If you’re like many, you’ve wished for nothing else but this year (and everything about it) to be over!
I agree with this sentiment wholeheartedly. For that matter, the desire to send 2020 into the history books has become a universal cultural phenomenon. You could have this discussion with anyone on planet Earth and find enthusiastic agreement with no further explanation needed.
But it does leave me wondering:
What is 2021 going to look like? And as far as the dental industry is concerned—what is 2021 going to look like for your dental practice?
Hopefully, it’s not going to ask 2020 to “hold my beer.”
All joking aside, I can state three things with a fair degree of certainty:
- THE ECONOMY: Like it or not, the economic effects of the various lockdowns and closures this past year (some of which are still ongoing), has not fully manifested. There will be quite a bit more fallout to come in 2021. To that end, we’re beginning to see some of this in the Yelp Economic Report for Q3, which I referenced in a previous post you can view here. And keep in mind, these numbers were issued prior to the recent virus spikes and various shutdowns this past month.
- YOUR PATIENTS: As a result, you’ll have more patients of record (and new patients) that have been wounded economically (lost their job, business, benefits, etc.).
- REVENUES: As a dentist/practice owner, you’ll potentially see your “ATV” or average transaction value (average charge per patient visit) drop in 2021. Which means that maintaining volume at its current level—making no other changes—will translate into lowered revenue for 2021. And we’re not alone in predicting this. For that matter, the projections issued in October of 2020 by Marko Vujicic, the Vice President and Chief Economist of the American Dental Association states: “ADA projections show a 38% reduction in the dental industry overall for 2020 and up to a 20% reduction for 2021—assuming no major changes to the status quo over the winter.”
And in response to this revenue drop, I predict that we’ll also see a considerable number of doctors signing up for insurance plans that they would not have considered previously in an effort to salvage some revenue or their practice itself.
- TREATMENT ACCEPTANCE: All of the above will lead to more competition amongst some more “forward-thinking” practices for “high-value” cases—e.g. implants, large cosmetic cases, etc. Which is fine, but keep in mind, when demand (number of doctors) outpaces supply (number of patients looking for these services) in these situations, it becomes a “buyers’ market” for the patients. Among other things, they’ll have more choice as to where to go and place a higher premium on customer service and experience. You could be a great dentist—but they may not make it past your untrained receptionist who mishandled their call.Also keep in mind, that these “high-value” cases don’t sell themselves. In these matters, you’ll need the case presentation skills to match. You could also state that these case presentation skills will be a vital “need” no matter what type of treatment you’ll be presenting. Patients, whether affected economically or not, may become more judicious with their dollar with bread-and-butter dentistry, too. If you can’t effectively communicate need and value to your patients, you’ll find those that may have accepted treatment in “better times” deciding to put things off into the future.
I know none of the above is great news. And to be clear, my purpose is not to promote “Doom and Gloom.” There is a way to find success at the other end of all of this. If anything, I’m simply stating that there are “rough waters ahead.” What you do next can mean the difference between reaching your destination in good shape or capsizing.
If you consider the four points above, I see two choices (with some shades of gray in between):
- Accept your fate, you’re going to have a “down” year or years. Your practice will somehow (hopefully) make it though, or
- Take control of the situation (which takes some work, but is possible) and not only succeed despite all this—but see your practice G-R-O-W.
For “1” you don’t have to do anything. Sit back, relax, and (you probably won’t) enjoy. For “2”, you need to act. Now.
(Related: The Secret to a Successful Business)
ANATOMY OF A DENTAL PRACTICE
If we were to break a dental practice into its fundamental components, what would you have?
Well, like most business, it breaks down into four parts:
- You have to sell your services (in your case: dentistry),
- You have to deliver your services,
- For growth (and to maintain in the face of attrition) you have to get new people (patients) in to sell and deliver to,
- And you have to manage all of these functions.
It might look like this:
If you know how to do “A” through “D” above, (and you already know how to do “B”—you’re a dentist), not only can you survive an economic downturn—you can thrive!
If you haven’t mastered these things, you need to. It requires education, coaching and systems to put it all together, effectively giving you CONTROL over your business.
How do I know this? I see it. Every day with clients that have done the MGE Power Program! And yes, the MGE Power Program is a revolutionary combination of the very things I just mentioned: practice management education, coaching, and systems!
TRENDING IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION
Every November, I begin a review of MGE Power Program client statistics. Obviously, these metrics tell me how good of a job we (and our clients) are doing. I like to look longer-term (annually) to see what percentage of Power Clients are growing and to what degree.
Well, last month, I “braced” myself to see what 2020 looked like. Sure, I already knew some specific clients had been lighting it up when they reopened following the lockdowns earlier in the year, but I would not have been surprised to see many Power Clients have a (slightly) down year—especially in light of having to close for nothing but emergencies for one to three months back in March-June.
What I saw instead blew me away.
TONS of clients were ALREADY up by October 2020 over ALL of 2019 – despite the closures. Imagine that!
This was followed by TONS more that were easily on track to beat 2019 by December.
So, while the rest of the industry was bracing for a 38% down year in 2020—these clients were already up over 2019 or easily on track to be so! I had expected them to come out of this okay—and they just took it to the next level!
Why? These Power Clients can do “A” through “D” above!
By the doing the MGE Power Program they learned how to:
- Consistently get new patients, and get more as they need them,
- They can present treatment and get a patient to understand “need” and “value,”
- How to organize their practices to maximize efficiency,
- Find productive employee and get them trained FAST,
- Use statistics to manage their business,
- Inspire, lead and motivate their teams,
- Manage their overhead and finances, and
- Troubleshoot problems quickly if things go off track.
Of course, there’s a lot to all of the above. But that gives you the general nature of what’s made them uniquely prepared to succeed despite any economic uncertainties.
So, how will 2021 turn out for you and your dental practice? In light of what’s coming, it all depends on…YOU. And the key is to take action NOW. And to that end, I’d highly recommend you find out about the MGE Power Program to see if it would be a good fit. And don’t delay! No matter what you do, time is of the essence!
I wish you the best!