I believe that the landscape of dentistry has changed in an incredible way for dentists looking to build a dental implant practice. In the past, most general dentists referred a patient to a periodontist or oral surgeon for implant treatment. The specialist was the team leader and largely responsible for treatment planning and implant placement.
However, with the increased number and accessibility of continuing education courses, GP’s now have implant-focused practices that are actively involved in all phases of the dental implant treatment process.
The Opportunity Dental Implants Provide for General Dentists
It has been said that the U.S dentist population is growing slower than the U.S dental-implant market. In other words, the need for dental implants is outpacing the number of dentists to place them. With clinical training more accessible than ever, the need and opportunity to place implants has never been greater.
That directs the conversation to you, the general practitioner who wants to grow their practice placing implants. Whatever the reason you might want to build an implant-focused practice, clinical training can help. But clinical training, alone, won’t get patients in the chair.
The good news is if you already made the choice and committed to the training, you have started building an implant practice. You are well ahead of your peers who haven’t started. And, since you’re reading this, you are also well ahead of your peers who get training and then stop, wondering why their training alone doesn’t get patients in the chair. All you need to do is finish what you started.
This is how it typically works for dentists who get clinical training and do nothing else. At first, they’re hopeful. But fast forward a little and the hope fades. So, they start researching the best marketing company to partner with for dental implant patient leads. They hire a dental marketing company and the hope comes back. But that hope fades again when they don’t get leads, don’t get qualified leads, or don’t close any of the leads. What goes wrong there? Again, they only solved part of the dental implant practice puzzle.
If you do things differently, you can put the entire dental implant practice puzzle together in just four easy steps.
Step 1: Host a team meeting to introduce your dental implant practice.
Step one should be a team meeting led by you. Explain your “why” for wanting to be an implant focused practice. Your reasons may be that you enjoy the challenge and the work or want to make a bigger impact and you see how one missing tooth can cause such devastation to someone’s smile. Share that reason with your team and get their feedback.
Listen to what your dental team has to say about all the lives you can change—including theirs—through your dental implant practice. This will help get them on board and committed to doing their part in growing your new dental implant practice.
Step 2: Set the right expectations.
Step two is to check your expectations. The truth is, there isn’t a pool of people in your town who have missing teeth and bags of money searching for treatment. We might want that but we have to accept that it doesn’t exist, will actually fast track your journey to success.
Once you sit with that truth, you will begin to understand all the things you need to put in place to make your dental implant practice a success. For example, you will start to research ways to help patients afford dental implant treatment, through traditional dental finance strategies or some out-of-the-box ways to pay for dental care. You will also start to understand the critical role of your admin team in the process and provide them with tools they need to help you succeed. You will help them build the skills needed to have efficient, effective conversations with patients upfront to qualify leads and get them in the chair.
STOP GENERATING LEADS, GET PATIENTS INSTEAD
Stop chasing unqualified leads and wasting your valuable chairtime. Learn how to fill your operatories with patients who are pre-qualified and serious about moving forward with your high-value treatment.
Step 3: Support your admin team.
Step three is to support your admin team. Explain that the conversations they will be having with implant patient leads are different than with other patients. The potential patient knows what they need will cost a lot of money. Therefore, the conversations will be different than booking a cleaning or checkup call.
This will change their goals with the call because you must include qualifying a patient as a lead before scheduling their time. Not every lead is a fit for your chair time. The conversation is not about getting the schedule full. There will be staggered goals, including getting a contact rate, having effective conversations, qualifying leads, and only then book rate.
Your strongest admin team member for general dentistry may or may not be your best asset for implant-focused dentistry. Why so? The need for implant care will far outweigh the potential patient’s ability to pay, which means the person who handles the calls and follow-up will need to have certain skills for success. And they must know how to handle the financial aspect of the calls. These skills can be learned.
Step 4: Accept that less is more with implant practices.
Step four is to be okay with less being more when it comes to building an implant practice. Think of someone trying to lose weight and get toned muscles. They will have to commit to a meal and workout plan to be successful. Any variation will hinder the results. If they don’t diet, they will not lose as much weight. If they don’t work out, they will not get as toned. The same is true with an implant practice.
Most admin team members will not innately have the skills necessary to grow an implant practice right away. They will need to be trained to have complex-purchase conversations with dental implant patients. They will feel inadequate at first because it will appear as that there are less booked appointments. Encourage them that this is all part of the plan. The number of new patients does not need to be high. The leads just need to be nurtured and the patients who come in must be qualified leads.
A qualified lead is one with urgency and ability to pay. Marketing can not create this person but it will provide the opportunity. (We like to think of implant marketing as the connector between the right patient and the practice. It gets you there faster, like having a fast pass to bypass the lines at Disney!)
Effective, efficient conversations are the only way to get quality leads in your chair. And experience and practice are the only ways way to develop that skill. Live and Learn! With patience, you will eventually improve the quality and quantity of implant patients in your chair. As the quality of patients increases, you will generate more profits and make a bigger impact, even with fewer patients. From there, you can increase the quantity of those patients and get the best of both worlds. But quality has to come first to get higher close rates and less frustration from patients not having the ability to pay after you spend time and money getting them your chair.
Are you ready to build a thriving dental implant practice?
When building an implant-focused practice, a prolonged success makes for greater success! These four steps are key to getting your team on board and getting the right patients in your chair. And they are the key to making a connection deeper than profits. Rather, your implant practice will be built on a foundation of a greater purpose you and your team believe in.
Here is where our experience at Driven Dental Implant Marketing comes in. After working with offices all over the country—and globally—we have had a front-row seat to see what makes offices succeed. Nine times out of ten, if an office fails to grow an implant practice, they gave up too soon and did not focus on these four steps.
In the United States, only 10-15% of general practices place dental implants. The opportunity has never been greater for general practices to shake things up, take these four steps, and push through while you and your team develop the skills to grow a thriving practice.
Learn more about Driven Dental Implant Marketing’s Supportive Business Model. We drive high value leads to your practice, support your leadership, and coach your team to the skills needed to succeed. Want to see if Driven is a good partner for your practice? Book a free 15-minute strategy call now, right here on drivendentalmarketing.com.