Do you have a new patient problem? How and where are your marketing dollars going? Dental marketing can be a struggle, but it shouldn’t be. Get your marketing in line and create the rewarding profession you’ve earned! Join Dr. John and Wendy in discussing Dental Marketing from a market expert, Colin Receveur, Founder & CEO of Smart Box in exploring secrets, tips and all things dental marketing.
“EP40: Top Tips on Digital Dental Marketing with Colin Receveur” Transcript:
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 or in the trenches who know exactly what you’re going through. And now your leaders the stars of the broadcast, Dr. John Meis and Wendy Briggs.[music]
Hey everybody, this is Dr. John Meis. Welcome to this episode of the Double Your Production podcast with me as the amazing Wendy Briggs. How are you doing Wendy?
I’m doing great Dr. John, good to see you.
And my good friend, Colin Receveur. Colin is the founder of SmartBox Dental Marketing, a digital marketing firm located in the Louisville Market. And as I lived in the Louisville Market for some time, I got to watch Colin build this really kind of an amazing company. He won multiple local awards for business growth and for– you’re in the Fast 50 just about every year, aren’t you Colin?
Yeah, yeah. And there with, yeah, some other familiar faces you probably know.
Yeah. And so it’s exciting to have you on the podcast. I really have enjoyed watching how you’ve built this great company. So Colin, like myself, your dad is a dentist, and that might have something to do with how you got into dental digital marketing.
Yeah, a little bit. I spent a lot of time in dad’s practice after hours as a kid. The story well, he used to pay me a nickel apiece back in the 80s or 90s somewhere to file those old paper charts away. So you have got to grow up behind the scenes and learn a little bit about struggles and problems and how everything really worked.
So I think having that experience really helps you kind of see into the mind of dentist because we dentist can be kind of curious creature,s can’t we?
Well, it’s challenging to have to be not only the business owner but the operator, the manager at times, to be wearing so many different hats. And I think that’s the unique challenge that comes in dentistry especially for the private practice dentist.
Yeah, it really does. And as you know we dentists don’t have really any training in business, we don’t have any training in marketing, and so we come out and try to fill our practices with great patience and it’s really a struggle.
Yeah. And it shouldn’t be that way. It’s such a rewarding profession. It’s I’ve seen my dad struggle at times, and really enjoyed at times, and he’s finally found his calling within dentistry, and he’s loving it again. And I think that’s where you got to find is what–there’s so many different– all dental practices are not created equal. There’s so many different kinds of shapes, and styles, and you got to find what makes you happy, and go after it, and find a way to make that work.
So why don’t you fill Wendy and I in on what SmartBox Marketing you does for dentists?
So we occupy– we take care of what we call the end to end money funnel, and that is the marketing and advertising and everybody likes to really think about that as anytime there’s a problem in the practice it can always be fixed with more new patients. And that’s as you know that’s unfortunately not the case. But we handle the marketing and advertising ended getting new patients in the practices. And we also maintain a call center here where we’re monitoring our doctors’ practices, making sure that, hey, not only are their phones ringing, right, but their staff is actually appointing patients, they’re actually getting schedule, tracking scheduled versus unscheduled rates, and really delivering the metrics that matter to dentists. I mean, you can spend $10,000 a month on marketing. But if your staff is only answering 60% of the calls and they’re appointing at 30%, all of a sudden, you’ve just wasted 80% of your marketing dollars. And that is generally– when I hear from a doctor, “Hey, I spent all this money and didn’t get anything out of it,” there’s always what we call the money funnel, and understanding that money funnel is one of the big secrets that we try to shine light on and teach to our doctors.
Now Colin, that concept that it’s not all about the new patients, obviously, our listeners are very, very familiar with that because that’s one of the things that we do. Right? We help them see how, for many practices, the solution to their cash flow issues or some of their frustrations really exists in their practice and the patients they already have. However, there are many practices that still do need those new patients. And you’re speaking our language when you’re talking about the opportunities that are missed, that they’re not tracking and measuring– once the phone rings, that’s just a part of that puzzle. So I’m happy to hear you talking about that. And I think having a marketing expert in dentistry that really understands that is a rare thing.
You know, it reminds me here– and you talk about opportunity. It reminds me of my first-grade teacher, Mrs. Miriam. I went to a Montessori school, and it was run by a French husband and wife, first generation out of France. And their philosophy on education was– they kept a few yardsticks around the school. And if they didn’t like what you were doing, the yardsticks came out. And Mrs. Miriam – I’ll always remember – she told me, “Colin, you’re not living up to your potential.” And I’m sure she’s told other kids this too. “You can do better. You’re not living up to your potential.” That always irritated me because it was this high-in-the-sky number. What is my potential? I don’t know what my potential is. How do you quantify potential?
Something we’ve tried to do with our doctors is to quantify, what is the potential that is in the practice? And we do that a lot through our statistics and numbers through our phone system, right, actually tracking for doctors. How many calls did your staff not answer last month? How many patients did they answer but then they didn’t schedule? Right? And understanding this whole money funnel, what are the– I call it a magic trick. You could call it a secret, or you could just call it compound mathematics. A compound interest, if you want to call it that. There’s four stages to a dentist’s money funnel. From the time that a dentist spends their marketing dollars to the time that they deposit a check in their bank account, there’s four stages in between that. And the average dentist gets less than half of their potential out of the money funnel. And the reality of it is is that if you take each of the four stages, and you only increase them 10% at each stage– we’re not talking about moving mountains here. If you take each stage and go from 30 to 40 percent. You take the next stage and you go from 50 to 60 percent. You double the output at the bottom of the funnel. So you take practice A that has 50 new patient opportunities and you take practice B with that identical 50 new patient opportunities. One practice gets $50,000 out the bottom of the funnel. The other practice gets $100,000. And it’s such a simple but powerful concept that, “Hey, we don’t have to build Rome in a day here to really make such a measurable difference in the opportunity, or the potential opportunity, of a practice.”
We have a concept we call the practice success loop built on the very same ideas that you’re talking about. [Colin?], when, I don’t know, maybe a year ago, I came, sat in your office, and you and I just talked philosophy for a while. And I just the love the message that you were talking about, because it’s what I’ve observed to be true. And it’s counter-intuitive. And it’s not typically what’s taught in dentistry. But you were talking about your phone software, the ability to understand how many calls you’re getting, how many you’re answering, and how many you’re converting of those to an appointment, is a critical piece of information. So when somebody really isn’t aware of this, and they come to you, and you start working with them, what percentage of the calls are answered, and people who really aren’t aware of how important this is, and haven’t really started to work on improving it?
You know what? I think the one constant thing that I always hear is one of two things. I always hear this with a new practice. Either, “My staff has been through [A, B, C?] phone training curriculum at some point in the past.” And you can guess who [A, B, C?] might be. Or they say, “Hey, my staff is great. They’re trained. They’re doing great.” And inevitably, it’s always one of those or both, right? They were trained and they’re doing great. It’s a rare occasion when we see a practice that comes in and they say, “Man, this is not working. I’ve got problems in my phones.” It generally is always misdiagnosed as a new patient problem. And, fundamentally, it is a new patient problem. But it’s not a marketing dollar problem. It’s so much cheaper. Marketing can be expensive. If you’re trying to overcome 50 cracks in the floor that happen after your marketing and before that patient starts writing you a check, buttoning up all those spots in the floor is by far the cheapest way to grow a practice. Go ahead, [Wendy?].
I was just going to add, that’s why it’s so critical that you can provide real numbers, right? We always talk about a performance gap perception versus reality. Our perception of where we’re performing, or where our team’s performing often just doesn’t align with our reality. It is what it is. And so, sometimes, I think it’s so critical to be able to have a way to measure and provide a dose of reality to those that really do have some opportunities that are untapped, if you will, with the phones ringing in. They need to know where they stand so they can set goals to improve. So it’s so nice that you actually have those actual statistics to share and a method of tracking performance.
I mean, the doctors in the back, they’re treating patients. They’re delivering great care. They’re not up in the front monitoring what’s going on. They’re not hovering over their front desk I can probably count on one hand the number of doctors that actually monitor the phone calls, if they’re recording them, to make sure that things are happening, and the rights things are happening. So being able to distill down that critical metric of, hey– I think you always have to do it from a place of care, and from a place of empathy. There’s nothing worse than getting a report that says, “Hey, Sally at the front desk is doing awful.” Well, we can’t storm up there and say, “Sally, you suck. You’ve got to fix all this, right? You’re awful.” Well, no. We’ve got to figure out what’s the problem, how are we going to go fix it, what’s going on with Sally that this isn’t working, right? We’ve got the data. The data doesn’t really solve the problem for us. The data is just the diagnosis. Now we’ve got to take that data and go figure out, what’s the strategy to change it. And that’s really where the magic lies, is being able to understand, if you don’t diagnose the right problem, you’re never going to fix it. It’s kind of like, your boat’s sinking, and you’re just bailing water out, and you’re not plugging the leak. Until you plug the leak, you’re going to be stuck bailing water.
So in addition to the ability to monitor phones and phone calls, and, conversions are certainly great leading indicators. So I always love when we can identify leading indicators. Tell us about some of the other things that you’re doing for practices?
I’d say the next secret that i talk a lot about is that you don’t always need more new patients. Sometimes you need better patients. And the difference really comes down to mindset. Just about every patient in the world these days has dental insurance. So the question is not, does a patient have dental insurance or not, if you’re trying to attract fee-for-service patients. The question is, do they have an insurance mindset, I call it, and, do they ask questions like, “Well, what’s my insurance cover? That’s all I want.” “Oh, well, you need a crown.” “Well, can you just extract it, instead?”, right? And how do we attract patients that want a higher level of care, that are looking for a practice that can deliver it and cares about them, reciprocity? How do we get those patients in which– by the way, when you can attract those, you’re going to be able to charge more for it. If you take the average dental practice that has– let’s use a $1,500 for the first year average patient value, let’s take the average dental practice that sees 50 new patients a month. If you take that average patient value– again, this is the 10% rule, right? This is the money funnel. If you go from a $1,500 average value to a $1,666 average value – a very small increase, $166 over a year – you’ve added $100,000 to the bottom line of the practice. It’s the small things that just amount to millions of dollars at the end of the year. And I think a lot of it comes down to the 80/20 rule, always making sure you’re working in the 20%. You can always attract more insurance patients. Just go sign up for more works if that’s your strategy, right? That doesn’t take strategy to do. How can we attract these better patients that are looking for the kind of care that the dentists we work with provide? And then, how can we relay, and demonstrate, and prove that level of care, and get them to come in and see us?
So what are some of the things that you do to attract those kind of patients?
I’m a huge Cialdini fan. And I think Cialdini hits the nail on the head with a lot of his, weapons of influence, he calls them. It’s social proof. You’ve got to have great testimonials, testimonials are long-form, reviews, things that are really going to build that social proof. You’ve got to be able to persuade people to come in and understand that this is different, this is not what you may have received in the past, this is not going to be a run-of-the-mill-type operation, we really care. And social proof’s one of the most powerful things you can use to demonstrate what is really one of the core values in a lot of practices.
This is, again, very aligned with what we teach, [Colin?], because we talk about how, from the very, very beginning, there are certain steps that the hygiene providers can do to build a higher level of value for patients, to help them understand why these services that may not be covered by insurance are of benefit, and worthy of investment, right? So the right mindset matters. But I think a lot of dental professionals don’t understand that they can actually have a tremendous amount of influence in changing the mindset, right? And they each have a role and a responsibility to help the patient see why some of these services make sense. And social proof and testimonials, all that feeds into that, as well. So we’re big fans of Cialdini and some of his influences as well. So I think, again, it’s refreshing to hear from the clinical side. I love when the clinical side of things and the business side of things are aligned. And we’re all going in the same direction, right? We’re going to get where we want to go faster if we’re all going in the same direction.
I think one of the things that dentists, and all of us, really, have to get our head wracked around, is, we’re not going at this to be salespeople, to sell more stuff. We approach this to deliver higher levels of value for our patients. And we deliver higher levels of value when we’re able to help patients more, when we’re able to save more of their teeth because we diagnosed the [pyria?] early, and mitigated it, when we’re able to do oral cancer screenings, and catch these things early. It’s providing that higher level of value that also provides for the dentist by way of higher compensation. I think often times, sometimes, we hear things and we go, “Oh, that’s a sales pitch. They’re just trying to sell me more.” No. They’re trying to provide value. And it’s the old– who was the motivational speaker that said, “You can get anything you want when you give the other person what they want first”?
Zig. Yeah. Yeah. And that’s what we’re doing here. We’ve got to provide value first. And as a result, we’ll get what we’re trying to get out of it as well.
That’s awesome. My observation has been, far more frequently, dentist pull the punch and don’t tell patients all of the options, what’s available, how they could help them, they pull the punch rather than giving the patient all the information they need and letting the patient decide. That’s really what you’re talking about is how you get to that next level is really helping patients understand and giving information. And you don’t have to sell. All you have to do is inform.
Yep, yep. And I think it first starts with the dentist believing in what they do that has value. If they don’t believe that there’s value in this information, in this diagnosis, and what they’re doing, they’re not going to be successful in selling that.
So, Colin, you’re going to be speaking at our annual summit, the Champions of Dentistry Summit. So can you give us a little taste of what you’re going to be talking about there?
Well, I’m going to be talking about the five secrets. The five secrets to attracting better patients and the cases that you want. I just covered two of them. More patients are not better. And you must have a money funnel. You want me to give you a third secret?
All right. So the third secret. This is probably one of the most asked questions that I get. Most all dentists, I think at this face– I’d say maybe not most all, let’s say 65 to 70 percent have done Pay Per Click before. And maybe they’re still doing it. Maybe it’s working great. Maybe it didn’t work out. And they spent a bunch of money because they thought if they spent more money on Pay Per Click, they would get more clicks, they would rank higher, right? So what often is misconstrued is that Google AdWords or Google ads as it’s been rebranded is a bidding war. And it can’t be farther from the truth. Google ads, AdWords, Pay Per Click is not a bidding war. And when you think that it’s a bidding war, that’s the quick way to burn tens of thousands of dollars trying to bid more to get better results. PPC is the same as any marketing. You’ve got to optimize it. Or if you don’t, you pay what I call the dumb tax. Google calls it the quality score tax, right? And what that is is– like I said, the same for anything. If you’re not optimizing, you could be paying 400% more for the same click. You can have somebody that’s three spots above you on the paid search, paying half as much as what you’re paying per click. It’s a it’s a complete game changer. And so many practices that I work with had never heard of it. They have no idea what quality score is. And they just think, “Oh, it’s an auction. It’s a bidding war.” And understanding how you can reduce your cost per click by sometimes a factor of 10– I’ve talked to doctors that have 80 to 100 dollar cost per clicks that they’re paying. And we can get that down by a factor of 10. It’s an enormous, enormous, either cost savings, or increase in new patients, however, you want to think of it.
Google wants to make sure that their searches are relevant. And so they want to make sure that when somebody lands on an ad, that they go to that site, that they find what they’re looking for. And the way they incent that is by reducing the cost. And that’s one of the things that your company does for dentists. Well, I’m super excited to hear all the five secrets and not just to hear the secrets. But how do we go about making those happen in our practices so that we can improve the results from our marketing spin, have a patient that is interested in high-level care? And so I’m super excited to hear the whole thing.
I’m really excited to come down there and get a chance to talk with your docs and reveal all five secrets. It’s going to be awesome.
Yeah, we’re excited too. Every year, at the Champions of Dentistry Summit, we work really hard to have it be– to all of our speakers to be able to help practices know what they can do to grow, right? A lot of CDE is not really focused on practice growth that we have found that that’s what many dentists want to hear about. And whether its growth through influx of new patients or whether it’s growth by being more intentional and working on those levers are knobs as we call them, small incremental changes, they all bring about the same result which helps practice grows. So I’m looking forward to it and I know that our members really enjoy what you have to say.
Very good. Well, Colin, really appreciate you being on the podcast today. Any last things you want to add?
No, I’m going to have to reserve my last two secrets for the event. I can’t [inaudible].
And those who are interested in learning more about what Colin does, you can go to his website. It’s smartboxdentalmarketing.com. And the website’s good, of course. He’s a digital marketer. Website should be good. So you’ll be able to understand what he does by visiting his website. And it’ll be there to talk to people and share ideas and share strategies at our summit.
Thanks, [inaudible]. Appreciate it.
You bet, Colin. So that’s it for this Double Your Production podcast. We’ll see you on the next episode.