NAPB dental practice broker Marketing to the Anxious Dental Patient

Marketing to the Anxious Dental Patient

Fear of the dentist is considered one of the top phobias, along with fears of heights spiders. Patients have dental fears for many reasons, including poor past experiences with other dentists, fear of the equipment used to perform dental procedures or general pain and discomfort around their mouth that may be exacerbated by dental work.

As a dentist, part of your marketing plan needs to include reaching this population of patients. Every day you come across anxious patients in your chair, and typically they find themselves at your practice because they have a dental emergency that cannot be overlooked anymore. It’s your job once you get they’re in your chair to convince them that the being at the dentist’s office isn’t so bad after all. Help them understand that it’s in their best interest to have regular check-ups and cleanings to avoid the emergency dental procedures that are more involved and far more costly.

  1. Patient Reviews: One of the most effective tools for marketing to this population is through patient reviews. In order to get the reviews that you need for your website and social media pages, you want to make sure the process to leave a review by a patient is simple and straightforward. Many patients, especially those that may be fearful of dentists will rely heavily on reviews by others to make their decision on which dentist they will go to when an emergency arises.
  2. Social Media: Use your website and social media to show behind the scenes images and even videos of your dental practice. If you’ve got a patient that doesn’t mind being on your website, do a quick video of them in the chair showing them smiling afterward.
  3. Blogging: Writing articles specifically for the readers that have dental phobias is another great way to market to this population. If you’re taking the time to write blog posts about dental anxiety, they will likely feel that you are sensitive to their needs.
  4. Amenities: If your dental practice has amenities that are designed to help a fearful patient, make sure those features are mentioned in all of your marketing materials. Whether it’s nitrous oxide to sedate, soothing music, or a TV that’s available for patients while they’re in your dental chair, make sure these options are shared. It may just be the one thing that gets the anxious patient to come see you.

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4 Important Questions About Personal Disability Insurance for Dentists

Have you ever considered what would happen if you were unable to work?

What if you had an accident and could no longer perform the daily operations of your dental practice?

What if you were relegated to managerial work and you had to hire a new dentist to run the day-to-day operations?

Such an event can force you into a difficult life transition, where you may even have to sell your practice.

There is one way to guard against this possibility, disability insurance, also know as income protection coverage.

  1. What exactly is disability insurance?

The purpose of disability insurance from the dentist’s point of view is to provide you with income in the case that you become too sick or injured to perform your regular work duties.

This is important as it protects your family from dealing with huge financial losses.

If you were unable to work would you be able to continue to pay your bills and sustain your current lifestyle?

At age 40 you face at 19% chance that you will have a disability that lasts 90 days or longer before the age of 65.

  1. Will government benefits cover all my costs?

Unfortunately, these benefits often aren’t enough. For many of us, when work stops, so does income. Government reimbursements are likely to be far less generous than what you will receive if you have taken out disability insurance.

  1. When should I apply for disability insurance?

Unfortunately, this is a very open-ended question.

The reality is that you need to apply for insurance before you have a disability. From a financial perspective, immediately before would be best.

However, as you can never know exactly when this will happen, you need to opt for the second best option, which is as soon as possible. Whenever it becomes financially possible and feasible for you to get disability insurance, you need to do so.

  1. How much insurance will I need?

This is entirely dependent on your individual situation and the income you believe you will need.

If you’re single and only need to support yourself, you may consider opting for basic coverage. This ensures that in the event of a loss of income, you would be ok with a financial change.

However, if you have a family you have to consider that each person represented may need financial support for medical bills, housing, education etc.

Remember, if you are your own employer, not only will your family suffer if you are underinsured, but your entire business as well.

Make sure you protect your assets by investing in income protection coverage; being without disability insurance is a risk that is not worth taking.


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3 Common Barriers to an Effective Dental Team

A strong team is the backbone of a successful dental business.

Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, there can be miscommunication’s between dentists and dental staff.

Whether you are looking to sell your practice, or you are interested in having a cohesive operation in the short term, an efficient team is important.

Here are 3 common barriers that can get in the way of an effective dental team.

  1. You’re trying to hire (and not train) the best team

This is one of the most common mistakes in dental practices.

It’s easy to assume that there are always enough people out there that are competent at the job that you’re offering.

More often than not, however, it’s difficult to find staff that are well trained in all areas of your business. And even if they are trained, they’re not familiar with your particular protocols and won’t yet know how to be efficient in your office.

Fortunately, staff are easier to train than most managers assume, so if you make an effort to hire intelligent and ambitious people with potential, it will go a long way to the establishment of an effective team.

  1. You’re not looking at training as a never-ending process

A second error that’s often made by dentists is when new staff members are brought in and their training is limited.

While there is something to be said for letting staff members stand on their own two feet when it comes to responsibilities, it’s common practice that dentists will not invest enough time in truly training their staff.

They may point them in the direction of a resource, or they may show them a practice and then expect them to get on with it, but to empower staff you must be willing to put in the hours to help them develop their skills.

  1. You don’t have clear communication protocols in place

Communication is vital to keeping your operation running smoothly.

You must constantly ensure that your team is aware of any changes and advances in the practice. Weekly meetings are advised to keep the team on the same page.

It’s important that every member of staff goes to work knowing what is expected of them and what is happening in the practice that day.

Implement a clear hierarchy and protocols with which all staff members are familiar, so issues are brought forward to the right people at the right time. Clear expectations are key to limiting personal issues between employees and minimizing operational mistakes.

An effective dental team is important for a prosperous practice. And if you are going through a dental practice transition, some buyers may want to keep the same staff, in which case their chemistry becomes a huge asset.


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Why Dentists Need Time Off

Stress is a major component of being a dentist, both physically and emotionally. So, if you want to continue to offer your patients the highest level of care you are capable of, you do need to look after yourself.

The Physical Stress

Stress-related cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of dentists. But why are we so stressed out? As dentists, we spend the majority of our time in small spaces, where we are required to concentrate heavily and perform extremely detailed work. Most of the time, we stand still, putting a strain on the circulatory system, causing back and eye strain.

Research has also revealed that dentists do not exercise enough, either, and certainly not enough to counteract circulatory, muscle, and connective tissue deterioration.

Getting at least 30 minutes of exercise daily might not be possible with your schedule, but try to at least take a few laps around the parking lot, or walk down to the nearest sandwich shop for lunch—find creative ways to add a little movement to your day.

The Emotional Stress

Many dentists do not have a team to collaborate and share our problems with. Additionally, dentists are considered to be highly competitive with one another, making it less likely that we will go out of our way to seek that second or third opinion.

Dentists are also categorically perfectionist and pedantic in nature, which can lead to frustration and discontent with one’s performance. If feelings of inadequacy arise, or if you feel any overwhelming negative emotions, it is important to take the time to speak with another person—professional or otherwise, whether that be a life coach or a close friend.

The Professional Stress

Good dentists propose the ideal treatment for their patients. But unfortunately, the fulfillment of this ideal does not lie solely in the hands of the dentist. Poor patient education or inadequate funds often get in the way of the ideal treatment plan being followed, leading to professional stress and frustration.

So what can you do?

The good news is that there are management methods you can put in place to minimize stress exposure and encourage balance.

  1. Get daily exercise. If you can’t get to the gym or don’t want to put on your running shoes, try to go for a walk every day.
  2. Watch the clock. Don’t allow yourself to work after hours consistently. Take time off.
  3. Reach out. If you aren’t interested in talking to colleagues, find someone to talk to like a psychologist, a mentor, a close friend, and make a point of doing it regularly.
  4. Schedule regular time off. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or extended, just regular. Optimize the experience by switching off from the world completely for short intervals.
  5. Ease patient anxiety. Put a plan in place to reduce patient anxiety in your practice. Reconsider the patient experience and find innovative ways to help them relax. It will benefit everyone.

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Smart Advertising for Dental Practices

Advertising is essential in today’s highly competitive world and to get noticed, your advertising choices must be smart. What is smart advertising and just how can you apply it to your dental practice marketing? If you don’t know the answers to those questions yet, you better read on…

It All Starts with a Smart Plan

Advertising simply for the sake of it is a waste of your budget. Create a strategy and decide how much of an investment you can afford. Next, your job is to ensure that you get the maximum reach from your budget. Create a plan to span a 12-month period and fill each month with the activities that will get you to your goal.

Get a Smart Website

You may not be able to afford broadcast or billboard advertising just yet. Instead, the Internet offers a host of possibilities to the dental practice owner who is willing to use his or area of expertise constructively. Again, you may not be able to afford the super-charged website of your dreams just yet, but you can make it part of your plan and start small.

Get a website designed on a content management system (WordPress, Weebly, Wix, etc…) so you can update your own content. Make sure you have a Google Places listing so that patients who are in your area can find you easily.

Commit to a content strategy and learn how to post blog articles. Start writing unique content that speaks to your specialty.

Use Your Business Cards Smartly

Yes, you read that right. There’s a better way to hand out business cards, believe it or not. Before you hand your card over, take a black marker and write a personalized message on it to the recipient. When you hand the card over, be sure to use both hands. This gesture indicates that the card has value; it’s a type of non-verbal communication that your patient will interpret positively.

Manage Smart Social Pages

Sure, every dental practice in your area is probably on social media but you can take the “road less traveled” and apply a smart strategy to your social posting. Consider what your patients really need to be educated about the most, and then feed this information to them in a quirky way. Maybe your audience isn’t big on reading long articles, instead, create a few interesting infographics that are easy to digest. Patients aren’t getting the message about flossing every day? Find a joke or cartoon that illustrates the point in a fun way.

Track Your Results

If it can’t be measured, it doesn’t exist. Apply this idea to your strategy so that the next time that media sales agent tries to get you to book that last minute ad spot, you can find out how many people will be seeing your ad and decide if the return is worth the investment.


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Organizational Tips to Streamline Your Dental Office

Want to run your dental practice professionally? Do you want an edge over your competitors? In years gone by, dentists were virtually guaranteed a steady stream of patients coming through their doors. But thanks to the digitization of the marketplace, the dentists who market and operate themselves professionally can very well take all the patients if they want to. Why’s that? Well, they adopt these hacks to streamline their practice management.

Run Your Dental Practice Like a Business

Maybe it sounds obvious, but many dental practice owners run their practices like a service, not a business. And that’s hardly surprising because most dentists go into practice to help people, not make money. Frame your dental practice as a business to help increase your profits.

Invest in Practice Management Software

Technology can work wonders for your practice; in fact, it can become your star employee if it is implemented effectively. Your practice management software needs to integrate with all the other technologies you employ in your office.

Make sure you automate your marketing and billing procedures. When you get very busy, you might forget to send invoices or launch that email marketing campaign. By automating the process, you can ensure that nothing important is forgotten. Remember that your practice needs new patients in order to survive. If your marketing falls flat at any point, it can affect your ability to draw new patients in.

Manage Your Exam Rooms

Clear the clutter out of your exam rooms. Keep pathways clear and easily accessible, and make sure your tools are close-by and easy to access. If you do need more storage, use portable containers that can be moved in and out of the rooms.

Manage Your Cash Flow and Budget

Yes, while it’s important to keep a close eye on your billing, this isn’t the only aspect of cash flow management. Are you using the most cost-effective suppliers? Could you acquire better equipment that minimizes your running costs? Can you manage your inventory more effectively and reduce losses? Remember to frame your dental practice as a business and run it as such.

Monitor Your Inventory Closely

A good inventory management system ensures that you always have stock of the essentials, but it also reduces waste by eliminating non-essential items.

Set up an inventory management process so that your office supplies are kept in an area that is separate from where you keep your medical supplies. Put one staff member in charge of managing the inventory. This creates accountability when one person is responsible for the task.


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Tips To Market Your Practice for Back To School

The start of the new school year is an incredibly busy time for parents.

As they get ready to get back into the swing of things, it can be difficult to get everything organized.

For the busy parent, it often feels like there is too much to do and too little time. They might get an itchy feeling that there’s something more that needs to be done.

Fortunately, this presents an opportune time for you to offer your dental services.

If you are looking to add value to your practice through increased efforts targeting kids and parents during this time of year, there are some pretty simple but effective ways to do so.

Here are five different ways you can market your practice for back to school specials.

Step up your social media efforts. Creating useful blog content and promoting back to school services through your social media channels is the quickest way to remind families of your practice. Though parents will be busy and it will be hard to grab their attention, there is one thing that you can be sure of – if they have social media, they will be on it. However, new changes in the algorithms to platforms such as Facebook and Instagram mean that parents won’t always catch your posts so don’t be afraid to post frequently!

Print a physical leaflet. Emails are a great way to offer discounts, but there is something to be said about leaflets. Creating something with color that will likely be left on a table at home could showcase your services to other families who have similar aged kids.

Request patient referrals. Many dentists are a little shy about asking for referrals directly, but if you have made sure that your patient has had a positive experience, they will be more than happy to recommend you. This is because they know that they’re doing a favor for their friends, who understand the stresses that come with taking children to the dentist.

Create and promote special offers. A lot of parents know that going back to school is a time when they have to spend money. Books, clothes, haircuts, these are all things that add up and can put a certain strain on some families. This is why during this time they’ll be more conscious of saving money and they may be more attracted to the idea of a discount.

Send out an email newsletter. Remind families of your services and let them know that you have back to school offers available by sending out an email newsletter. The letter can include brushing, flossing and nutrition tips, while simultaneously generating leads to fill your appointment calendar.

Whether you are looking to hold on to your practice or are even considering selling, showcasing a variety of ways to generate profit throughout the year is always an effective way to demonstrate value to a prospective buyer.

Have you had any experience marketing back to school specials? Let us know in the comments.


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Is Selling Your Practice the Right Decision?

Selling your dental practice can be a stressful and complicated decision. How will you know if it’s the right time to sell? Consider the following:

Are You Ready to Retire?

Once you sell your dental practice, your income stream no longer exists and your pension has to take on the income role. It should be able to support your lifestyle until you reach the age of 90. Remember, you need to factor in inflation and a bit extra for comfort. You’ve worked hard, you’ve had a long career, you need to ensure complete financial freedom before you sell your practice.

You No Longer Want to Practice Dentistry

If you no longer want to practice dentistry, this could be the right time to sell your practice but not if your pension isn’t fully funded.

Consider how easy it is for dentists to experience burn out and whether you have been taking care of yourself. If you lose the drive to practice, it may be worthwhile to take a short break before making any major decisions.

After decades of practicing dentistry, you may have a desire to pursue a new career. You may find this new excitement has replaced the drive you used to feel for dentistry. If this is the case, it may be time to sell your dental practice.

Some dentists develop a dislike for the industry, because of experiences they may have had. They may feel unsupported or powerless to make changes happen. Again, this approach is not advisable unless your pension is fully funded.

Speak to Professionals

Selling your practice is not something that should be done on a whim. Before making a major decision like that, it is advisable to speak to a dental transition professional to give you a practice valuation and help you with a plan.

Ultimately, the sale of your practice is a long term goal that should be planned as far in advance as possible. Considering the sale of your dental practice over a long period can maximize your sale price and profit if it is well timed.


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5 Tips to Make Your Instagram Dental Page Stand Out

Instagram is a great way to market your dental practice because it offers a different engagement than Twitter or Facebook. Why is that? Well, you don’t have to believe the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words, you only need to spend a few minutes on Instagram to discover that pictures captivate emotion and draw viewers in. Read on to find out just how you can capture this market through your practice’s Instagram page.

Remember: We Live in The Age of the Selfie

User-generated content works wonders for an Instagram page. And when you allow users to take center stage on your Instagram page, you can almost guarantee that they’ll bask very publicly in that limelight. Use your Instagram page to showcase real people experiencing your brand.

How to Apply it to Your Dental Practice

Think before and after shots and case studies, and let your users do the talking (and showing) for you. One of the major advantages of this is its authenticity. Patients don’t want to see fake models with Hollywood white smiles. They’d rather get a glimpse of real, authentic experiences from real, authentic patients who’ve undergone procedures at your practice.

Let Your Frontline People Get Involved

Encourage the people who deal with your patients on a day to day basis to participate and share. They have a deep understanding of your target audience and what motivates it.

How To Apply It To Your Dental Practice

Your receptionist and dental nurse know your patients really well, too. Let them manage the page; they can deal with patients on a first-name familiarity.

Give Your Posts a Hashtag

Hashtags are the life force of social media, and they can bring your dental practice to life on the social wires. Through hashtag use, you can monitor brand mentions and reach out to users in specific communities. Research popular hashtags and apply them to your brand. Not sure? Use Webstagram to find out what’s trending on Instagram.

How to Apply it to Your Dental Practice

Are online users dissatisfied with the level of care they’re receiving from other providers? Do you want to capitalize on a new service? Or draw awareness to dentistry or a common patient medical complaint? Hashtag it.

Create A Visual Identity Online

Instagram is one platform you can use to show off your visual identity in the most creative ways. Brand your page with your logo and create posts that adhere to your brand identity. Consider creating a graphic template in line with your brand or watermark your images so they’re easily identifiable.

How to Apply it to Your Dental Practice

Show your patients the dream team that will take care of their dental needs: post pictures of your frontline staff. Post images of patients who are satisfied with the treatment they’ve received from you.

Demonstrate Your Strengths

Is your practice accomplished at cosmetic dentistry or restorative dentistry? Do you target adults or families? Know your audience well and what motivates it. Use your Instagram page to focus on your biggest selling points.

How to Apply it to Your Dental Practice

Show before and after pictures of your patients (with their permission, of course) on your Instagram page, focusing on the primary service areas you want to promote.


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How to Lose a Patient in 3 Steps

It’s a big, wide world out there, and patients have a lot of choices when it comes to dental practitioners. Patients should be valued and retained; they are, after all, the core of your dental practice. No one wants to lose patients, but you may be surprised at the little things that dental practitioners do that cause their patients to lose patience and leave them.

Even though population numbers are up and the number of qualifying dentists is in decline, it is not wise to take your patient base for granted. And if you’ve found your retention rates are dropping, you may need to give some thought to what you could be doing wrong.

Here are our top three tips to retain your patients.

Don’t Be Unapproachable and Unaccommodating

 First impressions count for a lot, but subsequent impressions are important as well. Your manner as a professional (and a human being) has a direct bearing on your likability. It doesn’t matter how qualified or experienced you might be, if your manner is not likable you can say goodbye to that patient.

Be attentive. Engage in light, casual conversation so your patient feels at ease, and realizes you value their business. Make notes about your conversation so that the next time the patient visits, you can follow up or carry on previous discussions.

Don’t Create a Cold Ambiance in Your Reception Area

Make sure your practice is welcoming and comfortable.

Consider offering arrivals a beverage and direct them to some reading material. Think about playing ambient music to relax them while they wait.

Brief your staff on how to make patients feel welcome in person and over the telephone. This is especially important for the first visit because it creates that vital first impression which, if negatively construed, becomes very difficult to overcome afterward.

Train your staff on how to handle email inquiries professionally and tactfully. If a patient’s first query is about cost, train your staff to encourage the patient to come in for the assessment first, and show him or her that managing the treatment process is important to you.

Don’t Make the Follow Up Consultations the Patient’s Responsibility

Remind your patients about their next appointment. Send text messages or emails to keep in contact. Six months between check-ups is a long time, and long enough for a patient to meet another practitioner.

Introduce referral practitioners and manage the process on the patient’s behalf. Take ownership of your patient, particularly if you need to involve a prosthodontist, dental surgeon, or specialist. Assist with making appointments and explain the technicalities to your patient in layman’s terms. He or she is not a dental expert and may feel overwhelmed without your guidance. This is important because the patient will put his or her trust in you and realize you are looking after his or her best interests.


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