New Patients, Inc.

New Patients, Inc. is an advertising agency exclusively for dentists. We create and deploy advertising that brings quality new patients to our client practices.

Issue: # 5 April/2008
News You Can Use from New Patients, Inc.
Dear Barbara Carneiro,

Getting high quality new patients to call your practice is what our company has been all about for the last 18 years. Our goal for these periodic newsletters is to give helpful marketing advice that will assist you in building your practice. In this issue we have articles by Mark Dilatush and me.
 
And don't forget to check out our new product - First Impression Video (tm)
 
Enjoy!

Warm regards,
Howie
Your Marketing Image - Will the Public Respond?

By William Howard (Howie) Horrocks

People make their dental choices based on extremely little data - a photo, a business card, a piece of letterhead, a sign, etc. Often it isn't even data upon which they base their decision - it's more like the feeling they get about you and your practice while perceiving your photo, business card, letterhead, or sign.

 

We would wish they did more homework or at least put more rationality into the process, but they often don't.

 

What's worse is these decisions are often made in a matter of seconds. In those few seconds you must reach them and make an impact or you've lost the marketing game.

 

And if all this isn't bad enough there's one more startling fact. This rather depressing piece of news is based upon my 18 years experience in getting people to respond to dental marketing. Here it is:

 

Ninety percent of the time what YOU think the public should or will respond to - they won't and don't.

 

I'd like to explore this last point because it seems to fly in the face of reason. You would think that the people who were most closely involved with their target market (in this case - you!) would have a pretty good feeling for what that market might respond to.

 

Au contraire!

 

Many of our dentist clients, especially when they first come to us, have very specific ideas about how they want to display themselves to the public. Some see themselves as dental boutiques, some see themselves as strictly cosmetic practices, and others may see themselves as family or family and cosmetic practices. In other words they have an image of themselves they want to portray to the general public.

 

They reason that their marketing should reflect and communicate this image. They further reason that by doing this they will be able to attract the portions of the general populace that they want as patients and avoid those segments they'd rather, well, avoid.

 

Sounds good. So why doesn't it always work that way?

 

It's because how the public actually sees you is very rarely the way you see yourself. And why is this? Two reasons: 1. Because of the aforementioned scant information on which they will base their decision. 2. Because they don't think like dentists.

 

There is a very real chasm between what the doctor (and staff) think will get people to call for an appointment and what gets people to actually DO it.

 

Here's a real life example. This is not an isolated occurrence. It's usual and common.

 

Doctor Jones (not his real name) pictured himself as a high end, high fee, high tech doctor who had a Nordstrom style practice. He was an extraordinarily good clinician and had the resume to prove it - Pankey, LVI, Pac-Live, Misch, Aesthetic Advantage, 1000 Gems, you name it, and he had done it.

 

His staff was very upbeat and well trained. They treated people like gold.

 

He had all the high tech toys - intraoral camera, laser, digital x-ray, air abrasion and just about anything else you can think of.

 

Even though his practice was located in an area of the country you might call "managed care heaven" (or hell, depending on your viewpoint) it was also quite an affluent area. There were lots of other dentists around.

 

He was mostly interested in attracting big cases, full mouth rehab, veneers, implants and so on. He had excellent case presentation and closing skills.

 

He asked us to produce a direct mail package but it had to conform to his idea - his self-image - of this super high end, Ritz Carlton type practice. After many drafts we finally completed the piece and he approved it. It was stunningly beautiful, slick, glossy, first class, top drawer, state-of-the-art, well, you get the idea - expensive and CLASSY. He was certain this would attract every rich person in the area and he would become the Larry Rosenthal of his community.

 

The result?

 

It was a bomb. A dud. Laid an egg. Ship wreck. Train wreck. Wash out. Disaster. Implosion. DOA. (Oops, dropped my thesaurus).

 

I think he got all of 6 calls and two appointments. 

 

Actually it produced about a 2:1 return on investment, which sounds OK but in my book is a bomb. The only thing that kept it from being a money loser is ONE of the two patients ended up being a fairly decent case and that pretty much paid for the project. If not for that it would have been a complete waste of money.

 

Let's leave Dr. Jones for a moment and drop in on another client, Dr. Smith (not his real name either).

 

For the sake of brevity let me just tell you that Dr. Smith and Dr. Jones could be the same person. Their staffs could be interchangeable, as well as their locations. They had the same qualifications, training, experience, same great staff, same demographics, same equipment, same first class facility, same closing skills - they were exactly the same in all important aspects and even the unimportant ones. Heck, they even looked alike!

 

They also had the same goals - do high end, high fee dentistry on a select group of patients.

 

We designed a mailing package for Dr. Jones. It had more of a family appeal, and while it was very professional it definitely was not high end looking or "slick." In fact, it was kind of corny, a bit too down homey, too pedestrian, just not snotty enough. Or so he thought.

 

The Result?

 

Grand slam home run. It got such a great response that the doctor still uses it to this day. It has produced an average of 25 new fee-for-service patients per month for 3 years. Lots of veneers, rehabs, implants, and of course crown and bridge, RCTs, the whole nine yards.

 

Just what Dr. Jones had hoped for but didn't get. Yet Dr. Smith got it in spades.

 

What was the difference? Dr. Jones' image of how he should promote himself missed the mark. The public wouldn't respond to it. We found out later that many people thought it was certainly a high quality piece and he must be a great dentist but their reaction was, "I'd like to have him as my dentist but I don't think I could afford him. I only need a couple of fillings but he probably doesn't want to do fillings. He must treat only movie stars or CEOs of big companies."

 

The public reaction to Dr. Smith's piece was, "I can trust this guy, and he's competent. He knows what he's doing. It would be great to have him as my dentist. He sounds like he wants me as a patient."

 

Oh, one more thing. Dr. Smith and Dr. Jones fee schedules? Virtually identical.

 

So we have two practices with identical fees, demographics, patient pools, skills, equipment and staffs. The dentists even do the exact same dentistry on their patients.

 

But they had vastly different public faces.

 

Dr. Jones came across as professional but also expensive, slick, aloof, arrogant and not at all inviting.

 

Dr. Smith came across as professional as well but also competent, trustworthy, caring and most of all, accessible. Note: No one said anything about Dr. Smith having high fees. It just wasn't a factor one way or the other. His fees were as high as Dr. Jones, but people didn't perceive that to be the case or didn't care.

 

Remember, we're not talking about having to have a specific practice philosophy or having to practice only certain kinds of dentistry, or having to service only a certain level of the populace, we're simply talking about how to attract people.

 

The two doctors in our example each had a chance to connect with their audience but only one did. The other was perceived to be out of reach. One was emotionally warm, the other cold and distant.

 

The moral of the story is what you think about yourself and how you want to display yourself is one thing. What people will respond to is often something else.

 

 

Mr. Horrocks is the author of two dental bestsellers, Unlimited New Patients, Volume One, and Unlimited New Patients, Volume Two; Trade Secrets of America's Dental Marketing Guru. His agency, New Patients, Inc. produces advertising campaigns for private dental practices all over the US and Canada. For more information call (866) 336-8237 or on the web at www.newpatientsinc.com
How Can I Tell if My Marketing is Working? 
By Mark Dilatush
Mark Dilatush

In this section, Mark Dilatush gives you step by step homework that you can easily implement with each installment of the newsletter. If you miss an installment and want to catch up, you can see previous installments here.

 

 

Our clients get surveyed every 5 months on their results. When the results come in, our analysis/strategy department compiles the information and enters it into the appropriate client record. In this installment of the newsletter, I want to give you some trends that we see on a daily basis.It is my hope that this information will help you assess your own data and make much better business decisions for your practice.

 

Your referral source data in your practice management software is wrong.

 

I know. You're shocked. But, most of you just run a production by referral source report and take it at face value. The only useful information on your production by referral source report is to calculate average revenue per new patient by source. This is a vital measurement when you look at long term return on investment. But if you look at the production by referral source report as a true indication of where your patients are coming from, or, the total number of patients generated by each referral source - you are making multiple mistakes.

 

So how do I figure out the true number of new patients?

 

I'm glad you asked. You must run a production report for 00150 (new comp exam) for the same time frame that you ran the referral report.  Let me give you a pretty common example of what we see on a daily basis.

 

Referral report shows: 195 new patients from various referral sources

ADA production report shows: 255, 00150's for the same date range

 

How can this be true you might ask?In the example above, the practice has 60 new patients that do not have anything in the referral field.  So, if the owner of this practice simply looks at the data from the referral report - they will be making a big mistake in judgment from the wrong data.

 

Is that it? Is that all I need to do?  - No, now you have to calculate average revenue per new patient by source.

 

Now look at the production by referral source report again. But now you know that this report is only a "portion" of the truth. But that's ok.  Remember, this report is very useful. You just can't rely on it for the total number of new patients. Your production by referral source report is useful for calculating average revenue per patient by referral source. All you have to do here is divide the total revenue generated by a referral source by the number of patients referred. Here's another example.

 

Yellow Pages:

40 patients referred - total production for referral source = $20,000.

 

Mailers:

20 patients referred - total production for referral source = $40,000.

 

I give the above example to make two points. The yellow pages are generating DOUBLE the volume of new patients with average revenue per patient of $500. The mailers generated half the volume of new patients than the yellow pages did but the average revenue per patient is quadruple, or, $2,000 per patient. In the long run, the yellow page patients will fill your schedule but the mailer patients will fill your wallet.  When you assess the results of your marketing efforts, quality beats quantity every time!

 

Is that it? Am I done? - No, there's one more thing I want you to look at but only if your practice has a website.

 

If you don't have a website, you're done. If you do have a website, let's look at how it can "skew" your data. Everyone knows that primary external marketing drives traffic to your website. When new patients come into your office, it is quite common for the patient to say "I went to your website" when your front desk administrator asks them how they found you.So, if you have a website and you are promoting your practice properly through other external means - your referral source report will show a growing number of new patients mentioning your website as the source. This makes perfect sense. So how do I truly determine the exact initial marketing source? If you are promoting your dental practice through multiple external mediums (let's say mail, print ads, and radio), the best thing I can tell you is to put CallTracking numbers on the mediums that cost you the most money (in this case the print ads and the radio spots).CallTracking numbers allow you to know EXACTLY how many inquiries came in from each of those marketing efforts. You will be able to see when the inquiries were made, who made them, how long the call was, which staff person answered the call, and even listen to the entire call yourself - all from a centralized website account with your name on it! 

 

Summary:

What I want you to take from this article is to understand the value of true information before you go make important business decisions in your practice. Too many dentists use the wrong information to make the wrong decisions for their practice. I want you to use the right information to make the right decisions for your practice.

 
Mr. Dilatush has a unique combined background in dental technology, dental practice management, practice marketing, and dental business analytics, which was built over the past 23 years in dentistry. He and his team are responsible for building client marketing plans that pose the least risk to client marketing budgets with the highest potential return. Howard Farran said of Mark, "multitudes of dentists have benefited from the wisdom and integrity that Mark brings to every project. His thoughtfulness and sincere approach has aided scores of dentists in finding their path to greater dental success."
First Impression Logo
 
New Product from NPI
 
First Impression Video (tm) from New Patients, Inc.
 

We are very excited about our new product offering - customized video for your website!

 

First Impression Video by New Patients, Inc. is a way for potential new patients to actually meet you when they visit your website for the first time. This GREATLY reduces the barrier of distrust and begins the process of "trust."  Trust is the first thing you have to accomplish when you want to attract new patients. You can convey this with words but that can only take you so far.

 

Think about it. Let's say you need some kind of medical care. Your physician refers you to three specialists and gives you their websites so you can go home and look for yourself. Two of those sites are all text and maybe a poorly done educational (too long) video.

 

But on one of the sites, the doctor him/her self immediately introduces themselves to you and directs you to other points of interest on their website. When you click on those other points of interest, they (or someone else from their office) pop up again and help you with timely information.

 

Which one of the three specialists are you most likely going to call first for a consult?

 

Now let's say you weren't referred but you're just searching for a new dentist, which dentist would you most likely call for the first consult?

 

Now you understand the main benefit of First Impression Video. You are going to convert more of your website visitors into more new patients! After all, what's the use in having lots of web traffic, if you don't convert that traffic into new patients? 

To learn more about First Impression Video, email Mark at markd@newpatientsinc.com, or, call us at 866.336.8237. You can also visit our website and download a First Impression brochure. Go to www.newpatientsinc.com and click on the First Impression link at the top right.

 

 

We hope you've enjoyed our newsletter. Please let us know if there's a particular subject you'd like to hear about. And we always appreciate your feedback.
 
Warm regards,
 
Howie
In This Issue
Your Marketing Image - Will the Public Respond?
How Can I Tell if My Marketing is Working?
First Impression Video
Quick Links
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New Patients, Inc.
The ad agency exclusively for dentists
 
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