Want fries with that crown? The art of the sell-up

Editor's note: Richard Geller's column, Marketing Madness, appears regularly on the DrBicuspid.com advice and opinion page, Second Opinion.

How would you like to have another 20% or so in revenue, without much additional effort? You can get that with a technique called the "sell-up."

What is a sell-up? When patients come in for one procedure, mention a couple of others that would benefit them.

Why do a sell-up? We all know that dentistry is both an amazing and honorable profession, as well as a business.

As a business, you make your money on your second, third, and fourth sale to the same customer -- or "patient," as we like to call them.

It costs a lot in overhead and sometimes in marketing costs to get a patient to come in. Even if the patient was a referral, you have to pay your office team to make the appointment, and later to confirm it, and be there when the patient arrives. And you have to maintain your gorgeous office.

All this costs clams, many clams. So even for a referral that had no direct marketing costs, you paid, baby. You paid. Let's say you take in $400 on a patient's first visit. It may all go to overhead.

But if you could do $1,000 on that first visit, or even $600, now you're cooking with gas. Subtract the $400, and the rest is mostly profit.

Aha! (See, you just need to read my material, you don't need that Harvard M.B.A.!)

So when is the right time for a sell-up?

Instantly after you've made the first sale. Don't delay, don't procrastinate. Now is the best time!

If someone comes in and needs a couple old blown-out amalgams replaced with sparkling new inlays, then you can say, "Hey, since we're already gonna be working on this area, why not also think about getting those teeth whiter-looking?"

Now you've sold bleaching. It can be that easy. And of course the patient is better off with the shade they desire, rather than that icky yellow they don't like anyway. You are doing them a favor.

Now it's time for the next sell-up. Go for it. Have some guts. "While we're at it, you might want to think about a deep cleaning. It might be helpful to your gums, and we all are at an age when we have to think more about preventing further bone loss."

Whammo. Done the patient a big favor, and got them in two or three more times for deep cleaning. Hopefully your hygiene team can do that, and even if you have to get the patient numb, you have helped them -- and raised your productivity in the process.

Sure, you'll be shot down sometimes. But you've planted the seed. And if you are really clever (and I know you are), you will get your team to do the sell-up. Nothing better than the hygienist talking to the patient about the deep cleaning first. Then you come in and seal the deal. Or vice versa.

These are just a few ideas on the sell-up. If you get good at it, I am telling you now that, with just a few new procedures, you can increase your practice revenue by 20% or more -- without raising prices. And even in today's tougher financial climate.

Looking for more ways to ethically sell dentistry? Hop over to www.Cases4Dentists.com and snag a copy of my acclaimed best-selling book for free instead of $59.95.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

Copyright © 2008 DrBicuspid.com

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