What You Don’t Know … Or Do You?

Metrics, People & Patients. The Key To Dental Marketing Success.


Do you feel that your practice should be more financially successful than it is? Have you tried various marketing and nothing seems to stick?

Maybe it’s time to think differently. Are you silently lying to yourself and ignoring the reality of the situation? If you answered yes to the questions above – ask yourself why? What’s not going perfectly to allow you to be more financially successful? Two little BIG items can help you transform your practice.

  1. Having the right people in the right seats
  2. Having a clear handle on your key performance metrics.

Having the right people versus the wrong ones can make or break practice results. Getting clarity on your key performance metrics will allow you to overcome obstacles and implement improvements.

Every single dental practice can be more financially successful than it is.

On the other hand, dentists who struggle to grow revenue, maintain steady production, or are experiencing a slight decline often hop in and out of marketing, ignore or disbelieve the data, often they have delegated vendor relationships to their receptionist, and don’t engage directly to understand or work on improving results. Key strategic decisions can be based only on anecdotal feedback.

This creates a system of repeated past behavior, the same stagnant or poor result, and growth remains elusive. When we see the spectacular results practices can achieve when they embrace the full picture and work on improvement, it can be frustrating to an Account Success Manager because the data is very telling. We can see what it means for the struggling practice and we can help change the path!

Doesn’t this sound just like your frustration with the patients you want to help, that need your help, but who are too embarrassed, afraid to accept what’s going to happen, or just can’t admit that they need help.

Like you in that situation, we’re your experts. We can help. We aren’t here to judge. We offer the data, we have the tools and proven processes to help, and we want to help.

The only way you can uncover underlying problems, work on them, find solutions, and start making progress is by knowing your metrics.

Do you “really” know right now:

  • How many of your active patients are “scheduled”?
  • How many new-patient calls your practice is missing?
  • Why new patients don’t book an appointment with your office?
  • How many new patients (that were hard to attract) are scheduled to ever come back?
  • How many active patients did you lose last year versus the number of new you added?

If you want growth … you need your data. It’s available in black and white in Practice ZEBRA.


If the data is showing you that your scheduling rates are below industry average or your call answer rates are below industry average or your conversion rates are low because of X, Y, & Z, and you’re losing more patients than you’re adding … you have to accept. And if you want to change your trajectory or get a different result than you have been getting, you must put a plan in place that will allow you to reach your goals.

What about your dreams for practice success? Your security. Your lifestyle. Your kids. Your family. Your team?

Getting a handle on your data will help you provide better care for patients and a better life for everyone associated with you and your practice.

The metrics and data that need changing that I’m talking about in this blog are often not “owned” by you, the dentist/practice owner. These functions are held by your team. Having a great team is also something that our top dentists work hard on. Their teams embrace the vision, LOVE the metrics and WANT to know the data so they can contribute and help the practice thrive.

This week we read Chapter 4 of leading business book Traction by Gino Wickman. The people component. Having the right people in the right seats. You need reception, admin, assistants, hygienists. These are all the “right seats” for you.

The “right people,” Wickman says, “are the ones who share your company’s core values … they make your organization a better place to be.” When they’re in the right seat, they’re using their greatest skillset and passion.

Wickman’s description of the wrong person in the right seat is very revealing, “the person excels at what he or she does, is extremely productive”, using their skillset. What makes this person wrong “is that he or she doesn’t share your core values.” Wickman reports that the wrong person, “is killing your organization in the long run … chipping away at what you’re trying to build, in little ways that, most of the time, you don’t even see. It’s that wry comment in the hallway, the dirty look behind your back, and the dissension that this person spreads.”

How can a dental practice have the “wrong person”? It could be a receptionist who has been there “forever” who won’t take telephone training, doesn’t want to look at call scoring, doesn’t work towards answering calls, (and sometimes the dentist is afraid of this person)! It’s the team that doesn’t focus on scheduling every patient for a next appointment before they leave the office, it’s the hygienist that constantly forgets to reappoint.

All of these “seats” need to be operating in a systematic way. As I said, you have a limited number of hours each day, once gone, that production is also gone.

No matter how uncomfortable this is to face, you must think about what you’re protecting for the long run. Your practice. Your security, Your family. Your team and the families that their income supports. Decisions need to be data-driven for the long-term success and security of your business.

The thing is, if you’re an average practice looking for growth, you probably have a lot of the right people. The holdback is not necessarily their indifference. It could be that they’re not getting the direction and support they need. Do they know the benchmarks they’re achieving now? Do they know what the goals of the practice are? Do they know how they can contribute to those goals? Do they have the tools they need to achieve them?

Most of your employees want to contribute, they want to make the practice more efficient and successful, they want to feel accomplished themselves. Perhaps one or two of your people need to find a better fit for their skillset and career goals. And that’s okay. Not everyone will love your work environment, particularly when change is upon you. The key is to not let those people negatively impact your goal achievement potential.

For the team that is engaged, excited, and believes in your vision – share the data, get them on track, and make them accountable. There is never too much communication. Clear communication of goals and expectations can only rally teams and make them stronger. Your poor performers will become clear in these situations. Advise them of your expectations, give time to improve, and if that doesn’t happen, the tough decision must be made. Wickman says “those who are the right people will thank you for it and wonder what took you so long.”

What you can do:

  1. Let your Account Success Manager help
  2. Ensure your team has the time and motivation to answer 95% of all inbound calls live
  3. Identify challenges and provide training so your team can convert 75% of new-patient calls into at least one new patient appointment, but always try for two
  4. Incentivize your team to pre-schedule 90% of your patients
  5. Focus on rescheduling new patients beyond the second visit
  6. Implement retention tactics to stop the back door loss, and work on reactivating inactive patients
  7. Increase elective services as part of number 6 (educate patients as part of your value-added touchpoints)
  8. Encourage patients to refer … target at least 50% of your new-patient goal from referrals

Using data to drive your business decisions is the only way to transition from current state to steady growth. You can realize the dreams you have for your practice. We have hundreds of practices successfully using Practice ZEBRA to gain momentum and achieve the goals they have set for themselves. Be like Dr. Louwagie of Aylmer Family. Using ZEBRA, they doubled their scheduling rate and added 1,300 new patients.

Here’s to your success! Click here for a Practice ZEBRA refresher or FREE Demo if you’re not yet connected. Practice ZEBRA and Patient News will help your practice STAND OUT & Grow!



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