Virtual Consults for Dental Practices

By April 14, 2020July 28th, 2020Podcast

Episode 13 – Virtual Consults for Dental Practices

“Should I keep marketing even if my office is closed?” is the biggest question we are getting from dentists right now. We address this concern in our latest podcast so you can learn from one of our clients who is marketing now more than ever and as a result growing his practice even while it is closed.

In our latest podcast we interview Dr. Lee Brown from West Chester, Ohio to discuss the ways he has maintained a presence in the community through video and virtual consults.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • What Dr. Brown is doing to capture more market share
  • Why he feels he is going to come out of this stronger than ever
  • How Dr. Brown is staying ahead of the curve
  • …and what he is doing to continue growing his practice.

S1: 00:00 Today, we're joined by a very special guest, Dr. Lee Brown from Brown and Kupper DDS in Westchester, Ohio. Dr. Brown grew up in Westchester and graduated from the Ohio State University College of Dentistry. His passion for dentistry was influenced heavily by his father who had a private practice also there in Westchester. Dr. Brown began working at another private practice prior to joining his father and continuing his legacy at Brown and Kupper DDS back in 2010.
S2: 00:26 Thanks for joining us, Dr. Brown.
S3: 00:28 Thanks for having me.
S2: 00:30 Yeah, absolutely. So we asked Dr. Brown to do this video with us today so he can share with you guys exactly how he's beefed up his marketing. He hasn't pared back or stop marketing. We're going to really touch upon why he thinks he's going to come out of this stronger than ever. He's staying ahead of the curve, how he's doing that. Steps he's taking to capture more market share now than ever and what he's doing to continue growing his practice during this time. So those are the things that we're going to touch upon.
S1: 00:57 And listen, there are a lot of misguided practices out there. A lot of them that are turning off all of their marketing and it couldn't be the worst time to do that. There are more eyeballs than ever that are spending more time than ever online today than ever, ever before and probably more so than we'll ever see maybe the rest of our lifetimes. There is so much opportunity to get in front of not only new patients, but your existing patients as well. Not only because they're spending so much more time online, but because some of your competitors are going dark online and turning off their marketing efforts. There's even more of an opportunity than there even would be if everyone was continuing to market. So it couldn't be a better time to really beef up your marketing and really stay the course.
S2: 1:42 And listen, we invited Dr. Brown today so he can shed light on this and on his situation, him being one of our rock star clients. And we're going to talk about specifically three things that he is doing to capitalize on this downtime and how he's using virtual consults to grow his practice. And I promise you, if you implement even half of what he's about to tell you, there's no doubt that you're going to grow your practice and thrive when your doors open again. There's just no doubt.
S1: 2:12 So before we jump into some of these questions, Dr. Brown, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself?
S3: 2:18 Well, thanks guys. A full disclaimer from the get go is I think prior to all this happening and all these marketing efforts and videos, I had done exactly zero probably in the past three, four or five years. So, it makes it hopefully helpful for other people to see that you can jump in and do this. But, it's a pretty typical dental office. You know, we do a lot of bread and butter dentistry. We've been gearing our office towards doing a lot more comprehensive, lot more cosmetic stuff. So, even though we've been doing more, we don't always put it out there the way we should. So that's kind of where this marketing effort is kind of geared to, is helping educate our patients. So we're very middle of the road with our practice. But like a lot of you just very caught up in the day to day. We're very, very busy and don't always have the time or properly make the time to do some of these efforts that will pay dividends down the road. So, probably not a whole lot different than, than most practices out there.
S2: 3:22 So let's start by talking about really the three things that you started doing, over the past few weeks to stay ahead of those curves. You know, we're talking about the videos that you're doing, the interview with the specialist, talk about those, and share kind of what you're doing and kind of the thought process behind it.
S3: 3:40 Yeah, from day one, in our state in Ohio the governor of the dental board kind of came out and said, you know, you guys are done unless it's an extreme, extreme emergency. So like so many of you, I need to stay busy. I need to have a target, I need to focus. So I decided, okay, for the next two, three weeks I'm going to make a video a day. This is going to be my goal. This is what's going to keep my mind occupied. And I also felt a little slighted by the health care community basically being deemed non-essential. And we started thinking, how is that going to play out to our patients? We want to stay relevant. We started just reaching out, telling people we were thinking about them, little health tips. We had our staff to do the same thing.

And then we started kind of going into to the next level where we would interview some specialists about different procedures, different options they have and how we work with them to help our patients. And the thought with the specialists is twofold. Obviously we want to put material out there to stay relevant. But if we can have a library of these things to be able to show to patients, if I'm referring someone for root canal treatments, they're going to be more comfortable walking in to see that endodontist, if they've seen his face, if they've heard his voice. We all know that makes people more comfortable and if they're more comfortable, they're more likely to go through with treatment and get healthy. And we know that's going to come back to us, in the long run too. So, the angle with the specialist was really not only short term but long-term to help people out.

We started interviewing some local physicians that are patients, to help people get the correct information on what's going on with the Corona virus. What to do, what not to do. That's been really well received. And by aligning ourselves with these healthcare providers, with these physicians, once again it positions us as an authority, as relevant, as knowledgeable. So that was kind of the angle with the specialists, not only short term, but long-term. We realized we were doing all this CE while we were down. We realized the office was still meeting. But we don't let people know this is what we're learning about or that these are the services we can provide, they might just assume they should get it done elsewhere. We don't offer it. And I realized that was a big weak point for us that we don't always talk about all the extra efforts, all the CE that we do to help our patients. So that's kind of been our primary focus and then we're kind of just trying to grow from there and figure out what else we can do.
S2: 6:25 And these videos, I mean, not all of them are super lengthy, right? I mean, you're shooting actually from that position there. I know you're taking your, I imagine your iPhone and propping it in front of you, spending a few minutes just, you know, giving updates like you had said, and sharing some good tips as it relates to current events and even, you know, dental tips of what's going on. You know, what we've shared with our clients, what we shared with you is, you know, just make sure the camera's steady, make sure that you have good lighting as if you know, just like you're sitting there and then just talking to the people, right? You don't have to be great on camera. You are an exception. You are quite good on camera. You do a very good job. You don't seem shy. You seem like a natural. But you know, we have clients that aren't as natural as you, but they are doing a very good job just getting the information out. Right. So I mean you have any tips to share with doctors that are hesitant to shoot these videos?
S3: 7:22 Yeah. As I mentioned, I never really did this before. I'd never been on Zoom. But basically I would practice ahead of time. I would kind of type out what I was going to say. I would stare at my computer or my phone and I would talk into it and then I would just kind of go for it. And the nice part now is, you can edit these things. We can take things out. If we screw it up, we'll do it all over again. But I've tried to pick topics that I'd be talking about anyway. You know, if we're sitting there in a hygiene exam and someone wants to talk about implants, that's easy. I'm not picking a topic that I don't know much about. So that's been kind of my thing. I practice just one time and then go for it and then pick topics that I'm passionate about or things that I already am comfortable talking about. It just made it really easy to kind of get into the flow.
S2: 8:19 Cool. And I know Shawn's about to share some stats on some of these videos that you're shooting, but just so our community knows. The way that we're utilizing these videos, not only are they going to go on the website, but we're using them mostly on Facebook and email to Dr. Brown's existing patients on Google, my business, in blogs. I mean, there's just a lot of different ways that you can use these videos.
S1: 8:42 And a lot of them we can take. We don't even have to use the whole video, right? We can take pieces of these videos and kind of cut them up and use them in many different ways, in many different places. Not only now, but in the future as well. These videos are going to help us out, not just for the next of weeks or the next month, but the same videos could be helping us a year or two from now because they're really pretty evergreen content. Obviously some of the stuff around the virus and you know, specifically not so much, but a lot of these things when we're interviewing some of these specialists and things, that stuff that we can use for quite some time. So they're going to continue to add value to Dr. Brown's practice and really any practice that takes part in that. So that's really, really neat.

So you may be thinking, right, we've talked about some of the more obvious things, but how really does this help your practice? And it's really only a few things. It's absolutely going to increase awareness in the community. It's going to build some authority for you and your team and the practice itself. Like Dr. Brown has already mentioned, it's going to get you in front of some new patients, but also your existing patients as well. That's going to help attract more people to like and follow your page on Facebook and really build trust with, not so much existing patients who probably already trust you and most of your practices, but more importantly with new patients and those in the community that weren't really aware of the practice beforehand. so like Jackie had said, we have some stats that we'll share which are pretty telling that really helps support this.

So, you know, prior to Dr. Brown specifically taking this approach and when he was faced with this pandemic, since then and since he's taken this new approach and started producing all this great content, we've seen some amazing results everywhere, but really specifically on Facebook. The number of likes that his page is getting has more than doubled since we started this. The number of people seeing Dr. Brown's content has increased over 25%, and that was as of a few days ago. It's likely increased even more than that now. The number of people engaging with this content, this is a big one, has increased over 500%. Last month on average, we were having a couple hundred people - just over 200 that were engaging with his content that we were posting on Facebook. Just in the last couple of weeks, not even a whole month, there have been over 1300 people that have engaged with his content. And so the increase is pretty drastic and the data absolutely supports what we're saying here that, there's no doubt that this is helping him increase his awareness in the community and build more authority from the practice and without a doubt get in front of more new patients.

There've been two posts specifically, that have done really well. One was when Dr. Brown did a Facebook live video. It reached just shy of a thousand people, had 368 people engaged with that video, 23 comments. So really, really, successful that Facebook live video. And then actually the very first video that he produced, back on March 17th, reached 378 people, had 21 comments, 24 likes, 13 of which were from people that had not already liked the practices Facebook page. And I know 13 isn't a high number, but that's just one of his videos, right? So, even if every single video or every single piece of content that he's putting online is getting him in front of 10, 15, 20 more new people that weren't aware of him before, that are becoming obviously getting to know him and engaging with this content, that's a huge win. Especially, someone like Dr. Brown who is trying to do a video every single day, the growth he's going to realize from that it's going to be exponential.
S2: 12:12 So I mean the stats are great. You know, we've talked a lot about a little bit of marketing and video that you're doing. But you've mentioned to us that you truly feel like when you come out of this, you guys are gonna be stronger, not just marketing wise but internally as a team and as an individual. Share with us some of those thoughts as well. Cause I think that's really important for our community to hear.
S3: 12:35 Yeah. you know, we're leaders of our team as much as anything else. And I wanted to try to set the stage that even though we're restricted on some of the things that we can do, that it doesn't mean we're going to take our foot off the gas. And I know our teams are gonna look at us and think how is our leader, how is Dr. Brown responding. And hopefully as a result of that, our team has kind of rallied. I'm so proud of our team. We meet on Zoom twice a week for an hour, hour and a half. The hygienist, the assistants have taken tons of CE. They've just challenged themselves. So doing these things partly was, I'm trying to help inspire them to improve themselves as well. And to their credit, they've done it and they've exceeded those expectations. I had a hygienist email me yesterday. She's taken 18 hours of CE since this whole pandemic started. So they're just, they're incredible people and they've responded accordingly and to rally like this together and know that our goal is to gain market share, that during a recession we don't fall back. We're going to move forward, we're going to be more successful and we're not going to lay people off. I mean, that's probably in the back of their mind. So all these things I think have kind of gone towards that message too.
S2: 13:59 That's great. Yeah, that's exactly, you know, we feel like everyone should kind of feel that way and you know, proceed like that. And I think, you know, one of the biggest questions that Shawn and I are hearing is, you know, what can I be doing now to grow my practice? And I think most doctors feel like they can't do anything at this point and they just sit back on their heels. And I know, you know, a few weeks ago we came to you and we said, listen, we're shifting focus. No longer are we going to be saying, schedule your consultation or request an appointment. We need to do these virtual consults. And you amongst many other of our clients, but you specifically, done. What do I need to do? You didn't hesitate and we shifted our focus, not only for new patients for the virtual consults, but existing patients too. And we started putting all of this on your landing page and website, in your ads, organic Facebook posts and in video and email, which is obviously important.
S1: 14:53 And you know, some doctors that we talked to are hesitant about doing virtual consults and getting on a video call and with their patients, especially if it's a new patient. Maybe they're not as hesitant with an existing patient, but they are sometimes with new patients. And some people just don't like to be on video at all. And I think Jackie and I, and maybe Dr. Brown even could probably attest that we all probably feel that a little bit right. But, there's really no reason to be uncomfortable or to hesitate. Even if you're unsure about how virtual consults work or how these tele-health platforms work, I can assure you that it is really, really easy. I think that you'll find, and hopefully Dr. Brown can help us speak to this a little bit, but once you get started, it's really quite easy. You probably feel right at home just like you do when you're practicing in your actual practice. But you know, Dr. Brown, I don't want to put words in your mouth. Tell us a little bit about how you feel virtual consults have gone for you. Maybe any hurdles you kinda had to get over and you know, just how they've been going.
S3: 15:54 Yeah. I was excited to try anything. At first you're starting to think, do we bill for these? How does this work? I think that's not the point right now. If you do it, that's great, but I think that's kind of tripping over dollars to pick up dimes. We're trying to reach out to the community, reach out to our patients and new patients and show that we're there for them during these challenging times. So I haven't really messed with any of the telehealth codes or anything and I'm sure that you can and that would work great. And maybe I'm just missing an opportunity, but I haven't done that. So that was a little bit of a hurdle at first and we just said, you know what, not worried about it. Let's establish some goodwill. We've picked up, actually two new patients from this, people that had treatment going on that felt neglected by their other dentists, wanted someone to talk to. We talked them through it. We got them on some medication and we're going to get them in as soon as we're capable of doing some of these procedures. So that's been helpful. Our existing patients feel cared for, to have you take the time and look at your face to face and see that you're still smiling and happy to talk to them. The relationships that we're building there I think are really powerful. And actually just yesterday, I'll share this story because it was kind of exciting.

There was a patient we had had planned on doing a consultation with when she got back. So I called her up and I said, let's get this process started. Let's start chatting through it. So we talked through some different treatment options. At the end of it, she was asking me how can I go schedule to get the process started for upper and lower hybrid dentures? You know, I'm not going to do that tomorrow. That's not immediate realized profit for the practice, but she's now motivated to get healthy. And when we get going, it's going to help us catch up a little bit faster. She's going to be one step closer to getting healthy. So that was a huge win for us yesterday. If nothing else happens through all this, and we were able to help someone go that direction, then it's all been worth it. But all that does right, is it gives you the excitement to call other people we were going to do consultations with and then kind of talk them through it. So that's been part of my goal today actually. So the virtual consults, yeah, it's a little weird and awkward at first, but it's exposure therapy, you know. Do something with a patient that you're comfortable with. Get used to it, then do it with another, and then do it with another, then start seeing outside ones and then you get used to it. It's like anything else.
S2: 18:30 So we've had, we've had a couple doctors ask us, well, you know, it's not like we're sitting in front of them. I can't do an exam. I can't see in their mouth and get in there. So can you talk to us about kind of what your philosophy is on, you know, you can't do a dental exam, you're just speaking to them. So is that worth it? I know you touched upon it a little bit now, but how do you set the expectation? I know you're not just answering questions, right? There's got to be some end goal.
S3: 18:55 Yeah. A mentor, a friend, Scott Manning always talks about this, that you need to create these relationships. You need to, yes, ask the questions, but really dig down and figure out what motivates this person. You know, what's going on and let them kind of show you the answer. The gift of time is so powerful. We're just always so rushed day to day. I got a hygiene thing. This person's crown's ready to be seated. But to just feel like I have nothing else going on and I've got this half hour if they want to just talk for whatever, cool. But it's been great kind of coming out of that to see what motivates people and how we can get them healthy. So from a clinical basis, yeah, we're doing that. But we also could use as a screen share portion of it as well. We've been pulling up their chart in front of them and it's kind of cool to pull up some of the pictures of the x-rays and we're circling things and kind of showing them, so this is the area we're concerned about. It's a good review. And then at the same time I'm looking at their chart like, you remember when we also talked about this. When we do this, we should probably talk about doing this at the same time. So we're hopefully setting the stage for when they do come back, to be a little bit more proactive, to be comprehensive because when someone's been in pain or struggling through a situation, they're even more motivated, not to let that happen again. I'm trying to just think as much long-term and relationship building as I can.
S2: 20:27 That's great.
S3: 20:28 I don't know if that answers your question or not. I might have just gone off.
S2: 20:29 No, you absolutely did answer my question. Yeah. We get asked that question quite a lot and obviously we're not dentists, so we can't tell them exactly how to sit there and speak to the patient. So I appreciate that.
S1: 20:43 And I think, you know, for all those reasons you just mentioned are why were, I would say, almost being a little bit pushy with all of our practices that they need to be doing this because the alternative is they're sitting at home twiddling their thumbs. And I think it's easy to, you know, have a level of anxiety about the situation that we're in now. But at the end of the day, everyone's almost in the same situation, right? We just need to make the best of it. And you know, the practices that whether you're doing, you know, 20 virtual consults a week or 3 a week, those 3 virtual concepts a week are better than not talking to any patients. Right? Our whole goal is when normal operations resume, which we all hope is sooner rather than later, but no matter what it is, that we have a pool of patients to kickstart the practice, right? And we're not just coming back and rescheduling the patients that we had to reschedule from before and starting almost from scratch again to find new patients. Even if we have three or four or five patients, heck, even if we have one new patient that we had a consult with that's ready to get going with some treatment that we don't have to build more trust and rapport with that, you know, we've already achieved that. I mean, you're already in a better position, right? And so it's almost a no brainer. It's sometimes hard for me to understand why practices don't want to take those steps. But it's almost a no brainer because, you know, the expectation doesn't need to be really high, but anything you get out of it is more than what you would have gotten if you just sat home and did nothing. So that's really why. I mean, you truly can be on our team because you're preaching exactly the same things we're preaching and you're living it, and the proof is really right here. So it's really, really awesome to hear that feedback.

Well Dr. Brown, I can't thank you enough for spending time with us today and agreeing to participate in this video with us and allow us to share the great things that you're doing at your practice, with not only other practices that we work with, but you know, practices all across all across the globe. So thank you so much and we know this isn't an easy time for anyone. It's not an easy time for us, Dr. Brown, and we know it's certainly not an easy time for anyone that's viewing this video. We're all being faced with something that we likely and hopefully won't be faced with again in our lifetime. But we hope we shed some light as to things you can be doing to make sure that you come out of this ahead, and that you're not wasting this time like we just talked about and that we're doing everything we can to help set your practice up to succeed once you're able to open your doors again.

If you have any questions, anyone watching this video has any questions about things that they could be doing at their practice, whether it be virtual consults or how they can be marketing online or things that they can be doing in general during this time to help set them up for success, absolutely do not hesitate to reach out for us. We want to be a resource to the entire dental community. Just send an email to us at info@mydentalagency.com and we'd be happy to answer any questions that you have. Jump on a quick phone call with Jackie and myself and we have lots of other resources that we can share as well, so please don't hesitate. Dr. Brown, thank you again for being able to do this with you and I hope those of you watching got some value out of video today.
S3: 23:46 Thanks for all your help guys. You've been just absolutely fantastic, very supportive these last few weeks and I know we're going to be better for it, so thanks.