1. What’s the best way to handle “price shopper” calls?
Every practice gets these: the patient who is scrolling down the online listings for dentists in their area and calling one by one to get the best price. To handle these requests, repurpose the conversation. When the caller asks, “How much is it?” your front office might say, “I’m curious to explore the question behind your question. Tell me a little bit about what’s going on, and let’s see how we can help.” The key is to build the relationship right out of the gate. Your staff might even say, “We want to get to know you more than we want your money. How about we get you scheduled for an initial consultation to see if we’re a good match?”
2. If my practice wants to attract more PPO/fee-for-service patients, what’s the best marketing approach?
Create a profile of your ideal patient. They pay on time, accept treatment, show up on time, and carry a certain benefit plan (or no benefit plan). Now, identify in your practice 10 patients who fit that profile. Survey them and ask what marketing gets their attention: Google AdWords? Yelp ads? Direct mail? What else? Ask how they found your practice. Ask what tools they use to find their other healthcare practitioners. Replicate what resonated with them, and you will attract more of the same type of patient.
3. How do we say on our website that we accept only fee-for-service or certain PPOs – without scaring off potential patients?
Your website and marketing materials should act as sieves, straining out the patients you don’t want and leading to your door the ones that you do want. In the practice marketing materials, be inviting yet informative about your dental benefits policies. Give away enough information to weed out anyone who does not fit your ideal patient profile, but not so much detail that you fail to invite into the practice those who do match the profile. Be promotional, not educational – the time to educate the patient is after they come into the practice and are face-to-face with you. Do be certain to address dental benefits on your website. Saying nothing at all would be leaving a big question unanswered, which may cause the potential patient to never even contact you.
4. How do I extend an enticing offer to attract new patients when I already take a hit on my profits by accepting insurance and can’t afford to discount my fees?
First, consider this: existing patients are your number one asset, not new patients. Consider making the offer to them instead, or as well. Second, rarely discount your fees. It diminishes your credibility and value. Instead, offer something of added value: a $25 gift card to a local retailer, a Sonicare toothbrush, or free whitening trays, for example. When practices offer something like this to current patients in exchange for a referral, the practice attracts more people who fit the ideal patient profile and, perhaps most importantly, solidifies patient loyalty.
5. Can I still rely on dental benefits directories for a steady stream of new patients?
Would you hire a marketing agency that takes a percentage of your fee for each patient that they lead to the practice? Absolutely not. Round out your marketing strategy with tactics that attract implant patients, crown and bridge patients, fee-for-service patients, and those who fit your ideal patient profile. A good mix of patients will serve the practice well for years to come.
Want to attract more patients that fit your ideal patient profile? Schedule a complimentary consultation.