Overcome Your #1 Fear
As children, we were encouraged to face our fears. Don't be afraid of the dark. Don't be a chicken. Carnival rides aren't scary. But we quickly learn that fear is not necessarily a bad thing. Actually, it's a powerful instinct that can protect us in potentially risky situations. It can be the little voice that warns us not to walk down the dark street alone. It's that temporary hesitation that causes us to think twice about trying the exotic hors d'oeuvres. Or it's the voice of experience that tells us that great idea may not be so great. The key is sifting through the fears that guide us toward intelligent decisions and the fears that impede our true potential as professionals.
For new dentists enrolled in our Practice Start-Up Program, most acknowledge five primary fears when it comes to opening their own practice. I talked about two in last week's newsletter. Below are the top 3.
#3 - Not Being Able to Hire the Right People for Lack of Money
#2 - Not Enough New Patients
The bottom line - if you do not tell people about your practice through a professional marketing campaign, your fear of no new patients has a much greater chance of becoming a reality. It is critical that doctors budget 4-6% of their anticipated production for the coming year for marketing. Sadly, we see doctors in a panic because they have spent a fortune equipping multiple operatories with all the “must haves” they couldn’t live without. Yet the doctor has virtually no money left to market the practice.
#1 - The Competition
Many dentists think their practices deliver excellent customer service, but few train their teams to ensure excellence and even fewer monitor customer service. Most business staff have no understanding of how to most effectively manage new patient phone calls, how to build rapport, how to make the prospective patient feel good about calling this office. Something as fundamental as doing what they promise they will do is often overlooked by staff. If you promise the patient that you will send them information, contact their insurance company, phone in their prescriptions, etc. - do it! Too many staff allow patient promises to fall through the cracks, thereby eroding patient confidence in the entire practice.
Additionally, rather than worrying about the dentists down the street, go visit them. Walk into their offices and introduce yourself. Check out the interior, pay attention to how staff and the doctors make you feel when you walk in the door. If you don't feel welcome there, I can virtually guarantee that their patients don't either. Study your competition, get to know them, and offer to take their emergencies when they are away.
Want more of me? Click here to visit my blog, The Lighter Side, for more Dental Practice Management info.
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