How Healthy Is Your Practice? Let’s Do the Math!

Every year at your annual check-up, your doctor probably recommends routine lab work to ensure you’re in good health. Just like your doctor, you should be routinely checking your financials to monitor the health of your practice.

If your lab work comes back and reveals you have a high white blood count, low hemoglobin, or high cholesterol, you probably know that this is bad news and that you’re going to have to make some adjustments to your lifestyle.

But what should you be looking for in your financial data?

Overall, your financials will obviously tell you a lot about your practice, however, analyzing even just a handful of numbers and doing some simple math will provide plenty of insights. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the specific measures we use to determine the health of a practice. We then compare your practice KPIs to the “benchmarks” or “industry averages” to identify any successes, concerns, or areas for improvement.

I know math can be scary for some people. Not everyone is a numbers nerd like me. However, math is the language of business and I’m going to help simplify it for you. Here are a few of the most important numbers you want to identify and understand what they mean:

Income/Sales – The amount made on selling products or services

Cost of Goods (COGS) – The amount it costs the practice for the items sold or services rendered

Operating Expenses – All costs associated with running the practice

Now we’re ready to calculate some KPIs:

Income COGS = Gross Revenue ($)

Income ÷ Gross Revenue = Gross Profit Margin (%)

COGS ÷ Gross Revenue = COGS Margin (%)

Gross Revenue Operating Expenses = Net Income ($)

Net Income ÷ Gross Revenue = Net Profit Margin (%)

 

NERD ALERT!
Operating Expenses can be further broken down to show the percentage spent on specific items like payroll, marketing, or rent. Talk to your Account Manager about getting a Monthly Financial Analysis for this level of detail.

Time to compare your answers to industry benchmarks! We find the most successful and profitable practices have KPIs in these healthy ranges:

Gross Profit Margin = 60-65%
COGS Margin = 35-40%
Net Profit Margin = 10%-15%

Remember to check your work: Gross Profit Margin % + COGS Margin % = 100%!

Now that the math is done and you’ve compared the numbers, it’s time to read the results. Obviously, the benchmark ranges are the sweet spot, but let’s define what it means to be outside those ranges.

Above Average is GOOD when its…
Gross Profit Margin – You are more profitable than the industry average
Net Profit Margin – After expenses are paid, your practice has a healthy bottom line
Below Average is GOOD when its…
COGS Margin – Your prices are set well; you realize a healthy profit on each sale

 

NERD ALERT!
Gross Profit Margin and COGS Margin have an inverse relationship. If you find that ether is outside the ranges described above, a Pricing Analysis from Consult YHN can identify areas where small adjustments could be beneficial.

Congratulations, you just analyzed your financials!

This is a great start in understanding what your numbers are telling you and identifying potential areas for improvement. By continuing to regularly track and analyze metrics such as Opportunity Creation, Unit Sales, Third Party Attendance, and Closure Rates, you can make the necessary adjustments to help more patients and increase revenue.

For a deeper dive into your practice’s finances, talk to your Account Manager about taking advantage of Consult Tracking. Our business analysts are industry pros when it comes to providing actionable business intelligence—from breakeven and territory analyses to compensation plans and monthly tracking reports. Consult YHN also has several tools that can help you track your finances, including Wake Up Call and the Pro Forma tool, which you can access anytime via Navigator.

Start evaluating the financial health of your practice today!

About the Author

Kimberly Costanzo joined Consult YHN in 2017 and currently serves as a Business Analyst. Her diverse professional background includes revenue accounting, internal audit, system support, and project management. She holds an MBA from Stockton University in New Jersey. When not working, Kimberly enjoys spending time with her husband Chris and her daughter, Gianna, either at the local playground or playing competitive matches of Go Fish. She also serves on her daughter’s school board and volunteers in the community to promote emergency awareness.

Three Reasons Why You Should Mine Your Data

You’ve been practicing for years and everyone in town knows who you are, but you’re not increasing the number of patients you help each year. If this describes your practice, you’re not alone! In fact, this is a common concern we hear from our Associates—they’re working hard, feel busy, and yet, the number of patients helped, and revenue generated is not increasing.

So, what can you do to reach more quality people? If you’re thinking the answer is “marketing,” you’re correct. However, it’s important not to get so focused on marketing to new patients that you forget – you’re already sitting on a patient gold mine: your database!

Whether it’s through a sophisticated practice management system or less sophisticated paper folders in a metal cabinet, you’re already keeping great records of your patients and tracking everything. Obviously, organization is key. But what you do with the data makes all the difference, especially with patient touchpoints.

We call this data mining and here are three reasons you should mine your data regularly:

#1. Stay Connected with Your Patients

If you’ve been on an airplane lately, then you’ve probably heard the flight attendant say something along the lines of: “We know you have many options for your air travel needs.” This is a very true statement and it’s not limited to the airline business—it applies to every business, even yours. Touching base with your patients regularly (at least twice a year) gives you a chance to show you’re thinking about their well-being and thank them for choosing you as their trusted hearing healthcare provider. This will also remind patients of the wonderful experience they had with you, making them less likely to go to one of your competitors.

#2. Help More Patients

Based on Consult YHN’s studies, 60 percent of patients with hearing loss will not purchase hearing aids during their first visit. That means, if you’re seeing 300 patients a year, 180 are leaving your office without accepting help. When you reach out to those patients, you can restate the impact hearing loss has on their overall health and remind them how you can help (yearly check-ups and cleanings, hearing aid troubleshooting, upgraded technology, etc.). This will fill your schedule with quality opportunities.

For example: If you’re a five-year-old practice seeing 25 patients per month, then you are helping 10 patients while 15 patients leave untreated. At this point, you could have about 900 patients that were tested but didn’t accept help as well as a database of about 600 patients whose technology is out of warranty. Over the next 3-4 years, you want to stay connected with those patients so that when new and improved technology is released, you can fit them with an even better device.

Our tracked data shows that for every 38 letters sent to patients for either new or upgraded technology, one appointment is scheduled. For every appointment scheduled, we see one hearing aid sold. From a business standpoint, think about what that can do for your revenue: if you reach out to 300 patients a year, you could possibly sell eight hearing aids for an additional $16,000 in revenue (assuming an Average Selling Price of $2,100 per device). The Consult Upgrade program is by far one of the most effective ways to reach your patients, with the average event yielding more than $51,000 in revenue.

#3. Minimal Effort and Costs

You’re already spending the right amount on your annual marketing, so what’s the cost associated with sending letters to patients? Minimal at best, especially compared to the average cost of a new patient: $760.

You can find several customizable database letters on Consult’s MarketSource that are proven to drive appointments. All you need to do is export well-constructed lists from your database and perform a simple mail merge to personalize the letters for each patient. Or, you can let Consult YHN’s marketing professionals handle all of this for you. From designing to mailing to reporting, we can execute a 12-month strategy for you so that you and your staff can focus on other important responsibilities, like follow-up calls, scheduling appointments, and more.

Starting mining for gold today! Reach out to your Account Manager to learn how Consult YHN can help you implement a database mailer strategy that drives results.  

About the Author

Kimberly Costanzo joined Consult YHN in 2017 and currently serves as a Business Analyst. Her diverse professional background includes revenue accounting, internal audit, system support, and project management. She holds an MBA from Stockton University in New Jersey. When not working, Kimberly enjoys spending time with her husband Chris and her daughter, Gianna, either at the local playground or playing competitive matches of Go Fish. She also serves on her daughter’s school board and volunteers in the community to promote emergency awareness.

Your Biggest Health Fair Questions Answered

Here I am at a senior health fair a few years ago as my amazing coworkers talk to potential patients and perform otoscopy. See, I’m smiling—nothing to be scared of!

Health fairs are an excellent opportunity to connect with your community, educate consumers about hearing loss and hearing aids, promote your business, and drive new patients in the door.

However, understandably, many practice owners and providers find the idea of standing in a crowded room, starting conversations with strangers, and asking for their business to be intimidating – some might even say terrifying.

But, fear not—I’m here to help make your next health fair or community outreach event a little more fun and a lot more successful.

Here are answers to several of your most plaguing health fair-related questions as well as some helpful tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years.

Q: How do I find out about health fairs and other senior events in my area?

A: There are plenty of ways to do this, but here are three that I’ve had the most luck with:

1. Google “senior health fairs near me.” This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised just how many events there are going on around you all the time. You may also be surprised to learn how many senior organizations there are in your area—home healthcare companies, community centers, services for the aging, etc.

2. Check your local newspaper and its website – Organizations that host seniors events know that many Baby Boomers still read the newspaper and therefore, advertise in the events section. Most newspapers also allow people to post events online for free.

3. Check your local hospitals – If they don’t have an Audiology or Speech Therapy Department, that could be your in. Hospitals have open houses and other events and if they need a hearing provider, you could make a great connection.

 

INSIDER TIP: Don’t ignore events that have passed—they can be a goldmine. If you come across an event from the previous year, reach out to the coordinators. Sometimes they already know when and where this year’s event will be held and can add you to their contact list so that you know when the event opens for vendors.
Q: Should I do video otoscopy?
A: If you can, go for it! Explain to the patient that this is the first step of the hearing exam and invite him/her to your office for the other two steps. Have a printed copy of your schedule so that you can see what dates and times you have available for appointments and book them on the spot. Don’t take an iPad or laptop—you only have a short window of time with each person and you don’t want to waste it inputting his/her information. Also, you don’t want to rely on the venue’s Wi-Fi.
Q: Should I offer free hearing screenings on site?

A: Absolutely not. This is a big no-no for many reasons, starting with the fact that there usually isn’t a space that’s quiet enough to conduct hearing screenings at a health fair. More importantly, it defeats the purpose of attending these types of events which is to grow your database, establish relationships with members of your community, and attract new patients. Why give the milk away for free?


INSIDER TIP: Even if you can’t attend a health fair as a vendor, check it out anyway and bring a stack of business cards with you. Talk to the vendors that are at the event. Network. Mingle. Have fun. Find out what events they’re going to next. Perhaps one is worth keeping on your radar.
Q: What should I bring?

A: Here are five absolute essentials:

1. Information about your practice – business cards, brochures, etc. .

2. Educational materials – picture of an ear, hearing health articles, handouts they can take home, etc. Consult’s MarketSource has a large selection of collateral to choose from.

3. Directions to your office – seniors who have hearing loss usually also have poor vision. So, make sure your message is clear and the font is BIG. And don’t get them lost!

4. Appointment sheets for the next 2 weeks – I can’t stress this enough. Paper is your friend.

5. Giveaways – such as pens and notepads with your logo and practice information.

Q: How do I stand out from all the other vendors?

A: This is one of the most important questions you should ask yourself. And one of the best things you can do is to engage everyone who walks by your table—don’t just sit there and wait for them to stop and show interest. Make your table pop with a colorful tablecloth, preferably one with your practice name/logo on it. And lastly, a little bribery can go a long way—as in free candy, water, or snacks.


INSIDER TIP: When talking with individuals who were in the military, thank them for their service, ask when they were discharged, then respond, “I’m guessing that’s the last time you had your hearing checked.” Anyone who is discharged from the military must have a hearing test and for most, it’s the last one they’ve had.
Q: What should I say to people when they’re at my table?
A: Start by asking when they last had their hearing checked or if they have their hearing tested every year. Once you get people talking, see if they have a history of hearing loss or have ever worn hearing aids. Educate them on the importance of having an annual hearing evaluation. Deliver your “why.” Talk to them about your practice and why they should choose you over another provider. Remember: you have less than five minutes to leave a lasting impression on that person before he/she moves onto the next table.
Q: What’s the best way to handle any appointments that I book during the event?

A: Track your results. Create a spreadsheet listing all the pertinent patient information, including each person’s appointment date and time. Update the spreadsheet every morning for each patient:

  • Did the patient get tested?
  • Did the patient have a hearing loss?
  • Was amplification purchased? If so, what type of hearing aid and how much?
  • Was it a no-call, no-show? Pick up the phone and call the patient to reschedule—don’t wait for him/her to reach out.

 

INSIDER TIP: Since you’ve already established a relationship with these patients, call to confirm their appointments the day before to ensure they feel comfortable and know where your office is located. Additionally, confirm they are bringing a Third Party to the appointment. If a patient’s appointment is four or more days out, send him/her a reminder postcard with a handwritten note: “Nice to meet you at the health fair – see you Tuesday!”

Hopefully, I answered all your questions. If you have any others, don’t hesitate to ask your Account Manager or shoot me an email: JGesuale@ConsultYHN.com.

About the Author

Julie Gesuale joined Consult YHN in 2010 and currently serves as an Assistant Account Manager in the company’s Hospital and University Division. Her diverse professional background includes customer service, marketing, and project management. When not working, Julie enjoys spending time with her wife of 15 years and her two rescue dogs, Sheldon and Leonard. She’s also been singing in church and community choirs for over 25 years.

6 Steps for Hosting a Successful Lunch & Learn

Getting out into the community is one of the best ways to connect with the public, deliver your “why,” and remind people how important hearing is to their quality life. It can be intimidating though—leaving your office, patients, and staff behind to go out into the community and solicit new patients. But I can tell you from experience, once you complete your first community event and you sell your first set of hearing aids from it, you’ll be eager for the next one.

Now, I’m sure you have lots of questions. I led numerous events as the marketing director of a private practice and I, too, had similar questions. How do you plan an entire event that people will actually want to attend? How do you convey your message when people walk up to your table and all they really want is the free candy or to win the raffle prize? How do you build trust with new patients?

So, let’s break down the process and make it easier for you to launch your first event. A Lunch & Learn, also known as a Lunch & Listen, is exactly what it sounds like: you advertise and invite potential patients to join you for an hour or so, impart your wisdom, provide lunch, and voilà!

OK, maybe it’s not that simple, but here are six key steps to planning and running a successful Lunch & Learn:

Step 1: Determine the when and where.

Choose a date approximately six weeks out—you’ll need all that time to prepare. Find a place that’s quiet or has a private space, like a restaurant or a clubhouse. Fun tip: most of the time, a “senior” lunch menu is less expensive, but some practices like to go all out and will book a local steakhouse. You should do what makes the most sense for your vision and budget. 

Step 2: Create your guest list.

Anywhere between 10-20 is the ideal number of guests. Pulling patients from your existing database that are out of warranty or tested devices and never purchased is the best place to start. Second, target new patients through direct mail, print ads or digital marketing. Talk to a Consult YHN Account Manager for more details. And, be sure to include your website and your social media profiles on your invitation.

Step 3: Identify your goal and craft your message.

You want to keep your message short and to the point. If you’re able to confidently talk to an audience with only a list of bullet points, go for it. It’s more natural and creates a better overall experience for the audience. If not, use a PowerPoint presentation to help frame your message and guide your recital. Create your own or ask your Account Manager to send you one of Consult YHN’s sample PPT presentations. Either way, you should consider supporting your message with media or pictures, like showing a video that showcases people getting fitted for hearing aids and their reflections on how life is better with these devices.

Remember: you want to tell a story. Illustrate how hearing aids improve a person’s quality of life. It’s much more compelling than just listing off a bunch of facts and statistics.

Step 4: Invite your guests.

Once your mailer or invitation goes out, work with Your Patient Contact Center (YPCC) to personally invite guests. YPCC’s highly-trained patient communication representatives will call your database and encourage them to attend: “We sent you a personal invitation for an informative Lunch & Learn event we’re hosting, and we’d love to add your name to the guest list before it fills up … you’re free on Thursday at noon to join us, right?” A personal call goes a long way and can build up your RSVP list.

Step 5: Gather your supplies.

There are a few key things you want to make sure you have for the event:

  • Practice giveaways are always a hit, plus you want your name and number on everything you hand out so that it goes home with your guests.
  • Hearing health articles for attendees to read while they wait for the seminar to begin and to take home. Consult’s MarketSource has several informative handouts about the correlation between hearing loss and other diseases such as dementia/Alzheimer’s, a topic that many seniors don’t know much about. These should also have your practice’s information on them.
  • Appointment sheets for the next 2 weeks. Don’t take an iPad or laptop—you only have a short window of time with guests and you don’t want to waste it inputting their information into your laptop. Manually schedule appointments and enter patients’ information into your practice management software once you are back in the office.
  • A sign-in sheet. If someone RSVP’d but did not attend, call them the next day and invite them in for a personal hearing consultation—they are still a potential patient.
  • A survey so you can track your results and make sure that what you’re doing is effective.
  • A screen and projector if you are going to use a PowerPoint presentation or show a video and your venue doesn’t have one.

Step 6: Track your appointments.

The tracking work for any community outreach event is as critical as the content in your presentation. Running a report from your system is great and will tell you total number of hearing aids sold, revenue, etc. But consider the patients who booked an appointment and canceled? Or a no-call, no-show appointment? These appointments can make or break an event. Create a spreadsheet with the below information and review it every day, making notes on the following items:

  • When is his/her appointment scheduled?
  • What happened during the appointment? Hearing aid sale? For how much?
  • Did they miss the appointment and a call needs to be made to get them back on the schedule?

Tracking can seem tedious, but if you make it apart of your daily routine, it will become second nature and once you see the benefits of tracking your results, you’ll appreciate the effort.

So, there you have it, folks!

Becoming a staple in your community and sharing your knowledge on how to improve people’s quality of life can be rewarding if you dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s beforehand.

And if you still have any questions about planning a Lunch & Learn or other community event, you can always reach out to your Consult YHN Account Manager for guidance.

About the Author

Julie Gesuale joined Consult YHN in 2010 and currently serves as an Assistant Account Manager in the company’s Hospital and University Division. Her diverse professional background includes customer service, marketing, and project management. When not working, Julie enjoys spending time with her wife of 15 years and her two rescue dogs, Sheldon and Leonard. She’s also been singing in church and community choirs for over 25 years.

Best Practices for Tracking PPC Leads

PPC (pay-per-click) advertising is a great digital marketing option for those looking for fresh prospects, especially if your market is flooded with traditional marketing efforts. The problem is that online marketing efforts can be difficult to track in the office.

Some people will simply say “Google” or “I saw your website” when you ask them how they heard about you, but they may not know to tell you they saw your paid ad—or even realize that they clicked on an ad! Another issue is that there’s an added complexity if you are running other initiatives like direct mail. A patient may say they got the mail piece, but their phone call is tracked to an online initiative.

So what do you do?

There are two sides to the equation: how your digital marketing vendor should be tracking your PPC and how you track it once prospects reach your practice. Let’s start with the first—the best practices when it comes to how a vendor can track their PPC efforts:

  1. Landing Pages – PPC best practices include having a landing page related to your paid ads that feature a contact form that you can track to that specific page. What is a landing page? This is a simplistic stand-alone web page where a visitor “lands” after clicking your ad. This page is designed to have one single focus and for the audiology industry that’s typically to contact your practice. It should include enough information to be relevant to the ad but not a recreation of your entire website; less is more in this case.
  2. Form Submissions – By featuring a contact form on the landing page, visitors can quickly and easily send you their information. This form submission is emailed to the practice and can be translated as that visitor asking your practice to reach out to them. The quicker you can reach out to them, the more likely you’ll book a new appointment.
  3. Google Analytics This tracking effort is typically set up by your PPC provider but may be even more important if you’re managing this effort in-house, especially if you’re not using a PPC-specific contact form or call tracking. Google Analytics tracks an overwhelming amount of data and one of the most helpful tools is the ability to set “goals” which could be contact form submissions or smartphone click-to-calls. If you’re not using a landing page, you can track the number of visitors to the specific page you’re directing your ads to.

Ok, you’ve gotten the lead. Here’s how can you track those prospects in your office:

  1. Office Follow-up – Someone in your practice should be following up on any prospects, both from phone calls and form submissions, within 24 hours of being received during business hours. Checking your voicemail after lunch (if the office breaks for lunch) and first thing in the morning can ensure you’re following up with those who want to hear back from you. Also, often times, you can set up the forms to be sent to multiple people so that an FOP and management can get them. This way the FOP can follow up quickly and management has a “receipt” of the contact and make sure any tracking matches.
  2. Call Tracking – Call tracking can be incorporated on both your website and PPC landing page to optimize tracking. By using different tracking numbers on your website and your landing page, you’ll be able to track PPC-specific leads. Tracking all calls from your website is a generally good idea so that you can understand how many prospects are calling to make appointments and how many are current patients. Some call tracking providers feature a technology called “dynamic number placement” which is great to implement in your tracking. The idea is that the numbers on the website automatically change depending on where the site visitor has come from—meaning organic search, PPC ads, and even social media channels! In other words, you’ll be able to track incoming calls from all of your digital efforts, not just your PPC. Call tracking is also helpful when patients are calling the digital tracking number but indicate that they received a mail piece. You would attribute this call to your digital efforts because it’s the effort that spurred the person to contact the practice.
  3. Practice Management Software – Making sure your front office staff understands that you’re running PPC ads can be very helpful when it comes to tracking in your practice management software. This way, they’ll know to ask callers which initiative they’re calling from as well as which referral source to use. Also, call tracking can help ensure you’re listing the correct referral sources as it can help you differentiate between general “online” activity and PPC-specific activity.

Why is tracking your PPC important? For ROI of course! Because digital marketing is happening in real time and doesn’t feature tangible collateral for someone to save until they’re ready to act (like direct mail), it can provide a shorter buying cycle.

Still not sure how you can track your digital marketing efforts? Consult YHN can help! 

The Consult YHN Marketing team can translate reporting into actionable items and make suggestions on how to improve your current tracking efforts. We can also consult on your overall digital marketing strategy, including reviewing proposals, developing budget suggestions, and more.

Contact marketing@ConsultYHN.com to get started today!

About the Author

Rachel Atar joined Consult YHN in 2015 as Marketing Account Executive. With experience in multiple industries, Rachel has consistently helped small businesses navigate marketing for their end consumers. Prior to joining Consult YHN, she was Taylored Home Health Care’s Marketing Manager.