What commitments can you make to yourself for a better dental practice? In this episode, we explain.



  • View your practice as a business
    • Fighting reimbursement entities, corporate entities
    • Your mental image of a “practice”
    • “I don’t need marketing. I have organic referrals”
  • Commit to a marketing budget
    • Where your money went vs. where it should go
    • The vicious cycle of starting and stopping
    • Avoiding “starting over” every time you market
  • Commit to ROI tracking the right way
    • Source your new patients
    • Call tracking
  • Understand what customers are looking for and access more education
  • You have a choice!

Podcast Transcription:

Hello, and welcome once again to the Dental Marketing Mastery series. This podcast is brought to you by DentalWebContent.com and New Patients Incorporated. I’m Howie Horrocks, the Founder of New Patients Incorporated, along with me once again, as my friend and partner and the President of New Patients Incorporated, Mark Dilatush.

Howie: Well, welcome everybody. All you podcast listeners out there. How are you doing? Mark?

Mark: Doing wonderful. Howie?

Howie: Good

Mark: What’s on our agenda for today?

Howie: Well, you know, I think we were we were considering the word commitment.

Mark: Oh, no.

Howie: Yeah, I know.

Mark: I hate those.

Howie: Well, you know, sometimes you gotta have them.

Mark: I like them when they’re people are committed to me.

Howie: Well, what I have in mind is more of, you know, what can a dental practice to what commitments do they need to make? Or should they make? You know, to further their enterprise? What would you say about that?

Mark: Wow. Um, this was a good. I don’t know, did this come through the mailbag, or this must have come through? This is? This is a good one. This actually lines up with the beginning of the year, too.

Howie: Oh, yeah.

Mark: It’s never too late to start your year over again. So

Howie: Yeah,

Mark: Wow. commitments. All right, let’s start at the very, very, very, very top. I’m, if I’m a dentist, and I want to I’m committed to making an improvement in 27. I don’t know how, I don’t know, I don’t know any of that stuff yet. But I’m going to start making commitments to myself, where would I start? Um, I think the first commitment I would have to make to my self as a dentist is, I’m going to look at my practice as a business.

Howie: Right

Mark:  And every business has to have a new customer acquisition.

Howie: Right

Mark: Right.

Howie: That’s, that’s funny, Mark, because, you know, you and I’ve been talking with Dennis for 20 freakin years. And, and its amazing what kind of mental image that Dentists have about the word practice, you know, it means something to them. And, and all of that stuff is perfectly fine, but you know, you drill down and, and at its heart, dental practice is a small business, and is subject to all of the economic pressures and the supply demand, etc., etc., then any businesses, including a need for new customers,

Mark: Yeah, and now more than ever, I think dentists are feeling the pressure from the corporate entities, and they’re feeling the pressure from the reimbursement entities, you know, delta has fire off a pretty good shot across the bow and said, Hey, we’re going to keep 25% of your money, and thanks for joining.

Howie: Yeah,

Mark: So, you know, I mean, the reality is, is that if you’re going to make a commitment to yourself, one of the commitments you make is, you know, in any environment, in order for me to take care of patients, I have to acquire new patients. Now, there’s a probably a handful of you listening to this, that, you know, you’re probably growing through organic referrals, and you don’t need any more new patients. And you know, what? That’s awesome. Really, that is, bless you.

Howie: That’s the Holy Grail.

Mark: That’s the Holy Grail. I mean, there’s fewer and fewer of those markets available out there and you found one, you’re in one, you’re taking great care of patients, they’re receiving great care, obviously, and they’re bragging about you and telling their friends. But for the rest of you, who you know, need a few more new patients a month to get you to where you want to go, then you have to commit to patient acquisition strategy, not going to go into exactly what that strategy should be in a podcast. We can do it in future podcasts, but commit yourself to at least having a dental office marketing plan and that always starts with a marketing budget doesn’t Howie?

Howie: Yes, it does.

Mark: Now. Now, Howie, we run into this actually just ran into this this week, we sent a doctor, really nice doctor, a dental office marketing plan. And in the marketing plan, using math, just pure math, we calculate out what the marketing budget should be, not asking him to commit, we’re just saying, you know, with your size business, you should allocate X to advertise it. Marketing. Right? Just like every other business on the planet, just like our business, right. You and I have a marketing budget.

Howie: Yes, we do.

Mark: Why do we Why do we have a mark, we have a marketing budget, so we don’t overspend? Right,

Howie: Right.

Mark: Why you create budgets by think dentists think that you create a budget so that you spend more? No, no, you create budgets so that you stay within your budget.

Howie: Okay, right. It’s more of the difference between looking at where your money went,

Mark: Alright

Howie: Where it should go or where you want it to go? That’s a budget.

Mark: Right? Yeah. The stuff your CPA tells you on December 31, that stuff already happened? Yeah, okay.

Howie: It’s too late dude

Mark: It’s too late. It’s too late now. So anyway, so commit to a budget now. Normally, it’s 5% of trailing 12 months revenues to 5% of goal revenues. For the next 12 months, you take those two numbers, and you have a low end, that creates a low end and a high end of next year’s marketing budgets real simple to do. Okay. That’s another commitment you can make, because what happens Howie is that if your marketing spend is in consistent your new patient flow is

Howie: Let me see inconsistent,

Mark: Inconsistent. Yes, exactly. So

Howie: I guess you just guessed right.

Mark:  So what happens is, is that you spend money, you get new patients, you stop spending money, new patients dry up, you panic, you spend more money, and then more new patients come in.

Howie: Right And what does that mean? market means? Someone is always starting over

Mark: Someone, right? The hardest and most expensive thing to do with any marketing, I don’t care what it is, if it’s a website, PPC campaign, and mail campaign and print ad radio to television, I don’t care what it is, you will always spend money up front, before you get any benefit.

Howie: Right? It’s that bell curve thing.

Mark: Think about it. Okay, there’s nobody out there offering free advertising, you know, anywhere, okay, so you have even if it’s social media, you still have to spend time. Right, you’re still expending energy or money before you receive any benefit, so if you start and stop, what are you doing? You’re constantly recreating the toughest part of the bell curve.

Howie: Right

Mark:  Right, which is the very beginning. Okay. So don’t do that.

Howie: Lose all that momentum.

Mark: Exactly. Right. When it Yeah, when a doctor gets a dental office marketing plan from us, it doesn’t say, try this for three months and get back to us. Okay, it doesn’t work that way. Right? Because all you’re doing is wasting the doctors wasting the doctor’s money.

One commitment is make yourself a budget, stay in it, stay within it. That’s your question cost containment. Everybody on this podcast is looking for cost containment, everybody? Okay. That is it and met most of you skip that step. You go right to what am I spending now? And can I afford any more that’s not a budget. That’s what you’re spending now. Just go create a budget for yourself. That’s one commitment, another commitment. This is one of my pet peeves. Not really a pet peeve, I understand it. pet peeve is probably too strong. But I like everyone listening to this podcast. To cut finally come to the realization that the person who’s answering your phones at your front desk does not know where every new patient source came from.

Howie: And it’s not her fault or his fault.

Mark: It’s not her fault or his fault. Okay, you’re asking them a question they can’t possibly answer. They are your employee. They’re trying their best. And they’re giving you information, which is misleading. And it’s not their fault. Okay. So please, please, if you’re going to do dental practice marketing, if you’re going to have a budget, and you’re going to commit to having a budget, and you’re going to commit to advertising anywhere, and it’s going to, you know, consume more than 10% of your total annual budget, please put a tracking number on it.

Please listen to every one of those calls, please count the missed calls and the voicemail calls that you didn’t get, please trace every one of those caller IDs and call them back in the morning. Please get as much and squeeze as much as you possibly can out of every marketing dollar that you spend. Because we want you to be successful with your dental practice marketing dollars, whether we spend them, or you spend. Okay, so this commitment is not about NPI. It’s about you. Your staff doesn’t know where all your patients found you. Hell, half your patients don’t know how they found you.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: Okay. So you know, we’ve got a, we’ve got a front desk person asking a question of a person who has absolutely no reason to even spend one proton neuron spark to dig down into their short term memory to tell your front desk person the truth?

Howie: Yeah, what’s in it for them?

Mark: There’s nothing in it for them. Okay. And then your front desk person may or may not put that in the referral field. We know that. We see the reports in 27 years, exactly. Zero reports have come in, right? Zero.

Howie: Yeah,

Mark: Nobody has broken the record zero, okay, you will not be the first. So commit, it’s just a fact. Just own up to it and say, you know what, I, if I’m going to commit dollars, to promoting my practice, I can’t do the tracking of the ROI willy nilly. I can’t, I have to commit to doing it right, I have to commit to understanding it. I have to commit to providing the resources for my team to monitor it. And maybe I even have to commit a little bit of my time, the doctors time.

Just to oversee it, maybe once a month. Maybe I just go in and listen to a couple calls. Maybe I just go in and look at how many 32nd voicemail hang ups there. We’re on my call track and report once a month so I can get sick to my stomach and call Mark Diltaush and ask him what he can do about it. Because Mark, Mark Diltaush sick to his stomach, because he sees him from hundreds of dental practices every month. Okay.

Howie: Well, and then the other side to that mark is that as business owners, you and I are business owners? The dentist is a business owner I mean, wouldn’t you want to know if your marketing was working?

Mark: Oh, it’s wonderful. It’s, it’s a wonderful, wonderful day, when you can directly associate a marketing expense with a result.

Howie: Right

Mark: Isn’t that wonderful?

Howie: Yeah. So you find out two things, you know, it’s working, or this this particular marketing medium that I’m involved in is working or it’s not? could work better? Maybe three things you find out,

Mark: right.

Howie: And that’s as a result of call tracking and, and keeping an eye on it, and just paying attention

Mark: Right? Right. That’s all, that’s all. So that’s another commitment to make your dental practice marketing better. In 2017, another commitment is education. And we have so much free education on our website and on our new Facebook community, which I’m going to talk about in the second.

One other commitment you can make to yourself, and it’s free little bit of time maybe is to begin to understand what consumers are looking for what they’re not looking for, understand how to put this all together, like a business understand the combination of topics that consumers need to see or hear from you in order to get excited enough to dial seven numbers. Because remember, your advertising dentistry, which is probably one of the hardest things to advertise proctology can is the only other thing I can think of that would be harder to promote, and dentistry. If you think about it, right, so anyway, so make that commitment, make that commitment to, to 2017.

Howie: Right, not every not every potential patient? Well, I would say, there’s a vast variety of things that they’re looking for. And it’s, it’s almost impossible to predict. Unless you’ve studied it for 27 years and done some consumer research, like we have and have identified the things that, you know, get patients excited about your practice, there are a number of them, and then there’s some that don’t, don’t do that. So it’s behooves you to know which is which,

Mark: right, it opens up your eyes, sometimes in a bad way, you know, it, it disappoints a lot of dentist to realize or come to realize that patients aren’t as excited about your CE achievements as you are.

Howie: Right.

Mark: And you know what, I mean, maybe we’re the bad guys that have to tell you that. But if we open your eyes, and you we’re not telling you to remove it from your website, or your mail, or your radio ad or whatever we’re just saying, put it, put it in there at the right appropriate mix of information, you’ll be a lot better. So here’s what here’s why I’m bringing all this stuff up.

On our website, and in our community. There’s a market a market ability, scorecard, marketable attribute scorecard. That’s what measures all the conveniences, Technology Services, price, public relations, assets, and scores, all those categories for you so that you can go off that score sheet and design your pieces based on that score sheet that will help everybody that’s listening to this podcast, on their seven hours of education, dental marketing summit video. If you want CE for it, you can just log on and pay dental town and get that. Um, there’s also we’ve put our latest book into an electronic version, unlimited new patients volume three. So, access to education is not the issue. If you want to learn about the science and the research, and the testing, and the pain, and

Howie: The money,

Mark: Okay, behind the behind it, what makes what makes dental consumers make a choice, then the education is at your disposal. Okay, it’s free, doesn’t cost anything, it’s cost your time. Okay. So I would commit to that you don’t have to do it all obviously, by next Thursday, but do a little bit at a time. Now another commitment is this is new, we just we just launched this actually, just a few days ago. there there’s a new community, a new Facebook group called Dental Marketing Mastery community.

If you type Dental Marketing Mastery community into your Facebook search bar, you will find us and then you just click Join or become a member I forget which the button is on. That is where we’re going to extend the education conversation from the books from the marketability score card, or the attribute scorecard from the online CE we’re going to extend the conversation there. Our whole team is in right now introducing themselves, our customers will be there non customers obviously will be there.

So this isn’t a place just for you know NPI we’re going to practice management consultants are already in there on this is, this is going to be a group that I hope I didn’t scare anybody last week when I when I posted what this group is for this group is there to work not hard, we’re going to give you one little task a week, it’s not going to be terrible. But the people we have in there, the dentists and the dental team members already are taking the tasks, running with them, reporting their results, discussing tips and tricks between each other, we’re lending our advice where applicable. It’s great. So again, it’s dental marketing, mastery community, it’s on Facebook, it’s free and cost anything. Just log on asked to become a member, there’s an approval process, secret handshake, you know, that kind of thing.

Howie: Decoder ring, decoder ring,

Mark: A decoder ring box of cereal, and then you’re in, and we would love to continue the conversation there. Is that good for the four commitments, because I had a list of like 37. But we ran out of time now.

Howie: Yeah, I know. I think that’s good. Let’s, let’s leave it at that those are very, very positive things that you can do for yourself and your business. So we love to share these things with you. And we’re going to share more in the future here. So anything else on your end Mark?

Mark: No, no, I’m, maybe I’ll close with a little motivational paragraph, if I see independently owned dental practice owners in conversation with each other, and the conversations are dominated by either corporate dentistry or the insurance industry. And they feel like the walls are being circled around them. It seems like they don’t it seems like some of the dentists feel they don’t have a choice. And as a public service to this audience, you all have just as many choices as you ever had. You have the same choices. Those people, the corporate entities and the insurance companies, they have their choices, you have your choice, Nobody. Nobody moved your cheese.

I don’t know if you get the reference to the book, but your cheese hasn’t moved. You just haven’t ripe into your cheese. So I mean, for most of you, you can work your way through this to a nice practice this transition through to retirement that you know you dreamed of, you know, when you became a dentist, the walls are not are not there. They’re not coming in all around you and you’re not alone. So that’s my snappy little quote for the end of this podcast.

Howie: Yeah, that was a good one. Well, thank you all for listening, and we’ll be with you again soon.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our podcast today. You can find more podcasts on our YouTube channel, on Stitcher, and iTunes. Also on our websites, dentalwebcontent.com and newpatientsinc.com.