Last updated on September 28th, 2018 at 02:38 pm
A little whileÂ ago we delivered ourÂ Overhead and ProfitabilityÂ seminar here at MGE.Â Over the course of the weekend, some of the stories I heard from clients got me thinking about another angle on all of this overhead business.
Iâ€™ve written quite a bit on this subject (and while articles on finance can read about as interesting as stereo instructions) you can find them here.
Beyond this, thereâ€™s an aspect thatâ€™s often overlooked:Â results.
Is Your Advertising Producing Results?
We cover this subject thoroughly in the Executive Seminar I mentioned earlier, but letâ€™s look at the basic concept.
Youâ€™re paying â€śXâ€ť amount for something â€“ letâ€™s say a radio advertising campaign. You donâ€™t make any money on it or you make less than you spent. In many casesÂ Iâ€™veÂ seen doctors blame this problem on their own inefficiency or shortcomings. Sure, if your ad has your phone ringing off the hook and your front desk canâ€™t schedule them, thatâ€™s one thing. But letâ€™s say thisÂ isnâ€™tÂ the case. Well then why continue? And while Iâ€™m not saying you shouldnâ€™t advertise, I am saying that you shouldnâ€™t continue a specific kind of advertising that doesnâ€™t get a response. Replace it with something that does.
Our Marketing DirectorÂ shared a similar story with me the other day. While weâ€™re not a marketing firm (we are a practice management training firm), our Marketing Director will, from time to time, review a clientâ€™s marketing if theyâ€™re having particular trouble with it. In any event, he sat down with a client who was spending tens of thousands a year for internet marketing with some firm. Net result: no new patients. Thousands and thousands in, nothing out. In other words: Â no results.
This goes beyond marketing, you could apply it to employees, vendors, or anything that requires an outlay of time, effort or funds. Imagine spending six months and $50,000 on an implant course only to find all of the implants you place failing (assuming you were doing it â€śby the book,â€ť) or paying an employee to collect money from patients and insurance companies and running a 75% collection rate. I could go on and on, but the point is the same. None of these situations work out very well.
(Related: The Top 5 Ways to Market Your Practice)
How do you know if something is working? Simple, ask yourself this question: â€śIs it doing what it is supposed or purported to do?â€ť Look at it as simply as that, add nothing else. It can be quite revealing.
An employee collecting 75% isnâ€™t really doing what they are paid for. Why arenâ€™t they? I donâ€™t know, but does it really matter? Whatever the reason, the fact remains, you are paying for a â€śproductâ€ť and you arenâ€™t getting it.
(Related: 8 Guidelines for Emailing Your Patient Base)
A Thing Called â€śResponsibilityâ€ť
Why brings us to the other side of all of this: responsibility.
Letâ€™s say you call the company doing your radio advertising to discuss the poor results. While not always the case, Iâ€™ve often seen the tables turned in these conversations. You might hear things like, â€śWell, youâ€™re not answering the phone correctly,â€ť or â€śYou need to double the number of ads to really get the result,â€ť and so on. Sometimes, though not much these days, youâ€™ll find someone who is willing to be accountable for something like this.
This is similar to the conversation you might have with the non-performing financial coordinator. â€śCollections are down because of the economy, insurance companiesâ€¦ etc., etc.â€ť
Look around, there seems to be a movement afoot. All of these problems we used to have, that we were responsible and accountable for (and thereby could fix), are not caused by us anymore. The problem is â€śover there.â€ť Itâ€™s, â€śthe economyâ€ť, or â€śthis political party or that,â€ť or â€śmy in-lawsâ€ť, or â€śthe bossâ€ť (the list can be infinite).
You see this just about everywhere. Amalgamating the statements from politicians in both parties, youâ€™d come to the conclusion that no one in Washington is responsible for anything that went wrong anywhere. No one had anything to do with it, it just happened.
(Related: Internal Marketing “Must Do’s”)
It all reminds me of that poem, â€śMr. Nobody:â€ť
I know a funny little man,
As quiet as a mouse,
Who does the mischief that is done
In everybodyâ€™s house!
Thereâ€™s no one ever sees his face,
And yet we all agree
That every plate we break was cracked
By Mr. Nobody.
â€™Tis he who always tears out books,
Who leaves the door ajar,
He pulls the buttons from our shirts,
And scatters pins afar;
That squeaking door will always squeak,
For prithee, donâ€™t you see,
We leave the oiling to be done
By Mr. Nobody.
The finger marks upon the door
By none of us are made;
We never leave the blinds unclosed,
To let the curtains fade.
The ink we never spill; the boots
That lying round you see
Are not our boots,â€”they all belong
To Mr. Nobody.
As an executive you can become a fool when you fail to recognize that people (not just employees, but vendors and even yourself) are accountable for their actions. Note that I didnâ€™t use the word â€śholdâ€ť as in â€śhold people accountable.â€ť Personally, if someone canâ€™t see what they did to contribute to a situation and thereby fix or handle it, I have no business â€śholdingâ€ť them to it. Iâ€™ll find someone who is willing to be accountable. Otherwise Iâ€™ll spend hours running around trying to fix things that arenâ€™t actually the problem.
(Relate: The Ingredients to a Successful Postcard)
While this can seem painful at times itâ€™s probably the fastest way to remain calm and clear headed about what youâ€™re trying to do. Peel away all of the explanations, justifications, excuses and anything else of that ilk and look at one thing, results. It will make you a better manager, reduce your stress and increase profitability.
How to Do Marketing that DOES Get Results
There are several aspects to new patient acquisition that all have to be done correctly:Â You have to send outÂ promotion/advertising that is cost effective and actually gets a consistentÂ response, answer the phones and schedule patients properly, and turn the new patients into long-term patients who get their dental work done and refer their friends and family to you.
The best way to learn how to perfectÂ every step of that process is to do the MGE New Patient Workshop. I highly recommend attending this workshop to increase your new patient flow long-term. If your staff can’t make it to the New Patient Workshop, I suggest signing up for our online training platform, DDS Success, where you can train your staff online from your office.