Dental Marketing & Money Management For a Local Dentist – Part 3
– An Interview with Sandra Simmons – Dental Expert Advisory Series
Part 3 of Interview
Sandra Simmons: Boy, to answer that one fully would take me a long time, but let me briefly cover the four of the biggest areas that popped into my head when you asked me the question that can have the greatest impact. Obviously there are a lot of them, but let’s just go over four.
First is payroll. I’m not a proponent of the standard business mentality of giving people raises every year just because they have clocked in on the time clock for 365 days. That can get quite burdensome when the practice is making the same amount each year, or possibly even losing money, and paying employees more for doing the same job. I prefer to keep the hourly rate down and institute a bonus program that is based on reaching income and profit targets. That can be real successful because the employees then have a vested interest in the practice growing and doing well and they work harder to make their bonuses. There’s a whole program for that. So payroll is a biggie.
Next are dental supplies. A lot of money is lost when dental supply vendors raise their prices to the practice and the practice owner fails to notice and pass on those increases to the patients. Supplier prices need to be reviewed frequently. The other area is letting staff members order whatever they want whenever they want in terms of supplies. Ordering can get out of control and I’ve actually found supplies stashed in the strangest places in a clinic. One person should be in charge of ordering and an internal requisition form can be used by staff members to request what they need. That way, Suzie and Sally are not calling and ordering the same thing when one order would be enough to last the clinic for quite a while. So that way they don’t tie up their cash flow in unneeded supplies.
The third area is the mix of patients and insurance programs that they accept. You know, it costs just as much to treat a Medicaid patient as it does to treat a private patient, but the income difference to the clinic can be 20 – 30% less on a Medicaid patient. Now I’m not saying don’t treat Medicaid patients, as they can be a steady source of income, but do something like block out a few hours twice a week and that’s the only time the practice owner would see Medicaid patients, and that gives them more hours to see private patients, and make additional cash flow that way.
And, the fourth area always goes back to promotion. A clinic has to promote continuously, but there are cost effective ways to do that to get a great return on the investment without breaking the piggy bank. It’s no fun whatsoever to spend your hard earned dollars on promotion that gets no response.
You know my partner, Dr. Brian, he covered this in his book for healthcare practitioners called “Breaking The Profit Barrier” and there are absolutely ways to guarantee your promotion will get a response and ways to measure the effectiveness of promotion. There are ways to lower costs and do things differently to get a potential new patient’s attention. I like to call it thinking outside-the-box and I operate on the outside-the-box method when I’m working with my clients and when I refer clients to other resources as well.
Of course the best promotion and source of new patients is in my opinion is always word of mouth referrals, so creating a referral game where both the staff members and the patients who refer get something of value should be kept in force at all times, because that’s a no-cost way to promote that can really bring the cash flow up.
Kent Harlan: That is an excellent point, Sandra. In fact, my cycling friend is a dentist and he uses that strategy effectively in his dental practice. He sends out a $50 gift card to existing patients who refer new customers to him. It’s worked out very well for him.
Sandra Simmons: That’s a great idea. Gift cards and gift baskets are really popular, and maybe giving the person their choice of a gift is a great strategy too.
Kent Harlan: Many dental practitioners have a lot of personal and business debt such as student loans, credit card balances, and business notes payable. Your Money Management Software has helped companies from many industries eliminate debt. Can this software help dental professionals in this regard?
Sandra Simmons: Absolutely. The software works for any business, but a large percentage of our clients are healthcare professionals: dentists, chiropractors, physical therapists, veterinarians… and the results they achieve in a very short time are phenomenal.
I’ll give you an example, one doctor had worked in his practice for almost 20 years, at the point in time that he became my client and went on the Money Management software he was 120 days behind in his bills and he had no savings at all after working for almost 20 years. He got on the Money Management software program and in 6 months he was current on his bills and had money in savings toward his retirement for the first time ever.
Kent Harlan: That’s impressive!
Sandra Simmons: Yeah, and boy I tell you what, he was sleeping good at night too.
Kent Harlan: I bet he was!
Sandra Simmons: Yes, and on the other end of the spectrum, a dentist client who uses the software, does so because he makes so much money he wastes a lot of it, and he needed the software to put in the discipline of setting aside those “buckets of cash” both for expansion and his long-term wealth building for when he wants to pull the trigger on his exit strategy. He’s in his mid 60s and he doesn’t want to work a whole lot longer and he got on the program, and the program does allow the doctors in either situation to get their finances organized and under control really quickly and it only takes 20-30 minutes a week using the software to do that for themselves.
Kent Harlan: That’s terrific! Sandra, what is the best way for potential clients to get in touch with you?
Sandra Simmons: They can call us at our Florida office; our number is 727-448-1011 or they can contact us by visiting my website at www.AMoneySolution.com. Either way is good for me.
Kent Harlan: Sandra, this has been a great interview and I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to visit with me today to outline the concepts that you work every day with clients with and I appreciate your time.
Sandra Simmons: My pleasure
Kent Harlan: Check out our website, dentalpracticecash.com for all your practice financing needs. We offer equipment leasing, working capital loans, funds for remodeling and expansion, as well as practice acquisition financing. That’s dentalpracticecash.com
Thank you for joining us today. Tune in to part 3 of our series when I interview Ken Smith, Vice President of Peak Performers, a staffing company devoted to finding the right personnel for dental practices across the country. Ken will share his many years of experience on how to properly staff your dental office. Thank you for tuning in.
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