In this podcast, Mark & Howie discuss what separates the most wildly, successful dentists from the dentists who are just…there. The more successful dentists have put certain routines into place that allow them to monitor the correct data, ensure that all phone calls are responded to and have set reasonable expectations for themselves.

The top habits of these successful dentists include:

  • Having reasonable expectations especially for your specific marketplace
  • To accept that all marketing ideas you try will not work – that’s ok
  • Knowledge that all marketing tactics do work together
  • Data – know what data to watch
  • Pay attention to the details
  • Covering the phone consistently and training your staff

Podcast Transcription

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

Howie: Well, hello, everybody. Welcome once again to the Dental Marketing Mastery Series podcast. I’m here.

Mark: Hello, Howie.

Howie: Yeah. How you doing, Mark?

Mark: Good, good, good.

Howie: Well, here we go.

What are we talking about? Today? We are talking about wildly successful dentists and their habits.

Mark: Yes

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: This came to us. Actually, after my interview with Marv Berlin, who’s probably one of the most successful dentists out there.

Howie: Yeah

Mark: And other dentists who are listening to that podcast and then they got on to our Facebook Marketing Mastery page group, and they started asking me direct questions – started to get a little crazy.

So, we said, well, you know, let’s create some podcasts. We think this will only be maybe one or two in a series. But let’s start a series of podcast, based on the practices that dentists see, who are wildly successful at promoting themselves. And what habits, like what habits do those dentists have? Because you can learn from them. Right?

Howie: Yeah

Mark: Okay, so that’s where we’re starting.

We’re starting with the idea that everybody who’s listening to this podcast right now knows of a dentist or dentists near them, who appear to be wildly successful at promoting their practice. They just, they grow in a nice slow steady pace. And they seemingly, you know, have a, you know, their practices filled with good patients.

So, how do those dentists do that? What are their – what are those dentists’ habits?

And you kind of have to have a practice management background, and practice marketing expertise in order to come up with all these things that we’re going to list out.

So, so here we go.

I think the first thing that a really successful dentist; because in order to be successful at marketing, you pretty much have to understand what messaging, what branding, how do you want the local community to view your practice, whether they are a patient or not, you better have that in your head. And then how do you get that out to the masses consistently without too many disappointments.

So, expectations, that is really reasonable expectations.

Having Reasonable Expectations

So, let’s summarize this piece of it. The most wildly successful marketing dentists have reasonable expectations.

Howie: Right

Mark: They don’t they don’t open a practice in downtown Houston which is a one to 500 and expect 150 high quality new patients a month because they’re just going to continually be disappointed, disappointed, disappointed, disappointed and probably get out of dentistry. Because that’s never going to happen.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: Now

Howie: Yeah, that’s a very, very key point. Right there from the get-go is, you know, what – what do you have to do? What’s your task? Is it to climb Mount Everest, or you know, is it going to be just a bunny hill? Right?

Mark: Exactly. Exactly.

Howie: That’s dentist to population ratio right there.

Mark: Right

Howie: Very important.

Mark: Right.

So, what are; so, the most successful dentists have reasonable expectations.

So, let’s go through the expectations.

The market that I’m in is a one to X market; one to 1500, one to 3000 1 to 500.

If it’s a low number, it’s going to take you a lot more time, a lot more effort and a lot more money and you’re going to have to do everything right in order to penetrate you know, a one to 1000 market on a continual consistent basis. It just is.

And then the higher the number, the more mistakes you can make, honestly. And the faster you can grow a dental practice.

So, if you’re in a one to 3000 Market then you can, you can, you can take a flyer on a couple things you can be wrong with your messaging once or twice. And you’ll still be just fine because the demand for dental services in a one to 3000 market, obviously is much higher than the national average one to 1650.

So, understanding what’s around you, and having reasonable expectations for penetrating that market is really the first step to being a wildly successful marketing dentist.

Because, because if you’re, and we see this all the time, the dentists will try this, they’ll get disappointed, right? Then they’ll try that and then they’ll be disappointed.

Howie: Right

Mark: And then they’ll try this, and then they’ll try this other thing, and then they’ll go to a CE course somewhere, and they’ll try this shiny object over here. And you know, it’s like is after a while they get so disappointed after they just keep going piling disappointment on top of disappointment; they basically come away saying nothing works

Howie: Well yeah and you know; you and I know, we talked about this before. The bell curve of any advertising piece or program that you’re involved in and the problem with dentists trying this for a little while and trying that; is that they continually restart the bell curve.

Mark: Exactly

Howie: They’re always incurring all of those expenses which all; usually all of them come at the beginning and they don’t give it, they don’t give it long enough to receive the benefit of the ascending bell curve and the flattening out of the bell curve. And they get disappointed and like you said, they give up.

Mark: They give up, they bail and honestly you know; let’s be real about this. There are advertising mediums and advertising deliveries that you should bail on.

Okay, you know, you know, let’s face it, you know, if it’s not working, it’s not working, you shouldn’t just keep throwing bad money on top of bad money. All right?

But if your expectations are within reasonable limits of what a human being can achieve, and that human being or human beings achieve within that range, then chances are you found something that works really, really, really well. And probably will, for an extended period of time.

So, let’s review.

What’s the first trait of these wildly successful dentists who market their practices?

And the answer is, they have reasonable expectations. What’s another expectation of those dentists? How about everything I do won’t necessarily work.

Howie: Yes, right.

Not Everything Will Work. But Everything Works Together

Mark: Here’s another one.

Everything works together.

So that as I build out my marketing footprint in my market, can I get my website and I start on local optimization, maybe I start on organic optimization, and maybe I have an offline campaign, maybe I start some Google ads as I continue to build out this footprint, build this moat, around my practice. That it just it, it becomes like a, it becomes like a pile.

You just keep piling investment, marketing investment, good marketing investment on top of good marketing investment on top of good marketing investment. You don’t go out of budget, just keep doing it the right way every year over year.

And, my goodness, if you have reasonable expectations, and your six or seven things working for you, it’s okay. If one of the five or six stops working, you can just move that money to a different direction.

Howie: Right

Mark: There’s almost infinite places to put advertising dollars. Right?

Howie: Yeah, yeah, it’s like playing the piano, you know, you can press a bunch of different keys.

Mark: Exactly. So, which kind of brings us to our next trait of wildly successful dentists who market their practices, and that is data. Specifically…

Howie: Oh, yes.

Mark: Result data. Okay. So, remember, we started with expectations.

So, if you have a range of expectations which are within a range that someone can meet or exceed, and they meet or exceed it. You’re going to want to know, you know, within reason, it’s not going to be 100% accurate, but within reason you’re going to want to know. “Hey, what’s my what’s my first year ROI on a new patient?” “What’s the first-year revenue on a new patient?” “What are my marketing costs?” “What are my budgets?”

Howie: Yeah, what am I getting for what I’m putting out?

Mark: What am I getting? What am I getting?

Okay, and, and we can dovetail into the next. The next quality of a wildly successful dentist.

But what is my ROI? How do I track my ROI and knowing how to track your ROI properly, stops a dentist from being disappointed, okay, and stops the dentist from asking for wild, unattainable, ridiculous results when nobody on the earth could possibly provide them.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: Right.

Howie: Right.

This might be a good point here, Mark, to take a little break, then we’ll come back and talk more about this.

Mark: You got it.

Howie: Tracking data. Okay. We’ll be right back.

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Howie: Alright, we are back. Thank you all again for listening. We’re talking about wildly successful dentists and their traits and habits and so forth. And we were just about ready to get into the feedback that you all need.

Mark: Yeah, the data.

Howie: On, you know.

Mark: I’m here, it really boils down to this. I’m spending money. I want to know what my spend is getting me. It really boils down to that.

Howie: Right

What am I Getting for What I’m Spending?

Mark: And the most successful dentists, they basically demand to know, okay, they understand how to measure ROI.

They understand that, you know, it’s a dental practice, the ROI doesn’t happen the first month, okay, they’re, they’re smart enough to know that, but they also want to see the data as it happens. They want to see the calls. They want to coordinate the caller with their practice management software. They want to run their production by referral source reports at the end of every month or so. They want to see the ROI build for the spend, as it happens.

They want to make sure darn sure that their team is handling the phones, answering the phones during normal business hours, or at least during the hours that most dental consumers expect the phone to be answered. They demand that their team answer those phones properly and convert a reasonable, not wild, a reasonable percentage of those calls into new patients.

They want all these things and they demand all these things in front of them whenever they want them. And they should have them they should be able to just go on a browser and go click. That’s how my market

Howie: Right a dashboard in other words, right.

Mark: Right, right.

That’s right, because if you don’t have that – remember, these are wildly successful dentists who market their own practices so if you don’t have that what ends up happening is that doubt, that uncertainty, mistrust – you know I don’t know what I’m getting stress you know those feelings start to creep in.

Like I don’t know what’s going on with my SEO I don’t know what’s going on with my whatever PPC campaign, whatever it is that you’re spending marketing dollars on, believe me the first thing that you’re wondering every morning when you wake up and drive to your dental practice is hey, I wonder if my marketing’s working? Okay. Well, you should know that before you start your car.

Howie: Exactly.

Mark: That shouldn’t be an uncertainty. And I can’t tell you how vitally important this piece of it is, um, because it’s going to lend itself to the next big important trait of wildly successful dentists who market their own practices.

Understanding the Data

The next trait is understanding the data. Understanding that their teams are not perfect. Nobody has a perfect team. Being aware that they really do need phone coverage from eight to five Monday through Friday. Even though they might not work one or maybe even two of those days during the week they still need somebody to cover the phones; and making sure those people and being devoted to the process, the training, maybe that’s necessary, and making sure those people who are answering the phones are well, are calling the callers back who may have called during the day and got the voicemail they’re covering with a human being – they’re lunchtimes.

That’s the one that that’s a killer. Lunch time.

Howie: Yeah

Mark: They’re covering that one day a week when they don’t, they’re not in the practice at all. Right?

I mean, there’s 20-25% ROI growth, and the most successful dentist who do their own marketing. They pay attention to all those details. They have it in the dashboard in front of them and the details if they’re weak in any of these areas. The weakness screams off of these dashboards and then the doctor can go take action.

Well, of course, there’s dentists out there who maybe don’t want to bring up that Sally’s answering the phone improperly to Sally. Maybe they’re unprepared to do that.

Okay. Well, the most successful dentists who are promoting their own practices do get Sally training. That’s what I’m saying, that the un-comfort of the potential conflict of getting their staff up to speed and trained properly is much less than just burning money.

You’re literally taking hundreds of dollars of bills and a Bic lighter and you’re just lighting them on fire, using them as kindling if these things aren’t taken care of, and again, go ahead,

Howie: I was just gonna say; well, you know, in, in a sense, you could say that Sally or whoever it is, is the most important person in the practice. Now you could say, well, what about the dentist? Without the dentist no dentistry gets done. True. But without somebody skillfully answering the phone and dealing with patients who call in, without that, that key function, there are no patients.

Mark: Right.

Howie: There’s no patients to do any dentistry on. So, this is this is vital, it’s vital.

Mark: Right.

And that the most successful dentists look at this part of that. They don’t look at it as, like an evil necessity.

They look at it as well, of course, you know, they almost look at it like they say, Well, of course. Of course, I’m going to have my phones answered. And of course, I’m going to get my staff the training they need, I’d be crazy to spend this much money on marketing, even though even though it’s in what’s within the 5% range. I’m not going to spend this money on marketing unless I have that stuff squared away, and unless I can monitor it quickly and easily. Of course, I want all that in place.

That’s how they look at it. They don’t look at it to avoid it. They don’t look at it as if it’s going to create a conflict. They don’t look at it like I’m going to be afraid if my staff knows that I’m you know, recording these calls they don’t. That’s the last thing from their mind.

The first thing from their mind is how do I maximize my marketing spend? That’s how they actually that’s how they actually look at it.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: Okay, so we are expectations, data, staff and the idea that – here here’s the bottom line.

The most important, the most important trait really honestly between you know, for all the dentist who are wildly successful marketing in their own practice; is that whoever they use for a marketing company, doesn’t have to be NPI – could be anybody. But for whoever they use to do their, their marketing stuff for them – it’s a partnership.

They don’t look at this as: okay marketing company, here’s my marketing budget. I’m just going to sit back do nothing change nothing, monitor nothing, watch nothing. And I’m gonna expect you to improve your results. And if you don’t, I’m going to go out and get another marketing company next year.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: And again, those who do that, and there’s lots of dentists, there’s probably 10s of thousands of dentists who do that, okay? Those dentists tend to be more stressed.

They’re not nearly as happy as the dentist who, you know, have the same marketing firm year, over year, over year, over year, over year, over year, the same people the same relationships.

You know, I mean, [cough] excuse me, those dentists are a little bit behind the eight ball.

So, let’s review for this podcast.

Reasonable expectations. You can’t expect anyone; yourself or anybody else, you know, to pull a Sasquatch out of a hat or a rabbit and consistently. Yes, have reasonable expectations for where your practice and what type of patients you’re going after.

If you’re going after a bunch of shoppers, you’re going to get volume and lower revenues. If you’re going to go after people who don’t choose a dentist based on price, you’re going to get less volume and a much higher ROI.

And those are just those are just facts. Those are just realities. Okay.

Your expectations have to be managed within there; based on how the market is, at what market you serve, and we can measure that anyway.

Then demanding to be able to see what’s going on with your marketing; the calls, listening to them, who’s answering them, what was the result. All that stuff, being able to monitor it without hardly any overhead on your part or on the dentist part.

Almost all wildly successful dentists’, who do their own marketing have some system that allows them to do that otherwise it becomes a ridiculous overhead and they just tire of monitoring.

Then covering the phones, not only covering them, but covering them with capable people and being devoted to not only getting the current the folks you have on, on staff trained, but maybe redoing or refreshing that training once every so often.

It doesn’t have to be constant, but making sure that the office is doing the very best job it can and again, watching the improvement on that, on that result dashboard, right so you can invest in the training and then see the results of that training in real time.

At the very end, you know,

Howie: Yeah

Mark: All those, all those traits is really the setup for another list of probably 10 to 15 traits that we’ll go into with a future podcast but take these as just as important.

Actually, these are foundational traits of wildly successful dentists who are doing their own marketing.

I don’t know anyone; because we’ve had clients who, you know, they’re not wildly successful at doing marketing. But we have a boatload who are wildly successful at doing marketing.

So, we’re pulling traits from those people and we’re just sharing them with you. And we’re not.

Howie: We pay attention to our dashboard.

Mark: Exactly, we’re not saying it’s all your fault.

We’re just saying, look, these are the secrets. This is what they do that sets them like way ahead.

They don’t stress at all. They know exactly what’s coming down the pipe and honestly, they can call and prepare for what they want to come down the pipe.

So, if they want to go fee for service they can call, if they want more volume because they hired an associate they can call. So, they know after a while, obviously they know what to expect. They know what’s coming down the pipe and they can see what’s coming down the pipe, though.

So, this podcast was all about that foundation.

Howie: All right.

Mark: All those things. Is really where you start.

Howie: Yep – very good.

Well, that’ll do it for us today.

We surely appreciate your listening to us. And we hope you’ll tune in again next time. Bye now.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our podcast today. You can get all of our podcasts on iTunes, Stitcher, and Libsyn.com, and on our website, NewPatientsInc.com.