Say What? Dentists Fire Back at Colin

Play Video

Welcome to the Patient Attraction Podcast. I’m Colin Receveur. I’m going to start doing some early morning podcasts as I get time to pump these out. I want to do them on a lot quicker turnaround. As some of you may have figured out, we actually record our regular daily podcast a little bit in advance, not very far but a couple of weeks in some cases depending on my travel schedule or what’s going on. What I want these carcasts to be, these podcasts that I record literally while driving, even though some people still refuse to believe it, is I want these to be a quick turnaround. I want to talk first about some of the responses that I’ve gotten to the last 3 or 4 or 5 carcasts.

I’ve done the “Driving” Your Dental Marketing carcasts. I also want to talk a little bit about domination of market area today and why this is so critical for gaining full-fee, large case, case acceptance patients that are looking for, their deep disability as I’ve heard them call their large reconstructive cases that are entirely insurance independent. I want to talk a little bit about why insurance is not going to play a part in the private practitioner’s future unless you want to get on that treadmill and run. I want to talk a little bit about using market domination to attract these fee-for-service patients, and how you get in front of them and why marketing for fee-for-service patients is so much different than marketing, there’s an itch I can’t get rid of, why it’s so much different than marketing for insurance-based patients or your hygiene and exam and cleaning patients. There we go. I had a hair.

First off, some of the responses that I’ve gotten to the last several carcasts that, namely, we had the 4-part “Driving” Your Dental Marketing podcasts where I talked about new grads, where I talked about everything happening in dentistry. The older docs are delaying retirement. We’ve got more new docs coming in than ever before. They’ve got all this debt. How do you market against that? How do you defeat the corporate overlords, the large chain dentistry, the corporate dentistries, the Aspens, the ClearChoices, the Mortensons, those guys that are coming into a market area? They’ve got a system. That’s the key. They’ve got a system. They know how to make it work. They know that with these demographics and this practice and this plan that it’s going to produce break-even at 6 months.

They know they can do it because they’ve done it 100, 500, 1,000 times before. They know they can do it again right across the street from you. We talked a lot about that in the “Driving” Your Dental Marketing podcasts, how to dominate your market area. I think I touched on our $10,000 guarantee, which is really the other side of the coin from talking about corporate dentistry and here’s why. Corporate dentistry is so successful because they’ve got a system that works. Corporate dentistry know, just like I said, they can come into a market area, they can do A, B, C and it’ll generate X, Y, Z at 6 months and 12 months. When you have that kind of data, when you pay attention to the data you have, you develop the kind of system that you need to be successful repetitively, repetitiously.

That’s exactly the same thing we’ve done with dentists all around the country, by gathering data, by focusing not on what colors are on your website. Yeah, you got to have a nice looking website. All too often, I see dentists that get bogged down in the analysis paralysis, if you want to put an analogy to it. They get bogged down in what their website should look like or what their wife thinks or what their husband thinks or what their front office staff thinks or what some patient that has been a long-time patient, what they think of the new colors or the new design of their new website. They’re really, they’re missing the point of what they’re trying to do. I understand what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to get different opinions to see if everybody likes the site.

You’re not being graded on how many people like your website. How many people? This isn’t a popularity contest. This isn’t a vote for the prettiest website. This is, how many new patients are you getting in the door? I think a lot of times, the problem … You have to be very clear. You have to get crystal clear clarity on the problem that you’re solving for because if you’re solving for the wrong problem, you’re never going to get the answer you want. If your problem is you need new patients, then the problem is, “How do we generate new patients?” The problem is not, “How many people like my website?” They may seem correlated just like a lot of marketers out there advertise impressions and clicks and hits and pay-per-click spend and ranking.

I had a doctor argue with me yesterday about how HTTPS should be on every dentist’s website and how every dentist’s website needed to be secure if they wanted to be number 1 on Google. Finally, I just gave up. It wasn’t going anywhere. He wasn’t going to move from his position, and frankly, he’s a single practice and I’ve got 500 practices of data as well as other industry experts that I talk to all the time. Yes, neither of us was right and neither of us was wrong. He did have a point. There are some indicators that HTTPS, if you don’t know, is making your website secure. It’s putting an encryption certificate on your website. I’m not going to get down into the weeds. Don’t worry. I’m going to keep this very high level.

There are some indicators out there that that actually makes your website rank better within Google. If you get down into the weeds on what those studies have shown, it’s in an AB environment. When one is secure and one is not secure, the one that’s secure will appear above it. We’re not talking about any kind of major ranking factors here. The main factors, the recipe if you will of SEO, it’s been the same for a decade. If you’ve listened to Google and you follow the recipe that they laid out, you’re performing well. If you’ve tried to cut corners, then Google has caught you and they’ve developed new algorithms. Google’s new algorithms haven’t changed the game. They’ve only changed their enforcement of the rules. They’ve only made them better enforcers of the rules they’ve already set out.

That’s a key distinction to make because a lot of marketers out there spin this as, “Oh my gosh, Google changes the rules every week.” No, that’s just hyperbole. There’s no factual basis to that. The changes that they’ve made have simply been better enforcement of the existing rules. That’s all it is. What you have to realize is that all these things that marketers do, impressions, clicks, hits, the implied result is that’s going to get you more patients, but that’s not always the result. In fact, more times than not, it’s not the result. Getting, winning a popularity contest or having a lot of people see your impressions or having a website that’s liked by all your patients, the implied result is that that’s going to appeal to more prospects and that’s going to drive more prospects in, but the truth couldn’t be further from that.

You have to make sure the questions you’re asking align with the answers you’re trying to get. If you’re looking to answer the question of, “How do I get more new patients?” look to people that talk in terms of results of new patients. Impressions and hits and clicks, that’s 3, 4 steps away from new patients. The companies that talk in terms of new patients, and frankly I don’t know any other marketing companies that talk in term of new patients. I’ve never seen one. As far as I know, we’re the only dental marketing company in the world that talks in terms of new patients.

Not only do we frame our results in terms of new patients that you get from the marketing that we do, not only do we report to you on a monthly basis, “Hey, you had these number of patients scheduled. You had these number of patients not scheduled. Your front office didn’t even answer these calls.” They were busy, they were on lunch break, whatever happened, we’re getting down to the brass tacks. We stand behind it with a $10,000 guarantee, whereas if we sell you a marketing system, a patient attraction system, and it doesn’t generate the number of new patient phone calls that we promised you in writing, we’ll give you $10,000 and let you out of whatever contract you have left with us. This is something new that we’re offering as of August 1st forward, or July 1st forward, I’m sorry, July 1st forward. We got to keep up with these months. The year’s flying by.

July 1st forward, all of our marketing sign-ups, all of our new marketing enrollments are including this in our actual contracts. There’s nobody else in the world that does it. We’re the only ones with that kind of data to not only be able to use the evidence and the data that we’ve gathered to build a patient attraction system that actually works, but to be able to quantify it into terms of new patients and new patients scheduled. I mean, I’ve got a whole division of people here at SmartBox that do nothing but listen to calls. That’s how you build that kind of data is we have to harvest it. If you want the crops, you have to go plant the seeds and then you come back and harvest it. It’s taken us 6 months or a year to begin accumulating the kind of new patient data that we have now.

The data’s phenomenal. It reinforces everything that we’ve been talking about for a decade with our patient attraction systems. That is, if you want to attract the lion share of new patients, you’ve got to dominate your market area, and by dominating your market area, I told you at the beginning of the podcast, I talk a little bit about how important that is for large case patients that are coming in, needing lots of restorative or implant or cosmetic dentistry. These patients, these fee-for-service patients, they’re so different than insurance patients.

Let’s talk about the mindset of the patient because this is really the … I got to build upon the foundation of the mindset. This is the core of what we’re doing here. The mindset of the insurance patient, the one that’s looking for the free cleaning and X-ray, that’s in network with their insurance, that just needs … They just moved into the area. They don’t like their dentist, they’re looking for a new one. Whatever the case may be, the mindset of this patient is one of, “I just need to find somebody. I just need to find somebody I like. We’ll go get in, we’ll schedule an appointment. I got this coupon for a $49 X-ray and exam or a $79 X-ray exam and cleaning,” or whatever it may be.

When they see somebody that they have a minimal level of trust with, they pick up the phone and they call. Now, if you don’t answer that call, they’re going to go right down the list. They’re not going to leave a message for you. They’re only looking for somebody that meets minimum criteria, minimum level of trust for them to move forward with scheduling that appointment. Now, let’s do this the other way. Let’s talk about the mindset of the 65-year-old man or woman, it doesn’t matter, that is edentulous, that has had dentures for 35 years. Let’s say this person just got divorced or they’re getting back into the dating pool or their daughter is getting married or they’re just tired of having to take their dentures out when they eat in public.

Now, let’s talk about the mindset of this person. This patient has lived in embarrassment for over half their life, having dentures, being embarrassed to smile, embarrassed their lower denture might pop out. They’ve had to deal with the goops and the adhesives. They have had to put their teeth in a glass every night before they go to sleep. My grandpa, true story, my grandpa carried his teeth around in his pocket. That’s what they did in those days. This patient had a past bad dental experience and that’s supported by statistics. If you look at the statistics of how many patients over the age of 60 had past bad dental experiences, the number is just overwhelming because that was the quality of dentistry of that day.

They had to white-knuckle it in the chair. Comfort dentistry was not something that consumers demanded in the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s era dentist. It is now. Huh? That’s great now. Now it’s available. Patients don’t trust a dentist. It’s all about trust. This patient’s coming in. They’ve got big dental needs. Maybe they’ve even been through some dentists before that have said, “No. There’s nothing available other than dentures.” Their dentist, whoever they went to see, did not see a large implant case or maybe they didn’t even do implants or they didn’t believe in implants or whatever the case may be. It doesn’t matter. They were told there’s nothing that could be done. They have a high fear of the dentist, and they’re living with all these emotions.

This patient is not looking to establish a minimal level of trust with anybody that they let look in their mouth. They’re looking for the maximum level of trust. They’re looking for the dentist that absolutely sweeps them off their feet, that makes them feel comfortable, that takes care of all their needs, that makes sure they won’t be made to feel guilty, that you’re not going to lecture them. This patient is looking for the social proof. They’re looking to find the dentist that they can connect with, that they think is going to take care of all their needs. By the way, I haven’t even gotten to the clinical solution yet. All these things I just talked about, those are all emotions, all needs.

The clinical side. Now you have to convince them that you’ve got a solution, you’ve actually got a reason. After you convince them all these things you can fix, all these emotions and fear and embarrassment, now you’ve got to show them the clinical solution that you have and why you have it and 3 other dentists that they went to didn’t. This, this is the mindset of the patient that’s coming in that is fee-for-service. Now, whether they’re on that extreme end of needing a lot of care and a lot of, they’ve had a lot of bad experiences in the past or whether they’re just your white collar affluent couple that has money to spend and is looking for somebody to really take good care of them and they don’t want to see a new dentist every time they walk into your dental practice like they would in a corporate chain, the mindset is still the same.

It’s a very high level of trust. It’s a level of care that they expect to get when they walk in your practice. They would expect you to know their name. These are the kind of things they look for. If you want to attract patients that appreciate that level of value, you’re not going to do it with $49 X-ray and exams. It’s a complete dichotomy of the mindsets where the patients that want cheap are going this way. The patients that want value are going this way. Let me give you … I’ll give you a great piece of information of evidence that I use to support this theory that I’ve just postulated to you.

A lot of general dentists that I talk to think that dentists doing large cases, prosthodontists, periodontists, specialist, must be only scheduling, jeez, 30, 40, 50% of the patients that call their office because they help such a small window of the population. I actually had a conversation with a doctor who was scheduling at about 40%. This is a specialist in Arizona and he was telling me that they have so many patients that call that they’re not able to help. His scheduled versus not scheduled, it was at about 30, 35% which is just horrible. To only schedule 30% of the patients that call your office is a huge warning sign that something’s wrong and something needs to change.

I’ve got lots and lots of clients that are specialists, that are implant doctors, that are prosthodontists and periodontists and oral surgeons, whatever, whatever specialty they belong to, that schedule 70, 80, 90% of all the new patients that call their office. It’s often a mystery to how they do that. Even more so, a lot of these practices that are scheduling their patients at such a high rate, oftentimes they’re even charging for the first appointment. Oftentimes, we’ve got a number of practices that charge anywhere from 200 to $500 for their first exam before the patients can even walk in the door. Now, you can’t do that unless you’ve already established an overwhelming amount of expertise and trust with that patient before they ever call to schedule the appointment.

If your patients are not in absolute awe of you after leaving your website, they’re not going to pay 500 bucks for that first appointment because they don’t trust you. I see a lot of doctors that charge that and then they say it runs off patients. It does. That’s the idea, to run off the bargain shoppers and the price shoppers and to focus solely on the fee-for-service patients that are willing to have that level of care. One of the biggest booms in our current medical industry, the current wave of insurance coming through with medical practitioners right now …

Of course, medicine is about 10 years ahead of dentistry, so if you’re wondering where dentistry is heading, look at where medicine was 10 years ago and where it is today with insurance and corporate. The big boom right now is small medical practices that operate on a subscription basis. I’ve actually got a friend that has joined one here in Louisville, Med One. He pays $800 a month and that gets him, I believe it’s 1 or 2, I can’t remember which, exams a year. For $800 a month, he has a doctor’s cell phone. It gets him priority access. He calls the doctor when he’s sick. He gets antibiotics called in for him.

He gets white glove care from this doctor’s practice and there’s 10 doctors in this practice. He gets white glove care. Anything he wants, within reason, he gets. $800 a month, and the only thing that $800 covers is his yearly exam. That’s where medicine is heading if you’re going to stay in the fee-for-service sector. I could see dentistry going that direction, having dentists that charge a subscription model and then that covers their 2 yearly cleanings and X-ray and exam. Then, on the other side, you have your insurance doctors. You have your ones that are working with Delta Dental, getting paid $250 for that crown you just placed and trying to collect on the rest of it. It’s really unfortunate. It’s not right. It’s not best for patient outcomes, but it’s the way it is. For all of us, we have to accept the reality of where this is going.

I had a lady comment on my YouTube, another consultant, it’s been a few weeks ago probably, and she told me that what I was doing was fear-mongering, how I was using fear within the dental industry and corporate takeovers and all this to scare dentists. I said, “No, no. You’re living on a pink cloud. You’re living in a bubble. This is not fear-mongering. This is accepting the reality of the situation that we’re in.”

This is accepting your own reality, and your own reality is this industry’s changing and you can’t stop it, and it’s going this direction. It’s going towards corporate and lower insurance reimbursements and a separation of 2 classes of dentist from your insurance dependents to your fee-for-service. That gap is getting substantially wider every day. It can’t be stopped no more than it could have been stopped in medicine, no more than your grandpa’s hardware store could have stopped Walmart from coming into town, no more than the little grocery chain, the little local grocery store could stop Kroger from coming into town and wrapping up, no more than any time there’s been an influx of money and corporate power into an industry. It’s going to transform that industry.

That’s where dentistry is at right now. The corporations are infinitely more efficient. They have economies of scale and they’ve got the proof. They’ve got the evidence. They’ve got the system that they can use to replicate to continue their success. That’s ultimately, to distill down, if I had to put what we do on a bumper sticker, here’s what it’d be. We help the little guys beat the big guys. Keep moving forward.