By Jay Geier, contributing writer

February 15, 2017 -- Let's talk about love. Heck, it is February after all, and yesterday was Valentine's Day, so we should be pretty primed to discuss it. Today, however, I want to talk about a different kind of love. Not the romantic kind or the kind you share with your parent or child, but the kind of love that should exude from your practice and that affects perfect strangers. I'm talking about a love for new patients.

Jay Geier
Jay Geier is the president and founder of the Scheduling Institute.

You may get tired of me saying this, but I can't stress enough how new patients are the lifeblood of your practice. You need a steady, increasing flow of them to combat natural attrition and see significant growth in your business.

So let me ask you a question: Do you love new patients? I mean really love them?

And more important, does your team love them? I mean, really love them? Do they bend over backward to get them on the schedule? Do they stay after hours to accommodate an urgent request? Or do they grumble when the schedule is full and they know it's going to be a busy day?

4 ways to get started

I have countless clients who had teams who either didn't understand the importance of new patients to the practice or who didn't recognize their opportunity to make an impact on that person. It's time, during this season of love, to begin changing the new patient mindset of your team. Here's how you get started:

1. Establish the vision

If your team doesn't know what new patients mean to the success of your business, you need to educate them. Start with their financial value. Each new patient represents about $2,000 over their lifetime, and that can add up quickly.

“It's time, during this season of love, to begin changing the new patient mindset of your team.”

2. Set the goals

To increase your new patient numbers, you need to know where you currently stand. You can determine the average number of new patients you get over the course of several months. Now take that number, increase it by a significant number -- something that will take effort to reach but not something unattainable. Keep your goal highly visible, and be sure to discuss it regularly at meetings and team huddles. It needs to be clear to each of your team members.

3. Train your team

The best way to capture new patients is to ensure your team is trained on how to properly answer new patient phone call inquiries. Our experience has shown that the great majority of dental offices are losing five to 10 new patients each month on average, simply because the team doesn't know how to schedule them -- or doesn't even answer the phone.

Did you notice I didn't say increase your marketing spend? The beauty of having the skill to correctly convert a new-patient call into a new-patient appointment, means you will get a better return on investment for your current marketing spend.

4. Share the wealth

Now that your team understands the importance of new patients and knows how to get more of them on your schedule, you need to show them how new patients can benefit them personally. The best way to do that is to incentivize your team on new patient numbers. That means reward them when they beat their baseline or reach or exceed their goal. Give them an incentive -- a dollar amount or tangible prize -- they can strive for to meet their goals. Your team will soon see that when new patient numbers rise, so do their checking accounts and their appreciation for their value. We have found that rewards and incentives really step up a team's engagement.

This is a great way for you to introduce a love for new patients to your team. Establish your vision, set goals, train your team, and then share the wealth you get from hitting your goals. You'd be surprised at how willing your team will be to stay after hours, work through lunch, or even take an after-hours phone home with them to capture more new patients.

Jay Geier is the founder and owner of the Scheduling Institute, a dental training and practice consulting company. For more information on practice building success strategies, visit here. Go to and see what your front desk team will do to get a new patient.

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

Copyright © 2017

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