Being a dental specialist comes with many challenges, with the extra years of dental school and extra testing being just the start. Once you set up your practice, your dental work is only a small fraction of what you spend your day doing, and it’s likely the easiest part of your day. The harder part can be learning to market your dental practice. However, these challenges shouldn’t be viewed as entirely negative. Each comes with its own rewards, and learning how to overcome the challenges and reap the rewards can help you become a specialist who is not just successful in terms of income, but also successful in terms of your personal and patient satisfaction.
Challenge: You Can’t Go after Low-Hanging Fruit
When business is slow for a general dentist, they have an easy way to bring in more patients: they can market new patient specials focused on checkups, cleanings, and other preventive care. While not all of these patients will stay in the practice, it’s a fairly reliable way to bring in new patients.
However, specialists can’t do this as readily. While there is some value to offering free consultations (especially for orthodontists), there aren’t many new patient specials that work for specialists.
Reward: You automatically Bring in Better Patients
On the other hand, the new patient special is a double-edged sword. While it can bring in a lot of new patients, the patients it attracts are more likely to be especially cost-conscious and very leery of being upsold on any care–even care that is critical for their oral health.
On the other hand, when people come to a specialist, they are more focused on the quality of care they receive. In America, you can’t get away from cost-conscious patients, but having a pool that’s preselected to consider the value of treatment and not just the cost. This puts them in a place where you can talk to them about why it’s worth it to invest in certain treatments.
Challenge: You Can’t Market Broadly
When it comes to bringing in more patients quickly, general dentists also benefit from being able to market their services broadly. Yes, they can market preventive care, but they can also market orthodontics, endodontics, cosmetic dentistry (including prosthodontics), and placing dental implants (even though they’re not oral surgeons or periodontists).
You have to focus your marketing on your specialty area–you’re not allowed to market yourself as a general dentist.
Reward: You Already Know How to Narrow Your Practice
On the other hand, marketing broadly becomes its own trap. Many general dentists end up with a practice that is either doing a little bit of everything, forcing them to change gears an exhausting number of times over the course of the day and investing in a dizzying suite of technology that can make it hard to profit. Or sometimes dentists have most of their marketing success in an area they don’t even like to practice.
You don’t have that problem. You have a focused practice area, and that’s the kind of patients you’re going to bring in. This can help you be more focused on a daily basis, and it makes it easier to invest in the tools that you need for your practice, which can improve your bottom line. And you get to do the thing you love most: the specialty you chose.
Challenge: You Have to Compete with General Dentists
When you are marketing in your specialty, there is always a general dentist who is marketing the same treatment, usually for less. Plus, that general dentist is likely doing in-house marketing to their patient base, “You don’t have to see an endodontist for that tooth–I can do a root canal right here.”
Reward: You Get to Position Yourself as the Expert
On the other hand, you probably don’t want the cases that general dentists are attracting. As we noted above, these are more likely to be the cost-conscious patients who are going to seek the simplest and cheapest solution, even if it will be worse for them and cost more in the long run. You get to work with the patients who want good work and appreciate it when they get it. This improves your satisfaction in your work.
Plus, if you develop a good relationship with general dentists in your area, you can practically live off referrals. For example, many dentists only feel comfortable performing “simple” root canals, and will refer you all their complicated (AKA “fun”) cases. This can greatly curtail your need for marketing, which makes life much easier for you.
Learn to Love Being a Specialist
Hopefully looking at this list of challenges and rewards has inspired you. It’s a good time to be a dental specialist, and, if you’re doing it right, it’s easy to love.
However, we also know that not everybody finds it quite so easy. That’s why Dr. Safarian offers consulting. He can help you overcome the challenges, reap the rewards, and learn to love your specialty again while transforming your office into a 7 Figure Dental Practice. Or he can help you move in a different direction.
To learn how Dr. Safarian can help you, please call (858) 349-7996 today.