Chances are that you realize there’s much more to success in dental private practice than mere clinical skill. While I’m a huge advocate of building your clinical skills to the highest levels of excellence (an ongoing journey!), I also urge you to work equally hard at building the additional skills that are essential for an enjoyable, reduced stress, and ultra-profitable practice!Here, briefly, I’d like to outline SIX (would it be another number?) “Quick Tips” that can help you develop the Six Month Smiles practice within your practice…and make it more successful than you ever imagined. All you have to do is IMPLEMENT them, with the help of your team of course. Let’s get started!
Tip #1: Let ‘em know! I’ve always said that “they’re not gonna just know” what you can do for them. Your patients aren’t thinking about dentistry all day, every day like we are. They simply aren’t aware of newer smile enhancement options such as Six Month Smiles. Work with your team to have 2-3 “conversation starters” ready for all patients with crooked or spaced teeth, such as: “How would you feel if I told you that you could have straight teeth by about the time of your next cleaning?”
Tip #2: Be enthusiastic! Even the best news will come across flat without enthusiasm attached. Six Month Smiles is an exciting option for patients who have felt they are “stuck” with crooked or spaced teeth. When you can transmit excitement and energy to your patients through your explanation, they’re more likely to get excited about it themselves and move forward. Tell stories about patients you’ve treated, and how thrilled they were to “’finally” have straight teeth, quickly! Adding emotion to your stories makes them more compelling, and convincing.
Tip #3: Make it easy… …To “buy” from, that is! Have you ever been in a business that actually made it difficult for you to buy from them? It’s not fun, and the sale becomes less likely. But when your business systems allow for smooth transitions from enthusiastic consultation to “YES”… from “YES” to financial arrangements… and from multiple, flexible financial arrangements to convenient scheduling (or impressions today)… your number of cases per month will steadily climb.
Tip #4: Take photos! Without doubt, THE most influential evidence of the effectiveness of Six Month Smiles is a large, growing collection of photos of completed cases. And the best cases to show your prospective patients are cases that YOU treated. Before and afters are an absolute must…but I recommend that your team take a few key photos at each 4-week follow-up visit too. Then you’ll be able to document cases on a month-by-month basis. Also, if you categorize your cases by type (moderately crooked teeth, deep bite, open bite, spaces, etc.), you’ll be equipped to show cases to patients that are more relevant to their situations.
Tip #5: Post photos! Don’t let all those great photos just rest on your computer’s server, hidden from everyone. Instead, show them off! Online resources such as Snapfish.com or Shutterfly.com can make beautiful photo books for you in just days for less then $30 per book. To take it to the next level, BigPoster.com can make large posters for your office walls for about the same price! Consider a “Six Month Smiles Wall of Fame” where you’ll feature your top Six Month Smiles patients. Online, your website and Facebook Page must include photos of your 6MS cases…and you can even create your own Six Month Smiles “pinboard” on Pinterest. Be creative and get those photos out there for the world to see!
Tip #6: Capture gratitude! This one’s HUGE. When you can “catch your patients saying something good”, capture it. Your patients will be excited and thankful when their braces come off and they see their new smiles. That’s an opportunity for you to capture two things: testimonials and referrals. Asking a patient: “Can I quote you on that?” is a simple way to gain permission to use their complimentary words as a testimonial in your marketing. And, don’t forget to mention: “Most people don’t realize that we can straighten their teeth in about 6 months with clear braces. Would you please spread the word about Six Month Smiles to your friends, neighbors and coworkers?"
There you have it! Six Quick Tips to build your Six Month Smiles practice. Now, take this article and make it the topic of a 60-minute team meeting, so you can work together and implement these concepts right away. Every day is an opportunity to move forward.
by Dr. Chris Bowman, Six Month Smiles Clinical Instructor