Marketing Focus To Get More Patients

by Dr. Ginger Bratzel

 [Marketing Focus To Get More Patients]

I was on Chick Blakeman’s “GOTT (Get Off The Treadmill)” podcast and he asked me what should you focus on as far as marketing for your practice.    


Listen in to the recording:

Transcript of recording:


Welcome back to the Get off the treadmill podcast for practice owners and leaders where we are obsessed with how to build a successful practice and get a life too. Hi, I’m Chuck Blakeman, and we’re going to dive into another topic that helps us make more money in less time. Get off the treadmill and rehumanize dentistry by giving everybody their brain back. Today I’m talking with Dr. Ginger Bratzel. She’s the founder and creator of Rio Grande DATP, LLC. Ginger started her professional career as a dentist, where she developed systems and strategies to increase patient and client attraction to create business growth. What a concept from Ginger’s own success. Soon health care providers and other service providers from around the country. We’re asking her to work with them in their businesses too. And she quickly began coaching private clients and how to do this. Ginger was invited to consult and be the lead coach for one of the largest healthcare marketing companies in the nation to talk to their top-level clients teaching them her proven step-by-step program to show owners exactly how to attract more of the right kind of patients, clients, and customers. Ginger is known for her no holds barred and shoot straight from the hip approach to business growth, as well as getting and keeping clients’ retention huge. Ginger, welcome.


Thank you. Thanks for having me.


Yeah, great to have you on the podcast. Alright, let’s chase the rabbit. The rabbit today is going to be how much time and energy should a practice owner dedicate to marketing? Well, let’s define marketing. Let’s start there. Let’s start


with that one, because that’s the definition. So you know, most people think of marketing as advertising. They’re not the same, or they think it was the media. So you know, social media, is a media.  It’s a way to share a message.  It’s NOT the message. Newspaper is a media, radio is a media.   That’s not marketing, marketing is promoting something you can do for someone. So it’s not the sleazy car salesman that’s chasing you down, it’s something that you are going to provide for somebody who really wants it. So when you are a welcome guest and not an uninvited pest, your message is always welcome. So part of that is switching our definition of what marketing is. And that’s the first thing we always talk about with people. And I know you teach, your listeners, and your clients that you need to be able to delegate certain tasks to them to other people, so you’re not involved in it. So when I say marketing, I have two numbers I give him 100 and zero. So what I’m talking about 100% of what you do in your office is marketing 0% of it is wasting your time. So when I’m talking about that, the way you answer the phone, when you sit down and look at a client’s eye to the way you shake your hand, the way your parking lot looks, those are all under systems and marketing. So we put them together call it Sam, systems, and marketing. So that is 100% of your focus. But is it you call in a radio station is that you do talking to some person about setting up social media posts? No, that’s not it. It’s important to delegate that the leader of the company needs to know the direction but are you the one pulling the strings and touching everything? It’s an Oh, no, oh, no. Oh, no.


Well, I love that I’m all in. I own a couple of marketing companies decades ago. And one of the things I learned from marketing is there are two kinds the good kind of the bad code. And the bad kind is trying to sell stuff. Right? When I ask people, What is the purpose of marketing? They say, well, to get somebody to buy something? No, it’s not? Absolutely not. The purpose of marketing I found that worked for people was to build relationships.


And isn’t that funny? Because we’re in a high-tech world. And so everyone wants to bypass the relationship. They don’t want to talk to people. So they automate it. They want a machine that does it. They want a computer that reaches out, sir, if you know we’re in dentistry, as long as teeth are connected to people’s heads, and they have opinions and thoughts, that’s the relationship we are in a relationship connection business. Yeah. So


in order to do that, everything to your point, everything we do is marketing. There’s nothing that we do that isn’t marketing, because marketing is that when someone says so and so dental practice what comes into their head, its teeth. Yeah, well, and but whatever comes into their head might be I love that place. I don’t like that place. I like the dentist. I don’t like the dentist, the dentist but the hygienist drives me crazy. We have this opinion, we have this immediate, almost visceral reaction that we might not even be able to describe. That’s your brand. And your brand. Whether you like it or not comes from all that stuff you do in the office. It doesn’t come from you coming up with a really cool logo and a really fancy website. That’s not your brand. How are you handling this relationship?


Well, most people put more thought into that their first business card when they go in business than how they’re going to relieve the systems and make sure everything’s in place because they just assume you’re going to treat everyone well. Well, that definitely varies. And if you don’t have systems in place and you don’t have quality control works, that somebody is getting the same experience the same that you always want them to have, then you don’t have a marketing plan, you don’t have that brand in there. So we talked about the systems doing the heavy lifting. So every person and every point in that relationship, what we call the patient journey, it has a trigger, and everything’s happening at the same capacity every time.


Yeah, yeah. And one of the problems with this, Ginger is what I’ve experienced in the past with a lot of practice owners and practice leaders is they tend to get bored with this whole idea of systems. And I’m left-handed right-brained, ADHD dyslexic. I don’t like systems. I just like what they do for me. That’s right. And so I tell people all the time, you can’t afford to get bored. And sometimes when you walk into a practice, it doesn’t come across as bored. I mean, they would never say we’re bored. But they’re on autopilot. I do this every freaking day. And here comes Bob. And Bob looks just like Sally did yesterday, and Sally’s gonna look just like Fred. And so I don’t feel special, I don’t feel unique. And every time somebody walks in, they’re coming in for the first time that quarter that first time that six months, and you’ve got to treat them that way.


You have to set that up every time you have to re-establish it, you know, they put all this everybody puts all this interest in getting new patients so spend a lot of time and energy and activity they will while I’m at that new patient visit, but after that, you know the honeymoons over and needs not to be over.


And what I love about your approach in saying everything you do is marketing. Too often, dentists are medically obsessed with how to acquire new patients just flowing out the back door.


Well, if you look at how much we pull in any office will go through. When I have a new client come in, they always the number one thing they said I need more new patients. And we’ll say okay, well, you know, we can talk about that. And we go back and look and there’s like there’s all this gold in the files, there’s all this gold in that computer, and they’re not going through and they’re letting all that just float out the door. When we look at growing a business, the fastest path to the cash is existing customers and clients, and patients. So we start always there. How what did we miss last time? Why didn’t they finish up the treatment? Why didn’t they say yes? And we always assume it’s money. That’s what everyone says they’re cheap? No, you know, it’s not that it’s not they didn’t have the value, they didn’t have the experience. So let’s bring them back in with our systems fixed. And let’s see how we can buy this off. How can we chew this elephant to get them where they wanted to go? Because we never tied them up and put them in a van and drove them into our office and forced them to come in. They had a need, they had a desire. So what was that disconnect that we did not serve them in that purpose? And so it’s filling that gap and getting them back on track.


So let me give you one example from our research and other people’s this was an RS, this was somebody else who did this research on why people leave dental practices. And you may have heard this before, but it’s not because people aren’t good dentist peep. Most people don’t know if their dentist is good or not. Right? They don’t leave because of the what happens in the back office. They leave what because of relationships. And the number one specific reason they leave is because we don’t get seen on time.


Well, that’s key. And you know, we expect people to be seen on time. I think that’s a golden rule. That’s a really, you want them there. But you would never disrespect someone you really care about and be late. So why do you cheapen that relationship with your patient? Now, we had a rule in our office, if I was ever 15 minutes late, I had to stop but I’m doing had a walk out there and personally in the waiting room apologized to their face. Already that again, asked if I can make a donation to their favorite charity. And I didn’t do that very often. But that was my job. It wasn’t the receptionist’s job, it wasn’t my assistant going out there, I had to do it. And it kept me on my toes. But you know, that’s part of the game. In treating people well, you’ve got to have that courtesy. And


that’s a great example of systems actually being relational. One of the systems things I hear you saying get your people back there on time. And that’s a system thing. But it’s about Mark that’s marketing that’s building those relations, right.


It’s all part of what we set out to do. And if you don’t, you know, as a leader of a company as the dentist, if your team will serve you well, they will do their best, but you think about it being on a ship. If you don’t have a direction. You don’t have a plan, you don’t have your compass out and you don’t have your map. Everyone’s gonna row the boat is as frantically as they can, but they’re all gonna be in different strokes. They’re all gonna be going in different directions, and it’s not going to serve you well. So if everyone is systematized and knows what they’re supposed to be doing, and what greater purpose they’re serving, and makes it easier to facilitate,


yeah, yeah, yeah, but I’ve heard that in Jinja. We don’t have time for that nonsense. We’re too Seeing patients.


I know Isn’t that awful, those dang people, they’re their dang problems. But hey, for that, but you know what, that’s what developing leaders in your office talk about, you know, you don’t have to be sitting there the whole time doing it, if they know what the mission is, they know what they’re supposed to be doing. They know where the compasses and they know where the map is, they can get there. But you have to set that course at the beginning.


Yeah, and you have to, to your point, and my point, you have to be willing to take the time, it’s like, it’s not that you don’t have the time you don’t, you can’t afford to have the time to make sure everybody knows what their role, the responsibility, their protocols, and theirs and their processes are you don’t have, you can’t afford to. And the whole tenor of this conversation is just that if people don’t know what you’re doing, and it’s different every time, you’re not, you’re not building trust,


what’s right and that’s what they want, that depends on seeing people go to McDonald’s, not because the food’s good, but they know they’re going to get the same experience, every time they know it’s going to look a certain way, there’s going to be the certain things in place. And so you can depend on it, it might not be your favorite place. But we don’t like having those kinds of surprises.


Ray Kroc had a sign behind him on his desk. And it said, in pursuit of the most efficient hamburger in the world, not the best, the one that was the same all the time. And that’s why people go to McDonald’s, because everywhere in the US, they can go to McDonald’s, get photos, get food thrown through the window, and it’s the same. And that should be rebuked to a dentist who is incredibly good, who is mad at the guy down the street, who they know is not as good a dentist, but he has a line out the door.


And right because people are coming in, they appreciate that they know they get that special experience. And then people underestimate how little effort it really does take to build those relationships. It’s continuous. It’s ongoing. But it’s very little, it’s not that you have to come up with the next widget wedges. You know, we talked about being bored at the beginning. You know, that’s how I find a lot of people talk about bar marketing. They say, well, we need something new, we need the next thing. And when I asked him, What did you use to do? And we used to do this, but we stopped and I said why? Well, they thought it didn’t work. So show me your numbers. Let’s see your conversions. So you know, when you’re building these relationships, we’re talking to be more efficient in the time you have and working less hours and more $1 per hour production. It’s not cheating people. It’s not being a factory and pushing things out is getting higher-level services, getting people who want to say yes at a quicker and follow up to make that happen. It’s not starting from scratch each and every time.


I’ll give you a phrase for what you just said, you can feel free to steal. I use it all the time as a business owner. So what you’re saying is, it worked so well. You stopped doing


  1. Yep. Because they got bored. They got


bored. That’s right. Yeah. And to your point on being efficient, and still relational. My dad is one of the reasons I love my dentist is I’m not very long and get very relational. They can you can do both I feel loved and appreciated. And they get me in and out as fast as they can. And that works for both of us. So it’s not the mechanical machine, the assembly line thing, right? Well, it’s being intuitive and empathetic at the same time as moving the thing through the process to get that patient through. So you can build more and love more. It’s okay, you can do both.


Well, people assume that people again, that they’re not choosing it because of money. Well, there’s a hole or pain or whatever it is, there’s a whole list of things that people come to the dentist for is not because of teeth. It’s convenient, its location is that relationship building. And we were talking about training, you know, people say I’ve trained my staff, here’s the thing, they’re people, they have to be retrained, you have to keep the systems going, you have to keep the touches, just like that relationship, you have to keep going back to it. Your team needs that to maintain that quality of service.


We call it beating that drum gently and relentlessly. And you don’t have to be the one beating the drum, you just make sure that the drum gets to be made into a practice leader, maybe it’s somebody else. You create the systems or you make sure somebody, lots of somebodies are beating certain drums over and over and over again because we lose focus we just do or human beings. Well, we didn’t get to anything practical. Oh my gosh, all we did was scare dentists to death, which is a really good thing. Oh my goodness, I’m losing patients because I don’t see them. And I thought I needed to get better at filling in the blank clinical thing. How can people get a hold of you to get the practicals you spent years putting together the systems to take care of all the nuts and bolts of this? How can people get a hold of you to find more of this I think you have an offering to help get them to do that?


Sure. You know, since we’re talking about patients, I want to focus everything towards patients. You know, being a dentist, I know what it was like. And I know when I talk to my clients about what they need. So I have a resource guide for you. I think that’s most efficient showing you know if you’re looking for Who should I be spending my time on? How do I build those relationships? How do I even begin that kind of research? It’s a guide to help you build that up and identify your best clients, your best patients, and how to go after them. So if you go over to my website, this is a special page that is not anywhere. So write this down. It’s   If you go over there, there’s a resource guide custom-made for dental practices about getting and keeping all the patients you need.

15:31 Yes. Awesome. Well, Ginger, this has been way too much fun. I’m glad we left people hanging. That’s what we’re supposed to do. We probably created more questions than we answered. So that means this was a good podcast. Look forward to having you back.


Thank you so much. I appreciate it, Chuck.