Every day when I arrive at the office, I find a pile of mail on my desk, as do you. For some reason, I always feel like going through the mail is the first thing I need to do before I can do anything else. In this day of instant messaging and email - where anything really important can be sent to me immediately - the good old snail mail still holds some kind of magical attraction, even though it probably takes two days to a week to actually arrive at my desk.
So let me share what my dental office mail looks like. I’m sure it is a lot like yours. Here is one that looks attractive. The outside says, “If you ignore this opportunity, you’ll be losing money!” I open this piece of mail and find out that some new “marketing genius” is going to help me and many other dentists obtain new patients with his “secrets.” Oh, look - those secrets are going to cost me $1,500! I’ll pass. Well, let’s open the next envelope. It’s another “marketing genius” who is actually a dentist. After I read the information inside the envelope, I came to the conclusion he used to be a dentist. He started practicing at age 25 and made so much money in dentistry, he retired at age 29. You can buy his secrets for $1,995. I’m not as upset by the price as much as I am about the fact that I am 20 years past retirement!
I really need to start seeing my patients, but I can’t help but open up another envelope that is screaming at me with a line on the outside that says, “This one trick will increase your production by $90,000 each month.” I better read this before I see today’s patients, because I always am looking for ways to increase production. This one has to be good! I open up the letter to find out that a dentist once sent a mug filled with flowers to a patient. According to the letter, the patient then accepted $30,000 worth of dental treatment. If you do this three times, that adds up to $90,000. For more ways to trick my patients into accepting more dentistry, all I need to do is purchase this dentist’s special report.
These examples of come-ons are becoming very commonplace in dentistry and, believe it or not, dentists are falling for them! As I lecture to hundreds of dentists each month, they tell me how they wasted their time and money trying to find the silver bullet through some of these ridiculous offers and outrageous claims. Every dentist wants to know what the one thing is that he or she can do, say, or give away that will attract new patients and make the patients accept big treatment plans.
Here is my advice - stop wasting your money! Live by the old adage, “If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.” The time and money you waste in some of these silly schemes is time and money that can be invested in a soft tissue and hard-tissue Waterlase MD laser. If you want to make more money in dentistry, then offer your patients what they want, such as learning how to do no-preparation Lumineers. If you would like to become a better communicator, get yourself a Lightyear digital X-ray unit, take some good practice-management courses, and learn how to motivate patients to want treatment by planting seeds in their minds.
Here’s the secret you’ve all been waiting for! There is no fast-track, get-rich-quick way to make money in dentistry. You will not find the secrets of success in dentistry in an envelope sitting on your desk or in an email. As with any business, it requires hard work, putting the time into your practice, and learning the business of dentistry. You will be successful by refining your clinical skills, learning what patients want, and then giving it to them! Add new line extensions and services to your office. Become an excellent communicator so you can talk to your staff and your patients. The secret to your success cannot be found inside an envelope that comes in the mail. The secret to success can be found in you!
Dr. Louis Malcmacher is an international lecturer and author known for his comprehensive and entertaining style. An evaluator for Clinical Research Associates, Dr. Malcmacher is a consultant to the Council on Dental Practice of the ADA. For close to two decades, Dr. Malcmacher has inspired his audiences to truly enjoy practicing dentistry by providing the knowledge necessary for excellent clinical and practice-management skills. His group dental practice has maintained a 45 percent overhead since 1988. For details about his speaking schedule, Dr. Malcmacher can be reached at (440) 892-1810 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.