Dentistry

MARKETING CONCEPTS DENTISTRY

Barter Fills Appointments &

Bridges Profits For Dentists

As Dr. Stanley Jacobs was leaving his dental office for lunch one day, he passed a local fire marshal in the doorway. The fire marshal was paying Dr. Jacobs a surprise visit to inspect the safety of his office. Dr. Jacobs cancelled his lunch plans and accompanied the fire marshal during the inspection. Dr. Jacobs soon discovered that hole in a front office ceiling tile would have to be replaced, as would several faulty electrical lines used to run power throughout the facility. Upgrades were also required to the security system. Torn carpeting was hindering the opening and closing of a second office door, and Dr. Jacobs needed to add two fire extinguishers to meet the city’s fire code.

These unexpected — and unbudgeted — repairs would take a bite out of the operating expenses of most dentists, but not Dr. Jacobs. Several years earlier he joined Tradesource and has been able to fill his previously unscheduled appointment times with new barter customers. The revenue that Dr. Jacobs generates on trade through Tradesource — and the subsequent new business he gets allows him to use barter to pay for these repairs without spending cash.

After making a simple phone call to his Tradesource trade broker, Dr. Jacobs was able to barter with several reputable clients to make all of his needed repairs. “Before I joined Tradesource, I probably averaged about five to 10 hours of unscheduled appointment time every week,” Dr. Jacobs said. “That’s idle time that I cannot ever recoup; it goes right out the window. With the new business I get from Tradesource I’m able to fill several of those hours each week with barter patients. In addition, I’ve even generated a few new cash-paying patients who came to my office as referrals from my barter patients”.

“I probably barter for an additional $15,000 in business through my trade exchange,” said Dr. Frank Gunvelsen, owner of a dental and orthodontic practice in Houston. “That’s $15,000 of new business that I wouldn’t have had had it not been for my decision to barter my unscheduled appointment time.

Barter helps dentists grow their business by filling otherwise
empty appointment time with barter customers. The increased
revenue helps to offset daily costs and to improve the
bottom line of their dental practices.

With this additional income, I’m able to take my wife on an exotic vacation each winter, and trade for a car lease for my college-aged daughter. My decision to barter really put some teeth in my personal budget and gives us more discretionary income to work with.”

When you join a barter exchange, expect to invest between $300 and $600 in the membership. You’ll have about $20 in monthly promotional fees and pay 12 to 15 percent commission on your trades. In return, the exchange will provide you with constant promotion of your business, ongoing account maintenance, a monthly statement,

membership directory, a personal trade broker to find what you’re looking for, and most importantly, lots of new customers.

“I had a real hard time with paying fees to barter when I had been doing it on my own for 10 years,” said Dr. Kimberly Miles, owner of Dr. Miles of Smiles in Omaha, Neb. “But when I sat down and took a serious look at all the accounts I was running a tab on, and how many I never received anything from, I saved a lot of money by paying the barter company. We’ve even moved most of our direct trades into the barter exchange. It just makes sense.”

The satisfied dental customers acquired through the trade exchange
become valuable sources of referrals for cash paying patients.

New York orthodontist Dr. Steven Andrews said he has seen steady growth in his base of barter patients since he joined his local trade exchange several years ago. His reasons for joining a trade exchange were predicated on his desires to open a second office as a convenience to his growing base of customers in another part of town. He realized that by adding barter patients to the mix, he could justify a second location.

“I had read about barter and talked to some of my colleagues out of state who have incorporated barter in their practice,” Dr. Andrews said. “I listened, did my homework, and decided barter could really enhance my business. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I’ve increased my market share and noticed that my competitors are now doing a lot more advertising in both areas I service.”

“Working 60, 70, or even 80 hours a week isn’t uncommon in this profession,” said Dr. Gretchen Reid, owner of a dental practice in Meadville, Pa. “That’s a lot of time away from my family. Being in the barter exchange has allowed me the opportunity to take my family on great vacations and pay for part of my children’s education. We live in a log home in a very wooded area, and I am also able to trade for tree trimming and removal service, which in the past had taken a big bite out of our household budget. Barter has really enhanced my lifestyle.”

Always keep in mind that barter is still a business deal. That means you should use the same good sense in making barter decisions as you would if you were paying cash. Check out the company: How long have they been in business? What do their clients say about them? Do they have a showroom and a website or directory? Are they members of the National Association of Trade Exchanges? These are all important things you need to know before joining a barter exchange.

Lastly, remember that both parties are customers in a transaction. You should expect and extend courtesy, high standards, and a commitment to providing a great product or service.
With these guidelines in mind, dentists can take an ancient practice like barter and put it to work in the modern world.

Business owners who participate in trade exchanges, are always seeking additional health benefits to offer to their valued employees – barter helps make dental benefits more affordable.

The satisfied dental customers acquired through the trade exchange become valuable sources of referrals for cash paying patients.

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