8.3.12 Issue #543 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Belle DuCharme, CDPMA
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The Funnel Theory in Dental Business
By Belle DuCharme, CDPMA

The funnel theory in marketing refers to building a large database of prospects that with follow-up will “funnel” down to be buyers of services and products. Dental practices, as with most small businesses, do little or no follow-up with their customers. The store door opens and the waiting game begins for customers to show up. If we imagine the dental office as an open store without appointments, where patients walk in during store hours and are accommodated according to their needs and your ability to serve them, how would the schedule look? If the dental office operated this way, what would you do to attract new patients?

Lately the schedules in many dental practices have open time - and not entirely due to cancellations and no-shows. The challenge to create a profitable schedule every day requires focus and a commitment of time. In order for the funnel theory to work, a large volume of prospective patients must be created. In dentistry, this is referred to as the active patient list. In practices that have relied on word of mouth to grow, it is wise to see that other tactics need to be in place to stimulate growth. Think of the following as ways to fill up your funnel - or as the “lucky seven.”

1. Increase Contact with Potentially New Patients
Everyone needs a dentist at some point in their life. It could be your practice they choose. Join the chamber of commerce and other networking groups and attend local business functions - not just the dental society. Don't just show up, pass out your card or information and introduce yourself to everyone in the room. When you pick up the dry cleaning, drop off your card. When you go to the local florist, drop off your card. Have your staff do the same. When you are giving out contact information, ask the potential patient for their email or phone number so that you may contact them with a special offer or information about your practice. Create an energy buzz about your practice.

2. Update or Create an Effective Website
Drive people to your site with Search Engine Optimization. Always have a contact page where people can contact you with questions about your services and products. Many practices have websites, but if you are not getting patients from it you need to do something now.

3. Record All Prospective Patients in your Database
Your database allows staff to follow-up. Anyone that calls your office should be considered a possible new patient. Create an introductory incentive plan that could be a package special or an offer of complimentary whitening and cosmetic evaluation.

4. Maintain your Relationships
Once you have attracted a patient to your practice and they have had a positive experience, the challenge is to maintain the patient/customer relationship with repeat business. Send out thank-you notes and encourage patients to review your practice online.

5. Follow-Up
Design your follow-up plan to include the best way to contact each of your patients. Many of today's patients list the internet and email as the best way to reach them. Depending on your demographics, you may find that many of your patients still want to hear a voice on the phone. The issue here is a planned system of follow-up with incentives to return to your practice.

6. Excellent Customer Service
All of the great offers and incentives in the world won't keep patients coming back if you do not have great customer service. Sadly, many practices don't get the connection between making patients happy and the return business these actions create. Make your patient's feel that their business is important to you. Deliver your promise of excellent dental care and excellent customer service in all areas of the practice, not just on the phone.  How the phone is answered and what is said is extremely important, but if the patient doesn't get that level of attention throughout their experience in your office, they may not return.

7. Building Trust Builds Loyalty 
If patients know your practice is caring, fair and professionally excellent they will return year after year and will refer their family, friends and coworkers.

Need help with growing your practice? McKenzie Management has the marketing tools to increase new patients and help you to retain your current patients. From business training programs for your staff to internal and external marketing plans, McKenzie Management is here to help you.

If you would like more information on McKenzie Management'sTraining Programs  to improve the performance of your team, email training@mckenziemgmt.com

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