The Adaptive Agency Blog

Say Ah. 5 Profitability Lessons From Your Dentist

by | May 12, 2023 | Profitability

You probably didn’t know that Client Focus has a dental line of business. (We set patient appointments for them.) It turns out dentists do some things that are amazingly applicable to insurance agency profitability. Here are the top 5.


Lesson 1: Dentists Only Do Dentist Things.

How many times has your dentist taken your X-rays? Cleaned your teeth? Taken your payments?

Virtually never.

Dentists are experts. Their time is valuable. They don’t spend it working on lower-skill things that someone else can do.

If you sit in the examination chair for an hour, you might only see the dentist for 5  minutes. Maybe 15-30 if you need a filling. The dentist can give high-value touches to 3 or 4 times as many patients that way. And what do they spend their time doing?

  • making you feel known and cared about.
  • leaving you better than they found you.
  • reinforcing their reputation for care and skill.

That’s how they scale and maximize profits. And as a patient, you’re fine with it.

If the dentist did all the other tasks in the office, he or she would be out of business in no time.

Insurance agents are also experts. But too many spend their time on low-value tasks that make it impossible for them to scale.


Lesson 2: Dentists Keep Their Examination Chairs Full.

Dentists have fixed costs, just like any other business. And once they’ve generated enough revenue to cover their fixed costs, they start earning profit.

For a dentist, an empty examination chair represents a ton of fixed cost that’s going unleveraged.

In fact, a dentist can add $100K – $200K to their annual bottom line by making an empty chair 50% utilized.

The same is true for agents. When the chair on the other side of your desk isn’t occupied by a valuable customer, you’re losing out on your highest-potential opportunities to generate profit.


Lesson 3: Dentists Obsess Over “Recall”.

Getting existing patients into the office regularly is so important to dentists that an entire industry has sprung up around it. (Google “dental patient recall.”)

If you get reminder text messages or phone calls from your dentist around the six-month mark, you’ve been “recalled.”

They use these opportunities to provide treatment, answer questions, build relationships of trust, and uncover additional treatment opportunities.

Six months might be too often for many insurance agencies, but talking with customers every year or two puts you in a position to be the first to know as their needs evolve and increase. And it keeps your name front of mind for new policies and for word-of-mouth business.


Lesson 4: Dentists Track Their Patients’ “Treatment Plans.”

Your dentist meticulously tracks your treatment plan. He or she monitors any changes and identifies areas that may require future attention. They inform you about potential future needs, creating anticipation for discussing these matters during subsequent visits.

Insurance agents can adopt this strategy by closely tracking clients’ evolving circumstances. Is a home purchase in the future? Kids? Aging parents? Weak retirement plan? Low financial literacy? Chances are you have the solutions to their current and evolving needs, but only if you keep track of them.

When you anticipate and proactively address changes in coverage requirements, you not only demonstrate attentiveness to clients’ needs but also foster trust and loyalty.


Lesson 5: Foster Long-Term Relationships.

For dentists, the new patient acquisition is expensive. It costs them around $500 on average in marketing and advertising costs. (For insurance agents, it’s more like $300-ish.) They’d much rather win repeat revenue and new-patient referrals from existing customers.

And it works. The attention they give their patients creates trust. Nobody wants to leave a dentist they trust. And happy patients refer their friends, family members, and colleagues.

It’s not uncommon to see 2 or 3 generations of a family visiting the same dentist. That’s a lot of revenue programmed into the pipeline.

Obviously, the most successful insurance agents (in terms of profit margins and policies per household) are doing something similar. They’re meeting customers periodically and extending the relationship for years, decades, and generations. And they love what they do.