Create. Convert. Close. These three words guided two full days of the Full Arch Advantage conference, a full-arch marketing conference held August 18-19, 2023, in San Diego. BioHorizons was proud to serve as the Platinum Sponsor for this event, which was organized by SMC National, a dental marketing agency. Nearly 150 attendees learned from industry experts about the art of closing more full-arch cases with marketing topics ranging from technology, measurement, staff training and even clinically proven full-arch protocols.
Day 1 – Create
SMC National CEO Gary Bird kicked off the weekend with a challenge: Who is the ideal patient you want to attract to your practice? This person is your avatar, he said, and this is the foundation on which we build the marketing strategy for a practice.
While figuring out this identity is a worthwhile exercise, it can be long and arduous, so Bird discussed how to do it in 20 minutes with AI. From there, SMC National Director of Marketing Jack Meyers described the three phases of a winning marketing funnel:
Instead of focusing on “one-size-fits-all” solutions, practices can win big when they focus on educating and validating potential patients, especially in the first 90 days after first contact.
Later, Meyers described the three main selling points in full-arch marketing: price, speed and quality. And trust is key, which is why Meyers recommends always talking on the phone with full-arch patients over relying solely on online forms.
Use of video and social media
No marketing conference would be complete without talking video and social media. Nadem Hamad, CEO of Vivid Alchemy, explained how his company uses video and social media to run Influencer campaigns and more. Point-of-view (POV) videos were especially effective for their business.
Get patients in the room withing 24 hours of them submitting a form.
There was a distinct advantage in having a room filled with doctors, treatment coordinators, front-office staff and marketing professionals. This made the next exercise, presented by SMC’s Billing Specialist Mark Pineda, all the more impactful. Pineda challenged everyone to come up with their Unique Value Proposition, or UVP, and to think through what sets their practices apart.
Day 1 – Convert
After lunch, Josh Harcus, Vice President of Growth for SMC National, took on the CRM discussion. Offices had the chance to discuss what tools they were currently using and how important it is to integrate the CRM with the patient management system. Meyers built on this topic by presenting key metrics for measuring full-arch marketing efforts. Specific metrics included:
- Contact rate goal for full arch leads is 50 percent, with a target cost per lead (CPL) of $150 to $275.
- The percentage of leads scheduled should be 80 percent.
- The show rate of these leads should be at least 60 percent.
- A reasonable goal for cases accepted, or starts, is 30 percent. The total CPL for these patients may be in the range of $2,200 to $4,500.
Nurture and communicate
The conference established an ongoing theme that every lead must be nurtured strategically. Leslie Hunt, SMC National implant lead coordinator, emphasized the importance of having multiple touchpoints with all potential patients. Strong staff training is important. To be effective, everyone should know
s the process for working with full-arch leads. A few takeaways include:
- Don’t be overly aggressive or overwhelm a lead with too much information. Recognize where the lead is in the buying process and adjust your follow-up accordingly.
- Don’t rely solely on automation.
- Don’t forget to follow up.
- Don’t ignore metrics and data. Be willing to acknowledge and change anything that’s not working.
- Be honest. Don’t overpromise and underdeliver with patients.
“Let them know that you’re not there to judge them – you’re there to help them.” –Leslie Hunt
Staff must be trained on how to communicate with full-arch leads. Meyers returned to the stage to give us his CLOSER acronym.
C – Clarify why they’re there.
L – Label them with an issue.
O – Overview of past pain.
S – Sell the vacation. Push them to schedule.
E – Explain away concerns.
R – Review finances.
Tip: Always document objections and follow up to be there when the patient is ready.
J.W. Oliver, Jr., managing partner of Support DDS, closed out the first day of the event with how outside support can help a practice operate efficiently. He focused on the Eliminate > Designate > Automate > Accelerate process. Oliver noted that calls missed during severe weather and just before and after a practice’s operating hours often get missed and could be handled by an outside agency.
Day 2 – Close
Did you know: About 30 percent of patients approved for financing say “yes” to treatment?
Josh Fotheringham, executive director of Proceed Finance Loans, explained how the company, which was built specifically for full-arch dentistry, offers longer loans and lower payments than other lenders. The biggest factor in patient financing is risk, so Proceed operates under a Shared Risk Model. After a soft hit prequalification and quick application (usually two or three minutes), an offer of credit is good for 60 days, non-binding.
As a partner with BioHorizons, Proceed Finance focuses on offering loans that look more like car payments instead of house payments. Get started with them today and increase your case acceptance.
Fotheringham recommended that practices have at least two lenders in their offices.
Next, Stacy Feffer, sales and finance manager at New Smile Dental Group, detailed how her case acceptance mindset allows her to close an impressive 80 to 90 percent of leads. She recommended separating full-arch sales staff from staff members who handle other procedures and putting the best staff on the full-arch cases. In Feffer’s office, a bilingual staff member answers lead calls to ensure everyone can communicated with prospective patients effectively.
Full-arch marketing legal considerations
An important aspect of building trust with patients and protecting a practice’s reputation includes adhering to all advertising guidelines, patient consent requirements and ethical considerations in full-arch marketing. Brian Colao, director of Dykema’s Dental Service Organizations Industry Group, detailed several common situations. A few takeaways include:
- While state laws may vary, the U.S. Supreme Court allows the use of patient testimonials. However, doctors must have patient releases to publish them.
- Do not make any claims about pain.
- Don’t pay for patients.
- If advertising discounts, the practice must have an actual list price.
Case acceptance process
Stacy Feffer returned to present three main contributions to case acceptance:
- Lead call
- The case acceptance process starts on the phone. Book leads within five days for their office visit
- Vet leads before they come in.
- Clinical presentation
- The doctor should not discuss money with patients.
- The salesperson should not be in the clinical exam but should meet with the doctor before the sales presentation.
- Do not charge the patient consult or CBCT scan fees.
- Always bring a spouse into the room if they’re present.
- Sales presentation
- Always present the most expensive option first.
- Always bring a spouse into the room if they’re present.
- Learn ways to find out the patient’s financial situation tactfully.
- Point out why the patient is lucky that you’re there to help them. Present what makes your practice different from others.
“Good dentistry isn’t cheap and cheap dentistry isn’t good.” –Stacy Feffer
Clinical protocols with TeethXpress faculty
Essential to the full-arch case process is sound clinical technique. Dr. Arshiya Sharafi, OMS, who also teaches TeethXpress full-arch, immediate-load courses, presented cases from his own experience. Having completed nearly 5,000 arches in his career, he says cross-arch loading has much to do with why full-arch, immediate-load is so predictable.
Also critical to the process is bone reduction, which Dr. Sharafi says is the most critical step to ensure prosthetic success. In addition, Dr. Sharafi requires patients to see a dentist every six months to maintain their warranty.
Implant surgeons interested in learning about full-arch immediate load courses taught by Dr. Sharafi should visit teethxpresscourses.com. A live patient demonstration and comprehensive hands-on training is offered at this two-day course.
No full arch without people
The conference ended with a panel on what kinds of technology is needed to elevate full-arch success. While essential to success, Tanner Applegate of Unify, Greg Essenmacher of GNA Consult and Amol Nirgudkar of Patient Prism agreed that technology doesn’t replace people.
It’s important to acknowledge that technology doesn’t even exist without humans. “Technology is great but it doesn’t replace the human experience,” said Essenmacher. Nirgudkar pointed out the importance of the human element. “The moment someone says hello, you know whether they care about you.” Training staff to be empathetic and caring is essential.
With so many systems and software options out there, choosing technology for a practice can seem overwhelming. Nirgudkar pointed out that technology doesn’t need to be a burden. Technology should be an extension of what a practice already does.
The Full Arch Advantage conference offered a comprehensive look into what dental practices must do to build and maintain a full-arch case load. From practice branding and marketing systems to staffing considerations and effective sales techniques, speakers showcased an expert knowledge on a wide breadth of full-arch marketing topics. At the end, attendees were challenged to return to their practices with one thing in mind above all others: the human element of full arch. Whether patients or employees, practices must remember the life-changing work they do through full-arch dentistry.