By DR SIMON HOCKEN
I think you can divide private dentists into two groups, those who always have plenty of work and those who never have quite enough.
So, here are the characteristics and behaviours of the many successful private dentists I have met over the past 15 years who always have plenty of work.
- Their attitude – they are energetic and relentlessly positive human beings! Their self-confidence fills the room and they temper this with charm and humility. They understand that their role is to serve their patients (not the reverse) and that everything they do must be in their patient’s best interest. Their patients soon get to understand this too, this builds massive amounts of trust. They are honest, transparent, ethical and entertaining. They understand that dentistry is theatre and that a dental practice is a stage.
- Their patient journey – is carefully designed and executed so that patients fall (just a little bit) in love with them and their support team, (friendly, smiling folk who genuinely care about what they do and the patients they serve). They look after their patients in a comfortable, fit for purpose reception and lounge (no: ringing phones, blu tack notices, Heart FM, tatty carpet, chairs in a line against the wall, gossip etc). The layout and design of this space creates a lovely, relaxing atmosphere. (Think boutique hotel. See here and here). The clinicians always collect their patients from the lounge and after their appointment, always return them to reception and explain to their receptionists the need for the next appointment.
- Their examinations – They have an area in their surgery where they chat to their patients before they begin an examination. This is in order to get to know their patient better and it takes time and space! (See here). During the examination they use intra-oral and extra-oral photography to help both the dentist and the patient co-discover the healthy and unhealthy areas of their mouth. The examination is all about what’s happening in the patient’s mouth, it’s not about “watches” or solutions, yet. After the examination, they return with the patient to the non-clinical area where they can both sit and talk easily with the help of a screen to show photos, radiographs etc.
- Their treatment planning – if there is a need for treatment (or the patient asks for an intervention such as Ortho, Tooth Whitening or Facial Rejuvenation) they explain to the patient their options and make clear recommendation as to the best solution, one which is truly in the patient’s best interest. They are adept at pacing the treatment to match the patient’s needs and toleration of dentistry! This we call co-treatment planning as it is carried out by both the dentist and the patient in order to arrive at the right plan. Involving the patient in this way takes patience and time but the the patient feels they have co-developed the plan and they are much more likely to go ahead with it than one imposed on them by the dentist! This process is also best supported by a raft of digital material such as: before and after photos, models and examples of successful treatments.
- Their dentistry/skill set -these dentists generally have fabulous restorative and cosmetic dentistry skills and usually use extrinsic restorations rather than place large fillings (lab made or Cerec type). They long ago stopped using amalgam and they often have an additional clinical interest such as Implants or Adult Ortho. They also have a highly trusted group of specialists they refer to, including great hygienists who stop patients having perio disease. It really goes without saying that these dentist are painless, always run on time and always follow up with patients when they should. They also gross highly, £1500-3000/day.
- They get loads and loads of referrals -these dentists have one thing in common. They and their practices are remarkable and their patients willingly and often refer their friends, family and colleagues. These dentists have no problem asking for referrals and do so every time and their marketing budget is focused on their web site because they understand that when patients refer to friends, their friends go straight to visit the practice web site. As a rule of thumb, these dentists get circa 10-15 new high value patients referred by their active patients every month at a value of £600-£5,000 per patient.
That’s why they always have lots of work.
The patients of remarkable dentists are never ambivalent about their dentist, they love them! And they refer, refer, refer! And guess what, being remarkable is a choice you could make as well and never want for work again.
If you would like some help with being remarkable and building a remarkable practice where patients love to refer, contact me for a chat!
t. 07770 430576