Facing profitability problems or other symptoms of a dysfunctional office, the average dentist also has to deal with the confusion of what to do about it. They may be looking for solutions, but which ones are actually going to work?
It’s not abnormal for them to think that their problem is related to management. That’s what “practice management” and consultants are all about, right? But consider this: if the practice is not very profitable, or in the red with an inadequate number of new patients, is the immediate problem “management”?
Could they become a better manager? Absolutely. But before we even address the subject of management, they need to start making more money. And then, once they have some more breathing room with income, they will be able to implement new systems and become better organized.
This is one of the major differences between MGE and other companies. While we have an extensive management training program, the first order of business is to ensure a client is generating adequate income and is PROFITABLE—after which we start addressing management, organization, etc.
And how should a doctor go about increasing income and profitability?
It’s not too complex, but there are some basic rules to follow. One of the first concepts we cover at MGE is the three components of a business that need to function properly for any businesses to be successful. These are:
Let’s look at each.
Promote: If you do not promote (meaning draw people’s attention to a product or service for sale through marketing, advertising, etc.) then nobody will know you exist.
The old dental business model was to set up shop, put up a sign, and patients would come. That was an excellent business model for a small town in the 1950s, but not in today’s market. People pass by signs for dental offices every few blocks, they are barraged with mail and advertisements for all sorts of things, and they go online for most of their information. You have to adjust your marketing strategy to the times we live in and proactively promote yourself and your office. Dental practices that are thriving nowadays are normally the ones that have become savvy about this.
There is a lot that can be done with promotion. You can get very clever with ways to reach potential patients. You should at the very least understand the demographics of the patients you are trying to reach and your marketing should reflect what they want. You should know which types of advertising produce the best results and are the most cost-effective. These things and more are taught at the MGE New Patient Workshop.
Sell: In any business, you can’t just assume that people will simply walk in and pay for whatever service you are offering. You also can’t assume that people will know enough about your profession to make an educated decision. Some call it a “low dental IQ,” but the reality is most people haven’t got a clue about teeth, so when you tell them they need a root canal and six crowns, all the patient hears is, “the dentist wants to stick needles in my gums and it’s going to cost a lot of money.”
Now, I know “sales” is a dirty word in dentistry, but when I say it, I don’t mean using gimmicks or pressure tactics to squeeze money out of people. I simply mean honest, straightforward communication to educate a patient about their treatment plan so they can make the best choices for their dental health. At the MGE Communication & Sales Seminar Series we teach you how to do this effectively.
Deliver: This is the area in which you are trained. You went to dental school and have doubtlessly spent many hours of continuing education learning how to do this, and I trust that you are a proficient clinician. There are a few other factors that affect delivery as well, like friendly and upbeat staff, efficient scheduling, etc., and we teach you how to accomplish these things at MGE.
Excellent delivery is where you can create good word-of-mouth, which leads back into promotion, starting the whole cycle over again with bringing patients in, selling them treatment, and then delivering.
If you have bad delivery, it will kill promotion, because it will create bad word-of-mouth and patients won’t want to come to your office because they’ve heard horrible things about it.
“Management” oversees these three components. That is really the entire purpose of management—ensuring that these three things happen smoothly and efficiently.
You should become more organized and know how to manage well, but if you can’t promote or sell (and you already know how to deliver), then there is nothing to manage or organize. And that is why marketing and sales are the first things we cover at MGE.
Even practices that are already producing a satisfactory amount and simply wish to become more efficient could still start out by improving their marketing and sales. After all, the purpose of management is to oversee this triangle of promote-sell-deliver, and the more efficient you are at promoting and selling, the easier management will be.
On the MGE Power Program (the most comprehensive practice management training program in the industry, designed to give a doctor complete control over all of the business aspects of their practice) clients and their office managers spend an estimated total of 32 days learning marketing, sales, and communication skills, and an average of 37 days on management and executive training to become better organized. Organization is a big subject, but marketing and sales skills are vital and should be learned first.
My suggestion: To find out if MGE is for you, start out with the MGE New Patient Workshop or the MGE Communication & Sales Seminar Series.