by Jim Du Molin
The First Rule of Dental Marketing… Ask, but Beware!
To understanding marketing, you must start with this phrase:
“If you don’t ask, you don’t receive … However, beware! You may get what you ask for.”
I’ll tell you a story about one of our clients who we worked with almost ten years ago: Dr. Marianne Day of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Marianne came into our office and said, “Jim, I just built an outrageously beautiful new practice facility in downtown Las Cruces. Actually, my husband, Grant, is an engineer; he put the whole thing together and it’s just absolutely fantastic! But what I want from you — and I want it as fast as I can get it — is as many patients as you can possibly get me, and I want them now!”
I said, “Marianne, are you sure?” And she said, “Yes. I’ve got to have patients to pay for that office.” I said, “Fine.”
Three and a half months later I get a phone call: “Jim, I’ve got a problem.” I ask, “What’s the problem, Marianne?” She says, “I’ve got 57 new patients a month!” I say, “But Marianne, you asked for all the new patients you could get!”
She says, “But I’ve got 57 new patients a month! I can’t service 57 new patients a month! I’m doing nothing but examinations. I don’t have time for operative!”
OK. “Beware. You might get what you ask for.” Because if you market yourself using the principles we talk about in The Wealthy Dentist newsletter, you could find yourself overwhelmed by the response you get from the program.
Let’s start with an important question: How many new patients do you really need a month?
But is that the REAL question? Or is it: On how many new patients can you do a full diagnosis and case presentation? You have an ethical obligation to your community to take care of the patients you see. You can’t just cherry-pick through 57 new patients a month. You won’t have time to do a good job on any of them.
So on how many new patients can YOU perform full diagnosis and case presentation in one month? The average number of production days in a month for a normal doctor is about 16. On a consistent basis, the number of new patients that a doctor can generally see is about two new patients a day and still maintain a good operative schedule. That means, allowing time for operative, you’re going to want to see two new patients every day in a steady stream. That means the maximum number of new patients that you can handle in a given month is about 32.
Some will be children, some will have perfect teeth and some, God forbid, will not accept your treatment plan. Depending on your style of dentistry, even 32 could be too many. But remember, the REAL question is: “On how many new patients can you perform full diagnosis and case presentation?” Is anything more … ethical?