Three Steps To A Thriving Dental Practice With Bao-Tran Nguyen and Nathan Jeal
The question of growth is one that's important not just for dentists, but the whole field of dentistry. With the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting that the demand for dental services is only going to grow-it tends to happen with an aging population-it seems that dentists are safe on that front. There will always be teeth that need to be fixed, replaced and straightened.
Ensuring a steady flow of patients is a whole different thing, and making those patient numbers grow can seem even more difficult. Still, it's the area where Bao-Tran Nguyen and Nathan Jeal have built expertise, starting with their own practices before moving on to help other dentists expand their practice and business horizons too.
Today, they share their experience and practice growth strategies through their mastermind and private advising program aptly named, Fast Growth Practice. Here are three simple strategies dentists might implement to see their practice thrive.
It Starts With Authority Marketing
One of the questions dentists are trying to answer with authority marketing is simple yet inevitable: "Why you?" There are plenty of dentists out there who are just as good and probably better, so why would people decide to spend their money with that exact dentist and not another one?
The reality of this question is that, eventually, people will have to spend their money with some dentist, otherwise their condition will get worse. Authority marketing is the thing dentists can do to present themselves at their most competent, providing the answer to the question of "Why you?".
Authority marketing isn't limited to activities directly visible to patients. That aura of authority that will eventually help attract patients is something that comes into being with things like thought leadership and peer recognition.
Generally, anything that helps dentists position themselves as being among the leading, most competent, and most desirable experts for that single procedure is authority marketing and it should help bring patients through the door. If the patients keep on coming, and the practice provides a positive experience then that practice can go from sustaining a patient base to growing it.
Giving the Patients What They Want
A mistake that dentists can make when first meeting a patient is assuming that they know what the patient needs before listening to the patient's goals for treatment. This one is hard to tackle because, by the virtue of their education and training, dentists are the people who know how to tackle dental problems.
However, if the dentist isn't carefully listening to what the patient wants, they might end up missing the signals. This can lead to a lose-lose situation where the doctor loses the patient and the patient loses the opportunity to access a solution for their dental problem. Say the dentist really feels like the patient needs a referral to an orthodontist for a full set of braces, but the patient is saying they would rather try teeth straightening first. The dentist should listen to and evaluate the patient's concerns and continue a conversation about the best treatment based on the individual.
With active and empathetic listening, dentists are more able to find the middle ground that leaves the patient with the outcome they wanted, within the confines of what is reasonable and likely to last.
Putting Patient Experience at the Top of the List of Priorities
There are so many different things dentists can do to improve their patients' experiences, some barely noticeable, others so huge they are impossible to miss. Working on patient experience improvements is specific because there's never really an end to it; it's a constant work in progress and it permeates almost every aspect of running a dental practice.
Here's a simple example: do dentists have to think about parking? That's not what they went to school for, but it is something a business owner or administrator has to think about. It relates directly to how easy it is for patients to get from point A-their home-to point B-the dentist's chair.
While it's certainly true that the dentist is in charge of what happens when they arrive at point B-that chair is where they reign supreme-everything else might matter to them because it matters to their patients. A thing like having a concierge service at a practice can go a long way in driving the patient experience up. Enabling communication with patients through easy-to-use channels people have grown accustomed to using-communication and messaging apps, for example-are the little things that count for a lot.
Practice growth is a time of much joy and excitement, but also of uncertainty. As dentists, it's important to understand that even though the trends seem to be pointing in a good direction for the profession as a whole, personal engagement is of key importance to ensure their practices follow the trends and grow as well. However, something as simple as following a three-point plan can do a world of wonders and give dentists more than just a fighting chance at staying relevant. It can help them grow their practices in ways they haven't thought possible.