It's Go Time!—4th Quarter Dental Strategies by Jay Geier

It's Go Time!—4th Quarter Dental Strategies 

Make big plays in the 4th quarter to end 2021 strong and start 2022 off right


by Jay Geier


How’s your year shaping up? Are you on track to reach your annual goal? Pleased that you’re ahead of your game plan? Expecting to fall short? As fast as this year seems to be flying by, you still have an entire quarter to make some big plays.

If you’re on track to meet or beat your goal, you should build on the momentum you already have going, so your year ends up even better. If you’re falling short, instead of punting and hoping for the best—assuming it’s too late to score big—don’t sell yourself and your team so short. It’s up to you as the practice leader to motivate the troops and go for the winningest year possible.

No matter where you stand, a rally starts by reenergizing your growth mindset. Assuming you already have a goal for the year, set an aggressive goal specifically for the fourth quarter—at the very least, one that gets you back on track for the overall year if you’re behind where you should be. Even if you miss it, you’ll end up better by having had a goal to shoot for.

But you must act fast. Get your plays mapped out and in action so you score the benefits within the next 90 days. Here are some proven strategies for capitalizing on the last quarter of the year.


Design marketing campaigns themed around special dates and holidays.

The fourth quarter is loaded with possibilities, including Columbus Day, Halloween, the end of daylight saving time, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Hanukkah, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day and Christmas. No matter if it’s you, a team member or a third party doing it, the design cost is minimal because the creative planning is already done; you don’t have to think hard to come up with a clever theme. For example:

  • Tie into Veterans Day or Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day to honor veterans by offering something special for them. Better yet, plan a free Veterans Dental Day as a charitable event. In addition to giving back to the community, you’ll be giving back to your bottom line with qualified deductions, as well as getting exposure within the community as a generous office.
  • Send a reminder that time is running out to tap a flexible spending account, and patients need to call for an appointment ASAP. For example: “Daylight saving ends soon … and so does your opportunity to use your flexible spending balance.”
  • Encourage existing patients and attract new patients by offering a coupon for whitening or other cosmetic services in time for holiday parties, family photos and end-of-year social media montages. Or, tie a discount into the craziness of shopping. One example: “Shopping will bring you a weekend of gratification; investing in a whiter, brighter smile will bring you a lifetime of self-confidence!”
  • Keep the momentum going through Thanksgiving and Christmas. Instead of thinking of them as slow times and/or allowing your people to be constantly distracted, channel the team’s positive mood and holiday spirit to intentionally drive business.
Show your patients how much you appreciate them.

Do things early enough in the quarter so appreciative patients have time to generate referrals by year-end, as opposed to first quarter next year. A few examples:

  • Present a memorable giveaway or appreciation gift throughout the entire quarter, not just at year-end.
  • Hold a patient appreciation event in October or early November so you’re not conflicting with all the other holiday events on people’s calendars.
  • Run a contest for patients where they could win Christmas shopping money before Christmas—all of the parents in your community would love that!
Incentivize new-patient generation.

Who on your team wouldn’t want the opportunity to make extra money going into the holidays? New-patient-generation incentives work every time—especially at this time of year—and when done correctly, they’re a guaranteed win-win (i.e., when a growth target is met, the bonus is paid from the new revenue generated, ensuring a positive return on investment). An increase in new patients is a gift that keeps on giving; you’ll benefit from added revenue this year, and already have them on your schedule for follow-up visits early next year.

Solidify your team.

  • Take steps to retain your good people and ramp up their engagement. A few ideas: Schedule training—don’t just plan to do it, but prove you’re serious by actually getting it on their calendars!—create development opportunities, live a culture of recognition and appreciation, and offer a competitive compensation package.
  • Add (or replace) team members. Despite the “great resignation” being experienced in a lot of areas, people are bound to get progressively more worried about a lack of income going into the holidays. Don’t take undue advantage by underpaying people, but you should be able to attract and hire good people without having to pay as high of a premium as you might have earlier in the year. Look to the hard-hit hospitality industry for people in search of jobs who already have a desirable skill set.
Set up growth for next year.

In addition to investments you make that will give you a positive payback this year, be financially savvy by setting up for growth next year:

  • Prepaying for first-quarter training is a tax-deductible investment that will provide considerable return on investment early next year.
  • Prepaying for first-quarter marketing pieces is a tax-deductible investment that will keep end-of-year momentum going strong into the new year.
Plan, stay focused, execute.

These strategies will help you score big in 2021, and position you for a strong opening drive in 2022. That said, make sure you don’t sack your efforts by reducing hours or allowing excessive vacations in the fourth quarter. You’ll exasperate patients if you can’t accommodate their requests for appointments when they have more time off or want to maximize insurance benefits by year-end. Moreover, you’ll annoy referrals and new patients, and waste the marketing dollars you invested to generate them.

Start making plans for the last two weeks of this year so that you and your team can get creative about the schedule and start stronger in 2022 by keeping the momentum going through those last few weeks of this year.

Together with your team, you can accomplish a heck of a lot in three months to boost your total revenue for this year! Act fast to create a plan around activities that will give you quick payback, and then stay focused on those priorities and execute, execute, execute.



Author Bio
Author Jay Geier is a world authority on growing independent practices. His passion is turning practices into businesses, doctors into CEOs, and employees into high-performing individuals and teams. He is the founder and CEO of The Scheduling Institute, a firm that specializes in training and development, and coaching doctors on how to create a performance-based culture that drives business results. To hear more from Geier, subscribe to his Private Practice Playbook podcast at podcastfordoctors.com/townie.

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