Listen in to Wendy and Dr. Scott Leune discuss how to skyrocket your new patient numbers tomorrow! Dr. Scott Leune from breakaway practice has tried and true methods that are working to increase new patient flow all over the country. During this episode they will discuss how to increase new patients, and KEEP them in your practice long term. If you’d like to see us LIVE at the Annual Team Training Summit this spring or request a roadmap call, find it at the bottom of the page!
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EP13: ‘Get More New Patients TOMORROW’ Transcript
S1 00:00:02.062 Welcome to the Double Your Production podcast with the Team Training Institute, the one place designed for dentists and their staff who want to grow their practices by following in the footsteps of those that have done it, who are in the trenches, who know exactly what you’re going through. And now your leaders, the stars of the podcast, Dr. John Meis and Wendy Briggs.
S2 00:00:27.561 Hello, podcast listeners. Today we’re bringing you some awesome content from a previous webinar that we’ve done. So during this webinar, Wendy will be talking with Dr. Scott Leune of Breakaway Practice about a hot topic in the world of dentistry, which is new patients, hopefully answering any questions you might have about this topic. Dr. Leune is an awesome friend of ours and we plan on having him here on our podcast live eventually but wanted to give you a preview or taste, if you will, through this webinar episode. So then if you have any questions or topics you’d like to talk with Dr. Leune about, you can send them our way. Our contact information as well as the transcript, and as always you can get a free roadmap and get started talking with Dr. John and Wendy at the Team Training Institute. And then all of that can be found at theteamtraininginstitute.com/podcast. So I hope you enjoy today’s episode. I won’t delay it any longer and looking forward to this great information from Wendy and Dr. Scott Leune. So thanks for listening in. Go ahead and subscribe and then find us again at theteamtraininginstitute.com/podcast. Thanks.
S3 00:01:30.347 Very good. Welcome, everyone. This is Wendy Briggs with the Team Training Institute and my special guest, Dr. Scott Leune. Hello, Dr. Leune.
S4 00:01:39.299 Hello. Thanks for having me.
S3 00:01:41.468 We’re so glad to have you here for a really exciting topic. Every time I talk to dentists about their practice and visit with their hygienist, it always seems that everybody is saying, “Gosh, things would be so much better if we just had more new patients.” So this is one of the reasons why I’ve invited Dr. Leune to share some incredible information with us tonight. He spoke for us at our Team Training Institute annual member summit this year, and so many of our members just loved all the information that he shared. They’ve been asking us for more from Dr. Leune. So what we did is we invited him to join us tonight on this webinar. It’s actually going to be a two-part series. We’re so excited that you’re here tonight, and we’d like to extend a special welcome to Dr. Leune. I’m going to go ahead and take just a minute and introduce him. He’s going to do some introduction of who he is and how he came to be where he is at Breakaway Practice. But I also want to go ahead and do a personal introduction. Now Dr. Leune and I have worked together in various capacities for a couple of years. I think one of our hygiene coaches was even in one of his Texas practices a while back. And I can tell you I was invited to attend one of his Business Management Breakaway– I believe his Business Mastery Breakaway seminar. And it was just a powerful experience. I get to go to a lot of great CE events and speak at a lot of amazing meetings around the country. And I can honestly say that this was probably the best seminar I’ve ever attended. Just a lot of really practical real-world solutions for common frustrations that I see every day in dental practices. So I’m so thrilled to introduce Dr. Leune and have him share his information with us here tonight. So go ahead, and I’ll turn it over to Dr. Leune, and he’s going to share some real jewels with us as we go.
S4 00:03:37.626 Yeah. Thanks a lot, Wendy. It’s exciting to see everyone kind of join us and talk about this topic, increasing our new patient flow. I think dentistry of 10 years ago was a lot different than we see dentistry today, in regards to getting new patients. Now dentistry 10 years ago, it was a lot about location, about having a Yellow Page ad, having maybe a postcard, maybe we’re one of the first to have a website. And back then, patients just seemed to buy into what we said. They seemed to respond well to just a handful of marketing campaigns and techniques that we did. And today’s a lot different. We’ve got competition from corporate practices that have huge marketing budgets. We’ve got online reviews coming from all kinds of different channels. Direct mail isn’t working as well as it used to. We’ve got social media. We’ve got all kinds of things happening that are putting pressures on us in practice. And to stay on top of it really takes a change in thinking. And in my practices and the practices that we manage, it took kind of a wake-up call for us to get that change in thinking. It took us seeing some statistics, seeing some numbers, our own numbers, to realize that today’s new patient flow comes from many places and is affected as much by our own practice as it is by our marketing.
S4 00:05:21.139 And so that’s what I’m going to kind of talk to you about today. I’m going to try to show you some truths, facts, the things we’ve found, the things we’ve measured that are having a direct effect on new patient flow. And you kind of have to understand where we’re coming from with this. If we look here– I hope everyone can see my screen right now. But if we look at the screen, these are the practices that we built, and we own. And we’ve helped build about 80 start-up practices. And if you think about 80 start-up practices, it’s a big sample size, and start-up practices are more reliant on new patient flow than existing practices. So what we’ve been in the business of at Breakaway Practice and in my own dental offices, we’ve been in the business, in part, of generating new patients. So we’ve got a large sample size. This isn’t like my opinion on a cool thing that I do in my one practice. This is fact. This is science, measuring results, testing and split-testing on a large scale across the country, from Manhattan to San Francisco and everything in-between. And this is what we did. This is what we’re based off of. This is what you’re going to hear today. You can see on this map, we manage the operations in some part for about 300 offices across the country. We do marketing for about half of those. And you can see they’re everywhere. They’re in California, they’re in North Carolina and Texas. I mean, they’re in highly populated places, and they’re in rural places. And the great thing, though, about these truths is that these truths apply to all those markets. And these truths, what you see here are just a handful of examples. These are brand-new practices. They’ve been open, these start-up practices, they’ve been open less than a year, and this is how many new patients a month they’re getting. And we’ve got some that are more than this. And of course, we’ve got some that are less than this. But I don’t know if we have any that are less than 60 new patients a month. And so the results of applying these systems that are based on fact is generating high patient flow that allows us to then help a whole lot of practices across the country, including my own.
S3 00:07:54.351 Dr. Leune, if I could just say–
S4 00:07:53.727 Existing practices that are– yeah.
S3 00:07:56.769 If I can just interject there with a little bit of a second-party testimonial for you. Earlier we were chatting about some of the practices that our hygiene coaches have gone in. So Dr. Leune has– in many of these practices that he manages, our hygiene coaches have gone and worked directly with the hygiene departments in these practices. And I can attest to the fact that we were in a practice not very long ago, a few weeks ago, that had only been open for seven months, and they were already out of capacity. They had already grown to the point that their five treatment rooms were not enough to handle the demand in that practice. And I’ve got to be honest, Dr. Leune, I’ve never seen anything quite like that. I was blown away. So again, when he talks about a start-up practice and knowing how to market and drive patients to that practice, they really know what they’re doing. That’s why he’s on the webinar here tonight.
S4 00:08:48.865 Yeah. Thank you. It’s a great thing to have a dentist own and open their own dream practice and it be busy right off the bat. And that allows us dentists to focus on what really matters. Right? To focus on our lifestyle, on our patients, and to not make compromises. To not catch ourselves worried about what’s happening in the economy, or what’s happening in corporate dentistry. New patient flow is one type of fuel that we live on as practice owners. So I want to kind of dive in and not talk about me anymore but talk about the topic, getting more new patients. And if we look here at the screen, you can kind of see we’ve got all these ways of generating new patients. We’ve got external marketing, internal marketing. We’ve got all these things pointing to the practice that can generate new patients. And 10 years ago, we might only have a handful of these, but now we’ve got a long list of things that push patient leads to our practice. And everything, if you can see my mouse here, everything points to phones.
S4 00:10:05.743 So when looking at new patient flow, we have to look inside of our four walls first. It’s not just one little postcard we send out. Phones has a huge effect on our new patient flow. And of course, when we go to phones, we then need case acceptance, and retention, and internal referrals back to phones. And that forms the loop. That’s actually the machine we’re trying to feed in our practice in order to grow. We want more phone calls coming in of patients that show up, accept treatment, stay in the practice, and send others our way, who then call us and we answer again. That’s what we’re feeding here. The unique thing about dental offices is most dental offices that I’ve seen, compared to other businesses, most dental offices that I’ve seen are actually really bad at handling the phones. And also bad at retention. So there’s this huge opportunity for the average practice, or even for a successful practice, to be even more successful without doing something wrong, without being unethical, without working too hard. There are little things that get in the way, that hold us back, that aren’t readily seen. They’re not visible, they’re not right in front of us. Yet they really are having an effect on our practice. When we look at these types of things here, and we look at phones, and this machine we’re trying to feed here. Phones, I want to focus on the answer rate and the conversion rate. And the national average answer rate is 68%, and the conversion rate is 42. In other words, if 100 new patients call a practice, only 68 phones calls are actually answered. And of all the phone calls that are answered of that new patient, only 42% of the time does the patient actually schedule.
S4 00:12:03.783 That’s national average numbers. It’s horrible. Those are horrible numbers. And practices have no idea that that’s their number. They look at their team. Their team looks busy. They say, “My team’s answering the phone.” They don’t understand that they’re not answering 32% of those calls. So if we can improve the answer rate, the conversion rate, just a little bit, we can have a huge effect on our new patient flow. I’m going to show you how to do that. If we look at retention, the average practice loses 27 patients a month. That’s how we’ve got so many dental offices out there that just don’t seem to grow. Maybe they only get 27 new patients a month and they’re losing 27 on the back end. That’s why they haven’t had to hire a hygienist in 10 years, and their reappointment rate, the national average is 66%. So I know these are a bunch of numbers, and numbers really don’t mean that much unless we dive deep into the why and how. But these numbers are showing the facts of our industry. And they’re going to help me explain exactly why our practices grow a lot bigger than that. Our dental offices, in year three – the practices that we’ve helped build and open, and manage – their third year open from scratch, our average practice right now is up to 1.6 million in revenue. That’ s four times the national average. So the one huge reason for that is finding ways to answer more calls, convert more appointments, and retain more patients.
S4 00:13:50.625 And so if we look at this, if we look at a practice– I kind of look at practices and focus on the barriers to entry. Whether I’m looking at an existing office or a start-up practice, I want to make sure that I understand the barriers that I’ve created or that I’m trying to break down. And that first barrier to entry is not answering the phones. So as you know, as I told you, 32% of the calls are not being answered. And that’s one barrier that we need to break down. After we answer the call, though, the next barrier is that we have policies in our practice that cause patients to not schedule. We need to break those policies down. Example, not being open after hours, or not taking a certain insurance plan, or not seeing kids below a certain age. Those are all policies that cause patients to not schedule. And if they do schedule past those policies, well, then we’ve got a lack of phone skills. Our schedulers might sound nice, they might sound truthful, but they don’t have a proven technique to convert a call to an appointment. You see, nice schedulers can really trip up conversion if they don’t have a proven path, a system to get that appointment scheduled. And these are types of things that most dentists don’t even listen. They don’t record their phone calls. They don’t audit them every week like I think you should. So they may not realize what’s actually being done on the phone.
S4 00:15:24.245 And if they make it past that, then we have another barrier of no-shows and cancellations. There’s certain things that can increase our no-show rate in a practice. For example, if we have a payment policy that says pay half on the prep date, half on the delivery date, that increases no-shows. We’ll go into that. And then if they actually show up, we might have a weak clinical presentation, meaning the dentist doesn’t actually have a path to get acceptance. And if we make it past the dentist, then we might have bad payment policies that result in a lack of case acceptance. If we make it through that, then we finally get to prep the darn crown. So you can see that all these barriers start filtering out opportunity and we’re just left with that crown we’re prepping, not knowing this 1 patient came from a group of 10, but we filtered them out systematically through these barriers we’ve built where we think there’s only 1 patient that needs a crown.
S2 00:16:30.591 Okay. So I’d like to– oh, sorry about that. There we go. I’d like to focus on the phones right now and then we’ll dive a lot more into marketing, and we’ll probably run out of time. But we’re going to continue this webinar in a handful of weeks here. So let’s start with phones and the answer rate being 68%. One reason why we don’t answer phone calls is because we don’t understand when they come in. You can see here on the screen that the peak volume of calls comes between 9:00 and 11:30 in the morning and Monday has more calls than any other day. And so if you think what should we not be doing during a peak call time? I would argue during the peak time of the day, phone calls are coming in, we should not be tying up our phone lines. But you see what most practices do, they show up, they start the day, they see the first batch of patients, and about around nine o’clock in the morning, they start confirming tomorrow’s appointments and verifying insurance. So right when the peak time starts for phone calls to come in, the office is tying up the phone lines with outbound calls. They don’t know two or three phone calls are trying to come in. That’s why dental teams think that they’re answering all their calls.They don’t know that additional calls are trying to come in at the same time.
S4 00:17:58.761 And so knowing the data helps us reconfigure the way we do things in the practice. If I were to buy a practice and I wanted to grow it, one thing on my long list of to-do items, one thing would be to make sure that between 9:00 and 11:30, we’re minimizing us tying up our phone lines. Another thing I’d make sure we’re doing is we’re answering calls on Mondays. Some offices aren’t open on Mondays. Well, we better have a plan on how to handle the phone calls if we want more new patient flow. Another thing we can do to increase the number of calls we answer, beside handling our outbounds phones at the wrong time, another thing we can do is form what’s called a call tree in our software. A call tree is going to filter out as many calls as possible that aren’t appointment calls. So what we do here is a patient calls, and you can set this up kind of an easy way, have them press one or two. So, thank you for calling ABC Dental. Please press one if you’re calling to schedule an appointment or if you’re a new patient, and please press two if you have a– if you’d like to speak to the billing and insurance department. So they press one for scheduling and two for billing. What happens is when they press two for billing, that goes to the billing and insurance department voicemail. And then we call them back on our downtime. The vast majority of patients that press two leave a voicemail. And what that does now is it filters out the billing and insurance calls from our phone system so that we’re giving preferential treatment to the new patient or scheduling call.
S4 00:19:50.874 This has a profound effect on the practice because those billing and insurance calls are not fun, they take a long time. We’re usually unprepared to handle it. They’re tying up our phone lines, and they’re not going to result in a new patient. By doing this call tree, it allows us to focus on the new patients, and then we handle the billing and insurance calls on our downtime. After we’ve researched their account, we call them back. So it’s one technique. Some patients are still going to press two, hear the billing department voicemail, they’re going to hang up, call again, press one, they’re still going to want to gripe you out for getting a statement in the mail. That’s still going to happen, but it’s going to be a fraction of the time.
S4 00:20:34.510 Another way we can cut our missed call rates way down and get more new patients is by outsourcing all the calls we miss. So the way this works is a patient calls and the dental office answers the phone. Okay? But now when another patient calls, if the dental office can’t answer that call, if they miss that call, then instead of going to voicemail, it goes to a virtual scheduler. And this virtual scheduler has access to the software, understands how to schedule for that dental practice, they answer the call, they schedule the patient right in the software. And what we’re basically doing with this technique is we’re taking all the patients that we’re losing, these missed calls, and we’re catching them and scheduling them. It’s an extremely valuable thing to do to grow the practice, is to outsource all the calls we can’t get to– all the scheduling calls. And so this is– there’s many companies that do this, and my company’s one of them. But this is a very valuable way to kind of grow the practice.
S4 00:21:48.555 And this is not like outsourcing to India. This is [laughter] a highly audited, controlled, customizable team of schedulers that only schedule for dental offices, according to the specific nuances of that practice. We have some practices where we’re doing a complete DISC personality assessments and asking them 10 questions on the first phone call and recording all the notes ahead of time so that the dental practice can read it before the patient shows up. Okay? So with the changes of technology, this has become a very valuable way to miss less calls. And for us, and for my own practices, this flip of the switch to outsource the calls that we miss will cut our missed call rate by at least 90%. So if we were missing 20 new patient calls a month, now we might only be missing 2. And we’re capturing those 18 calls, which is very significant for the growth of a practice. It’s why our practices see so many new patients– another reason why.
S2 00:23:02.041 So I hope you enjoyed today’s podcast. Again, if you would like access to the full webinar that was used today with Dr. Scott Leune and Wendy, go ahead and request a roadmap and they should be able to give that information to you on www.theteamtraininginstitute.com/podcast. So again, thanks so much for listening in. [music]