Well, and too often, they are one hit wonders. They come and go. Then what do they do? Well, I'm going to go spend $50,000 on practice management to fix the problem. Ultimately, sometimes that is helpful. Most of the time, it's not. Most of the time, it's areas where if you had a second to take a breath and look at your practice, your business and all things that you would, in your gut, realize what needs to be looked at, but those are tough things to change.

 

Jarrod Bridgeman:

People are very emotional about that, especially when it's their life's work.

 

Casey Hiers:

A lot of this comes down to the emotion of it. It doesn't feel good, so I don't want to think about it. I don't know want to address it. I'm just going to throw money at it through practice management, or I'm going to throw money at it through marketing. Ultimately, this is just trying to save people some heartache and save people some money. Make sure you are at a place and your practice is in a place that marketing and advertising is a good thing.

 

Jarrod Bridgeman:

There are things you can do early on that are basically free, making a Facebook page, setting up a Google account. Things like that will get your name out there without having to pay thousands of dollars. If someone comes up to you and says, "I'll build your brand new website for 35K," don't do it. I had someone mention that to me once, and I laughed and then I felt bad for laughing and they felt bad that I laughed.

 

Casey Hiers:

But you weren't wrong.

 

Jarrod Bridgeman:

I wasn't wrong because, especially in a smaller practice, you don't need the bells and whistles and looking like a Apple website.

 

Casey Hiers:

Well, and again, it's nice to have an independent group that you can ask these questions on. Hey, I'm thinking about doing some marketing and advertising. I'd like to spend $50,000 this year in a budget. Maybe that sounds a little aggressive. What do you think? That's really nice, instead of most people just mentioning it a few times, Googling or duck, duck, going advertising, dental advertising. Thinking about it for a couple of weeks and then out of desperation, just starting to advertise. Have a plan, have a strategy, make sure you're ready for it. Ultimately, ask yourself if you are bringing in new patients, but more are leaving, why? Get it addressed. That's a tough question to ask, but my goodness, you don't need to advertise the market if your patients aren't leaving.

 

Jarrod Bridgeman:

Exactly. Exactly.

 

Casey Hiers:

Well, Jarrod, I know this was a topic near and dear to your heart as a marketing guru. While marketing is good, we kicked it in the shins a little bit as well. Timing is everything, but I appreciate your help with this one. Thank you, sir.

 

Jarrod Bridgeman:

Thank you.

 

Announcer:

That's all the time we have today. Thank you to our guests for their insight and for sharing some really great information and thank you to you, the listener for tuning in. The Millionaire Dentist Podcast is brought to you by Four Quadrants Advisory. To see if they might be a good fit for you and your practice, go on over to fourquadrantsdvisory.com and see why year after year, they retain over 95% of their clients. Thank you again for joining us and we'll see you next time.