When we speak to doctors around the country, we see that there’s one aspect of practice ownership many of them shudder at the thought of doing—becoming a salesperson.
While the idea of selling evokes a visceral response from many dentists, it’s really not as bad as it sounds. Ultimately, doctors have three communication goals when they interact with prospective patients:
- I can solve the issue that you have.
- Even though there are other people who can solve your issue, I’m the best person to solve it.
- You can spend your time and hard-earned dollars in many ways, but the best thing to spend them on at this time is resolving your issue.
For certain segments of dentistry, sales is a more natural transition. For instance, orthodontists have tracked treatment conversion percentages for a long time in order to understand the effectiveness of treatment presentation. However, alldoctors should be tracking their treatment presentation conversion percentage, in dollars, to understand the effectiveness of their communication with patients.
Tracking this statistic accomplishes a few things. First, it allows you to determine if what is being said to prospective patients is effectively communicating the need and urgency regarding the treatment presented. Additionally, tracking treatment presentation in terms of dollars allows you to identify whether certain treatment is lagging behind other procedures.
For instance, one doctor recently had a difficult time convincing patients to accept treatment plans involving implants. As it was later learned, although the front desk was familiar with the idea of implants, the treatment coordinator was not familiar enough with them to answer certain questions when treatment was booked, particularly in the area of recovery. For this reason, the treatment coordinator received a lot of “I’ll think about it” from patients, who then did not complete treatment.
Tracking treatment presentation in terms of dollars allows you to visualize tiers as it relates to financial difficulty with patients. Said another way, by identifying lower percentages for high-dollar treatment plans, you can identify the price points that the community may have a hard time affording. This allows you to become more creative and to use flexible financing or schedule the treatment in stages to make the time and financial commitments more reasonable for patients.
If you or your staff are worried about the time required to track all treatment plans, begin by tracking the total dollars of dental treatment planned and the amount accepted for cases more than $5,000. Since these cases are more difficult for patients to finance, understanding your success percentages will help you identify your baseline conversation percentage, which allows you to determine your success with different presentation strategies.
Many things can ultimately be gained from tracking this statistic, but the ability to identify trends in your patient base and act accordingly is often the difference between a good practice and a great practice.
Andrew Tucker, JD, CPA, CFP,
and John K. McGill, JD, MBA, CPA, provide tax and business planning for the dental profession and publish The McGill Advisory newsletter through John K. McGill & Company Inc., a member of the McGill & Hill Group LLC. It is your one-stop resource for tax and business planning, practice transitions, legal, retirement plan administration, CPA, and investment advisory services. Visit mcgillhillgroup.com or call (877) 306-9780.