Marketing Home Run

Marketing Home Run

Wouldn’t it be great to find the secret to marketing your practice? Wouldn’t you love to hit a home run every once in a while?

Just imagine a marketing campaign that made everyone who came in contact with it come into your office for treatment. Not only that, but because of the way this marketing campaign is presented, your new patients gladly pay up front for your recommended treatment. This is fun! You think to yourself “I love dentistry”!

Because your practice is growing so rapidly with a flawless reputation you have become somewhat of a local celebrity. Patients expect to pay far more than you have dared to charge up until now. So you charge twice the fees you started with and no one complains. You love getting up in the morning and going to work. Your staff is happy and working together like a well oiled machine.

After lunch with your wife one day, you arrive a little early to your office. Sitting in your big leather chair, you kick the door shut, and lay back for a 15 minute power nap.

You can no longer treat every patient that wants to come into your practice. You choose to hire a dentist to help you. You have to expand your four ops to eight. The new hire is busy immediately. Now you have gone from being a dentist that has a nice busy practice to being a business owner. You now have an H.R. nightmare with three times the employees you started with. Your once spacious office is now crammed full of employees running this way and that. Are you loosing that gentle one on one treatment that your patients used to enjoy? Is your practice still holding up it’s end of the marketing promise? Are your patients still amazed by the loving staff that cared so deeply for them before?

As a business owner you are hiring still more people to cover things you just don’t have time f0r. First on the list is an expensive consultant. He says you have to move into a bigger, more modern office. He suggests you go digital on everything possible. He hires more and fires a few. Book keeping, tax planning, scheduling, new system coordinators, team leaders, and case presenters are added in. Your original staff is lost in the shuffle.

You take a week off to find land and negotiate a purchase. Archetects and engineers, excavation and city permits are bleeding you dry. Your attention is just not on your patients any more. You are spread thin and run ragged.  Then it happens, pay day is today and you can’t cover it. What is going on? Running to the bank for a line of credit and embarrasing explanations was not fun. Trusting the people you have in place, you continue to press  forward.  But you can’t help wondering what happened to your dream practice? Where is your original staff? This is not what you had intended. You can’t even remember how many operatories are being built in your new office. Can you still charge the fees you were charging or are you now competing with coorporate dentistry? How many patients have to come through your doors just to break even on this huge land, building, digital equipment, employees, and overhead? You can’t even comprehend it.

Another pay day rolls around. You are far short of meeting that financial obligation. Realizing you haven’t even paid on the last line of credit, you go to a new bank. After meeting the right people and opening an account you get a much needed, large loan to get you through this difficult time.

Not daring to advertise because you know you can’t just make empty promises, the practice stops growing and slowly begins a downhill trend. Your new office will be finished in about nine months. You wonder if you can stay in business that long. Even if you can, the marketing that worked so well for your first practice will not work for this new, ultra modern, multi dentist monstrosity.

Oh No!! This was not in the plans! Now you panic. This is not a business that you know how to market. The consultant thought you were a marketing genius, so the bigger the better. But you realize the error that was made. Hitting a marketing home run almost never happens, especially twice to the same person. The business now is far different from the practice you marketed with such incredible success.

You are not a marketer or a business man. Y0u are a good dentist with a desire to treat and help your patients. But what are you going to do about the financial chain around your neck and your ruined life as a dentist?

Knock knock…Dr., your one O:Clock patient is here. Startling awake from your power nap, looking around, you peek out from your office door. A feeling of gratitude floods warmly over you. “IT WAS JUST A DREAM”!

When marketing success knocks on your door, see it for what it is. Realize it won’t be coming back soon and that it won’t stay long. Marketing is a long term investment, and almost never a one hit wonder home run.

When money comes, it always comes in waves. That means that there are highs of high profit and lows of low profit. Don’t take too much credit or spend too much money when your practice is on a high. Also, don’t be too discouraged when your practice is on a low.

Keep marketing consistently, and realize the rule of small business also applies to dentistry.

Almost skipping out to see your first patient of the afternoon, you smile to yourself and think “I love dentistry”!

Scott Emett