Getting More New Patients

Last week, I posted a poll with the question:”As an orthodontist/business owner your biggest challenge/struggle is:”
“Getting new patients” was the most popular answer…by a wide margin.
New patient flow is obviously the lifeblood of any ortho practice and they come to us in a variety of ways. It isn’t easy to be a practice owner when the phone isn’t ringing. But, there are many ways to address not getting enough new patients. Some are “top line” approaches and others are “bottom line” approaches.
For instance, some practices choose to run “lean and mean” with one TC and lower overhead, requiring less new patients and others want to go big with 2 or 3 TCs and an obviously higher need for new patients.
Assuming you’ve decided which approach works for you, here are some points to consider when it comes to new patient flow:

  • How much do you set aside for your marketing/advertsing budget? (Assuming you have an actual budget.)
  • Where do you choose to spend the money you allocate for marketing?
  • What makes your practice special? (i.e.-why would anyone choose you)
  • Do you have a systematic process for asking for referrals?
  • Do you understand the difference between marketing and advertising?
  • How do you track your return on investment for your marketing dollars?
  • What are you doing online to grow your social media footprint?
  • Are there any area where you are continually spending marketing dollars but not seeing a return on investment?
  • When you get new patients in the door, are they ready to buy from you (i.e.-“start) or are they just there for a consult and are “shopping”?
  • Do you have a stepwise approach for case presentation?
  • How do you track your patients after they leave without starting?
  • What is the age of your average new patient?

This is obviously just a starting list of ways to evaluate what you’re doing, and there are many other places and ways to help grow your new patient base.
The days of simply doing great clinical work and watching your practice grow are long gone. As practice owners, we need to be proactive when it comes to growing our practices. It’s not easy and we need to come up with “outside the box” approaches, but with hard work and a great game plan, your practice will grow. It doesn’t happen quickly, but given time, great things will happen.
All the best,
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