What to do when a new dental practice announces it's opening just down the road?
It happens - all the time.
I get the call from the anxious Owner of the existing practice. A call usually based on F.E.A.R.
The patients will leave;
The team will leave;
The new place will be cheaper/better/more accessible/available, brighter and shinier;
The new patient enquiries will dry up;
My business will fail;
I'll end up selling The Big Issue.
So here's the Owner's Toolkit for dealing with that:
How many full-time equivalent dentists can you accommodate in your existing business? = A;
Each dentist can look after a maximum of 1,250 adult private patients. = B;
A x B = maximum number of patients you can look after = C;
Population of the your area within a 20-minute drive? = D;
C/D% = market penetration you need to stay full forever;
D-C = number of patients the new practice can take on without it affecting you;
F = maximum number of patients that the new practice can take on based on the same formula as in 1-3 above.
Every time I hand-hold a client through that calculation, we are able to confirm that there are more potential patients than each of you have the capacity for.
However, there is a Part 2 of the Owner's Toolkit:
Get out of the Karpman Drama Triangle and stop acting from a Victim mentality;
Gather the team and announce that, if there is competition for patients - that you intend to WIN;
Remind the team that the patients now have more choice and so it's more important that everyone delivers 5-star-worthy customer service and clinical care;
Explain that competition stimulates demand and that the opening of the new practice will create an increase in new patient enquiries to yours - so you had better be ready!
Call for an immediate review of all internal and inbound marketing activities to ensure that you score at least 8/10 in every aspect;
Establish very close monitoring systems for enquiries with the FOH team and for feedback and comments from existing patients;
Start/refresh your campaign for Google Reviews;
Get those social media posts, newsletters, patient video testimonials and team testimonials flowing;
Use your practice blog to ensure that people asking dental questions on Google are being directed to you for the answers;
Hold Open Days, Children's Days, VIP evenings;
Exhibit at local B2C and B2B networking events;
As well as Google review cards, give every patient cards to pass on to family, friends and colleagues that explain you have "vacancies" (or a waiting list) for new patients;
Give the project a name - "Project Dominance" - and hold regular team meetings to review how Project progress against target is going.
Lemons into lemonade please.
New practice down the road? Best thing ever.