Dental practice profitability – what’s the secret?

Dan Durie, CEO of attention marketing specialists SmileVision explores practice profitability.

It’s not about just cutting costs. It’s about working smarter. 

There are lots of different factors that impact your profitability.  Costs are perhaps the most obvious – the more you can cut costs the bigger your profit margin. 

That, however, is only half the story.  Oscar Wilde, in his play “The Importance of Being Earnest” has one character laugh at another because he “knows the price of everything and the value of nothing”.  How is this relevant to running a profitable dental practice?  Here’s the point – if you only look at how much you are paying for things like equipment, wages and insurance, but fail to analyse the value of the work you are doing, then you are never going to maximise your profitability.

Why?  Because time is your most valuable asset and you need to invest it smartly if you want the best returns.  You, and those practitioners you employ, can only fit in so many appointments a day.  If you and they spend most of that precious time on low value procedures, then the hourly rate of return will be meagre and the profit margin slender.  Increase the amount of time you and your colleagues spend on procedures that pay really well and the gap between costs and revenue, the profit margin, will widen significantly. 

Promote those services that provide the most profit

You might assume that a TV in your waiting room, whilst a nice-to-have for patients, is actually an unnecessary expense – and one that does nothing to boost the profitability of your practice.  This could not, in fact, be further from the truth. 

How can you spend more time delivering the services that give the best return on time invested?  It basically comes down to marketing – if patients don’t realise that you offer lucrative services like teeth whitening, crowns and implants, and are unaware of the benefits, they are highly unlikely to enquire about them. 

Of course you can mention these services to patients during an appointment but if the whole idea is new to them you’ll be spending a lot of your precious time explaining things that are better communicated though some other means.  If, however, they are already familiar with the procedure and its benefit, having seen a video or read a leaflet, the discussion will take up less of your valuable time and they are more likely to agree with your suggestion.  

A case in point is Invisalign, once patients understand how the treatment is preferable to traditional braces they are usually more than happy to take this option.  And, because Invisalign requires about 40% less appointments, it’s considerably more profitable for you.  If you market this service in the right way you’ll get more enquiries, more conversions, and make a lot more money per hour.

Waiting Room TV – the most effective marketing channel

Patients generally arrive early for appointments with a typical dwell time of around 15 minutes in your waiting room.  This gives you a captive audience in an environment free of distractions and where the subject of their dental health is front of mind.  It’s the kind of marketing opportunity most other businesses would die for!  And a personalised waiting room TV channel is the ideal way to capitalise on it.

Having said that, the programme content must be engaging.  At SmileVision we’ve been creating content for personalised waiting room TV channels for over 15 years and have developed formats that patients love to watch.  You can pick and choose videos about the services you want to promote from our extensive library and we then intersperse these with sport, news and entertainment clips to hold their attention.

The cost of subscription to our TV service is a mere £33 +VAT a month you can subscribe to SmileVision’s extensive library of digital marketing and mobile communication tools.  For just £44 a month we include our comprehensive digital patient communication service.  This enables you to send patients our videos and digital leaflets to patients by email, while also featuring them on your website and in your social media posts.  As well as all this you’ll be able to use our Kandula app to communicate with patients – send appointment reminders, aftercare details, plus all our videos and leaflets.

Bottom line

If you want to make the most profitable use of your time you need to promote those services which help you achieve that.  And the most effective way to do that is with our waiting room TV service and digital patient communications package.

If you’d like a seven-day free trial of SmileVision’s TV channel and patient communication tools just call 0207 99 33 888 or email to get set up.

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