By Charles Loretto
Using more than two decades of experience managing and observing dental transitions, NDP has the steps you will need for success.
1) The established doctor must have a DENTAL PRACTICE THAT CAN SUPPORT THE ASSOCIATE. Are all your areas covered?
✓ Collections of at least $900,000
✓ 25+ new patients a month
✓ 1500+ active patients
✓ Minimum of 5 operatories
✓ Overhead that is 60% or less
✓ Financial plan of the seller must be solid and in order
2) The established doctor should have a TRANSITION CONSULTING TEAM for guidance throughout the process. With the team’s help, clear collection goals/timelines for the transition process will be set. The team can also advise the new doctor on the practice’s financials so that everyone is clear on what it will take for the transition to be successful. The established doctor must set the tone and be committed – bringing on a new doctor can be rewarding, but also complicated. The staff’s commitment to the transition will determine its success.
3) The WEBSITE needs to be updated with the associate/new partner’s information. Use this as a way to announce the new doctor’s arrival and to introduce him/her to your community. Be sure to position the new doctor as equally as important as you are….If the “About Us” section is 90% about the senior doctor and you have to scroll to the bottom to see the associate’s tiny bio, then ask yourself, “Would I want to be seen by the associate?”
4) Those 30-40 new patients calling your phone each month for an appointment need to be directed to the new associate 70% of the time. This requires that the front desk be trained/coached to do this. For example, if the front desk greets callers with, “Dr. Jones & Associates”, it’s hard to sell patients on seeing the associate. If the phone is answered, “Dental Office of Dr. Jones & Dr. Smith”, Dr. Smith, the associate, will be seen as one of two great options.
5) SIGNAGE SHOULD MAKE A BOLD STATEMENT. When patients see your sign and marketing materials, “Dr. Smith” should be as visible as “Dr. Jones”. If visuals like the size of the font or picture on the website appear less prominent than that of the established doctor, you’re signaling that the established doctor is more important.
6) Another ingredient to this recipe is the INTRODUCTION OF THE DOCTOR. The ideal introduction is for the senior doctor to introduce the associate as a partner. Yes, a partner. You don’t have to be a business partner legally, you need to convey the message as if you are. Put him/her on a high pedestal and your patients will do the same.
7) Don’t forget to MARKET THE PRACTICE, specifically the new doctor. Make sure the website is up-to-date and user-friendly. We highly-recommend hiring a SEO specialist to get involved to ensure your practice ranks on the first page of Google when patients search in your area. Direct mail can be an effective tool, especially in new, fast growing areas, but be sure to do your research before launching a campaign. The bottom line is, the community in which you operate needs to know about you.
8) WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THOSE NEW PATIENTS? This requires the front desk to be formally trained by the established doctor or a transition consultant on how to keep the associate’s schedule full. Keeping the associate busy allows both doctors to end up spending more quality time with new and existing patients.
9) SETTING THE FINANCIAL GOALS for the established doctor, the new doctor and practice is important. To meet these goals, the entire office needs to be aware of what the individual production goals are for the new doctor. The practice’s collections will need to increase, so that bringing on a new doctor doesn’t become a liability. You will typically see the senior doctor’s collections take a modest dip, but increases in hygiene and from the associate doctor will increase the overall collections of the practice.
10) At the beginning of each month, BOTH DOCTORS NEED TO DISCUSS THE PREVIOUS MONTH’S COLLECTIONS. During this time, evaluate areas that worked well and those that need improvement. The associate doctor should capture these changes in writing and send them to the established doctor. From there, the senior doctor can share the notes with the staff at the team meeting, recapping the previous month, as well as the changes that both partners have agreed to.
Charles Loretto is the Director of New Client Services for Cain Watters & Associates, PLLC, an Investment Advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Information provided does not take into account individual financial circumstances and should not be considered investment advice. Request Form ADV Part 2A for a complete description of Cain Watters financial planning and investment advisory services. Each practice and individual circumstances are different, past results do not guarantee future results and no inference should be drawn that all practice owners will be profitable in the future or that any individual will achieve financial goals as a result of ownership. There is no affiliation between Cain Watters and Wells Fargo.