This time of year we see Black Friday sales everywhere.  Why is this?  Businesses must know that dropping fees hurts profitability right?  Well, Black Friday to Cyber Monday accounts for about 30% of consumer spending in retail for the year.  Even with lower prices, most retail businesses go from red all year to black in this Black Friday time period.  Although we are not in the retail business as dentists, there are things we can learn from watching the successes found in other businesses.  Here are some common reactions to the notion of adopting “Black Friday” concepts in our profession:

“We are in healthcare, not retail.”

Dentistry is a service business, but it is still a business nevertheless.  We compete with businesses outside healthcare far more than we want to acknowledge.  Dentistry, unlike medicine, is most often an elective care service.  The money patients spend on dentistry comes out of their disposable income budgets just like everything else they spend on luxuries, retail, travel, etc.

“We take the day off Black Friday.”

We have actually tried to work around holidays in the past.  However, we found  that patients are very hard to predict during the holiday.  So I agree completely about not working Black Friday. However, have you seen how many businesses offer “Black Friday” sales that extend far longer than the day after Thanksgiving?  If you think outside the box, you can easily offer a special that runs either for a week or a month.

“We already have insurance discounts.”

You would be correct that offering a discount on an already heavy discount is not a great idea.  However, many things we do are not covered by insurance, or discounted at all.  Think about your higher profit procedures where you can offer a discount and still make more than average profit: Implants, Ortho, Cosmetics, Bleaching, etc.  Offer specials on services or products that numerically make sense even with a discount.  This year, we are advertising 25% off Sonicare toothbrushes.  We purchased a bulk order and want to get them out of inventory.  Since our profit margin was 80%, the discount still makes them worth selling at a reduced rate.
Remember, the overhead in dentistry is mostly about our fixed expenses.  Once we get above the break-even point, a majority of what we collect is over 80% profit.  One trick to higher profitability is getting past this amount every month.  Discounted products or services that either take no time or fill empty scheduling spots can be one of many strategies towards success.