MMM [Membership Plans] How Do You Scale Your Membership Plan? The Vital First Steps

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In today's episode of Monday Morning Marketing, we sit down with Jake Goates from Gargle to dive farther into the world of Membership Plans. Setting up a successful membership plan can be a game-changer, so it's important to start off on the right foot! We explore the essential first steps, answering the "what, when, and why" questions surrounding dental membership software and membership offerings that have been proven to succeed. Jake shares valuable insights, from crafting a FAQ to ensure consistent responses from your team when patients have common queries, to the key to getting patients on board with the plan. We also uncover the golden rule of marketing: communicating something seven times in seven different ways for maximum impact. Plus, we address concerns about scaling without a monthly payment option and leveraging your sales contacts for invaluable insights on membership plan setup.

Tune in for a comprehensive guide to making your membership plans a resounding success!

You can reach out to Jake Goates here:


Visit for a discounted rate on DentalHQ's membership plans:

Other Mentions and Links:

Dental HQ CommunityCONNECT

Dental HQ BusinessCONNECT

Delta Dental

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Episode Transcript (Auto-Generated - Please Excuse Errors)

Michael: Hey, Jake. So talk to us about in house membership plans. How can we utilize this or what advice, suggestions, or methods can you give us that will help us

Jake: with this? Yes, uh, do them. That's the short answer. Uh, there's a lot of moving parts. And so traditionally speaking, I've, you know, I've dealt with everything from the strictly fee for service to very heavily PPO practices.

And it really doesn't matter what situation you are in. There are always going to be consumers out there that don't know about them. And so. The first step is really once you establish what it is for your practice and you design it the way that you feel is going to be most beneficial and the most natural for the type of practice you are, once that's all documented, you've got it ready to roll.

You've got to get the whole team on board. You've got to come up with your own list of questions of frequently asked questions that you know you're going to get. And role play those questions over phone calls in your trainings, however, you need to so that the whole staff is on the same page answering the same questions in the same way, once you feel like that training has rolled out, and this does not have to take long.

Don't overthink it, but. I think starting is the first thing, and then how are you going to educate and go to market? How are you going to let your existing patients know about it? we've all heard in marketing, you've got to, you know, to market something or to communicate something, you've got to communicate it seven times in seven different ways.

And so what are those seven different times? What do those look like? And then how are you going to communicate that? What, you know, how are you going to go about marketing it in seven different ways? As you start to grow it, I think where I find a lot of my practices get it in over their skis a little bit, is they will, they'll, they'll outline the entire thing and then they will fail on follow through.

It's this beautiful idea, but nobody's quite sure and they're a little bit uneasy on how to, how to really start managing that in their system. And so sometimes they'll say, well, I got to go hire a software, you know, and like at Gargle, we've managed to partner with Dental HQ. And the number one reason we chose to partner with Dental HQ is because they have something called Community Connect and Business Connect, and it is the way that it scales it.

So a lot of times people say now I've got this thing, but we've only got 50 members that have ever signed up for our in house plan, and they don't know exactly how to scale it and get more and more enrollments on a consistent basis. They might have a good flash in the pan, get 15, 20 people to sign on, and then it sits there, so as you get it all documented.

My recommendation is typically you want to manage that in house before you go and buy a software because you're gonna get a feel for how much of this can I manage as I'm getting the ball rolling and your practice management systems are equipped to typically keep track of this, but it gets to a point.

The scalability side is where people get stuck. And so to really make it a revenue stream for their practice and a benefit and a loyalty patient retention tool, that's where you really need the software to come in and you have something like dental HQ, where now it's managing the billing a given and it's giving them more than just you got to buy into it.

Family of four is going to cost you 1000 up front today. And that's a barrier to entry for a lot of families to come up with the cash. So, the software allows you to provide payment plans that you no longer, and you no longer have to train your staff on how to manage and when to bill it and, and getting it all put into your own internal system.

That's where something like Dental HQ comes in very, very handy. But, I find that people will sign up for Dental HQ, they might pay a couple hundred dollars a month to start it, but they don't even have a few hundred patients in there or even a couple dozen patients in there to cash roll what they're paying for their software.

So they get over their skis a little bit by signing up for the software before they're even ready. So thinking through it. That's where the, the consultant comes into play and people who have done it before and your colleagues networking and asking them, how did you roll yours out? But then once you get to the point of knowing, okay, I've got the way to market it seven times and communicate it seven times, seven different ways, and I've got the infrastructure to hold it.

Now I want to go and find the software for those first, you know, a few dozen that I've now signed up and it's getting to a point where it's taking a little bit of time. Now, when you sign up for the software, it'll pay for itself because you already have people enrolled, you're plugging in and then you're building more around it so that you can scale it.

Michael: I like that. I like that. So have the impression. So then what should we have ready before signing up for a software? I know you said the seven ways you should market it and what are the things?

Jake: So the other thing that you typically want, you want to make sure that you've got somewhere on your website that is outlining what you're ready to publish on your website.

What is the program in layman's terms? do you have a monthly plan and a way to collect those payments? You know, does your processor allow you to plug in recurring payment plans? Is it integrated with your practice management system? A lot of times I have practices come to me and say, holy cow, we set it up, but our merchant processor does not integrate with our practice management system.

So, I have to set tasks on my calendar to go in and see who's enrolled and then I have to go over and make sure I set them up and I manually bill them if we offer them monthly payments. A lot of practices, they don't want to have to do that. It's too much work for the staff. And so that's why they opt into just offering an upfront annual plan.

Well, consumers, when it comes to insurance and benefits, and I know we can't call it insurance, but an in house plan in a consumer's mind is a, is an insurance plan. You have to be able to offer them a monthly, quarterly, or annual option, or you will never scale it. And so I'm yet to deal, you know, the thousands of practices over the past decade that I've consulted with on this very rarely.

I bet I can count on 1 hand. How many had more than 100 people enrolled where they had been doing it for a short period of time. They've been able to scale it successfully without offering. A monthly payment plan, if you don't have a way for people to get in on a monthly basis, that's a barrier to entry that can make it very difficult to scale.

And so, from an infrastructure standpoint, it's making sure that, you know, what are your current capabilities within your. It within your merchant processor within your website. If you have a patient portal, what do you want to be able to communicate? And what tools do you want to give your patients to know the benefits of their plan?

And if you don't have that in place, then yes, start with a consulting call. You might as well book yourself a demo with someone like dental HQ and or talk to your Marketing consultant who hopefully knows something about how to market one of these plans that will allow them to talk you through some of those components.

But the number one thing is you've got to have it outlined in a way where you then know, can my system support this? Or do I need to sign up? And yeah. And some of my clients, they do need to sign up for the software right away, but they have a plan structured and they know their UCR codes and they know exactly what they want to apply discounts to or what they want to charge.

So it's a lot easier to quickly plug into a software and scale it quickly. But if they don't have those other components in place outlining what they want their in house benefits plan to look like, then they'll sign up and they'll pay one or two or three or two. In some cases, six months of a service that they're not even able to utilize because they're still organizing it.

Michael: So have it all structured and organized way beforehand. Yeah,

Jake: and that's where the free demos come into play. Use the sales. Sharks out there and the sales energy that they're willing to share information, right? They're willing to go to bat and earn your business, make them earn your business, ask them those questions.

So how do I structure this? Show me how I would structure it in your software. When you ask that question in a sales demo, they're at the same time training you how to roll one out. How to build one and it gives you ideas that maybe you didn't think of before the first time I saw a demo from Dental HQ, I was blown away at how simple their screen was of plugging in UCR codes and determining what type do I want a perio maintenance plan?

Do I want a senior discount plan? Do I want? A family of four with additionals, or do I want just the family flat rate, regardless of how many people, which a family like mine would kill you because I grew up with 12 siblings, so it's like you better have a plan in place for those those different sized families and individuals.

And if you want to apply different types of discounts, but seeing a sales demo with those software tools will oftentimes give you a lot of the road map that you need. And you can tell them point blank, tell the salesman, I'm not ready. I know I need to do X, Y, and Z. A good salesman of one of these tools that are out there will tell you, we can help you build that the right way.

And we can do it in a way that by the time your second payment comes around, you'll already have tools that are getting some of your patients a record into this plan.

Michael: Okay. that's really good. That's really good to know, like utilize the salespeople, have this plan in place. And then once we have it in place, the ways to, the seven ways we should market, is it seven ways or seven times?

Jake: So, to your existing patient base, you need to do it seven times in seven different ways. So that's at check in, having a brochure right there on the counter that you can hand them. You know, I noticed you're with Delta Dental. We're coming up on the fourth quarter. When is your open enrollment to sign up for next year's plan?

Oh, I'm not sure. That's through my husband's work. Well, you may want to take this and chat with your husband because this new in house plan typically saves, families about, 200 a year, whatever. Do the math and the comparative analysis of, do you know what you're paying on your monthly premium for, for Delta?

No, I have no idea. You know, we've found the average patient has told us that it's this much. And ours is only this much, but you get all the benefits, not to mention there's no maximum benefit. So a lot of it is the education. So when you're checking people in having a brochure, when you're in the chair, and you know, your hygienist has just diagnosed, you know, that they're going to need a period maintenance plan, your insurance may have a benefit of covering X. Have you heard about our in house plan? Oh, yeah, they just gave me a brochure up front. I would definitely consider it based on what we just discussed today and what we just saw. So before you opt in to sign up another year for your group policy that you're getting through your employer, I think you'd probably not only save money on your insurance premiums every single month next year, but you'd probably save a little bit of money on the period maintenance plan because of what we offer.

So, People don't know about this, and consumers will, will jump on board. I've done this chair side with patients before and with doctors when I've been training them. And it's really interesting to watch as the hygienist walks out with you after and goes, Holy cow, you made that so easy to talk about.

And the reality is everybody hates insurance companies. So play that to your advantage, you know, insurance is great when you need it, but in dental, it's very different. There's a max benefit and with the work that we just talked about and the, the, you know, as you're walking them out, you should really consider that.

Give us a call. If you have any questions, so and so is our patient coordinator, have them introduced. Then that patient coordinator can follow up. There's three in one visit. Three ways that you just communicated to a patient of record that you have an in house plan. Now, do you also have a drip campaign that's going out in an email blast to your patients on a monthly basis, letting them know about it?

Do you have an SMS blast campaign going out to their cell phone with a link to your website with the page of your website that highlights what your in house plan is? Do you have a postcard that you're mailing out? Or an appreciation thank you card where you're inserting that from the hygienist where, you know, they're a good candidate, you know, are they writing a quick thank you card and stuffing that in there to send them as a follow up.

So that's what I mean by you've got to communicate 7 times in 7 different ways or people will not understand it. they won't be aware. Um, of what it is and how it's going to benefit them. So the other thing that I love more than anything else is when you get the software going in your favor, that's managing this plan, showing you your enrollees, what their discounts are.

When you find a partner like a dental HQ, they have this thing called business connect. And my favorite one is their community connected, because what you do is you can customize a plan. You can literally go to the call center. On the other side of town that, you know, I've got a client in Boston that actually did this, they found this call center that had like 1500 employees in it and they were offering a group dental plan and only about 30 percent of their employees were enrolled in their group policy.

Well, office manager, super ambitious, went in, said, hey, who's your, preferred provider for dental benefits for your employees? Oh, we go through so and so have you ever considered partnering with a dedicated private dentist that allows your employees to pay less and then you can offset the cost.

If you so choose as an employer, community connected business connect allows you to present your in house plan to other businesses and community groups and say, if you would like to offset 50 percent of their premium each month, yeah. You know, call it 40 a month to be part of our benefits plan or our in house plan.

If you cover 50%, you can just debit the other 50 percent out of the employee's payroll, and then we just bill you. And they can set that up all easily enough, not to mention you get all of the recent, all of the tools to create. Through Dental HQ's portal, the ability for patients to go and enroll and sign up with a dedicated link for their employer.

So, it's co branded. It looks like my employer is the one who negotiated this incredible deal. I had that client that was literally getting people enrolled before they even booked their first appointment to come in for a cleaning. Yeah. So, there's some really cool tools out there and if you leverage them and understand what they are, it's not as daunting to...

Both create and roll out and then maintain and scale your in house plan.

Michael: Yeah. No, nice, man. I love that. Awesome, Jake. I appreciate your time. And if anyone has any further questions, where can they reach out to

Jake: you? Uh, just gargle. com, uh, G A R G L E. com. Uh, you submit a form or you can call directly in and we'll get you on the phone.

I work more with the client strategy on the backend, but, utilize our sales team, ask them questions, see what else they can do to, to help connect the dots for you guys.

Michael: Awesome. Jake, I appreciate you. And thank you so much for being with me on this Monday morning marketing

Jake: episode. Thank you. It's awesome to be here.