I hope this email finds you and your team well. I wanted share with you a powerful communication to share with your team, and how it can benefit your practice this year.
As you may have heard, Elon Musk recently sent out an email at 2:30 AM to all of his employees announcing that remote work is coming to an end at his companies.
Here are 5 lessons you can apply from this email to leading your own practice:
Increased collaboration: By bringing your together for training and in person meetings in the same physical space, it can foster the kind of collaboration and creativity that leads to breakthroughs and success.
Better communication: In-person interactions leads to better communication, help to build trust and increase efficiency in problem solving. This is way better than just texting or sending emails.
Improved work-life balance: Having defined work hours, and a schedule that allows for personal time, can help improve work-life balance, and increase overall job satisfaction. This allows you and your team to be free at home and fully committed while you are in the office.
Increased productivity: Studies have shown that team members who work in an office setting tend to be more productive than those working remotely. Lead and work with your team to help them learn and succeed. Don’t make the practice all about the doctor.
Enhanced company culture: A physical office can help to foster a stronger company culture and sense of community among employees. You pay rent or a mortgage, so use that physical asset to your advantage, for your team and patients. Make the experience power fall and environment warm and welcoming so everyone feels safe within your four walls, especially in the world that is becoming increasingly more noisy.
At Pinecrest Practice Growth, we understand the power of working with an A Player team and qualified patients, and we want to help you grow the number of members, not just the average patients, in your practice.
Have a great week, and if you haven’t already, join the private Facebook group here for access to more great lessons for your practice.
How do you start, or transition to a fee for service dental practice?
This is a great question and there’s no right or wrong answer, but it really just depends on your goals and what you want to accomplish. First, we typically suggest practices put together that we call a 1-Page Practice Growth Plan (PGP).
It’s simply a single sheet of paper with two sides printed on it. On your PGP, you’ll put your goals for this year, your goals for the next 3 years and your goals for the next 10 years. Then, from those goals, you’ll work backwards and decide what you want, who you’re going to involve and the (Big Why) purpose behind why you’re doing it.
The biggest and most important use of your time in this exercise is to sit down and put a pen to paper, and ask yourself “what is the purpose of your practice?”
Don’t be mistaken…
You DON’T want to create a patient driven practice, a doctor driven practice, or even an insurance driven practice. That’s right, I said “DON’T!”
Why you may ask?
Because what will really drive you, and give your team meaning is when you develop a purpose driven practice. All those other resins are important, but they’re not as important as your Purpose.
So if you’re going to set up a fee for service practice, you need to first decide and write out your mission and why you want to have a fee for service practice. Because a lot of dentists that I’ve met over the years have good intentions. They often say, “well, we don’t want to be insurance dependent and we want to do what’s right for our patients.”
But then the real world hits you right upside the face, and you start to get questions about insurance and cost, and you realize that your patients have lives that are involved around a lot of things. Going to the dentist is often low on the priority list for many people. So you can get desperate and lose your purpose trying to please too many people.
Don’t become a “we treat everybody” practice. That is a quick way to a stressful disaster with lots of loose ends and an overworked team and doctor.
For example, we encourage you to be insurance friendly, but not be insurance driven.
The first practice we purchased (back in 2010) was only seeing patients about two days a week. We implemented new services and some marketing because I wanted to be in the office four days a week.
After about a year we grew to five days a week. Then even some six day weeks until we added more providers and was able to ease back off some of the days I was seeing patients. In that process, we learned a lot about insurance patients, fees for service patients and how to approach each one. We learned that by developing membership plans we could better attract and retain the right patients for us and our Purpose.
Keith Cunningham author of The Road Less Stupid, put it this way: “growth is what you say ‘yes’ to. Success is what you say ‘no’ to.”
Are you just trying to grow? Or are you working to be successful and profitable?
(And my biggest caution would be if you’re going to have a fee for service practice, don’t mix it with too many insurance driven systems because your patients will get a mixed message.)
We take the approach that we are insurance friendly, but not insurance driven. As of right now we do accept one insurance plan and that’s because we’ve negotiated a much lower write off and it has been an excellent source of quality new patients. Because get a higher reimbursement than average and we look at that write off as essentially a marketing expense to acquire new patients.
The dark side of accepting a plan is that you have to pay that “marketing” or acquisition cost every time you see the patients. That write off is much less than what it would be accepting with most insurance contracts, which we’ve chosen not to pursue.
We’ve learned over the years that our membership patients are 5x to 8x more valuable than our cash patients or insured patients. Many of our patients even come to the office with insurance and they end up dropping it and going with our membership plan, especially if they’re looking for an individual type plan. These are often your patients who are retired or self-employed, or they’ve changed jobs.
And when you run these reports and your software, there are a couple that we suggest you run. One would be what your collections are based on. Insured versus non-insured patients. And then you can extract that data and compare it. And that’s how we’ve figured out. You know, that our membership patients are bringing five to eight times more to the table that might make it easier for you to drop some insurance plans that you’re not interested in.
Remember, it’s not the best use of your time or your team’s time to continually chase the lower and lower potential opportunities. So, hopefully this has been helpful. We look forward to your questions for the next video and we appreciate the feedback and insight.
If you’re interested in learning more, you can reach out to us by reaching us at the contact information below, and we look forward to seeing you next month.
Dr. Tyler Williams
For just $7, you can download a really cool tool we’ve put together. It will allow you to attract as many patients as you want month after month using Facebook. And did I mention, no expensive ads?!?
To be frank, it will need a little “elbow grease,” to get the results you are looking for. These could be the patients that are going to help you and your team meet your annual goals for the rest of 2022 and beyond.
This is a fantastic question. And you want to start out by defining what type of patient you want to attract now. If you just say, “Hey, we just want any new patient” then you’re probably already on the wrong track. There are many patients looking for lots of different types of services and different outcomes.
There are patients who care more about insurance.
There are patients who care most about cost.
There are patients who care most about the provider.
There are patients looking for specific services, many which know they are not covered by insurance.
There are patients who care most about the experience.
Most people care about a combination of these things, but there was a great study several years ago by 1-800-DENTIST that shed some more light on this topic.
In the study, they went through a whole list of things people want in a dentist. Number one was…..you may not have guessed it….a clear conversation about cost upfront.
Then the study went into some other areas such as: 1) Convenience – being located near their home. 2) Availability – to get into an appointment. 3) Np a list of, you know, some other things that you can find. The full online study was done about 10 years ago, but the information is still very relevant.
Now, the interesting thing is that one of the top five questions WAS NOT: Do you take my insurance?
That’s because a lot of people don’t know what else to ask and they don’t know that there are other things they should know. So when you’re looking to attract new patients, more importantly than where and how, you most importantly want to think about WHO.
So who is the type of patient you want to track? Are you looking for families? Are you looking for baby boomers? Are you looking for patients who could benefit from implants? Are you looking for patients who could benefit from preventative checkups? Do you have some type of niche or specialty in your practice and then really target those people?
It may now be more expensive to obtain those types of patients, but it can be well worth it. If you’re just looking to attract any type of patient, you’re going to get a wide range. And many of those patients may not fit the values, the goals, and the purpose of your practice.
Now we have a really cool trick that we’ve learned, and this is a new way that you can attract patients for a very low cost, or even free by using Facebook.
For just $7, you can download a really cool tool we’ve put together. And that’ll allow you to attract as many patients as you want with add to your practice month after month using Facebook. And did I mention, no expensive ads?!?
Now, this isn’t an “effortless” way to attract more qualified new patients, but it absolutely works if you or one of your team members will commit to doing it each month.
It is a strategy that very few practices take advantage of, but with a little “elbow grease,” you’ll be able to really hone in on the type of patient you want to attract and be able to target those patients who align with the goals and purpose of your team. I look forward to helping you.
And those patients are really going to help you and your team meet your annual goals for the rest of 2022 and beyond. If you’re interested, simple email us at email@example.com and put “Qualified Referrals” in the subject line.
There are a few ways to approach creating a membership plan or to revive it in your practice.
If you’re part of our Advanced Membership Master Network, we provide a lot of done for you examples and templates that you can just simply change the name on and run with.
However, if you really want to get into the nuts and bolts of this, and you want to do it yourself, the best thing to look at is examples around you of things that you already subscribe to or clubs that you’ve already personally joined.
Costco is a great example. Think of anything that you subscribe to where there are levels, tiers or upgrades. Another really good one is phone companies. They are really good at selling their services in terms of what the monthly payment looks like (not the total amount or slashing prices on an iPhone).
When you compare all the benefits of your dental membership program to a phone or a cable bill, often, the membership plan is the same cost, or even less.
Even if it’s more, you can really make a compelling argument that it’s still much more valuable, because with a phone or with a cable bill, once you stop paying, all of that service goes away and that phone will be quickly outdated. However, with a membership plan your patients become members rather than patients.
By simply taking these ideas, putting them into a word doc or a Google doc, and then sending them off to a designer to put something nice together and build it, give it some color, and enhance the style.
Before you know it, you’ll be off to the races. Study the most popular services that dental insurance does not cover and can really set you apart and help you stand out in the crowd.
This month we are talking about an important distinction, which is, should you offer a membership plan or should you offer an in-office savings plan to your patients? While they may sound similar on the surface? There are some very important and different distinctions.
Recently I read an article and it was talking about Costco versus Sam’s club. (Costco has been discussed before in Advanced Membership Mastery.) Sam’s club has about a hundred more stores in the US than Costco, but Costco’s revenue is more than double Sam’s club. There are some things that Costco does exceptionally well, but the important thing to remember is that as a Costco member, you have an annual membership, not an annual savings plan.
If you use verbiage in your practice that makes dentistry sound expensive, or not worth it, or, if your team says things like, “well, it’s going to cost this much” or, “well, this isn’t covered by your insurance” or even “this isn’t covered by your savings plan,” then you’re going to groom your patients to think that way.
So the question I want you to consider in your practice is that you have three options that we call the membership income crossover. The membership income crossover is when you get to the point where two thirds or more of your practice revenue is coming from your patients, not from insurance.
This can include both insured and non-insured patients, but 66% or more of your collections revenues needs to come from your patients. This can include credit cards, patient financing, FSA, HSA, checks, and cash (including self-pay and co-pays).
These can be non-covered services and these can be membership exclusive services. When you hit the membership income crossover, that means at least two thirds of your practice revenue is coming from these sources rather than insurance.
The magic lies in the power that it gives you, with a lot of freedom and a lot of confidence to really master and make decisions for the future of your practice.
So what are the three questions that I alluded to earlier? Here they are:
Would you rather do more for fewer patients?
Would you rather do less for more patients?
Would you rather scale and do more for more patients?
Option one, doing more for fewer patients, would be what some people would call a boutique practice or a comprehensive practice. This is where you’re not trying to appeal to everybody, but you’re getting more production, more collections, more treatment provided for fewer patients. This can be a great model if you’re a single doctor and your goal is to not get on the insurance bandwagon or discount all of your treatment. If you feel that you’re just running and running and running and continually doing more for less. Especially right now while we’re fighting off inflation and the rising cost of doing business.
If you go down that insurance path (which I’m not saying is right or wrong, it just depends) you just have to know the nature of the beast. You will have to continue to do more for less. So you have to be incredibly efficient, incredibly lean, and you can’t kid yourself into being the high end, best quality, best relationship practice. You won’t be spending more time with your patients in creating a 10 minute comprehensive evaluation (or longer) with your patients.
Option two would be less for more patients. That would be where you were spending your time with patients for just a few minutes. You’re likely going to be personally doing a ton of crowns, fillings and emergency treatment and lots of insurance with PPO and/or HMO plans to grow. Just like Maslow’s 4 levels of learning, you need to be “consciously competent” to make this model work for you.
Not right or wrong, just what it is, but this is where your aim has to be quantity over highest quality. At Pinecrest Practice Growth, we would never recommend you do less than standard clinical treatment, but at the same time, you’re not going to be able to provide top shelf treatment and still create a profit with this model.
That being said, there are some strategies you can implement, such as implementing HITECH fees that you can charge your patients for ethically and legally, and that are in their best interests (for more on that you can read more on previous newsletters or on our podcast, The Practice X-Factor, where we’ve talked about that…
For full access to these tools and tips, join the Advanced Membership Mastery Network today.
If you identify with these principles you may be a good candidate…
The ache to achieve a truly independent practice.
The drive to move the needle in your practice to something truly great.
The pull to do something that really matters.
The longing to move people in your community to join you.
The desire to heal the crippled smiles, comfort the “uninsured”, set the record straight about what insurance is and what it isn’t
The thirst to make big leaps in growth.
The aspiration to leave a practice legacy…whether you’re 32 or 68.
You cannot even fathom why some folks are content to just “do what their insurance covers”. But their lack of information, benefits or understanding isn’t their fault. It’s how the “big boys” talk to their HR department at work. Your preoccupation is in this calling you have to transform your practice, reform the way and why patients want to see you, be a catalyst of change for the health and benefit of your patients, your team and your community.
Do YOU know, deep down, that YOU are a mover and a shaker, a driven clinician and business owner, a trailblazer, an honest, integral, doctor of doing what is right (not what you are told to do by insurance companies)? If not, ignore this message and move on with the rest of your day. If the answer is yes…I’m talking to you.