In 2010, I had thousands of dollars in credit-card debt. I was using credit cards to pay off credit cards. I tried many things to build my practice. Of course, I didn’t know then what I know now, and I likely would have done some things differently if I had to do it over again.
As dentists, a lot of times we believe we will be super successful. We had to have been successful with many things to make it through dental school, so we’re used to succeeding. But, most of the time, we’re bootstrapping our businesses, especially when we first come out of school. We don’t know how to run a business. We don’t have a ton of money. We’re learning as we go.
The right mentors, coaching, systems, and processes can help us continue our run of success. But what if everything goes wrong? What if you were 30 days from closing the doors to your practice? What could you do?
Here’s what I would do.
1. I would invest in targeted traffic sources.
I’d set a goal to attract 50 new patients in the 30 days. To do so, I’d focus on Facebook marketing and forming Strategic Alliances. We get over 100 new patients every month at my practice. A lot of that has to do with internal referrals but with only 30 days, I’d focus on Facebook ads and getting strategic partnerships.
Facebook would help me target high-revenue patients. Strategic alliances would help me do that as well, but also with more of an opportunity to attract patients on a longer-term basis.
Here’s how that would work.
My 30-Day Emergency Bootstrap Facebook Plan
For me, the best way to attract patients for high-revenue procedures is through Facebook marketing. Facebook ads are the best way to get your message in front of people for little money. It’s the fastest way to help people get to know, like, and trust you.
Because Facebook ads have the potential to go viral, I wouldn’t target people to come in for a cleaning. I don’t like to discount services, especially on a broad scale. We offer VIP services and attract people because we give them a WOW experience. We want loyal, raving patients who value what we offer enough to pay full price. That allows us to serve them well while still making a profit. We do not attract people who are just price shopping.
Plus, with only 30 days in this scenario, mass cleanings wouldn’t help. I’d promote Invisalign, dental implants, and cosmetic dentistry. These are high revenue generators. With only 30 days, I’d focus on these.
I’d target my ads to people within 10 miles of my practice, with a home valued at more than $300,000, a net worth of over $250,000, and with more than$250,000 in liquid assets.
I’d create ads that tell stories about people whose lives were changed by these services. At the end, I’d offer a quiz to people to see if they qualify for these services. If they do, I’d invite them in for a free consultation.
My 30-Day Emergency Strategic Alliance Plan
I’d reach out to doctors, chiropractors, real-estate agents, attorneys, and anyone else with a small or medium-sized business near me. I’d tell them how I noticed things they’re doing in the community and with their team and tell them about our partner program. I’d say we have a program where we partner with companies every month. We provide an opportunity for our partner companies’ team members to get dental work done.
I’d ask if they offer dental insurance. If not, I’d offer discounts for team members who start treatment that month to help them afford their care. I’d list the services we offer and related discounts. For example, I might offer 50% off cleanings, 10% off dental implants and crowns, and $300 off Invisalign if they get started that month.
I’m not an advocate of discounting for Facebook ads, but for strategic alliances, it can work. It catches people’s attention. Naming the procedures also gives reminders of what services they may need. The discounts also get people to start treatments they’ve needed to get for a while but haven’t been able to get.
We let the business owners know it’s an opportunity for them to show their team they value them without it having to come out of their pocket.
Finally, I’d have an email ready to send them listing the details. This way, when they say yes, I can send them an email they can forward to their team members right away.
2. I would focus on case presentation.
When people come in, it’s important to talk about all the treatments that need to get done. To do so, you need their permission.
No matter what people come in for, the first thing we ask a new patient is why they’re really there. They might have come in because of a Facebook ad, but the real reason is often much deeper. If they have missing teeth, we ask what happened. Many times, they’ll get to an emotional state. They’ll go back to their childhood and remember things that happened and want to move on from that. They’ll begin to feel how much their life could be changed if you fixed the problems with their teeth.
We then ask them if we have permission to look at everything about their mouth. Almost everyone will say yes. When they do, we let them know everything we see in their mouth. There are some things that really concern me about patients, such as missing teeth, which can cause cracking or crookedness of other teeth. Sometimes patients don’t know what’s so dangerous about their condition, so talking them through these issues is important.
At the end of our presentation, people understand everything that’s going on with their mouth. Because we connected with them on an emotional level, they also understand how their life can be improved by fixing their problems.
3. I would look at making sure you can provide a way for people to say yes.
Once patients are in your chair and understand everything that’s wrong with their mouth, it’s important that you make it easy to say yes. People who eat on one side of their mouth, hide their smile, or suffer in pain all want to get their teeth fixed. They all want the life improvements that come from resolving their issues.
But they haven’t had their teeth fixed yet. That’s often because of a lack of time or money, with money being the most pressing issue, especially for people without dental insurance.
Because of that, we would offer a few ways people could get started with their treatment plan right away. When we’re done with our case presentation, we would run the numbers with them so they could see what it would cost to get started. We would give them options to get started right away or schedule everything in one visit. People with families or who need to take time off work love being able to get work done in one visit.
We would work with them to take as little time out of their life as possible. We would also work to give them ways to fit their treatments into their budgets, such as an affordable monthly payment amount.
Everyone wins when you give people options to say “yes” to getting started right away in this scenario. Patients can finally get the dental care they need. You get to perform cases and generate income. Your team members become more likely to have continued work in your practice.
What would you do with only 30 days to save your practice?
If your business was suddenly in dire straits, what would you do to save it? Remember, in this hypothetical, you have 30 days to save your practice from closing. What would your plan be?
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This article originally appeared on DeliveringWow.com.