Ever been confounded by how to perfectly price your dental services? In this episode, our knowledgeable guest is Dr. Nathan Coughlin, an experienced dentist and entrepreneur, who unveils some of his best advice on pricing dental treatments. Nathan underscores the trap of racing to the bottom in pricing to compete, instead advocating for services' differentiation to significantly stand out in the crowded dental market.
Diving deeper, Nathan delves into some practical applications of his advice using orthodontics practices as a case in point—where the bare offering of braces can be supplemented by additional services like dental X-rays, impressions, retainers, and teeth whitening, to name a few. He sheds light on the crucial psychological factors at play, such as aura of scarcity and the urgency, that can be generated by strategizing a limited-time offering, which in turn significantly boosts the perceived value of your bundled services.
What You'll Learn in This Episode:
Give this episode a listen, and arm yourself with these game-changing strategies to set your dental practice apart and elevate your bottom line without discounting services.
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Michael: Hey Nathan, so talk to us. What's one piece of advice you can give us this Monday morning?
Nathan: Michael, I got, I got a big one here, so you ready? This is gonna be, this is gonna be big. This is gonna hopefully change your viewers, um, or listeners attitudes towards selling treatment. So it's something that we are doing currently right now in our offices that has gained us over a hundred thousand dollars extra of production already, and we're halfway through the month.
So this is how it works. So how do most dentists, business people, pretty much anybody, how do they start by setting their, um, how much they're gonna charge for something? And this is really important because how we charge for anything is how our business is gonna be ran.
So what do most people do? They go, I. Okay, I'm a dentist. I just moved into a new area. Uh, I'm a brand new dentist. I wanna start making some money. I need to get some patience. So let me see. What am I gonna charge for A dental crown. And you look at the three next offices you go. Cool. This office is shoot, charging 1200.
The other one's 1100. This one's a thousand. I. Need to get some patience because I'm brand new. I'm a newbie. I need to get some patience in and how am I gonna do it? I'm gonna go slightly less than everybody else, and because I'm slightly less than everybody else, people are gonna flock me. My surface is great.
I'm a great dentist. My office is great. All these outstanding things and more people are gonna come in and that'll solve my problems. Next dentist comes in a couple months later, they're within a, you know, a couple mile radius. They go, Hmm, I'm a new dentist. I want to come in. I need to start charging for crowns.
How much do I charge for crowns? They look at everybody and they go, cool. Nathan's charging 900. Let me go a little bit less than him. I'm gonna charge eight 50 or 800. Essentially, this is how dentists and a lot of different companies charge their products. The problem obviously is it's a race to the bottom, right?
Mm-Hmm. You become mm-Hmm. The Walmarts of the world, which you become, if you become huge and massive and you have a thousand offices, you become these massive DSOs. You can actually do that 'cause you have buy power and you can get things for less and your, profits can still be there.
But essentially it's a race to the bottom, right? Mm-Hmm. So we are trying to avoid this as much as possible, and you can see this happening my. Father-in-law is a dentist in Koreatown in Los Angeles. And essentially this is what they're doing. Like they're doing implants and crowns for pennies. Yeah.
And so your profits get less. And I think this is almost, uh, not an unethical, but it becomes very, very difficult to deliver a great product because if your profit gets less, you can hire less quality people. You get less quality products, and everything essentially goes down. Right. But this is what the average dentist, the average business does.
contrary to that, what does the average patient or consumer do? And we're all guilty of this. Say you wanna get, um, a nice white T-shirt, you go, cool. There's five companies that have this nice white T-shirt, man. They're all pretty similar and none of them really brands or they're all pretty darn similar.
Let me just go with the cheapest option because I think it's gonna be. Pretty much the same, right? Mm-Hmm. And then this reinforces that same belief that we go, cool. We need to be the least expensive. We need to be the most cheap. Because look, everybody's buying from over there. The reason we do that, the reason they do that is because it's all the same.
A white T-shirt is a white T-shirt is a white T-shirt. Black scrubs or black scrubs or black scrubs. A dental crown. Although a dentist or whoever thinks their crown is the absolute end all be all, I'm sorry, it's not your dental crown is just like the dentist down the street. Your feeling is just like the dentist down the street.
Your cleaning is just like the dentist down the street. Yes. We do things to distinguish ourselves and make it. Better, but essentially you're the same. So how do we decommoditize what we're doing? How do we make it different so that what we are doing is not the exact same as everybody else? And I will tell you, this is what's making us a lot of money right now.
So, right. Hopefully your ears are perking up because if you wanna make money, this is how you do it. So you have to make your solution different than anybody else's. So if you read different various marketing books, they say you wanna have kind of this blue ocean theory where you are providing a product that is different than everybody else.
So Mrs. Smith, when she comes in the office, she can't go. Oh, but dentist down the street is doing the exact same thing as me. I can compare the two kind of like, you know, one-to-one. So they're both commoditized, so you have to do it. So it's not like that. So how do we do that on our end? I. So I will give you 90% of the tricks.
I can't go into all of them 'cause I don't have enough time, but this is 90% of the tricks. Okay? So, so now what you do is you, you unbundle what you're doing and show the patient everything you're doing, and then you want to add things in there that cost you very little. But the perceived value of it is huge.
So, in orthodontics, what do we do? What's the big thing that we do? We, you know, if somebody's coming in for braces, obviously they're gonna get braces. what they may also need, they may need molds so that we can make retainers, maybe we can make some X retainers. They're gonna need x-rays. They may need, you know, some equilibration of their teeth.
They may need some IPR, they may need, whitening at the end. They want, may want an upgrade to clear braces. They may. Need dental treatment if you're an office that's doing both of those, and so you have this list of items, right? Mm-Hmm. And if you, if you add them up and how you present it is very, very important.
But if you add all these things up, Mrs. Smith comes in, she wants braces. We say, okay, Mrs. Smith, you're gonna come in for braces. We we're really excited to treat you. I know you've been to five other consults where your we're your fifth consult. Come in here. How we do it at our office. We say, okay, yes, your braces are gonna be.
Say whatever, it's $6,000. Mm-Hmm. And then we go, and what you're also gonna need is maybe some dental X-rays and some impressions. And that costs us, you know, 300 bucks. What you're also gonna want is an extra, when you're gonna need retainers. Right. That's another 500. And you know what? Because most patients at the end of treatment, when they get done their treatment.
How the retainers, they'll keep those things for a year or two, lose and break and whatever. They don't get another one in. Mm-Hmm. So we like to add another set of retainers on that. Boom. That's another 500. Oh, you know what? Because you're an adult, you probably don't want those metal braces. You probably want to upgrade to clear.
That's another $500. You know what, what's even cooler is at the end of orthodontic treatment, most people want to have their teeth nice and white, even though they're straight. If they're yellow, it just doesn't look good. Mm-Hmm. So we wanna throw in some zoom in-office whitening. And you know, on top of that.
Because we believe that teeth that are clean, move better teeth that are cleaner, healthier, and we want everybody to have healthier, teeth. We're gonna throw in x amount of dollars for your dental treatment. So you start adding all this up, right? So you, the patient looks, their, their eyes are getting big.
They, they're like, eyes just came in for an ortho consult, like, what is going on here? Yeah. And so, you know, you say, Hey, it's 6,000 plus 500, plus 500 plus 700, whatever it is. And then the total price is 10,000. If you're familiar with marketing and psychology, there's something called an anchor, right? So people get anchored to certain prices.
So whenever anybody's trying to sell you anything, if they're good, they're gonna anchor your price at something high. So they're gonna say, this is the high, high price. You're like, whoa, that's high. And then when they show you their real price, you're just like, oh, that's cheap. That's easy. Yeah. You add all these things up and boom, boom, boom.
It adds up to like, say it's gonna be $10,000, and then you go, but. Today, and you have to create some scarcity and urgency, which are different. You say, today we're gonna throw this all in for. 5,000, 5,500, something like that. Mm-Hmm. you have this massive perceived value, huge perceived value that in reality does not cost you much for us.
We do, you know, retainers in office office, which costs us like a couple bucks. It's not, not expensive. Mm-Hmm. Yeah. Up upgrade to clear braces. Not that that expensive. if somebody's coming in for dental cleaning, really that's doesn't cost us much. We're not utilizing products. There's so much stuff that we throw in there that creates this huge perceived value on by the patient.
And so they're just like, whoa, this is crazy. And the beauty of this is now I. This patient can't go to another dental office. They can't go, well, no. Dr. Nate down the street is offering this 'cause that dentist is like, we don't do that. I don't, I don't know. We don't, that's not something we do and we can't do it 'cause we don't have dentists in orthodontics or we don't have whatever.
And there's such a, a wide variety of combos you can do with this. depending on your dental office. What you also have to do is you have to make sure that. You are pairing that, with something that makes it scarce. And we actually do this at our office. We say, Hey, there's this product we're giving and this is crazy.
Like we don't do this. Typically, we just say, braces are 6,000 bucks. And take it or leave it. You have some payment plans if you want, but whatever. Mm-Hmm. But we're doing this crazy deal that we never do and it's actually only offered for the next 15 patients. So you can take this deal right now, and we, it's here.
We know it's here. Or, um, if you're worried about everything and it's like, Hey, there's no chance I'm gonna start today. We say, cool. That's, I understand that. I get that. it is only for the next 15 patients. So if you call in, I can't guarantee, which is true 'cause we do switch up our, our specials so may not be there.
Hmm. So if, if you call in again, this may not be available. This is the best deal we've ever had, which is true. It is the best deal we've ever had. Yeah. And it's only good for today. So there's, there's these other ways to kind of entice patients as well to make that decision. You know, you wanna make things, I know in the dental world this is gonna be controversial, but you want things to be guaranteed.
And I feel like I've seen tons of posts on this, like, don't guarantee your dentistry, this is so bad. Like, no medical people don't guarantee your dentistry. I'm like, yeah, that's, that's cool. But like we're in the real world and if you guarantee things. People are more likely to act. Yeah. So how we, how we do it, we say, I know you don't wanna make that decision right now.
I know you need to talk to your husband, your spouse, your whatever you wanna do. but we have this guarantee and you want to name it something dumb, like the super smile guarantee, like something that's kind of catchy and funny and whatever you want to do it. You say, you know, if you start today and if you pay your down payment or you pay you whatever, and within 30 days you don't like your braces, you don't like your, whatever it is, come back in.
We will take everything off and we are gonna give you a full, either you can do a refund or you can do a credit, or whatever you want to do, so that the barrier to entry is low. 'cause people are scared that they're gonna start treatment and then they're gonna regret it or that their husband or their wife or their significant other.
Gets upset with them. And so this takes all barriers away. You create that massive value. We call it value stack. You're valuing, stacking, stacking, stacking. You cut it so that they can see the actual real price that they're gonna pay. There's a scarcity urgency. There's not that many that are gonna happen.
We end this deal on. So maybe we're gonna give it to 15 people, or we're gonna end it in January 31st, or whatever it is. And then you create this guarantee and there's a couple different ways you can, you can help with the payment plans, but if you're doing that properly and you're selling each value stack at a correct method, it changes the game and.
Invite your listeners to think about this. Mm-Hmm. And if you don't know, if they don't know this stat, they should think about this real hard and they should look for it. 'cause it's very easy to find if you're selling big ticket items, if you're selling ortho implants, all in fours. All in fours would be a big one.
Yeah. Anything that is expensive. What is your conversion ratio, right? So say you have 10 patients that come in, 10 consults. How many of those start? And for us, it was very eye-opening, very eye-opening because we weren't tracking that. And I started looking at that and I was like. Oh my gosh, our conversion percentage is really low.
Like Mm-Hmm. if we went from, say we went from 40% to 80%, the difference in our production would be hundreds of thousands of dollars. Like it's a huge difference. And so you go, cool, what do we need to do to make it so our conversion percentage is higher? And that implementing this technique has ha has done that.
And so we had the patience there. The problems not, was not. Marketing for us, not, was not advertising, it was conversions. You know? So some people go, oh, I need more patients. I just need to get more patients. Yeah. It's like, do you need more patients? Or it is like, do you suck at selling? Like if you're, if your patients aren't converting, like, I'm sorry doc, you suck.
Like you suck at selling. Mm-Hmm. Like it's, or your front staff, somebody's not doing, not doing good. So it's not the patients coming in that you can't convert and they don't believe you. so this technique has helped us already. I think it's like we're at like 130,000 extra this month than previous. Um, we, we obviously have multiple offices in a decent volume, but, um, yeah, this has made a massive, massive difference to our office,
Okay. So I like a, a lot of it is amazing. Now, could this work in your father-In-law's in Koreatown? Yeah. Mm-Hmm. Could this work in his, let's just say someone like that is listening and he's like, you know what, I'm gonna do this. could it
Nathan: work? So I think this can work in virtually every single office.
This is not my idea number one. This is somebody called Alex Hermosy. If anybody's in the, gym space, in the business space, she's a big person on, on social media. Mm-Hmm. And this is his book. If you have to look at some books, it's called a hundred million Dollar Leads or a hundred Million Dollar, um, offer.
This works. Everywhere. So in his case, in my father-in-law's case, he does implants. implants are big ticket items. So you'd offer an implant, maybe combined with something else, combined with whitening, maybe combined with a night guard this stuff is cheap. Like a night guard.
You can make in office, you can make a retainer in office. And these are like a couple bucks. Like this is not expensive. Mm-Hmm. So the, the important thing is to create this massive perceived value. 'cause every person in the world. I don't care if you have a billion dollars or if you have 10 bucks to your name, you want value for your money.
Mm-Hmm. If you feel like you're getting value, you will stay. The moment you do not feel like you're having value, people will leave. And that's why people leave dental offices 'cause they don't feel like their money is being valued there. But if you're doing stuff that is so unique, so different, and you're creating this massive value, they cannot go anywhere else with that same value.
So yes, I believe this can be done I'm sure I feel like it can be done in every office, but maybe there's an exception that I haven't haven't seen. Awesome.
Michael: Awesome. Nathan, I appreciate your time and if anyone has further questions, where can they reach out to you?
Nathan: Yeah, you can just look at my, uh, it's Dr. Nate on IG TikTok, YouTube, Pinterest. We're else we're at, we're everywhere. So if you guys just look up my name, you'll, you'll find me.
Michael: Awesome. So that's gonna be in the show notes below. And at the same time, Nate, thank you so much for being with me on this Monday morning episode.