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Episode : #851: The Actual Value of Knowing Your Ideal Patient

Podcast Description

We’ve talked about it before: Your patient avatar is crucial for success (listen to episode 747, Creating a Raving Fan Patient). Now, it’s time to understand what the value of that avatar can add to your practice. Tiff and Dana touch on…

  • Reverse engineering your ideal avatar

  • Considering the right metrics

  • Working with your marketing team

  • And more!

Episode resources:

Reach out to Tiff and Dana

Listen to episode 747, Creating a Raving Fan Patient

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Tiffanie (00:01.844)

Hello, everyone. We are so excited to be here with you. I have Miss Dana here with me again today. I love podcasting with her and I love we were just going over like what we’re going to talk about today and we’re reviewing the content for today. And she just Dana, you always have this perspective like what you just said to me and like, my gosh, you’re totally right. You always have this perspective of whatever system it is, what it actually can provide and deliver. So thank you for being here. Thank you for all of the work you put into all of our


and our company. A lot of the content that you guys see, that you read, that you’re getting on your newsletters, that you’re getting delivered to your inboxes, that you’re getting delivered to your offices, your gifts, all of your things, these come, most of those items, if I’m honest with myself, come from Dana. And Dana, you are an incredible asset to this company and to all of our clients. So thank you for the hard work that you put in. Thank you for constantly.


thinking out the side of the box and seeing things from different angles that even I don’t always see. You are incredible. Thank you for being here with me today.


Dana (01:03.51)

Thanks, Tim. Thanks for having me. And you know, I think it’s like efficiency queens over here because we both I think, self admittedly, are that I’m not going to do a system if it’s not going to give me a result or give me something to see. And so I am always looking for just those little diamonds in the rough when it comes to systems.


Tiffanie (01:10.552)



Tiffanie (01:22.74)

I totally agree. Totally agree. And you, you see so many systems because you do work with so many clients, both in person and virtual. And I think you’re constantly seeing like trial and error on how things are working and how different teams are implementing and doing them. And I think the, I think the positive side of all of the virtual clients that you do work with is that you get a lot of exposure to them because you’re working with them constantly every month. And so you’re seeing that.


ebb and flow and you’re seeing the immediate direct results of them actually implementing the system. So I think it’s just really cool. I think it’s an advantageous space that you get to sit in and that your clients sit in honestly, because you have so many clients in of your own and then even in practice momentum that you’ve been working with on ACE, like there’s so many clients that just get so much exposure to you, to Nicole, to Britt and all of those different spaces that are just.


getting so much value because you guys are able to see the immediate results and kind of help them pivot and change on the drop of a dime. And I just think it’s really cool. Whereas other clients I see like quarterly or, you know, every six months, I’ll just see them for visits. And it’s like an overhaul of all these pieces. So I think it’s really cool what you’re able to do. So we’ve been talking about we’ve talked about a lot of things. And we talked about a lot of marketing in the past couple of months and


One of the pieces that we brought to the surface was the idea of building on an avatar. I thought it would be fun today to kind of just like hit in on what the avatar’s value actually is, right? Because we talked about the avatar, how to do it, why we want people to do it, but then now looking at the actual value, and I think you hit on some absolutely wonderful pieces. I was thinking like being able to hone in on the patient that you want, the patient base that you want, should be.


help exponentially. One of the first places that I saw it was really knowing when you know who you want in your practice as far as patients, I think it helps us figure out who we need working side by side as well. Because when we know their end result, we can work backwards from there. And oftentimes we’re reactive and we’re like, gosh, we need a dental assistant. I need someone with this experience. And sometimes that experience, I’m going to say like comes at a cost. Like sometimes the experience you’re looking for,


Tiffanie (03:43.316)

comes at the cost of them knowing everything and maybe not being super engaged with how your practice does it. I know I hear from doctors all the time, the words she keeps saying at my practice we did and it’s like, no, you’re here now. So I think sometimes we don’t reverse engineer things, we just react and we respond. So when we know when we built out the avatar, we built out our goals, we’re like, this is the practice that we want. This is the patient that’s going to get us there.


Now we can say who are the people, the team that will work with that patient to get us the best results because I think in a second, Dana, I want you to go through those pieces that you’re talking about because with the right team, with the right patient, those trackable measurable items that you’re going to speak on in a second, that’s the only way they’re going to get there. If we have an avatar built of a patient and we don’t consider the avatar of a hire,


it could be really messy in between and we could have a clashing of personalities. So I think the valid one of the values of an avatar that I see is that it’s going to simplify hiring for you. So you can build that avatar of hiring off of the avatar of the patient that you want and really dial in on what that’s going to look like. My other piece was like marketing spend and I think that’s fun Dana into yours.


We can decrease marketing spend because our targeted ads are to the people we want and we’re getting a better ROI because we know exactly who we want. That’s who it’s going to. We can decrease our marketing spend and increase in other areas. So Dana on that marketing piece, cause I think hiring aside, like we can bring that back in a second, but on that marketing piece, have you seen that you implement avatars? We talked about this before a lot with a lot of your practices as you’re going through operations manuals and as you’re.


really building out the goals and the dreams for practices. So when it comes to that marketing spend, have you seen that even get more clear for practice managers and practice owners on what the marketing is going to look like because they have the avatar?


Dana (05:45.398)

Yeah, I think the great news is when you build your avatar, you’re thinking about services too. Like what is the kind of dentistry that they’re gonna value? Because does that align with the dentistry that you do? Because you want your avatar and your ideal patient base to want the kind of procedures that you want to do or that you’re offering, which then ideally does give you an idea of new patient value, right? Because when we are…


doing these marketing dollars to bring in this ideal patient, we should actually have a pretty baseline of what is our average new patient going to be as far as production or value because we’ve designed that avatar to really, really want the things or the services.


that we’re ideally serving them with. And so I love that you said, okay, let’s think about it in hiring. And I think when you link it to hiring, I always say, okay, well, what is the experience then for that avatar that we’re trying to create and which team members will create that experience because all of that then leads to increased case acceptance of the things that we are targeting, which then does give you a baseline value of that patient, which I think.


helps with marketing spend, helps with knowing really like what you should be putting into marketing and if you’re getting your ROI because you should have an idea of patient value just based on avatar alone.


Tiffanie (07:01.332)

Yeah, I totally agree. I love that. So you brought that to me and I’m like, my gosh, you’re totally right. Because not only does it increase your patient base, but it increases the value of each individual patient. And this one makes me think too Dana, there’s a lot of practices out there that are going to be for service that are dropping major insurance plans that will go unnamed that have always scared the dental industry, but they’re doing it and they’re doing it. A lot of them are doing it successfully. And I think if you don’t have,


these things in line, if you don’t know your avatar patient, your avatar team, we start dropping insurances and going towards fee for service, we can get really scared, right? Because I think the people that we lose, this is just me making an assumption, I guess. The people that we lose or I’ve seen practices lose when dropping an insurance are typically people who are very insurance minded, who are saying, no, I’m not gonna do fluoride because my insurance doesn’t pay for it, I’m over 18.


who are saying, well, if they’re not going to pay for the crown, then I don’t believe I need it. Right? So there are the x -rays or any additional anything at all. They’re the ones that are like, no, because insurance said, right? Well, if my insurance downgrades, why aren’t you doing a silver? I could have had those conversations and drives you wild. So those are the patients typically that are going to follow the insurance. So the patients that are retaining are probably more.


geared towards your actual avatar patient. But if we don’t have our hire in line, we don’t have our team in line to serve that avatar patient. And we’ve got a team who’s insurance focused and insurance minded that doesn’t match the avatar that we’re targeting. Now we’ve got this issue where we’ve got maybe a team member who’s super insurance focused and driven, talking a patient out of coming to your practice because they don’t accept.


Right? We’re not in network. We’re not participating with that insurance. So that is a huge flip -flop, I think, in our brains that we’ve never, I’ve never actually like sat down and thought about how those things are so in alignment. I think it’s huge. So just that alone, right? Just that alone increases your patient value. So I think the value of an avatar and the things to do really is to go listen to the avatar.


Tiffanie (09:23.924)

podcast, we’re not going to break it all down for you now. Go listen to that. We already did it. Build out your avatar from your goals, right? You want to build out your avatar from your practice goals and your life goals. What is it and who is it going to take to get you to those goals and reverse engineer? So know your patient avatar, build that out. And from there, I want you to consider and think about sometimes it’s helpful to just like journal ideas out and then figure it out. But really think about who


Could be working with that patient who’s gonna be the best team member. What’s their personality? Like what are they doing? How do they think about insurance? What are their goals and dreams and aspirations? What are the things that they’re pushing for in life? How do we get that avatar for our new hire now right or for our team making sure that our team is in line? I do want to put the caveat whenever I have my doctors or practice administrators at all do exercises like this. I need you to delete your team from your brain. I


Don’t think about the things that your team brings to the table. Don’t think like, well, Joanna is, you know, she’s so sweet and kind and I want somebody sweet and kind just like Joanna. When you put the person to it, it makes it much more difficult to be objective with the person, the ideas of the person you actually want. And that may be your full team, totally fine. But you need to come up with a very objective list to be able to score from to make sure that you’re in alignment. So delete your team from your brain.


as you’re building these, just like I want you to delete your patients as you’re building your avatar. Don’t be like, well, I don’t want to Jack, Jack’s the worst or Mary Sue is always here and I want more Mary Sue’s like, that’s fantastic. But what does that patient actually look like? So go build your patient avatar, build your team avatar from there. And then let’s talk metrics because I think you guys need to start playing metrics now or prior to having done this exercise before and start looking at what’s


decreasing and increasing. So once you’ve got your marketing avatar narrowed in, chat with your marketing company, get things retargeted, make sure that we’re super focused on the patients that you want. You should see an increase then in like patient acquisition, you should see the right patients coming to your practice. I did this with a client in Utah. And prior to building out really what he wanted the new patient to look like, he was like, I just need patients. So we’re just grasping at everything.


Tiffanie (11:52.34)

And there were a couple months where he was overloaded with quote unquote new patients. And he was just like, I Tiff, I can’t do this. Well, we broke it down and I started noticing that his quote unquote new patients, right? Label them how you’d like. Were limited and comp exams, mostly limited. And these people were coming for extractions and they were in town and had a crown fall off, but they don’t live there. And they’re just like these one stop shop patients.


rotating through this very small practice, he’s only got two operatories to himself and two hygiene. So he just didn’t have the space for it. So I pulled back and I started with the marketing company like, what are we? What are we marketing here? They’re marketing emergency dentist, right? So he’s getting everything and I’m like, well, do you want to be an emergency dentist? Because that’s what you’re doing 100 % they’re getting the results that we’re after.


they are getting the results for emergency dentists, but is that your forte? And he’s like, No, I really, really am getting into cosmetic and implants. That is a far cry from where we are. So building out that avatar, I had him go through it based on the, the procedures he really wanted to do, like you said earlier, Dana, like really honing in what it is that I want to do, and then build the avatar from there, we scale back marketing from


emergency dentist and switched it over to family cosmetic and routine dentistry. Now his new patients went down, right? He didn’t, he wasn’t getting as many quote unquote new patients because he wasn’t getting these emergency limited exams. But the value of the patients that he was bringing in far outweighed the value of all of the one stop shop because he got two cosmetic cases in three months. So his marketing spend,


reduced because we were targeted. We didn’t have to pour as much money into marketing. We were super targeted and the value of those patients went up exponentially while building his active patient count because active patient count was a big thing for him. But you guys, I told him, I’m like, yeah, Joe came in today for an extraction, but he lives in Alabama and you can’t, he’s active, right? But he’s not an active patient.


Tiffanie (14:10.1)

So that is an example though. I think he’s an awesome example for me to really show how honing in on that decreased ad spend, decreased marketing, increased patient value. And it also in the middle of all of that, one of his prized front office workers, she’s fantastic. She retired. And I was like, she’s part time. We’re working around her schedule.


or working around like difficulties with certain programs and speed and stuff, why don’t we look at what you need for the patients you’re looking for? And so we did and he hired this girl who is just fantastic. And the increase he’s seen like they’re adding, we just had it the other day, we’re adding another day a month, like everything’s just rolling forward, but it’s all because we started with.


What are you actually looking for and where are you spending your money? So the increased ad or the decreased ad spend increased patient value and increased case acceptance. So that’s my like plug for how well this works just because I know Dana, you and I both implement this a lot. We’ve been, we build out avatars a lot. I just did it with a pedo practice the other day and it was so much fun.


but it really produces a solid result and you work with teams on this a lot too. So with all of that, we’ve got our trackables, right? Marketing, value per patient, and then case acceptance. I think so then like your schedule, your production, all of those pieces will be positively impacted. But I think those are the real three things that are super strong. They’re easy to measure. Now, Dana, on the flip side, I’ve told like the doctor story.


Right. But what have you seen? Cause you do implement this with a lot of teams a lot of the time. What have you seen on the team side? the value of the avatar for the team. What have you seen like the bright patients coming in and maybe even like the wrong people working for us exiting. Like what have you, what are you seeing in your teams as you’re working through this?


Dana (16:17.686)

Yeah, I do think when you hone in on those pieces, it becomes easier for the team, right? It helps them map out that patient experience that we know this patient is going to value. It helps them be able to tee up the type of treatment that we know we want to do for these types of patients. It helps them in their communication. It helps in so many ways when the team has a really clear picture. It even helps them like, who are we going to target to ask for referrals and reviews, like simple things. It helps them really


hone into who is ideal.


Who maybe are we okay letting go of both patient and team members, right? Because they’re not part of that ideal process or what we eventually want. And so I do think when the team has clarity on those pieces too, it makes a lot of things easier. And as a team member, I would certainly want a patient who is more ideal for the practice because I know at the end of the day, they’re going to accept the treatment recommendations, which is the reason that I’m there is to improve their oral health. And so when we know that we’re targeting the right types of patients, we’re able to have really good communication.


with them, we’re able to get them to accept treatment, that’s a huge win for team members too.


Tiffanie (17:24.788)

Yeah, I totally agree. I totally agree. I love that. And I think, I think one of our biggest fears in the dental industry, because we’re super reactive, in my opinion, is the loss of people and the loss of team members and then having to train them. So it’s like making sure all of these systems and processes are in line. And as people are on your team and the team that you have today and making sure that they’re documenting everything that they’re doing, their systems and processes, making sure that all of those are in line.


There’s a slew of podcasts you can listen to on those as well. Dana breaks them down beautifully every single time. So go listen to those, but make sure that those are all online. And I think never be, never be so tied to a team member or a patient that you would feel like at a loss without that person. Like I can say, Dana, if we lost you, if we lost Britt, if we lost Nicole, if we lost anybody on our team, it’s a loss and it, it’s detrimental to us.


but it shouldn’t be something that if it’s someone who’s not the right fit, we can’t stand losing them. I think that that makes a huge difference and that’s a big clarification there. So action items today. Number one, go listen to the other podcasts. If you haven’t listened to the podcast on the avatars yet or the operations manual, go do that because they’re really, really detailed. Dana honestly breaks them down super well.


Number two, build out those avatars if you haven’t yet. If you’ve only done your patient avatar or you’ve only done your team, go to the other one as well and see how they flow together, how they combine to get you the results that you want. Number three, start tracking these pieces. Look at your marketing spend monthly if you’re not. See how you can decrease it or how you can change it. Communicate with your marketing company on honing in on that avatar. Let them know who you’re trying to attract.


They work off of avatars, you guys, if you have that information for them, you can give it to them. Your marketing team is like, thank you, because it makes their lives exponentially easier. So track your marketing ROI, track your dollar per patient value, and track your case acceptance if you’re not, because you should see those things start to increase and decrease marketing as you see the right patients coming through the practice. Dana.


Tiffanie (19:42.964)

Thank you so much for this. Thank you for all of the work you do with all of our clients and for always helping us to build all of these things out. Is there anything else that you think we should repeat or anything that we need to make sure that they really take away today that you can think of?


Dana (19:58.966)

No, I think like always you recapped perfectly and honed in on the pieces and takeaways for everyone.


Tiffanie (20:04.5)

Awesome. Sweet. Okay, everyone, go do the things. Leave us a five star review below. We love hearing from you. And if you have questions or you need help, please reach out hello at the dental a team .com. Like I always say, it’s a lot of the time as consultants answering those questions. So feel free to reach out. We’re happy to be here for all of you. Thank you.

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