New Dental Patients Are No Silver Bullet

When dentists talk about growing their practices, the conversation often revolves around attracting more new patients to their dental office. Do I need a new website? Do I advertise on Google? Should I put a billboard up on Main Street? While every practice needs new patients to stay healthy, the truth is getting enough of them through the door is one of the most expensive ways to grow your bottom line. Why?

41% of them won't come back

According to some industry sources, 41% of new patients won’t return after their initial visit. Some of them are out looking for a deal, others turn out to be emergency patients, and a few simply may not feel like you're the right fit for them. In terms of production, focusing on recall and reactivation is far more efficient than spending inordinately on advertising and new dental patient incentives.

24% of them will go over 2 years without an appointment

At RevenueWell, we have the great fortune of 20/20 vision into patient data from thousands of dental offices nationwide. What does this data tell us? If you’re like most dental offices, 24% of your active patients haven’t had an appointment in over 2 years. These patients already know and trust you, and have had dentistry done in your office before. When your goal is to sustainably grow your practice, reactivating these patients (and keeping this percentage low) is just as important, if not more important, than pumping in new ones.

Most will spend less than $190 in the next 12 months

Do you know how much it costs you to acquire a new patient? If you actively advertise your office or use a service that sends you new patient leads, you may have a good idea. But do you know how much those new patients will spend? With over 35 million patients in our database, we certainly do. An average insurance patient spent $233 with their doctor in the last 12 months, compared with just $106 for a private pay patient. You may fare better or worse depending on your practice and location — but it’s easy to see that scheduling an extra crown every month could have a greater impact to your bottom line than acquiring 3 new patients.

Look inside your practice first

It’s a terribly overused business cliché that selling more to your existing customers is much easier than going out and getting new ones. That it’s a cliché doesn’t make it wrong. In fact, it may have been made up by a dental office manager. An average practice has 1,600 patients — and yours may have several multiples of that number. 50% of them need something right this second: a cleaning appointment, restorative work, cosmetic improvements or an occlusal appliance—you name it. Engaging them, educating them, and getting more of them to accept proposed treatment will always be one of the easiest ways you have to grow your business.

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Learn more about how RevenueWell improves case acceptance and creates more close-knit relationships between dentists and their patients.