Some surprises are good. Others…not so much. Dental patients, as a general rule, don’t like surprises. That’s why a bill that is higher than expected can spell bad news for customer service and your brand. Before we look at five ways to grow your practice, let’s briefly look at branding, why it is important, and how it affects building your practice.

“Brand is the perception someone holds in their head about you, a product, a service, an organization, a cause, or an idea. Brand building is the deliberate and skillful application of effort to create a desired perception in someone else’s mind. It has three basic elements: what, how, and feeling.”

-Jerry McLaughlin

Essentially, your brand is what people think of you. This includes your online reviews, patient experiences, loyalty and several intangible factors. Before you grow your practice, have a clear idea of the image you want to project. If you already have a solid brand, ask yourself how you can maintain this positive image and even improve upon it. Some questions to consider are: Am I giving patients the information they need to make informed decisions? Am I addressing patient complaints in a timely and satisfactory manner? Are my employees, from the front desk to the clinical area, working as a team to project this positive image?

Five ways to grow your practice
If you aren’t moving forward, your business income will plateau. Evidence suggests that by being proactive, most practices could add $6 to $9 million in revenue over a 20-year period. Once you have established your branding message, examine these five ways of growing your practice:

  • Broadening your array of services
  • Increasing your marketing efforts
  • Focusing on dental hygiene
  • Making it easier for patients to pay, whether through accepting insurance or payment plans
  • Implement the help of a practice advisor who can help you adopt the best models of practice

Offering additional services such as cosmetic dentistry can give your practice a boost. These services may include teeth whitening, invisible braces, veneers and crowns. According to the most recent survey by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 18 percent of cosmetic dentistry patients spend $5,000 to $9,999 per year on procedures, with 5 percent averaging $20,000 or more. The highest percentage belonged to those spending $2,5000 – $4,999 (13 percent). Obviously, if you’re not taking advantage of this possibility, you’re losing an opportunity.

It’s not enough to merely have a website. Is your website converting traffic to new patient appointments? There is no one tool for a successful marketing campaign. Search engine optimization (SEO), consistent blogging, advertising outreach (both traditional and digital), all work in concert to help you reach your goals. Our advice is to enlist the help of a professional practice advisor.

Dental hygiene can be one of the most profitable areas for a dental practice. Did you know that it represents the second-largest production center in the practice? This means you should spend time developing your employees by giving them the tools and support they need to provide the highest quality of care, thereby creating repeat clients.

Some patients will proclaim that the most uncomfortable aspect of a dental visit is the bill! Offering finance options will benefit both patients and your practice. According to Dental Economics, most Americans are within 90 percent of their credit card limits. Practices can increase production by as much as $60,000 by offering patient financing.

If you don’t know where you’re doing, how will you know when you arrive? The help of a practice advisor is vital to not only help you reach your goals, but to help you go forward and devise a strategy to help you reach those goals.

The status quo is your enemy. When building a dental or medical practice, be sure you are always moving forward and implementing new strategies for success. Listening to your customers—and seeking professional advice—is vital.