5 SIMPLE STEPS To Add $300,000 In Sleep Apnea Treatment In Just 12 Months WITHOUT Relying on MD Referrals!
By: Todd Warren
Most dentists and practice owners begin their dental sleep medicine journey without any knowledge of how to implement an effective workflow that creates patient awareness and moves them toward a greater likelihood of accepting treatment…
They feel left out in the cold on how to build a dependable referral base with local MD’s and dental offices. And in reality, they feel like they got sold a bill of goods on how easy sleep would be to implement in their practice profitably. But if you’re reading this… it’s because you believe that sleep can still be an incredible opportunity, not just for the health and wellness of your patients, but as a business owner as well.
For many sleep practice owners (most of them in fact); the harsh truth is that each day; the thought of doing more sleep cases get drowned out by the mundane day to day drill and fill, and over time for both you and your staff… sleep just becomes less and less of a priority, and the result is that you refer out a few patients per month to local MDs without ever getting an update until they come back for their next hygiene appt and you’ve found that their primary care stuck your patient with a CPAP even after you educated their doctor on the efficacy of oral appliance therapy.
You feel kind of helpless to do anything about it…maybe even frustrated, but the reality is…if you don’t have a system that generates you a predictable number of sleep patients every single month who are inquiring WITH YOU (not an MD) specifically about managing OSA with oral appliance therpay…then plan on remaining frustrated…
But it’s not all doom and gloom!
Finding a Solution For Consistently & Predictably Attracting OSA Patients
Let me share real quick why our clients reach out to us… see if you can relate:
- They’ve seen the opportunity treating sleep provides and they can’t “unsee” that opportunity…The revenue, the low overhead, the minimal chair-time, they can save their back…the upside really is incredible.
- Some of them are the only in town who offers oral appliance therapy as an option to manage OSA. And yet they still aren’t seeing the growth they want or had expected after investing their blood, sweat, tears into implementing sleep into their practice…not to mention the cash investment into CE or to be part of some of the major dental sleep medicine organizations.
- They’ve tried to connect with MD’s, but often times MD’s aren’t too thrilled about dentists being involved with sleep…and if they are able to work up some sort of agreement with an MD or another dental office, they might only see an appliance or two every other month.
- They know that it’s possible to be collecting an additional $250k – $500k per year with sleep.
- They know that they could be working less or retiring more comfortably if their sleep practice was thriving.
- They know the physical toll that traditional dentistry takes on the body (because they feel it) and they still want to be active by the time they retire.
- Even though they see the potential for growth, they’ve been burned so many times in the past, they hesitate taking any risks with another “me too” marketing campaign.
- They know they need SOMETHING to help their sleep practice produce like they know it can, but they just don’t know who to trust to help them get there.
- They want to specialize but they cant afford to stop doing the bread and butter dentistry… the drill and fill that’s keeping the doors open and their staff/bills paid.
- And in reality, they just don’t know how much longer they can sustain what they’re currently doing, whether that’s because of physical limitations or because the practice of day to day dentistry just isn’t as exciting anymore…
‘Okay…” you’re saying. ‘So how does it work?’
As the title of this article states; there are 5 SIMPLE STEPS to be able to add an additional $300k in sleep apnea treatment in just 12 months, WITHOUT having to rely on MD referrals!
Step #1: Getting the Right message in front of the Right people at the Right time
Did you know that using social media, you can place targeted ads for treating OSA in front of the people in your community who are TALKING about snoring, CPAP, excessive daytime sleepiness, mouth breathing, management of hypertension, etc? And when you have an audience THAT targeted, you get an amazing response.
Here are a few tips:
Go after the low hanging fruit!
Don’t try to reach EVERYONE who may be suffering from OSA and has yet to be diagnosed. Many times, these folks are not as responsive due to the nature of OSA…it’s not always an immediate concern that’s causing the patient enough pain to do something about it.
On the other hand, the low hanging fruit is ready and willing to move forward with treatment ASAP; and that’s those who have already been diagnosed with OSA and were not told that oral appliance therapy could be an option for them. You’re now the expert, because you just revealed a brand new option for them!
…But you need to focus on education!
Short cell phone videos are the BEST option when running targeted ads on social media. When people see a highly produced video in their social media newsfeed, it feels inauthentic…it feels like and AD! Cell phone videos look natural. They look like they belong in their newsfeed.
When you focus on education, focus on the most simple topics that create intrigue:
- CPAP vs Sleep Appliances: Which works better to stop snoring?
- How to know if you have OSA?
- What are the best alternatives to CPAP?
- How to stop snoring without CPAP
Step #2: Capture their contact info using a 'sleep funnel'
You have to have the PERFECT landing page that makes people WANT to give you their contact details because not doing so would leave their life in a worse state than before.
How do you do that?
Sleep funnel pages need to have a balance of clinical information (enough to know why its an effective alternative to what they’ve been told is the only option) and personal connections (verbiage that helps them envision the benefits they will experience once moving forward with treatment).
Additionally, you need to have a CLEAR CALL TO ACTION.
What this means is that, when the patient clicks your ad and lands on your sleep funnel page, they should instantly be aware of what action it is you want them to take, ie: fill out your contact details to request a consult, or call the office.
There should be no question whatsoever on what it is you want the visitor to your sleep funnel page to do.
Step #3: The 'Soft' Follow-up
If you don’t have any automated followup procedures, then your staff is going to go full mutiny on you.
You can’t expect one receptionist to followup with an additional 60-100 patients per month without giving that person some hope of managing those leads efficiently.
That’s why we recommend that you have some sort of platform which allows you to automate and customize certain communications FOR YOU. That means that you have a lead management system that is communicating with potential OSA patients while your staff continues to handle the day to day efficiently and they don’t feel overwhelmed by the additional task of calling all your sleep leads.
There are other opportunities with this type of automation as well…
Your staff doesn’t have the time to follow up with potential patients who 99% of the time…won’t be able to move forward with treatment. In most cases, Medicaid patients will not be able to move forward with treatment due to a lack of coverage for oral appliance therapy. This is why it’s paramount that you have automated systems in place (soft followup) to communicate with those patients to let them know their insurance doesn’t cover this treatment.
Here’s an example of the automated communication we setup for our Dental Sleep Profits members:
State Insurance Filter
Notice how the text message is an open ended question. You’re not disregarding the patient altogether due to a lack of coverage, but you’re giving them the opportunity to respond should they still want to pursue treatment despite their lack of coverage.
It’s the right thing to do!
This ‘filter’ allows your staff to only focus on followup with the leads you’re generating that are the most likely to be able to move forward with treatment.
Step #4: The 'Hard' Follow-up
The hard followup is getting on the phone. While you can have success with our automated communications, there is no substitution for patients connecting with you and/or your staff on the phone. You gotta do it, and you gotta do it fast. Within 5-10 minutes if your sleep patient is inquiring during business hours. If leads are requesting a consultation and that request is coming in outside of business hours, then your staff should be calling first thing in the morning.
Here are two tips to help you in successfully reaching out to those sleep patient leads:
1. Send a pre-call text message. Patients who receive a text message a couple minutes before getting a call from you are far more likely to answer the phone due to the fact that they’re now expecting to receive a call from a phone number they don’t recognize.
Here’s what that SMS should sound like:
Semi-Automated Ninja Tactic
Keep it real simple. They don’t need to know who you are again…they’ve already received a text message confirming the receipt of their consultation request. They’ll see the text message history when you send this simple text!
2. Take note of the time of day (or night rather) when the patient lead submitted their request for a consultation after clicking your ad.
If they submitted their info at 1am, make that a topic of discussion in a joking manner: “What on earth were you doing awake at 1am??? I guess that’s why you reached out to us though.”
Step #5: Why Stories Matter
You need to have an effective process for documenting the success of your sleep patients. Really quick though, let me explain why stories matter…from personal experience.
This is Wayne Wyatt. He’s an orthodontist with a growing family. He was sick and tired of being overweight and tired, so he did P90X (that infomercial workout program from back in the early-mid 2000’s).
Wayne got crazy results!
Hop over to myself…I had tried P90X 7 times previously and failed after the first three weeks every single time.
I was like Wayne. I had a demanding job as an engineer, a growing family, church commitments, family commitments. It was tough, but I was sick and tired of being overweight and tired.
I found Wayne’s story posted on YouTube…
All of a sudden, I realized that it was possible to get the results I wanted because I was able to RELATE to his story.
…and that’s exactly what happened!
You see, your patient’s stories should paint a picture for the viewer that helps them relate to your patient’s situation BEFORE oral appliance therapy…
and has them ENVYING your patient’s story AFTER oral appliance therapy.
Here are some questions you might ask during a quick testimonial (recorded with a call phone…remember the authenticity thing?)
- What was your experience with CPAP?
- How was your sleep apnea affecting your life?
- What made you reach out to us?
- How was your first experience with us?
- What has life been like with your sleep appliance?
- What would you tell someone who hates their CPAP or
thinks they may have sleep apnea?
Now let me ask you a few questions real quick…
What does your system look like right now?
Is it predictable?
And not just predictable, but is the system you have now an efficient use of your energy as a business owner to reach your goals with sleep in the timeframe you want? And more importantly…are you comfortable relying on what you’re doing now to grow your sleep practice?
Because to see any significant growth in your sleep practice, you have to have the RIGHT SYSTEM to be able to do this and generate results, and it can’t be left up to chance. And granted, you can do it the hard way, which is like going up to a lock and trying to guess the code, but did you know there are more than 10,000 possible combinations to a 4 digit lock? You can try to crack it yourself and who knows maybe you will find a combination that works in a year or two or three but most probably never will.
You can simply have it done FOR YOU.
If you’d like to learn more about Dental Sleep Profits, and how we can help you ACCELERATE the growth of your dental sleep medicine practice, you’re more than welcome to schedule a call with us!
About The Author
Meet Todd Warren!
Todd is the Founder & CEO of Dental Sleep Profits and emerged into the dental sleep marketing space after a successful test campaign with a general dentistry client. That sparked a passion for saving lives and relationships. Dental Sleep Profits is the most desired partner in accelerating the growth of dental sleep medicine practices through delivering value direct to consumer, with the added objective of helping dentists become the prime mover in making oral appliance therapy a first line of treatment for obstructive sleep apnea.