Many of you will remember a couple of years ago, there was summer drought in the Southeast. Locally, our city’s main water reservoir almost went dry and heavy water restrictions were set in place. One of those restrictions was a prohibition on watering outdoor plants with tap water. Since gardening and landscaping is a major hobby for many, this prohibition was quite distressing. A resourceful few set out rain barrels as a counter measure and managed the situation quite successfully.
If your practice is anything like mine, you experience a measurable drop-off in the amount of new patient calls about this time of year. This can result in a schedule that looks rather moth-eaten as well as flat production numbers.
As everyone is aware, this annual “drought” is commonly due to the summer season. Moms and dads are heading to the beach or are busy shuttling little Johnnie and Mary off to socceer camp and the like. In short, fewer people are around and/or they are more focused on other things than dentistry.
Such is life … This annual trend although frustrating, doesn’t have to lead to a drop in your monthly production or profitability. One strategy that I have used quite successfully to avert a mid-summer “drought” is to market and promote my practice strongly in the second quarter. Currently we are using some informative radio spots, participation in a spring health fair and a cooperatively sponsored seminar with a local plastic surgeon to do this. This strategy typically yields plans for more esthetic & restorative work than I can handle at the time. It also allows us to begin Phase I care with a new group of people who will be ready for Phase II around mid-summer, just when I need the increased activity.
This strategy, like using a rain barrel during a drought, allows us to counter balance the natural slow-down in new patient traffic which occurs over the summer. It creates an internal flow of patients who are ready for restorative care at just the right time to meet my practice’s financial needs.
Give this strategy a try in the spring. It should improve your numbers as well as allow you to sleep more comfortably during those hot summer nights!