Top 3 Reasons Dental Marketing Fails

Patrick Chavoustie, marketing expert and owner of Omni Premier Marketing firm, is interviewed by Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA, in this episode of Dental All-Stars, to discuss the top three reasons why dental marketing fails. Patrick shares insights from his experience in helping dental practices grow. They discuss the importance of marketing and advertising as separate entities, with marketing encompassing everything that potential patients see in a practice. Patrick emphasizes that the number one reason advertising fails is because practices are often ill-prepared to handle inquiries and convert them into appointments. He stresses the significance of following up with potential patients. The second reason highlighted is the failure to answer phone calls promptly, as this can result in missed opportunities and patients seeking alternatives. Alex emphasizes the importance of investing in well-trained personnel to handle phone calls and create an exceptional patient experience.


About Patrick Chavoustie

Patrick is the CEO of BSN Enterprises, LLC and Omni Premier Marketing. His extensive background in Medical and Dental Marketing and Business Development, alongside his leadership style, positioned him for this role. Omni Premier Marketing has expanded from working with exclusively plastic surgeons to working with multiple medical practices and developing the premier dental website design and marketing solutions under his direction. He also hosts The Dental Brief podcast.

About Alex Nottingham JD MBA

Alex is the CEO and Founder of All-Star Dental Academy®. He is a former Tony Robbins top coach and consultant, having worked with companies upwards of $100 million. His passion is to help others create personal wealth and make a positive impact on the people around them. Alex received his Juris Doctor (JD) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Florida International University.

Episode Transcript

Transcript performed by A.I. Please excuse the typos.


This is Dental All-Stars, where we bring you the best in dentistry on marketing, management, and training. Here’s your host, Alex Nottingham. Welcome to Dental All-Stars. The title of this podcast is the top three reasons dental marketing fails. Our guest is Patrick Chavoustie. Patrick is a seasoned marketing expert with a passion in helping dental practices grow.


He is the owner of Omni Premier Marketing Firm and the host of the Dental Brief podcast. Please welcome Patrick. Alex, I’m thrilled to be here. Thanks so much for inviting me on. I really appreciate it. My pleasure. You’re the marketing guru. So tell me, getting right into, well, actually, I like to get right into the questions, but before I do that, actually, I should ask you, I mean, tell me about your podcast, the Dental Brief.


Yeah, so we’ve been at it a couple of years now. We actually started the podcast with some downtime during COVID, like, hey, our clients are sitting at home. What can we do? So we actually started it as something that we put together for our clients. And then it just quickly evolved and blew up from there. I don’t even know how many episodes that we’ve recorded. I think it’s over a couple hundred. We’re consistently putting out three episodes a week.


Um, our goal of our, our podcast is to give dentists, um, practice leaders, owners, um, information that they, they can use that day that they can take from our guests who are experts and put into action that day to improve their lives, to improve their practices, to gain more freedom. Um, so that’s our goal. That’s our number one goal is, uh, more freedom for, for dentists and practice owners. Well, it’s a wonderful.


Activity you do it’s a great podcast very well done very polished and Tell me about dental marketing because you are a marketing expert. You have a marketing company you lecture and teach on this subject Why does most dental marketing fail? So I’m gonna I do this with everybody I’m gonna and so sorry if you’ve heard this before But I’m gonna separate out marketing and advertising is not being one in the same


So marketing, how I define it and how I believe it should be defined is everything that you do that happens in your practice that potential patients or patients see, right? So it’s the way that you answer a phone. I know you guys are experts in this and talk about it on your podcast and on your website. It’s the way your lamps look in your practice. It’s the way your furniture is. It’s literally everything that they…


they see. So anything of potential patient or a patient sees in your practice is marketing. Advertising is part of marketing, right? Because since it’s part of everything that people do, you have to understand that advertising is how you get that major marketing in front of potential patients. So advertising is how you get your message out. Marketing is what your overall message is. Does that make sense, Alex? It does. Yeah. So when


One thing that I see happen, and this isn’t one of those three reasons, but a major reason why advertising fails, not marketing, but advertising fails, is because all of those other parts of marketing aren’t in order and running effectively and efficiently. So when somebody does hear your message and they do contact your practice, you may not be ready to convert them into a new patient. So I want to do a little switch here, and we’ll call it why advertising fails.


Well, it’s interesting when I was doing my MBA program, I took the marketing course and I’m like, oh, great advertising. I’m going to learn about what advertising is, but marketing is not advertising. Marketing has to do with markets. It’s actually a business, statistics, it’s a whole framework. Now, advertising can be part of gaining market share. So you’re right. The proper terminology is advertising.


Yes, we’re looking at branding. It’s a more strategic approach marketing. And I think it’s important. But advertising are the actual tactics you’re using. And often I love this expression that I’ve heard once, which, and this is what a lot of dentists do, which is pay and pray. Let’s throw money at it and hope it works. And that is not a recipe for advertising success.


Yeah, and so if we can, I’ll jump into the number one reason why advertising fails. The first reason that advertising fails is that you’re not ready to handle the inquiries. It’s the number one reason. And let me kind of dive deep here. When somebody calls your practice for the first time because they saw a postcard, a website, Facebook, a billboard, it doesn’t matter what it is.


95, 98% of practices out there right now, when that person calls in and they have a question, and it’s like, how much does this cost? Do you accept this type of insurance? When can I get in? They don’t handle that person properly to book the appointment right then and there. This is the number one reason. The second part of this equation, as far as converting that call, is following up with that person. If they called and asked some questions today, but didn’t book an appointment, they probably didn’t book because they weren’t asked to book an appointment.


But if they didn’t book an appointment, you need to have a system in place to follow up with that person, literally forever, until they tell you to stop following up with them. If you look at practices that have been around for a while, if you go to a practice that’s a relatively healthy practice that’s been around for 20 years, and you say, hey, let’s pull a list of all of your patients from eight to 10 years ago, or from five to 10 years ago, who haven’t been in your practice in the last two years.


Most of those practices are going to have very few email addresses. They’ll have the patient name, they’ll have probably an old landline that’s expired, but they won’t have an email address. If they have that email address from five to 10 years ago, within minutes, they can send out an email to that customer, that patient, and ask them to come back into the practice. So just because you get someone to call you today and they don’t book today doesn’t mean that that


conversion opportunities over. You have to follow up with people forever. So make sure you’re getting information from them and giving them information to build that relationship on that first call. I’m gonna give you an example of that. Here’s typical practice. How much does it cost to have a tooth pulled? Oh, it’s either we give the price over the phone, it’s 200 to 500 bucks, whatever the answer is, or we need to examine you, we don’t get pricing over the phone. Those are the two general answers to that.


How about this answer instead? You know what, we actually have a new patient special. It’s $100 off. Whether you come in or not, let me go ahead and email that to you right now. What’s your email address? Oh, it’s Great, boom, now you have the person’s email address. Now you’re putting a brochure in their hands that is selling your practice and why they should come in there and maybe why they shouldn’t only be considered about the cost, the actual money out of pocket, but the overall cost, and you can follow up with them forever. Really, really simple step.


You never know when that patient is going to convert, when you fall off with them forever. That’s my number one reason. That’s education-based marketing. Big fans of that. And I love what you said is typically a receptionist or what one thinks and how they should answer the phone is either I give them the price or I don’t, or we can manipulate and lie to them. I like your approach. Education is always the way to go because now you have a connection, you have an email, you have a way of following up. And I love what you said before. You gotta keep following up until they say, leave him me alone.


And you do it in a respectful way, but we often don’t push far enough because we’re afraid of the rejection from the patient or what have you there. Now one of the techniques we teach in our All-Star Phone Skills course is we use a great call process whereby we transition that question. So if they’re asking what the price is, we want to make sure we have a relationship with them. We build rapport. So you’re doing it through education-based marketing.


we can do it by having a conversation. Once we understand what they need, we then can put the price in context. We can give a range, but we already know them. We know what looking to do. And often they may wonder what the price is. They think that their insurance can cover it. It may not, if it’s cosmetic. And you learn that when you, when you build rapport, point being is that if you go in right, giving the answer to the, the, the question, right, you have been commoditized. And that’s what good marketing or good advertising does is you don’t want to be a commodity.


People need to have their itch scratched to some degree, but if you give them an answer and they know who you are and they commoditize you, you lose. So bringing it back to marketing or advertising, whatever you wanna call it, is you don’t wanna be a commodity. You wanna stand out and that’s what guys like you help companies do, dental offices. Yeah, 100%. I couldn’t agree with you more. All right, number two. Number two. So by the way, there’s…


There’s more than three. Oh, of course. We could spend a whole day, a whole weekend on blunders. Yeah. The second reason that marketing fails, and it’s connected to number one, is you don’t answer your phone. That’s the number two reason, is that you just don’t answer your phone. If you, right now, hopefully you understand how to get into your Google listing page.


If you don’t, go to, and you should be able to get into your listing page or have access to your listing page. And in there, Google will actually tell you how many people are calling your practice from that listing, from your listing. You can go in there and look at it, right? So how many people are looking you up on Map Search and dialing right from Google? You’re gonna be shocked at the amount of calls that you miss. So I’ve seen numbers, Alex, I know you guys know these numbers. I’ve seen numbers that are as high as 70%. My, my,


own dentist, my prior dentist, I should say, it was phone tech. It was as a patient, I call, leave a message, they call me back, they leave a message. And you’re just like, this is crazy. And we think about it, I think we always, we tend to always think that people act like us and behave like us, which is not true. Most people listening to this podcast, especially dentists that are listening to this podcast, you can make a phone call anytime you want.


You can make any time during the workday, you can find pockets of time where you can pick up the phone and make a personal phone call. For a lot of people, they cannot. For a lot of people, for a lot of moms, for instance, they’re calling between noon and one o’clock to make that appointment for their kids to come into the practice or for them or for their husband or for their mom or what have you, because that’s when they’re on their lunch break. If that’s when they can actually do it, they sit on their call, they sit in their car and they make a call from their cell phone. If you don’t pick up that phone, here’s what they’re gonna do.


They’re going to hang up the phone and they’re going to go to the next one on the list, right? If it’s on Google, if it’s a paid ad, you’re paying Google for that person to call. They’re going to hang up and they’re going to go to the next one. Answer your phones. And if you can’t answer that phone, get that person a text right away and call them back within five minutes. Right. If you don’t answer the phone, if you, they will stop calling. I mean, it’s, it’s bottom line. That’s, that’s the number two reasons. Is people don’t pick up the phone. Couldn’t agree with you more. Yeah. Yeah. So,


Let me ask you, what do you guys do as far as coaching, as far as personnel and time? Do you recommend going offsite, call center, something like that to handle phone calls, staggering employees, breaks, so that someone’s always answering the phone? Alex, what’s your solution for that? That’s a great question. Ideally, we recommend that people in your office answer the phone if they can, because they’re the person that you’re gonna meet as well, live, when they come in. You’re gonna, because,


The whole goal is to have an incredible patient experience from the marketing and advertising to the phone call to when they come in the entire experience. And if your people know when it’s a call center and they’re not trained in a certain way. So I definitely recommend you make the investment in the personnel upfront. Look, I’ve interviewed extreme makeover doctors. They’ll often say one doc I was interviewing in Atlanta, he said, the person upfront gets paid the least.


but she makes me the most amount of money answering that phone. So you got to make those investments in the personnel. And part of why they’re not answering the phone is a, you may be understaffed. It’s not a priority to you. You may need two or three people upfront, depending on the size of your practice to make sure you’re able to answer the phone or you cross train other positions to be capable of creating a great phone call because what you and I are looking at and we’re


you know, pulling our hair out, we don’t have any left, but we are going crazy because you know how much money you spent in goodwill you spent to get that phone to ring and you don’t have a star player answer the phone. It’s like a softball and that’s where the money’s going and you put somebody who’s not trained and I talk about like the Ritz Carlton, they spend 90 days on phone training before somebody can answer the phone. How much time do you think a dentist typically spends on training on the front office for phone skills? Zero.


And they don’t know what they’re doing. So I mean, I almost wish they go to voicemail if you don’t know what you’re doing. Look, so I’ll put it this way. If you’re not willing to make that investment, get a call center, okay? But if you are gonna make the investment, train your team and have them answer the phone. And because man, the experience you have when you spoke to Cindy and then you come in and you see Cindy, I mean, it just becomes.


They’re your, you look forward to coming to the dentist. They’re your friends. You built rapport. Does that answer your question, Patrick? Yeah, a hundred percent. I’ve actually called practices and literally they’ve answered the phone dental practice. Literally, dental practice can, and it’s always followed up with, Can you hold? Can you hold, please? Yeah. And there’s no waiting for the answer. No, I can’t hold or yes, I can. You’re already on hold. Outside of the reimbursement amounts, what’s their biggest grape with insurance companies?


I say the amount of time that I’m on hold, the amount of back and forth to actually connect with a person. And that goes to the same, number one reason I think that most calls don’t get answered is because of the amount of time the employees that handle the phones are on the phone, on hold with insurance companies. If you’re waiting 45 minutes to get a $30 reimbursement handled, right? And it’s been, seems like hours, right? 45 minutes on the phone, you’re waiting on hold.


And a line lights up, you’re gonna be like, Oh, I’m not going to take this call because I’m afraid they’re going to pick up the phone while I’m gone. That could be a $40,000 full mouth case. Right. That’s true. Never know what that next call is going to be in the practice and how much money they’re going to want to come in. Well, it’s priorities, Patrick. I mean, I remember even at my father’s office, he took some insurance. Um, but we had somebody dedicated, my wife, Heather, who teaches a phone skills course, nobody could.


she had her own little corner of the office and nobody could bother her. She was always on new patient calls. Okay. And it really has to do with a priority. Look, I would rather you outsource claims outsource the insurance stuff. If you take insurance. And I know you interview often, Eric Vickery, our president of coaching in terms of outsourcing outsource. That’s, that type of stuff, the insurance stuff, or get off insurance and focus everything on the patient experience. You could have a dedicated new patient coordinator that just answers the phone.


on new patients. If it’s an existing patient, if that position is open, it’s fine, but somebody else can answer. But you have a new patient phone call, you better get that right. Yeah. Yeah, I recommend this should be a notepad. I think with a score on every single phone call, picking it up on the first ring is good. Second ring is bad. It’s just that simple, right? And you should be going for good, good, good. Is it going to happen always?


No, it’s not going to happen always, but you should be shooting for that, right? One ring, one ring, one ring. Um, number three, number three, let’s do it. All right. So these are, these are kind of interconnected, uh, as well, but literally the, the main reason, uh, the individual advertising pieces won’t work is because they’re not given enough time. Direct mail, uh, is an incredibly effective way to advertise your services.


There’s some things that you have to have in order, and people miss out on this. There has to be clear calls to action on every piece of advertising that you put out there. There has to be a reason to call today. Limited amount, right? In other words, first 20 people, first 30 people, it doesn’t matter what it is. You have to limit that offer to create a sense of urgency, or people will put it off. Everybody’s a procrastinator at some level or another, right? And especially if they’re like, hey, since I’ve been to the dentist, I need to go, but you know what?


the game’s on or this is going on or what have you, give them a reason to call you right at this moment, on that postal piece. Make sure that you’re tracking it, have a tracking number on that. And we’re gonna come back to this tracking number in a minute. Totally great. But it’s actually the amount of reach. You have to get your brand in front of somebody five or six times and that includes direct mail. So if you have a budget of let’s just say, $50,000 in a year, which would be a huge budget for direct mail.


But I’m just doing this to make the math easy for me. Don’t drop that in two months. Don’t do two huge blasts of $25,000 each. Do five blasts of $10,000 to the same people five times. The first time is going to be a low response. The fifth time is going to be a lower response. Your best response is going to be three and four. You’ve gotten that piece in front of people enough times so they recognize who you are.


They’ve seen you a few times. They’re subconsciously more comfortable with you, and they’re probably ready to book. Remember that if I get a mailer, most people, if they get a mailer today, they’re not in the market right now. They don’t need to make a decision today. Maybe they just went to the dentist. Maybe they’ve got other things going on. Three, four months from now, if you’ve dropped on them two or three times, you’ve got a better chance of catching them when they’re actually needing or considering your services. Don’t drop unless you can do five.


minimum of five pieces on the same targeted person. Make sure your messaging matches. I had someone on my podcast, gosh, probably six weeks ago. She has a practice down by Tampa. It’s a startup practice and she’s really into dog rescues. This is really her thing, right? She just loves it. If you’re rescuing or if you’re fostering a dog, I think it’s any pet for that matter, but I remember a dog, she’ll give you 20% off in her practice.


So if you’re fostering a dog, you come in 20% off. The local news picked this up, and I think it was like through one of the kennels, or one of the, I think we called them, I called them a pond when I was a kid, picked this up, got it to the local news, and she got some awesome PR off of it. You can actually take and pull a list of people who have donated to animal related charities in the last year. You can pull that marketing list within 10 miles of the practice. Put her…


couple of pictures of dogs on that mailer, right? With the offer, we give 20% off for people that are rescuing animals, or we donate XYZ to whatever animal charity that it is. What do you think her response rate would be on that? Through the roof, right? Because it’s her message, it’s what she stands for, it’s kind of her why, right? To an audience that’s their why, the connection is gonna be there.


The people are going to connect with that and they’re going to love it. So think of ways that you can personally connect with your audience. And how can you get a list and there’s places to do that. How can you get a list that matches that messaging? Gets it out to them. I love marketing too. I think it’s great for dentists to market to nurses, physicians, physician assistants, that whole group. They take care of their teeth. They have financial, they have the wherewithal to pay and they accept treatment.


Right. They trust you and they believe you as a fellow health care provider. Pull a list of dentists. I’m sorry, of physicians and market directly to them with a message that makes sense for them. We understand you’re a busy physician. We understand you’re a busy nurse. We have hours to accommodate you. We can do this to accommodate you. They’re going to see that. It’s going to instantly match them and they’re going to call. Follow up on that. Another reason why you need to do call tracking is sometimes it takes several months to realize that significant return on investment.


You can do a mail piece or you can do a Google campaign. It doesn’t matter where you’re, what tactic you’re using to get your message in front of people. Maybe you just have people coming in for cleanings and cleanings and cleanings. And then all of a sudden, boom, you have a $50,000 case. You need to attach that to that cost and that ROI. Sometimes it can take a long time. Sometimes it can be four or five, six, seven months before that big comes case comes in and then you go, holy, this is working. I need to invest more money in that. I love it.


Yeah, I’m a big fan of call tracking call recording so that you can not only see where your marketing is performing, but as well as you have a chance to grade your calls and see how you perform. We have our great call process and we use that as a metric to see what’s the call successful. And Patrick, to your point, one of the points on the evaluation is about how long you’ve been on hold for. So it’s a really good point.


So that tells us if the marketing is working, tracking. And tell me a little bit about reviews and referrals. So reviews, I would, it’s so important, right? And I’m glad that you asked about that. Google reviews is one of the coolest things on the planet if you start to make it work for yourself. Google reviews can create a feedback loop.


What I mean by this is the more Google reviews that you have, the more Google is going to put your profile in front of potential patients when they’re doing searches online. When they’re actually doing searches, I need a dentist. Where’s the closest dentist? The more reviews and the more five-star reviews that you have, the more Google is going to put your listing in front of them. The more they do that, the more new patients that you’re going to get, the more new reviews you’re going to get, and on and on and on it goes. If you’re not actively


pursuing new reviews on your practice, you’re going to get left behind. You’re going to end up having to spend way more money on the advertising in the future to make up for those new patients that you’re going to lose to competitors who are dialed into having a great plan in place to increase the amount of reviews they’re getting each month. Does that make sense? Totally. And that’s a lot of different ways. I was just saying Google, I mean, reviews is the way to go, especially for


local businesses. I mean, you want a lot of them and you would like to get those numbers up and you’re absolutely right. I mean, whenever you look and think about it, local business, you look at the reviews and hands down. Yeah. The number one reason why people work with my company and the number one reason why they don’t work with my company is because we tell it how it is. And one of the things that I’ll say,


It’s kind of a smart aleck type of thing to say, but it was really true when I say, Hey, you got to work on getting reviews. And they say, Oh, I really don’t like asking for reviews. I really don’t like doing that. I’m going, what you’re telling me right now is you don’t like money. If you don’t like asking for Google reviews, you do not want a successfully, a financially successful practice. In my opinion, you got to ask for it. It’s so important. Ooh, you’re so tough. And I, I think that is important to coach hard and be straight.


I’d even going more into the psychological. I mean, do you believe, you could even say, do you believe enough in yourself? Do you believe enough in yourself to get someone to do that? I mean, I think a lot of dentists, again, my father’s a dentist, they feel bad. They feel uncomfortable. They, you know, so it can be money focused, but often it’s just their kind of temperament, but they need a good shaking at times.


that this is important to do. And we did a speaking of reviews and referrals. We did an episode and I’ll link it in the show notes as well as a lot of some of the resources you talked about where Larry Gazzardo, our head instructor talked about asking for referrals, right? Yeah. Patience, believe it or not, they’re expecting you to ask for the referral. And they’re expecting you to ask for a review, but you have to ask.


And I think if you can change the psychology where they see that they’re non-threatening because dentists think the patients are threatening, oh, I don’t want to impose on them. No, you’re making them, they would love to a way to express themselves on the review or to refer to you. So getting comfortable with that idea that they want to do that and you’re creating a vehicle for it. And guess what? You can enjoy what you do and make more money. Never hurt.


Well, Patrick, I really appreciate you coming on the show and I’m just going to put this in the show notes as well. For those interested in learning more about Patrick, there are two ways, obviously the, the dental brief, great podcast, lots of wonderful content. He has all star on frequently, which we appreciate it. And we also, also he has a free strategy session and you can go to slash dental dash marketing to sign up for that. And I’ll put that in the show notes as well.


Patrick, thank you again for coming on the podcast. And for those that are listening, because you’re listening or you’re watching, is follow us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. If you get a chance, click that follow button because that helps us get in front of more of you, you get the episodes right when they get launched and all your dental buddies get a chance to see this content and you can share it with them. Until next time, go out there and be.


All Star.


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