Against the odds: One doctor's remarkable success story with LocalMed
You may not know his name, but Dr. Zahid Ahmed is not your average dentist. He doesn’t headline conferences, write dental success books, or earn millions in the consulting business. Instead, he runs a 2-operatory practice out of a little medical suite in Oakland, California. And it’s flourishing (against all odds) because of his ability to find a weak point in his practice, and his willingness to stop at nothing to fix it.
Dr. Ahmed had been practicing in a hospital for 7 years before starting his own practice in 2016. When the tech industry of San Francisco and Silicon Valley started spilling into Oakland, he picked the rapidly gentrifying area specifically for its growth. And though that might sound ideal, the increase in population also brought competition.
“I think, nationwide, the statistic is something like 1 dentist for every 2000 eligible adults,” said Dr. Ahmed. “In our case, it was 1 dentist for every 250. All our consultants said ‘what are you doing? This won’t work.’ But I had a wife and 2 kids. I needed to put food on the table. This had to work.”
So he followed the age-old #1 rule of marketing: know your audience. “Our demographic is very tech-savvy, and the traditional medical and dental models are archaic. Nobody wants to talk to anybody. They want to go online or text - to do things digitally. I knew I had to make it easy for people to schedule appointments online. Request forms wouldn’t cut it; I wanted something that worked just like booking a flight, or ordering a pizza. It’s all about removing barriers to entry. I couldn’t not offer something like that.”
At the time, there wasn’t a service that could do what Dr. Ahmed wanted. So he built his own.
“I used a plugin for OpenDental, exported our schedule into a Google calendar, and then synced up another service called Calendly. It was this complicated, unwieldy thing. ...but it actually worked quite nicely.”
Patients loved the system he had created. Between it and having a call center, Dr. Ahmed didn’t have a front desk person for over a year. “It was just me and the system,” he said. Every month, 30-40 new patients came in, and his practice doubled its income. The growth was exponential.
(Oaktown Dental is run by Dr. Zahid Ahmed in Oakland, California)
But once they started to hit 70-80 new patients per month, the limitations of the system started to show. For one, it couldn’t handle different types of appointments.
“So I started looking again, and found LocalMed. I tried other systems first. They weren’t working very well, but this did.”
“The strength of LocalMed is being able to make all kinds of appointments. If it’s Friday and I see Monday is falling apart, I can just turn on LocalMed and I know it’ll be filled. It’s happened multiple times. A day before everything falls apart, I turn on LocalMed, and our schedule will be filled the next day. I’d say 75% of new patients come through them. It’s amazing, and I don’t have to worry about missing calls. I can’t praise it enough, really.”
Thanks to his success with LocalMed, Dr. Ahmed has stopped almost all other forms of marketing.
“We spend about two thousand a month in PPC for dental implants, because that’s our biggest income center aside from routine PPO dentistry. That covers our overhead, but the implants are where the growth is. So we have a page about implants with the call-to-action of ‘schedule a free consultation,’ which goes straight to LocalMed.”
“That’s critical because we find that leads on Facebook want that immediate confirmation. You must strike while the iron’s hot.”
Dr. Ahmed’s practice is now at capacity, so what’s next for him? In his words, “I need hygienists for recalls. The only problem is our size.”
To learn how LocalMed can help you achieve results like Dr. Ahmed’s, schedule a demo, or call (888) 203-7351.
LocalMed lets patients schedule appointments straight into your practice management system, just like your front desk would. You set your scheduling rules, and they’ll start booking appointments around the clock - even at 3am on a Sunday.
Learn more about how LocalMed can help your dental practice fill its schedule, 24/7.