Are you asking the right questions to grow your dental practice?

Dentists often believe they need more patients, so they ask how to get them. But the more appropriate questions should be about how to get the patients they already have to accept treatment.

Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2017 09 3 Questions 1
Dentists often believe they need more patients, so they ask how to get them. But the more appropriate questions should be about how to get the patients they already have to accept treatment.

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WE HAVE AN ISSUE IN OUR PROFESSION that is seldom discussed—we’re not asking the right questions. There are a lot of things that we do well in dentistry—we’re caring, compassionate, and dedicated. However, sometimes we’re not able to think outside the box.

Dentists want to know,“How can I get more new patients?” I want to know, “Why do you want more new patients, and what is happening with the patients you do have?

The real question dentists should be asking is, “What can I do with my existing patients to increase my productivity and meet the goals I’ve set with my team?”

There’s a good chance that you have all of the opportunities you need right in your own practice. I’d like to help you identify your opportunities today and share three questions you can use in your practice to help you meet your needs with your existing patients.

1. Are you sure that the back door is closed?

If you have an abundance of patients in the office, you may not notice that it’s wide open!
• Do you monitor your active patient count monthly?
• Do you monitor your hygiene retention monthly?
• Do you know how many patients are due this month but are not being seen?

If you’re not monitoring these key performance indicators, you may not realize how many patients are coming to your office once and then not returning.

2. What are you doing to keep the patients you currently have happy in the practice?

Patients expect more with every visit.
• Are you keeping up with technology and techniques?
• Do you have affordable financing options or an in-office membership plan to help your patients say yes to treatment?
• Are you engaging your patients on their own terms with your social media presence?

Look around your practice. Can you do more to keep your patients happy?

3. What are you and your team doing to get the dentistry out of the charts and into the mouths of your patients?

You already have an advantage with your existing patients. You have established the first of six steps in case acceptance—you have built the relationship. Patients are more likely to follow through with your recommended treatment if they trust you. Many times, the failure comes from not creating the urgency or providing the risks and benefits of treatment in a way in which patients can relate.

A couple of weeks ago, I asked an arborist to come to my house and trim the limb of my neighbor’s sweetgum tree because it was hanging over my fence and dropping sweetgums balls in my yard. It’s on a hill and my storage shed is at the bottom of the hill, so I was always afraid someone would “Charlie Brown” it down that hill on a sweetgum ball. I was told it would cost $200 to trim the limb. When the arborist evaluated the tree in person, he realized that the tree was on a hill, and that the root system was close to our pool plumbing and sprinkler system. Because of these risks, he changed his recommendation from trimming the limb to removing the tree. Now the cost was $1,800, but the way he presented the risks and benefits made it difficult for me to say no. It was good for him and good for me.

The proposed dentistry you have in your charts is the same thing. It’s there! How are you explaining the risks and benefits of the treatment and creating urgency to have it completed? I would encourage you to talk at your morning huddle about what is already diagnosed. What can you do or say differently to encourage your patients to move forward with treatment? That will make it good for you and good for them.

The bottom line is this: we need to know what questions to ask.
• Is the back door open?
• What are you doing to keep your patients happy?
• What are you doing to get the dentistry out of the charts and into the mouths of the patients who already trust you?

If you need help with answers, you might want to turn to outside resources that can help you get where you want to go.


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Danya Montoya has over 20 years of dental experience and expertise in client relations. She’s business advisor for Jameson, an international management, marketing, and hygiene coaching firm that helps dentists and teams become more productive, more profitable, and ultimately more fulfilled in their practicing lives. She not only provides in-office coaching, but works with the Jameson team in developing programs for optimizing technology and systems in dental practices. She is also a contributing author and speaker. For more information about Danya and Jameson’s management, hygiene, and marketing services, visit JamesonManagement.com or call (877) 369-5558.

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