Difference between Good vs. Great Dental Practices
In this video I’m going to tell you why some dental practices take 10, 20, or even 30 years to get to just 1 million dollars in revenue, while other dental offices are able to achieve 3, 4, 5 million in revenue or more in just a few years of buying a practice or opening up a new practice. We’re going to dig into the biggest reason behind what separates a good dental practice from an exceptional one. Stick around.
We work with dentists all across North America and we’ve had an opportunity to go into a lot of different practices over the last few years and see how they operate from the inside. We’ve gone inside many practices that generate under a million in revenue and we’ve gone into practices that generate 5 million in revenue or more and we’ve seen how they do things differently and… it’s probably not what you think it is, or at least… it wasn’t what we thought in the beginning either.
Experience of the dentist doesn't matter
It didn’t seem to have much to do with the experience of the dentist. We found many cases where you had incredibly talented dentists with decades of experience that did world class dental work who were struggling to get by while we saw many cases of younger and less experienced dentists that achieved much better results much more quickly.
It didn’t seem to have much to do with the area they were in either. We’ve seen many cases of dentists operating a practice in an incredibly competitive area and still do exceptionally well, while other dentists were operating in areas with very little competition yet they were still struggling.
What really separates the companies that are good vs. the ones that are great
So then… what is it? Why do some dentists spend 10, 20, even 30 years and achieve nothing but mediocre results, while some dentists can build a practice that’s two or three times the size in just a few years?
The best way I can explain it to you, is by telling you a story, a true story that happened to me, where I had a lightbulb moment and figured out what really separates the companies that are good vs. the ones that are great.
A few years ago we had hired a new employee at our company, RevUp Dental, and I had gone down to the local mall, to the Apple store, to pick up a new laptop for her. Now I don’t remember what day this was but I recall it was some kind of special event, like Black Friday, or Cyber Monday or something along those lines because every store in the mall had balloons, and flyers, and all kinds promos like buy-one-get-one free, and 50% off this, 75% off that, etc.
So I made my way up to the 2nd floor to the Apple store, and at the front of the store there is usually a staff member there that greets customers and as I was walking towards this person to talk to him there was a lady that was coming in from the other side and she reached him first. I was a few steps behind her so I could overhear their conversation.
The staff member looked at her and greeted her and said something like “Welcome to Apple, how can I help you today?” and she asks him “Hey… what kind of promotions do you guys have going on today?”
And he looks at her and says “Ugh…. we don’t have any promotions going on” ... and this really threw this lady off, you can tell she was a bit surprised, she kind of scoffed at him and said “Ugh.. how can you not have any promotions on Black Friday?” or whatever the event was, I don’t recall exactly. She says “literally every store in the mall is running promotions today and you’re telling me you guys don’t have any promotions?”
And I will never forget what he said next. He looks at her, pauses for a moment, and says “Ma’am.. this is Apple… we don’t really have promotions… ever. Maybe once in a while on some small things like cables or bags or stuff like that but never on the main products. We just don’t need to.”
And I remember looking in the store after he said that and… it was completely packed. There were more people in the Apple store than just about any other store in the mall. They didn’t have any balloons, or special promotions, or posters with buy-one-get-one free or any of that nonsense.
In fact, that lady, she went in too and started looking at products as well. And after I bought the laptop on my way out I looked at all the other stores, and most of them were empty. I went past the Microsoft store, the Samsung store, all these different tech stores and they were pretty much dead. Everyone of them had promotions, and special deals, and all kinds of balloons and popups and gimmicks to try to get people’s attention. In fact you had all these sales people twiddling their thumbs trying to chat people up as they walked past to get their attention to try to get them to check out their special promotions and everyone was just ignoring them and trying to avoid making eye contact with them.
people don’t make logical decisions
And this really made me think… what is it that makes companies like Apple so popular? Why are there so many people that live paycheck to paycheck but they have to have the latest iPhone? How many students do you see at coffee shops who have Macbooks? They have no money, no income, they are thousands of dollars in student debt, living off of ramen noodles, but yet they HAVE to have the latest Macbook? You can buy a faster laptop for half the price yet they all want a Macbook. Why?
And it’s not just Apple, you see the same level of devotion to brands like Lulu Lemon. How many girls go and spend $150 on a pair of yoga pants when you can just go to Walmart and buy a pair for $20?
Think of how many people out there are happy to spend thousands of dollars on a Rolex. Why? It’s just a watch. 99.9% of people on the plant would not be able to tell the difference between a real Rolex and a fake one, so why do people buy it? Why do people spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of Ray-ban sunglasses?
The simple answer is people don’t make logical decisions, they make emotional decisions which they later try to backwards rationalize. The same emotional elements play a big role in how successful you will be as a dentist.
Everyone wants or is attracted to “the best” or what they perceive is “the best”. If people perceive your product, or service, or business as something very unique, something that can help them stand out, something that is different and novel, they are going to spend a lot more money than if they perceive what you are offering is a commodity that they can get elsewhere.
This is why there are a lot of people out there who may spend hundreds of dollars on a really nice pair of shoes, but when it comes to the socks they just go to Walmart and buy a 3-pack for $10.
The little details matter, and they matter A LOT
If people perceive your dental office as a commodity, that you’re just a dentist, like every other dentist, and that there’s nothing particularly special or different about you compared to other dentists in the area, then they are just going to go to the dentist who is the closest, or the cheapest, or whoever happens to accept their insurance.
The reason companies like Apple, or Rolex, or Lulu Lemon are so successful is they put an insane amount of thought into the little details of the customer experience. Apple puts a lot of thought into how the keys on the laptop are shaped, how they feel when you press them, how the laptop feels when you hold it, when you open it and close it, they obsess over things that most other tech companies think are completely pointless.
Those small little details that most people think are pointless is also what separates dental practices that spend decades and only achieve mediecore results, vs dental practices that in just a few years achieve 2 or 3 times as much revenue. The very successful practices understand that the little details matter, and they matter A LOT.
Let me give you some examples. On numerous occasions I have gone into dental practices that don’t have a beautiful or professional presentation room. They are trying to pitch a patient on $20,000 of dental implant work, and they’re doing this presentation in the staff lunchroom, while another staff member is busy heating up a pizza pocket in the microwave. Obviously the patient doesn’t accept treatment and the staff or the dentist’s response to this is ‘well clearly this patient was just shopping around they weren’t really serious”… No… sorry.. That’s not what happened.
Nobody is going to come in for a consultation on implants or Invisalign for fun, they want to buy dentistry, they want to fix their teeth. What happened is after they came in, after they spoke to the dentist and their staff, after they looked around at the office, they realized that office was just not the best choice so they decided to go somewhere else.
On numerous occasions I’ve spoken with dentists and said to them “hey… do you ever think that maybe the reason you’re not getting more patients, why you’re not doing better right now is because your website, your logo, and your marketing that looks like it was made by someone’s nephew (because it probably was made by their nephew). You ever think that maybe this is the reason a lot of patients don’t take you seriously?”
Your clinical skills won't make you successful as a dentist
I can’t tell you how many dental practices I’ve seen not spend the time or effort to put together a nice treatment plan, to put a nice folder together with nicely designed and branded material to explain to the patient what that treatment will entail, how they’re going to do it, why they’re the best at it, etc. Often times a dental practice will just go into their patient management system or their Quickbooks, and print out a quote on their cheap bubble jet printer, a single piece of paper with a list of services and the price, on the cheapest paper they could buy at Staples, hand this to the patient and say “here you go, this is what it costs, give us a call if you want to move forward with treatment” and then the staff never bothers to call that patient again or follow up with them.
As a dentist, you need to understand, that your clinical skills, is not what’s going to make you successful as a dentist. Just like many companies offer laptops or phones with better performance for a lower price, yet everyone is lining up at the Apple store to buy the latest iPhone that costs over $1,000 and is almost identical to last year’s model, the same happens in dentistry where you can be a much better dentist with much better equipment in the practice, yet people are still lining up to go to the other dental practice down the street.
The little things in your practice matter a lot. How your office looks, your logo, your website, the photos on your website, the quality of your sign outfront, how your staff answers the phone, how you present treatment, how you make your patients feel during their visit. All of these things matter a lot.
A lot of dentists opt out for the “good enough” approach when it comes to many things like branding, or marketing, or photos, or staff training. They think “well, we’re a small office, so this is good enough for now, but once we get bigger… we’ll invest more money into doing things better” The problem is… they never get bigger.
Companies like Apple didn’t get to where they are by starting out building average products or “good enough” products, and then once they became super successful, then they started to do an excellent job. That doesn’t make any sense. If you want to build a very successful dental practice, you need to start acting like a successful practice, before you become one. You need to start doing all of the little things at a much higher level of quality than other dentists are doing before you see the results.