One of the biggest mistakes dentists often make is that they don’t run their practices like businesses. Dentists and team members see their dental practices as dental practices, but not as small businesses that are just like the florist or restaurant down the street.
In my years working as the managing editor for Dental Economics, I often saw dentists who loved the clinical side of their careers but did not enjoy keeping up with the numbers or the business side. I get that. Dentists go to school to hone their clinical skills and are given little business training. Changing smiles is a lot more fun than crunching numbers.
Because of this, dentists often rely on their team members, especially the front desk, to make sure the business side runs smoothly. These valuable team members have a lot on their plates, from tracking numbers to juggling appointments for patients who have to been seen immediately (or so they think).
While there are a lot of numbers your practice should be tracking, one that’s important to the success of your bottom line is case acceptance. According to numbers compiled by Sikka Software from nearly 13,000 dental practices around the country, gross production per unique patient seen for a comprehensive exam was $394.14 during the first eight months of 2017. That’s a lot of potential income for your business. But are you able to reap the majority of that income from your customers (patients)?
Use third-party financing efficiently
Many practices use third-party financing options such as CareCredit to help their patients not only be able to afford necessary treatment, but also to accept that treatment in a timely fashion. But do you know how well your third-party financing is working for your practice?
If the answer is no, you should ask for an application summary report from your CareCredit rep. This report will tell you exactly how effective your use of third-party financing is as well as how often you’re really offering it to your patients. You may think you’re offering it to every prospective user, but do you know whether you really are or not? This report can tell you.
It’s estimated that, with insurance use and cash payments, about 20% of your patient base would benefit greatly from third-party financing. Are you offering it to those 20% of your customers who may not even know it exists?
As I said earlier, dentists benefit greatly when they envision their practices as businesses. Like many chief executive officers, the CEO of the dental practice (the dentist) should always rely on resources to help guide some of his or her decisions. In the history of business, no CEO of any company has ever known everything there was to know. That’s why they often rely on resources and other opinions from internal and external confidantes.
As a dentist, you talk to other dentists, sales reps, your team, or other people to get their advice and bounce ideas off of them. Some of those partnerships and views can be the most critical to your business’s success because they see your business with no bias.
Ultimately, these same external contacts should also help you want to build and grow your business. It’s in their best interest to see your business grow as well. It’s also in everyone’s best interest when everyone holds each other accountable when it comes to numbers and business decisions.
No matter what dealer or third-party financing partner you use, set up a time to talk to your rep to see what can be done to help your business grow mightily in the second half of 2018. You will be surprised in the change your business could experience.