Imagine you are a young mother with a couple of kids. You and your husband are just starting out in the world. You both have jobs. Both of you are working hard. You’ve got a house and cars, but you’re stretched very thin (as probably all of us were at some point in our lives). Now imagine that your husband dies suddenly of natural causes. You have the weight of all the expenses, all the things you’ve built—but instead of having two incomes, you only have one. Imagine being that single mom. How is she going to go out in the world and deal with things as they relate to her new life situation?
There are some pretty safe assumptions you can make about this person’s mindset on a variety of topics:
Are her desires for appointment times going to be different now than they were before? Absolutely. She can’t miss work. She needs those hours, she needs the money. Having convenient appointment times will allow her to keep her regular work schedule. This is extremely important to her.
Are the fees going to matter to her? Of course they are. She’s going to want the fees to be as affordable as possible.
Her budget is stretched. If major dental needs arise, do you think she’s going to want to make payments? You bet she is. She’s not going to have cash to pay for it.
Handling Issues Immediately
If she makes all the arrangements necessary for her to get to her hygiene appointment—babysitters, travel, scheduling— but you find some other problem that needs to be treated, do you think she’s going to want to do it right then? Absolutely. She’s going to want to the treatment right then. She has already arranged her life to be there; most of the time, she’ll want the problem taken care of right then.
Do you think she’s going to care about her insurance? Absolutely, she’s going to care. If you don’t accept her plan, do you think she’s going to stick with you? Absolutely not.
That’s The Single Mother Mindset. We’ve come to realize that in the new economy, there are a lot of people operating with that same mindset.
Patients are concerned about all these things, so much more that they were in the past.
Ignoring The Single Mother Mindset
If you want your practice to grow, you can take the following approach:
- You can work 9 AM to 4 PM.
- You can charge high fees.
- You can schedule one appointment for a new patient exam, another for a consultation, one appointment to get records, and one to begin treatment.
- You can choose not to take anyone’s insurance.
- You can make people pay upfront.
You can do all those things—but realize the pool of patients in your community attracted to that approach is very small. If there are enough of them and you’re good at it, it may work. There is so much more opportunity if you can open up to taking care of the patients who function with that Single Mom Mindset.