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It’s Time to Elevate Dentistry!

Let’s face it; the majority of the population doesn’t value dentistry anywhere near as much as they should. And they don’t value it anywhere near as much as other things of considerably less value that they spend money on gladly.

Now couple that with the fact that there is no single place where people could find out anything they wanted to know about oral health, and then find a dentist and even book an appointment right there online.

Which is why Dentistry.com was created. Imagine a website with all the benefits of WebMD, ZocDoc and Yelp, rolled into one, and none of the negatives. That’s what Dentistry.com is–a website dedicated exclusively to our profession, the ultimate resource for the dental consumer.

Dentistry.com is the new, free online platform from Dentsply Sirona. The goal for the site is simple and powerful: to improve the state of the nation’s dental health by increasing the number of new patients who go to the dentist and accept treatment.

It’s time we elevate dentistry to its proper place in healthcare. And no one else is in a position to do it–not the societies, not the search engines, and not the review sites, because they don’t have the resources and they don’t have a comprehensive goal in mind.

Consumer Education Is Essential for Dentistry

We all know that dental health is integral to overall health, but the rest of the population doesn’t. We don’t go six months without finding some new disease that is linked to periodontal disease. And we’re the only ones who aren’t surprised.

Understanding the value of dentistry and then easily finding an appropriate dentist will do something very simple and profound: more people will go to the dentist, more often, and will accept more treatment.

Dentsply Sirona wants more people to understand the critical role good oral health plays in their overall wellbeing, which is why Dentistry.com was designed as the ultimate consumer site for all things dental. And they also understand that consumers want things fast and easy, and they want it on their smartphone. And they want it in one place. Which is why Dentistry.com features:

  • An active community of dentists sharing advice with patients
  • Authoritative information and articles from dental professionals
  • The most detailed directory of dental practices – anywhere
  • Advanced online dentist search and booking tools

Best of all, it costs nothing to join Dentistry.com. As a new member of this online community, you’ll receive a free profile that helps you to attract more new patients online, improve your website’s SEO, and receive online appointment requests.

Boost Your Website’s Search Results

I’ll explain how that all works. First of all, being part of Dentistry.com boosts the SEO for your own site because it is a directory, and Google likes to index that information and boost results accordingly. (Sounds technical, but trust me.) And Dentistry.com will also appeal to Google because of the rich, detailed content about dentistry, along with advice directly from top professionals. And this is the latest online tool, written in the most efficient language (Google likes that too!) and will eventually have the most information about dentists that can be found anywhere.

I said “eventually” because that last part requires your participation. It costs you nothing to be listed, and there is substantial benefit to do so. But this is how we make it the ultimate destination, by thousands of dentists participating.

It’s time to give the people what they want: an easy way to research dentistry and find a dentist, and then book an appointment. Hey, it’s 2018 already–let’s join the future. And the result will be more patients going more often, with a better understanding of the value of dentistry, which will lead to easier and greater case acceptance.

So claim your practice now. (Did I mention it’s free?) It will only take five minutes. Just click here: Claim My Practice.

Let’s band together and elevate dentistry. It’s time!

Want to learn more about Dentistry.com?

Dentistry.com is hosting a free webinar on November 16th where you can get an inside look into the consumer research that led to the creation of “the new patient destination for dentistry.” Register now.

 

 

Are you prepared for the future?

Dentistry is changing – fast. The good news is that there’s still plenty of opportunity, plenty of options and great profit in dentistry, the biggest risk is staying the same.

If you want 2018 to be your best year in practice, you can’t do what you did last year.

It’s time to claim what you want and create a plan to get you there, so I’m inviting you to join me and dentistry’s leading experts, for The 2018 Future of Dentistry Event. During this free, online event, you’ll get a practical plan to transform your practice for the future and make 2018 your best year ever!

Click here to REGISTER for this special event. Don’t let the fast approaching wave of change overcome you. Learn how you can position yourself and your practice for an unbelievably successful 2018 and beyond!

 

January Is Make or Break Time for Dentists

January is dentistry’s busiest and best month for new patient acquisition. How your front desk handles new patient calls during the next few weeks can make or break your year. Knowing exactly what to say to callers as well as how and when to say it can mean the difference between hanging-up in frustration and adding thousands of dollars in new production to your bottom line. I hope you can join me and my special guest Laura Hatch, founder of Front Office Rocks, on January 12th for a special live webinar where you’ll learn how to take advantage of  January’s exciting growth opportunities year round. Sealing the Deal. Call Handling and Front Desk Strategies New Patients Can't ResistIn this all-new free presentation, Laura and I will share proven strategies that will help your practice create the kind of warm and caring first impression – both on the phone and in the office – that lays a great foundation for a long-lasting patient relationship. Recognized as one of the Top 25 Women in Dentistry, Laura is an expert at helping practices improve their day-to-day operations and create the ultimate customer service experience. In less than an hour we’ll cover everything from scripts for handling “shopper” calls about fees to tips on the best way a front desk can welcome new patients. It’s going to be great. We hope you can make it. Register now.

Dealing with The Dreaded Money Question

There is a long-held belief among dental consultants that we must never give prices over the phone when a patient asks.  Instead, we’ve created an elaborate way of not answering the question, and trying to get the patient in. I know, because in my first book, Everything is Marketing, I gave exactly that same advice.

Well, times are changing. People are very used to being able to find the price, and the cheapest price, for almost anything. Right there in their hand is a smartphone that can find the cheapest TV, car, dinner or hotel.

The problem in dentistry is compounded by the fact that fees vary so much from practice to practice, and UCF’s are radically different depending on what city or town you’re in.  And I know some dentists in Beverly Hills who charge a separate fee to put on a temporary (which is why they don’t want to get a CEREC–there’s goes that extra income!)

What’s a patient to do? Especially since the whole dental insurance coverage issue is just as confusing to them, and hard for them to understand that it’s not health insurance at all, but some variation of a discount plan on basic care.

I still believe that when a patient is asking what a crown costs, they are really asking if they can trust you not to overcharge them, since they can’t come in and start pulling charts to figure out if you’re a good clinician or not.  (Even if they knew what to look for, HIPPA wouldn’t allow it!) So they don’t know what else to ask, so they ask for prices. And many front desk team members will just give up the cost right away, without establishing any value or clarifying that costs depend on diagnosis.  And that’s not good either.

Now, some patients live on a very tight budget. Quite a few of them, actually. So cost is a huge factor when it comes to dentistry and accepting treatment. I don’t really have to tell you that.  And not everyone values dentistry the same way that you and I do. Some people just want to be able to chew or get out of pain.

And I also understand that most of you don’t want patients who are looking for the cheapest dentist. You don’t want to be that, and you don’t want people to expect that. But somehow, you’ve got to still get them to come into the practice and find out what a remarkable experience you give them, so that they start to believe you are worth the cost.

There is no simple answer here, but a large part of the solution is to have someone very skilled working at your reception, who knows how to listen, how to empathize, and how to effectively create a great first impression of the practice, and persuade someone to come in to experience it for themselves.

And then it comes down to the words. In many cases, rather than being totally evasive, you can give a range of what something would cost, depending on their individual condition. And it’s still critical to explain to people that it’s impossible to diagnose over the phone.  But a root canal is a root canal, and 9 times out of 10 you are going to charge exactly the same amount each time you do it.  So they know you’re being evasive when you don’t just tell them, and that doesn’t build trust.

In short, your front desk person has to be comfortable talking about cost, while making sure to build value over the phone, and inviting the patient to come in and see for themselves. If she is confident that she is working for a dentist who does high quality work  in a comfortable environment at a reasonable price, then she is going to project that over the phone, and the patient will sense it. And then, talk about the range of what a treatment would cost, and also make clear that an initial exam is free or a very low cost.

Of course, you won’t get everyone in.  That’s the reality. And not every patient is a good fit for the practice.  But you can improve your odds.  And I’ve become convinced that we need to not only get comfortable talking about fees over the phone, but we need to get good at it.

I’m going to dive much deeper into this whole question of maximizing the front desk results in my next webinar, with special guest Laura Hatch, who has helped create the front desk environment that built two multi-million dollar practices, and who know teaches those skills in her fantastic video course, Front Office Rocks.  The webinar is Friday, January 12th at 11am Pacific time.  You can register by clicking here, and even if you can’t make it, as long as you register you’ll be sent a recording of the webinar.

It’s going to be extremely valuable for anyone building a practice, so don’t miss this one!

 

Even if You’re Careful, You’re Going to Get a Reputation

How many times have you heard someone say “My reputation is at stake,” or even “We’ve built a reputation as (fill in the blank)?” But how can you really define “reputation,” and how is yours created?

The truth is, your reputation isn’t what you do; it’s what people believe you are going to do.  And there’s a huge difference there. And given today’s headlines, I don’t think I have to tell you that your reputation is constantly at risk.

What you do and how you do it may be the foundation for your reputation. However, the propulsion, the spreading of it, the required active engagement in the media, is what exposes it to the world. That is what gives it life.

And that exposure and circulation is happening all the time, with or without your permission. Certain media, whether you like it or not, are creating and building that reputation. Yelp, Google, Facebook, Healthgrades, Instagram and many other sites are gathering opinions, ratings and reviews about you — all the time.

So the real question becomes, how are you actively “controlling the story?” 

It’s understandable to think, “I’ll let my outstanding work speak for itself.” But it’s not really enough to be good. In fact, it’s not even enough to be the best.

The truth is, the marketplace is littered with products and services that were “the best,” and yet the second- or third-best version wiped them off the map. Why? Because they were more actively and expertly marketed. The best product, although superior, failed to take control of the conversation and paid the price.

And I know what you’re probably thinking right now, “I’m a medical professional. I shouldn’t have to be involved in all that sort of behavior.” The problem is, your competitors do involve themselves. And your impression about social media’s lack of respectability is mostly misguided.  The reality is, consumers are hungry for information about you, even if it is only someone else’s biased impression. And consumers’— your prospective patients’— easy access to this information only increases their appetite for it exponentially.

Which is why, again, you need to take charge of your reputation.   Fortunately, there are several ways to do just that — most of which involve actively engaging your patients in the process. Here are a few steps to consider:

  • Create video patient testimonials and distribute them via your social media, email, and website. Letting someone else sing your praises is a lot more powerful than having to do it yourself. And using video lets you show, not tell, prospective patients what your practice has to offer.
  • Claim your social media. Check out your profiles on Yelp, Google, Facebook and Instagram. Is your information accurate? Have you included everything that makes your practice great?
  • Counteract negative reviews. What are people saying about you on Yelp, Google and other review sites? Don’t let negative reviews just sit there working against you, respond. But when you do, make sure you are positive, professional, and above all, compliant.  Need help? Click here to download our FREE guide to handling negative online reviews.

Net-net, your reputation is still based on what others say and think about you, but you are not powerless. You still have the ability to monitor what’s being said, acknowledge it and counteract it with information that you control.  So in the end, your goal isn’t so much about making sure you don’t get a reputation, as it is about owning and shaping the one you’ve got.