Like it or not, if you work in general practice then dentistry is a sales driven business. What that means is the more dentistry you do in a day the more you will get paid. That’s a tough circle to square when you’re providing patients with health care and many would say that it’s a lousy model, but it is what it is folks.
So if you want to boost your earnings you need to boost your daily gross. Here are five sure-fire tactics to do that which, when we help Breathe dentists deploy them, lift their daily gross by around 30 per cent!
- Always pick your patients up from the patient lounge at the beginning of their appointment and take them back to reception after their appointment. When you accompany them to the front desk, within earshot of the patient briefly tell your receptionist what you have done today, what your patient needs next and when you would like them to return for this. If confidentiality is an issue, make it conversational and non-specific so that it doesn’t matter if you are overheard. Of course, your receptionist doesn’t really need you to say all of this, it’s written on a screen in front of them, but when the patient hears you repeat this information to the receptionist it reinforces the need for their next appointment (even if it’s only for a check up) and they are much more likely to leave with an appointment than if you let them wander along to reception on their own.
- Configure your new patient appointments and your check up appointments into thirds. First third (preferably not sat in the dental chair) build rapport and gather soft facts. Second third clinical examination, radiographs, clinical photos etc. Final third (away from the dental chair) discuss treatment options. Most dentists don’t leave enough time for the first and final third, focusing all their time on the clinical aspect of the appointment. It is the first and final thirds that sell the treatment to the patient. You need long enough to do this, at least 45 minutes for a new patient appointment. For check up appointments use short appointments for maintenance patients who rarely need anything doing and longer appointments for patients who usually require some treatment. Don’t try and fit everyone into one-size-fits-all check up appointments. (And no, you don’t need to change the fee, patients are paying for a check up, not for the number of minutes they spend with you…)
- Zone your diaries. Seriously, why would you let your receptionists fill your day in a random manner and give up any control over whether you have a high grossing day to look forward to or a low grossing day full of trivia? Make every day a high grossing day by booking at least three hours of high value work into every day. This means that you have a couple of hours for check ups and a couple of hours for new patients, hourly rate and low value treatment and some time for emergencies. Simple and effective. Expect your gross to go up by 30 per cent.
- Focus, work fast and effectively. Some of the best clinical dentists I know work fast. They focus intensively on the clinical task before them and remove all spurious elements from their procedures. As my coach once said to me about prepping a tooth for a crown, “You can spend all day shaving if you keep taking the razor off your face!” Get rid of distractions including your mobile phone and don’t use the surgery computer terminal to surf the internet… Focus on your clinical day, give your patients 100 per cent of your attention, be present, listen well and communicate treatment options to them clearly together with your clear recommendations and they will reward you by saying yes to your treatment plans.
- Have a high value skill such as adult ortho, implants, endo, complex restorative and facial aesthetics. If you can only offer simple dentistry you will only ever gross low (with the exception of tooth whitening!). Having high value skills in your tool box clearly gives you the capability to earn more in a day.
The difference between low and high grossing dentists is often more about their attitude, their confidence and their communication skills rather than about their clinical skills! So, don’t just go on clinical courses, run your days differently!
If you would like some help with increasing your gross, contact me for a chat:
m. 07770 430576