Three Numbers You Must Know To Run A Great Dental Office

I recently polled a group of my workshop attendee Dentists.

The answers to some questions were astounding.

But before I begin, any serious Australian cricket fan will be able to tell you Sir Donald Bradman’s Test Cricket batting average.

And any baseball fan can tell you Babe Ruth’s Major League Batting Average.

And his all time slugging percentage.

So it’s interesting when you ask a dentist his numbers.

How many new patients do you see per month?

And what’s a new patient worth to your practice?

I mean, what’s the average value of a new patient to you?

And the dentist won’t know.

And they’ll either tell you straight out that they don’t know, or you’ll know by their answer that they don’t know.

If they answer that the number of new patients they see per month is a multiple of five or ten, they don’t know.

And they’re guessing.

Because it’s a round number!!

And if they answer that the new patient value is a multiple of one hundred, they have no clue.

And if that answer is a multiple of five hundred or one thousand, then they really seriously have no clue.

Now we all know that at times when our appointment book is looking a little thin, the answer is obviously that we need more new patients.

So we go out and run some adverts.

Spend some more on marketing to bring those new patients to our door.

Because once the book is full, or fuller, well then we know that we’ll be making more money?

Or will we?

And how much?

It’s very difficult to judge the success of any marketing campaign if we don’t have *ACURATE* numbers of where we started and where we finished, to be able to tell us what we have achieved.

A lot of dentists don’t even keep accurate statistics of where their new patients have come from.

Yes, seriously.

They don’t have an exact number of how many new patients came into the practice because they saw the ad we ran in the local newspaper.

They don’t know how many new patients arrived as a result of a letterbox drop campaign they ran.

They don’t know how many people came in as new patients because they saw “our new signage”.

And with this lack of knowledge in hand, it beggars belief that these same dentists are ready and willing to hand over greenbacks by the fist full for advertising and marketing they “feel” is effective.

When I ran my own practice I kept accurate statistics on these numbers.

I knew how effective each Yellow Pages book was each year in bringing new patient numbers and new patient dollars to my practice.

I knew exactly how many new patients came to us because they saw our ad in the local newspaper.

And I could tell you the average spend of those patients.

To the dollar.

And it wasn’t a round number.

It was armed with these numbers that I was able to anticipate trends and then pull the pin on marketing that had seen better days.

Because if you don’t know your numbers, your exact numbers, then throwing money at adverts “hoping” they’ll bring you some people is just bad silly business.

It makes no sense.

I pulled the plug on yellow pages advertising when the cost for the year was going to be forty percent of the dollar amount that it had brought in in the previous year.

Because, if my practice was running on sixty percent overhead, it made no sense to be spending the remaining forty percent from those patients to bring them in.

For a net zero gain.

For a net zero gain of that amount of collections it made more sense to just close my doors for two months.

It made no sense at all to be handing over my forty percent of profit from those Yellow Pages New Patients straight back to Yellow Pages.

What does make sense is to know accurately how much each new patient is worth to you, how many of them you are acquiring, and how much is that exact cost to acquire them.

Not knowing, or guessing in big round numbers?

Well that’s just not good business.


Sir Donald Bradman’s Test Cricket Batting Average was 99.94

Babe Ruth’s Major League Batting Average was .342

His all time slugging percentage was .690


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