Right now, the United States is enjoying a long period of economic growth. Weak, anemic growth by historical standards, but still growth. With that in mind, it might seem naive to ask whether dentists’ retirement prospects are threatened.
But history teaches that every period of economic expansion is followed by a contraction. There’s no reason to think that the current, mildly favorable, conditions will continue indefinitely.
Economic contractions can wipe out years of dental practice growth. The most recent major example of a contraction, the Great Recession of 2007- 2009, cost dentists significant revenue. Due to job losses, economic uncertainty, and
That drop followed years of stagnation in the industry. Many dentists found their practices to be worth less than they had anticipated and few ready buyers. That forced them to defer their retirement plans, leading many to work far longer than they’d anticipated.
More recently, there have been signs that dental spending has plateaued and may be increasing very slightly. Dentists’ incomes finally stabilized in 2015.
Arguably, dental practices as a whole would seem to be slightly better positioned than they were before the Great Recession. But industry factors already in play have the potential to make the next recession more severe for the dental industry than the previous one.
What You Need to Thrive in Difficult Times
Many dental practices suffered during the last recession because their patient stream consisted of relatively low-value patients. Once incomes decreased due to layoffs, firings, or business closures, price-motivated dental patients deferred care in favor of keeping the lights on and food on the table.
The takeaway from this experience is to seek out and convert dental prospects with higher levels of disposable incomes. They’re out there – in fact, the odds are good that some 20 percent of your market consists of these “better” patients. And those patients are your insurance policy against another recession.
The patients you want and need to attract to grow and safeguard your dental practice aren’t motivated by specials, discounts, or coupons. You won’t motivate them to call your practice by using a traditional dental advertising approach.
Attracting better patients requires you to position yourself as the only logical choice to solve their dental problems. Don’t laugh – it’s not about technical abilities or experience. Dentists today are universally viewed as being competent, so touting how long you’ve been in practice won’t set you apart from the mass of dentists.
These better patients are looking for a dentist who they like, related to, and trust. And they’re willing and able to pay more for the right dentist for them. And they’re fiercely loyal – as long as your practice provides them with the experience and results they want, you won’t have to worry about them doctor-hopping.
When a significant percentage of your practice consists of loyal, reliable patients who stay, pay, and refer, you’re positioned to ride out whatever the economy may throw at you.
Take Action Now
If you’re serious about safeguarding your practice, and you have the flexibility to embrace a radically different approach to attracting new patients, here’s what you should do.
Visit www.PatientAttractionBlueprint.com and arrange a Blueprint call. We reserve these calls for dentists who want to see a Patient Attraction System™ that can double or even triple their practices.
SmartBox employs the best minds in dentistry to help you grow your practice. Our Practice Growth System™ is proven to help dentists in every market area across the country achieve predictable year-over-year growth.