Podcast 122: Fixing the dreaded revenue plateau (or drop).

In our most recent podcast, Howie and Mark discuss fixing the dreaded revenue plateau (or drop). The reasons behind the revenue plateaus are not uncommon, but not always so easily identifiable.

Podcast highlights:

-Patient capacity
-Patient quality vs patient quantity
– Revenue per patient
-Patient scheduling optimization

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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: Hello, everybody. Welcome again to our podcast we’re good to be back with you, aren’t we Mark?

Mark: Been a couple weeks.

Howie: Yeah. What were we doing?

Mark: Well, you were visiting with your son and your new daughter in law.

Howie: Yeah, that’s true.

Mark: Um, I was, you know, I was busy working and slaving so that you could visit with your son and your daughter in law, I think.

Howie: And I really appreciate that.

Mark: I know. Same for me.

Howie: You’re paying me back for when you go off on your bass fishing.

Mark: That’s right, that’s right.

Howie: All right. Well, today, we’d like to talk about something. We’re going to call it revenue plateaus. Okay, that should be kind of

Mark: the evil ugly revenue plateaus.

Howie: Yeah. And causes of and solutions for.

Mark: Well, yeah, that’ll be like an eight hour podcast.

Howie: Just,

Mark: Yeah, let’s identify them first. If people chime in and say, Hey, that happened to me, can you expand on it, then, you know, we will. Um, and people who listen to this. And there’s more, and it’s amazing, the thousands of downloads we get. Thank you for listening.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: There’s a dental marketing mastery Facebook group that we monitor. And that’s where these conversations mostly happen. Somebody will listen to these podcasts and chime in with a question or they’ll still do it via email. And then I’ll put the question or the situation up on Facebook form, anyway. Okay, so revenue, plateaus, identification. Normally, it’s this time of year, maybe a little later than now, you’ll probably have a meeting with your CPA and your CPA will say it good this year, or not the same as last year, or

Howie: You suck.

Mark: That’s right, you suck, things are going backward. One of those three things it’s going to happen. And if you have a good CPA, they’re going to help you legally avoid as many taxes as possible. So, after that conversation, if the result is, hey, my revenues have plateaued. Or, hey, my revenues are going down. What we want to do with this podcast is introduce to you some of the perhaps not so easily identifiable reasons why you’re getting that result. Okay. Now, if you took a month off and you went to France, then obviously we know why your revenues plateaued. So outside of the obvious let we’re going to identify some of the not so obvious causes. And when I say not so obvious, I don’t mean uncommon, because these are very, very, very common. Revenue, plateau points and reasons for revenue plateaus. So,

Howie: Yeah, sometimes the connection isn’t made between the plateau and the cause. And then, you know, it’s not necessarily obvious, but it’s it is common.

Mark: Right, and one of the ones that is prevalent today in 2018, and dental practices. And I can, I can just tell everyone listening to this, that it’s happening, probably 80% of our client practices, is you’re at or over capacity. Now we’ve been railing about this subject, we’ve probably done but four podcasts in the last three months or four months on umm being overcapacity of how to identify it. So, let’s just go through some of those really quickly. So, I can get to the other reasons your revenues might be plateauing. If a new patient can’t choose an early morning, or either the first or last appointment on a weekday, within the next eight workdays, that’s the rule. That’s right first or last appointment of a weekday within the next eight days, you are at or overcapacity. You may think you’re happy, you may be pumping your chest out in pride and everyone might be joyous in your office, especially your front desk because they don’t have to spend their day filling your schedule because it’s so full and it makes their day look like they did their job. But you’re hurting your practice. The one of the fastest ways that you can plateau the revenues of your dental practice is to be overcapacity. Okay. So that’s,

Howie: Yeah. Nowhere for the new people to come in.

Mark: Yeah, that’s bad. That’s a bad thing. Right. Okay. And your marketing company is going to? Well, we are, I don’t know about everybody else. But we are going to be the first ones to shout it out.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: Another one, which is really missed. It’s missed by CPA is it’s missed by most dentists, is the difference in patient quality.

Howie: Oh, yeah.

Mark: You could be you could be under capacity. You could be a solo dentist getting 40 new patients a month, your CPA looks at that and compares it the last year and goes on. Patients are coming in. It’s not like you need more new patients. And they would be right. You don’t need more of them. You just need better ones.

Howie: Right? What are those new ones worth? You know how much they spend in the practice overall. That’s revenue per patient is a very, very important statistic to keep track of.

Mark: It is, It’s more important than volume.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: it’s, it’s, it’s the Holy Grail. Okay. It’s if it’s if your first-year average revenue per patient is 1200 bucks, you want to make it 13. If it’s 13, you want to make it 14. If it’s 14, you want to make a 15. Okay, um, stop asking yourself how you can get more new patients as the only determination of how your marketing going. Because the smart dentists are out there going, I want to get to from 14 to 15. And I honestly don’t need 22 new patients a month. I really only need 18.

Howie: Yeah, we hear that all the time. What the hell am I supposed to do with 40-50 new patients? Where am I going to put them? You know?

Mark: Yeah, and then and the dentist will call us and they’ll say, my marketing’s not working. I’m getting 40 new patients a month and I need more happens all the time happens constantly.

Howie: Yeah, yeah.

Mark: And we always say to you know, sing a solo practice, we say Doc, your marketing’s work and it’s working its butt off, it’s doing exactly what you asked it to do. You ask for all the shoppers in your market to respond to you. And they did they called your office or they made an appointment or you know, online, and they came in.

Howie: They came in for your free whitening and they came and go.

Mark: Free x and

Howie: You offered it.

Mark: And now your staff is chasing them around the office trying to get them to except treatment. And in six months, they’re going to chase them around, try to get them in for their repairs so they can come in and not get their treatment done again. Okay. And that just creates a vicious circle to where you know, pretty soon you’re like, yeah, I’m in my marketing, I need more and more, more and more. They we call them new patient junkies.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: Picture a dentist in the corner with the shakes. You know exactly what’s in our mind right now. Okay. Well, that’s a huge problem, you know, in many dental offices, um, and it exacerbates itself as much in the same way if you combine that with pre appointing hygiene and pre appointing everyone for their next hygiene appointment. Oh my god, you can see that snowball just accelerates.

Howie: That’s kind of a double whammy. Yeah.

Mark: Big double whammy. Okay, so that’ll stagnate your revenues to a screeching halt. Umm.

Howie: Okay, yeah, this might be a good time for us to take a little break, and then we’ll come back and we’ll get into a few more of these these revenue plateau issues. Okay, so don’t go away. We’ll be right back.

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Howie: Alright, welcome back. Here we are. We’re talking about plateauing revenues and the causes of and the solutions for.

Mark: We once again paused to play an advertisement about ourselves.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: What a great country we live in.

Howie: Love it.

Mark: Alright, so the next one is probably getting a little personal, little professional personal with some of the dentist out there. Probably start a fight between you and the person who schedules most of your appointments at your front desk. Because normally when I say that your schedule is not really optimized. You could normally find 20-30% daily revenue improvement just in the way the staff schedules the dentist, or the way the dentists allows the staff to schedule them. That’s where the fight always happens. There’s always this back and forth, do this, don’t do that. If that if this if that blah, blah, blah. So, the other way you can create your own revenue plateau is to be wildly in flexible with your schedule. If you want to plateau, your revenues, never asked this question to a patient. Would you like us to take care of that today? Don’t ask that question. Because then your revenue, your revenues will actually go up. Those patients are going to say, Well, yeah, I’m here now. Can we get it done today? And you can say yes. So have a flexible schedule. Work with the person who schedules your time and see if you can tighten it up. See if your assistance, especially expanded function assistance in your state can be doing more. And if they can be doing more, schedule it accordingly.

If you have enough room, if you can be three chairs wide, without the third chair being a hygiene, hygiene room. Well, let’s see what that looks like on the production scale. Okay, because if it’s efficiently and effectively scheduled, the dentist is going to be doing everything that they like to do or want to do during the day, the assistants are going to have an expanded function, and everybody’s going to be that much more productive within the same given eight hour day. So the bottom line here is if your revenues are plateauing, and you have basically the same quality and quantity of new patients, it’s basically the same number of work hours, and basically the same number of work days and the same staff and the same basic everything, then maybe, you need to schedule a little bit tighter, maybe you need to be a little more flexible within your schedule. Maybe you need to ask the question, would you like us to take care of that while you’re here today? and makes you able to do it?

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: Right?

Howie: That makes sense. You know, they’re, they’re already taking time off work. And so why not, you know, get it done now.

Mark: Yeah. Now some of this has to do you know, with the technology you have with the amount of room you have, with a number of assistants you have. But if you talk about it as a group, and, really want to be able to say, would you like us to take care of that, while you’re here today? Then take a look at everything you need to do to make that happen. Because if you ask that question, many, many, many of your patients are going to say yes. And if they do, your production is going to go up. And that’s another appointment out into the future that won’t be there that you can fill perhaps with a new patient, and maybe the capacity will free up, and so on and so on and so on.

So before areas if you’re if if you’re having a meeting with your CPA at the end of the year, and they say either your revenues are going down, or you’re basically flat year over year, Howie and I are here to tell you that 95% of the practices that we see are growing revenue wise. Okay, you know, within the same structure with the same number of work hours, the same number of dentists and so on and so forth. year over year, the doctors are working basically the same number of hours, and they’re producing more. Okay, so if they’re doing it and you’re not, and something’s flattening you out, it may not necessarily be your market, it could be your marketing. It certainly could be that’s the quality versus quantity issue. If that is your issue, then get a hold of us. Okay. But it could be that you’re pre appointing everyone, you’re filling up your capacity, your front desk doesn’t have anywhere to put the new patients, your new patient numbers are stagnated. And that will always stagnate your revenues.

It could be that your schedule, maybe you’re just I don’t know, maybe you were just lazy. Maybe you like to be on dental town or on Facebook all day. And maybe you just want to do a crown prep and 40 minutes, just you know, and every other dentist can do one in 20. But maybe you want to do yours and 40 there are scheduling things that you can do, including asking the question, would you like us to take care of that today that you might want to look at? Now this is looking internally, it’s not something you can really blame on anyone else. It’s something you have to work on with your staff. And believe me, your staff would love to work, the person at your front desk would love nothing more than to work with you on tightening up your schedule. Because they’re the first ones to complain to me. When I suggest it, they always say to me, Well, the doctor will never let me do that. So I have a conversation, have a conversation with the person at your front desk, ask him if, if together, you can find ways to tighten up the schedule that that will absolutely add production to the same eight hour workday without any additional marketing without changing quality or quantity and without adding capacity.

That’s a pretty simple way, actually. So, look at all those things. If your CPA says hey, you’re flat, or Hey, you went backwards last year. Um, because those are things that you can take care of internally, maybe with the use of a marketing firm, maybe with a use of a consulting firm, maybe that would really help you, help you off the plateau.

Howie: Right. Dropped my mic. I’m sorry.

Mark: Did you fall over.

Howie: Almost.

Mark: You need one of those, I’ve fallen but I can’t get up things.

Howie: Okay, I’m not at old. Alright, well, thank you we’ll wrap this up today for now. And thanks. All of you out there for listening. And we hope to have you back again real soon. All right.

Mark: Bye. Bye.

Howie: Bye now.

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

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