What to do when it gets a little quiet

Telephone call-in day with clients today – 15-minute conversations booked through our on-line appointment system.
I listen for trends at each one of these days – and already (at lunchtime) there is a trend around the appointment book becoming a bit “gappy” – patients either not turning up in sufficient numbers of cancelling.
What to do?
Recognise that its not “just you”, your business has not lost its allure, there is nothing wrong so don’t blame or try and fix things;
It’s about two things – that every parent in the country is either:

    1. Preparing to go, or going, on holiday – a major source of stress and
    2. Preparing to accomodate the needs of bored children who will shortly have 6 weeks of idle time, waking at lunchtime and asking “what’s for breakfast?” and then expecting their adult minders to become entertainment officers whenever they take their eyes off The Simpsons and America’s Next Top Model.

So, if your diary/appointment book is looking a little easier than normal – here’s what to do:

  1. Write to all your patients to explain that this would be a good time to “entertain” their little blighters by bringing them in for a dental check-up (that’ll go down like a bacon-butty at a barmitzvah). But seriously – why not organise some children’s days where you can see them all in one go – very popular strategy with many of my clients;
  2. Write to all your patients with a special summer offer on tooth whitening – imagine how much nicer they will look under the strobes of Ibiza with a beautiful set of gleeming white nashers – and maybe offer a “super-sizzling summer smile special” with a discount voucher for treatment delivered before September;
  3. Write to all your patients with a few copies of your business card – tell the truth (that it’s quiet in August) and ask them to invite any family, friends or colleagues that they think would like to visit a new practice;
  4. And, if all else fails, do some decent marketing preparation for the Autumn months!

Do you have:

  • a good quality business card?
  • a great Patient Welcome Pack?
  • a smile check?
  • a good referral system?
  • a good connection with your local business community?
  • a great web site that attracts those who “google” for a dentist in your area?
  • a presentation that you can give to local special interest groups on “how to create a lovely smile”?
  • a number of useful Strategic Alliance partners with whom you swap clients and share marketing?

If not, there will never be a better time than a quiet summer to get started.
So don’t tell me you aren’t busy – you are as busy as hell! Go to work!


Published by

Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.