How to boost patient numbers at your practice without spending an extra cent on marketing – Part 1

In an increasingly competitive dental market, you could be forgiven for thinking the only way to win is to outspend your competitors. Think again. In this multi-part series, founder of Dental Profit System, Angus Pryor take you through the different steps to boost your patient numbers at your practice without spending an extra cent of marketing.

Hi, everyone. Angus Pryor here, creator of the Dental Profit System and co-author of the Kindle-smashing book “The Better Business Book”, bringing you this week’s Marketing Monday, the weekly video show designed to boost the marketing at your dental practice. Now, it’s a glorious day today in Sydney, and to be honest, I thought I’d much rather come and do this outside than be in the office.

Look, firstly, we’ll talk about today’s topic in a second, but I’ve just last night returned from what’s been a really excellent conference, I want to actually give a bit of a shout out to the conference organizers, because I think they did a brilliant job. From my point of view, I’ve been to lots of conferences over the year, and the one that’s just finished, for my mind, was one of the best I’ve ever seen.

Also a shout out to a few of the people that I met over the week. I’m just thinking through the list, all right, Jared from Port Lincoln, from memory, David from Bendigo, SK from Perth, Michael from Goulburn. I’m sure there are others. And of course, the awesome group of people who came and attended my presentation on Saturday morning. We a had a couple hundred there and they did really well. Great, lots of interaction, which was terrific. I almost threw my shoulder out throwing chocolates out into the audience. So I might have to get a designated thrower next time.

Look, the topic for today is how to boost your practice, your business, without spending an extra cent on your marketing. I think, before I get into the detail I do need to mention one thing. The idea that you can somehow grow your business without spending any money on marketing at all is very difficult in the current climate in Australia. As a dentist, just to give you an idea, I mean, the numbers, there’s been more than 2,000 new dentists in Australia in the last three years. So you are going to have to spend some money on marketing.

To give you an idea, a bit of a rule of thumb, if you’re looking to grow rapidly, you probably want to be spending around 5% of turnover on marketing. If things are going well, you know, maybe 1 to 2%, and otherwise, somewhere in between. Now, of course, marketing is lots of things. It doesn’t mean spending 5% of TV advertising. It can be internal. There’s a whole range of different bits and pieces. So that’s the first thing, just be aware you’re going to have to spend. But the topic for today is how to do it without spending an extra cent.

The first thing that we want to look at there, and we’ll be doing this in a series over the coming weeks, is thinking about, if you know what the return is, then working out how you’re going to pull those people in and the effort that you’re gong to go to is so much easier. Let me give you an idea, I mean, this is a bit fanciful, but imagine if every time you got a new patient at your business, there was $1 million there waiting for you. Now, of course that figure’s not true. But imagine if that was the case. Do you think you wouldn’t do everything in your power to bring that person in?

So therefore, it’s critical for you to know what that figure is for your business. I call that figure average patient value, APV, and it’s pretty simple to work out. Run a report from your system, you can sort patients over a 12 months period, from the person who’s spent the most to the person who’s spent the least, and just grab the middle figure. So in fact, that median, not average, but you know, pretty close. Then if you know that, then once you’ve figured out, well, each time I bring a new person in, on average that’s what they’re going to spend with me in the next 12 months. So that information is critical.

Now, to give you an idea, the clients that I’ve done this with before in Australia, it varies from about $500 to around $1,000 per patient in that 12 month period. In fact, that’s an average figure across every patient on your books, not just the new ones who arguably might spend a bit more.

The second part there of course, is that on average they’re going to stay with you longer than one year. So that’s step one. Next week I’m going to ask you whether you’ve actually done that. Yes, it’s going to take you about, I mean, let’s face it, five minutes. Run the report, high to low, 12 month period. Just look through the report. You know, there might be 1,000 people there. What did person 500 on your list, what did they spend? Know that figure, because in the coming weeks that’ll be really helpful.

All right, well, that’s it for me. Angus Pryor, signing off on this lovely summer Sydney day. Well, of course it’s not summer, but it sure is sunny. We’ll see you next week for more Marketing Monday. See you.