Over the last 20 years, I have seen just about every type of growth-stunting private practice problem. And while each problem is not the same, not one is unique. One of the most common problems I see is doctor burnout. Doctors who once had dreams of running a practice with several associates and multiple revenue-producing operatories are not experiencing the growth they expected at this point in their lives. They work hard, but can’t seem to find success. The problem is they never learned how to get there.
Fortunately, I do know how. In fact, I have a time-tested, proven solution for it. All it takes is a refocusing on the basics: new patients. Yes, if you ever want to stand a chance to truly succeed in your practice, you need to be in the new-patient business.
Let me explain. There are three ways to grow your business. First, increase the number of new patients. Second, increase the frequency of purchase. And third, increase the size of purchase. All three are necessary, but you’ve got to get number one right before you can tackle two and three.
Let’s focus on increasing your new patients and assume that you are going to put a lot of energy and momentum into growing that number. You train your team on the best way to convert a new-patient phone inquiry into a scheduled appointment, you establish a referral program, and you increase your marketing spend. You are motoring along, working harder and faster, and your new patient numbers are rising. You are beginning to see the trickle-down effect new patients have on your production and collections.
But at some point along the way, you hit an inevitable bottleneck. You simply can’t work hard enough or fast enough to keep up with the new-patient demand. Now what? You can choose to do one of two things. Option one: you push back the demand, say you don’t need new patients, and throw up the white flag, surrendering your practice’s potential. Status quo (or worse) is your future. Or, option two: you accept the demand to the point where you can hardly stand it, and when you have truly maxed yourself out, you bring in an associate for help.
It’s a no-brainer, right? Now for the trap: the same guy who says he wants to hire an associate never does because his new-patient numbers go up and then they go down. That doctor says, “I was going to hire an associate but my numbers went down.” Well, no kidding! You don’t have any capacity!
Listen, I get it. There’s an inherent limit in your ability to produce. But that shouldn’t be the end of it. You can’t just say, “Oh well, I can’t do any more.” Come on! You’re in the business to make money, right? Well, I can promise you that you will be able to spend more money than you can personally produce. That’s why it’s important to have a revenue-producing source other than yourself: an associate.
And that’s why you need to be in the new-patient business. New patients are what give you the confidence to hire an associate. That is what we teach our clients in our coaching program. They don’t want to know how to work harder or faster. They want to know when and how to hire an associate. They want to grow their practices without killing themselves in the process. They want to significantly increase their production, collections, and patient numbers and receive the extra financial margin to reinvest in the company. They understand the importance of being in the new-patient business. So should you.
Author’s note: The best way to kick-start a new-patient business is to assess where you are today. Go to 5starchallenge.com. We will conduct a mystery call and see if your front desk team is ready to increase your new patients and see success in your practice the way you initially dreamed.
Jay Geier is the founder of the Scheduling Institute and creator of the world-renowned five-star telephone training program that has revolutionized the way dentists attract new patients to their practices. He is finally revealing his secret for record-setting results, 600+ new patients in one week. Visit schedulinginstitute.com/DE to learn how he did it.