Working at a dental practice entails a lot, so we often stray from focusing on ensuring our patients keep coming back. This can be the mistake that prevents your practice from growing and reaching its full potential.
When patients are not making their recall visits, setting treatment plans, or scheduling their next appointments, there’s a serious issue within your practice. You must pay attention to how many patients are not coming back and try to tune into why that might be.
If you believe you have too many patients who don’t reschedule, here are three simple ways to ensure your patients come back.
1. Know how many patients are walking out the back door.
The first way to ensure your patients come back is to take the time to figure out how many patients are “walking out the back door” and not rescheduling appointments or continuing with treatment.
Keep analyzing your weekly metrics. Make sure you are tracking your accounts receivable week to week. Take note of whether that number is increasing or decreasing.
Once you know that, you can start to analyze why some of your patients aren’t returning and implementing systems to fix that.
2. Create an experience worth coming back to.
Next, put yourself in the shoes of your patients. Think about the experience they have when they come to your dental practice. How could you improve?
You want to ensure that your patients are getting a consistent and high-quality experience every time they come in.
This can be as simple as offering coffee and tea to your patients in the waiting room or setting up essential oil diffusers around the office. Maybe you invest in massage dental chairs or provide various snacks in the waiting room.
Don’t hesitate to ask your patients for feedback on their experience with you and what you can improve on. Providing the most comfortable experience for your patients is key, especially because many patients get anxious when they have to come in.
3. Focus on verbal skills and training for your dental team.
Many times, the issue lies within our lack of verbal skills. It can be intimidating to confront our patients and discuss what might be holding them back.
More often than not, the main reason why patients don’t reschedule is that their insurance doesn’t cover the entire treatment and they cannot afford it. This is when our patients need us to put things into perspective for them.
We can discuss how much insurance does cover and what the treatment will mean for them. You don’t have to seem like a sneaky salesperson, but be able to relate to your patients and truly connect with them.
Make sure your dental team is trained in verbal communication. This is an extremely effective way to get more patients to keep coming back.
Get more patients coming back.
Take action today and start to implement these three ways into your practice today to get your patients back in the office.
It can be way too easy to get stuck in your ways of doing things around the office, even if it isn’t necessarily the best, most effective, and productive way. But when things in your practice become stagnant, so does growth.
To kick start growth for your practice, you need a strategic plan and systems for holding your team members accountable and emphasize growth. That’s why we are sharing three systems that help you create more accountability and achieve even greater growth in your practice.
1. A Systems to Create a Healthy Team
Creating a healthy team is the most important part of having more accountability and growth in your dental practice. Without a trusting and understanding dental staff, you won’t be able to continue holding each other accountable.
Accountability comes from having everyone on the same page and feeling able to openly discuss their performance. This requires an open and comfortable environment. One way to build that open and comfortable environment is to start holding morning huddles. By their nature, morning huddles give you an opportunity to connect with your team members before the day gets hectic. This creates a healthier space to discuss any challenges than trying to catch someone for two minutes in between patients.
Another way to create a healthy team is to put systems in place for holding everyone, including you, accountable. When everyone is intentional in terms of accountability for themselves and others, and you have systems in place to help do so, accountability becomes much easier. This allows you to empower your team when they're successful and make sure that you are all on track to hit your practice goals.
2. A Circle of Focus to Create Clarity
Invest in something you can physically hang in your office that you and your team can write on to identify and track practice goals.
An easy option is to hang a whiteboard in your lunchroom. The focus of this whiteboard is to grab your team members’ attention and help them focus on achieving practice goals.
Having a whiteboard with production targets and other goals will force you to discuss your metrics with your team members and hone in on what areas need improvement. It also creates clarity in your goals and gives you a way to hold everyone accountable for the behaviors that need to happen to hit the goals.
For example, it can be as simple as looking at your patients who are unscheduled, looking at the services you provide, and what marketing techniques you are implementing, and whether they are working. The whiteboard gives you a snapshot of productivity and gives you an opportunity to praise what’s working and empower your team to perform while also holding them accountable for what’s not working.
Finally, a whiteboard helps your dental staff reflect on their performance and ask for help when needed. And you can even write down incentives on the board for when your team hits goals to make it even more motivating for your team.
3. A System for Becoming Intentional About Growth
Once you have your circle of focus, you can start to become even more intentional about growth.
Start by analyzing your metrics and records to determine where you could be making more money. Also, make sure you have systems in place where everyone knows their key performance indicators and where they stand production wise.
With that information, start a supportive and helpful conversation with your team about how you can grow. Growing your practice should be a team effort and a supportive exercise. Be careful not to blame any one person for missed opportunities. Rather, be supportive and helpful, ensuring the conversation is a safe one where you determine together what you can do as a practice to grow. From there, start shifting your focus into training your members on the skills they need to improve.
Be sure to have a system for having a weekly meeting where you can look at the goals from your circle of focus and plan any adjustments needed.
Are your systems structured to achieve practice growth?
You only need three types of systems to build more accountability and kick start practice growth. You need one system to create a healthy dental team, another to create focus, and another to get everyone more intentional about growth. With these in place, you’ll be well on your way to growing your practice.
If you're looking for solutions to grow your practice and take your practice forward, join me in the Dental Boss Movement Facebook group where you can connect me and thousands of other dentist professionals helping each other grow.
As practices open back up from pandemic shutdowns, scheduling patients is becoming more of a challenge. We have to consider that we want to practice social distancing inside of our practices. We have production targets and financial obligations. And, of course, we need to safely care for patients.
As you begin to have more demand on your schedule, these challenges will become tougher to overcome. But tough doesn’t mean impossible. And with the right scheduling strategies, your team can take care of all the details. Here are four ways your team can schedule patients to remain productive and safe.
Utilize time blocks.
Just because we can’t have as many patients in the office at once, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be as productive. As we're looking at our post-COVID schedule, we want to have in our mind how we can see fewer patients while having higher production. You can have more production and collections in your business going forward because you’ll be focusing on getting more patients to do higher value procedures and to have fewer patients in the practice through time blocks.
The idea is to schedule out the procedures that typically take the longest first and work backwards in order to fit everything within your schedule. Be very strategic. For example, if you're using a third-party tool such as Dental Intel, create a filtered list of all patients below the age of 60 who have been seen within the last year and have unscheduled perio scaling and root planing. These patients are behind in getting care and need to get back in because they are the least healthy in terms of oral health. We want to give them priority as we essentially have a clean slate.
You can even color code your time blocks so that is easiest to read. In my practice, red is most urgent and so as we're filling our hygiene, we want to fill our red blocks first, and then we want to fill our yellow blocks, and then we want to fill our green blocks. Your longest procedures will be more urgent and therefore in the “red” and your quicker procedures will be either yellow or green.
Get help from your dental assistants.
Make sure you utilize your dental assistant anywhere you can. Have them help out in areas where they can so that your dental hygienists can focus on the tasks the assistant can't do.
Having dental assistants for our hygienists allows our hygienists to focus on what no one else can do, such as the scaling, and root planing. The assistants are typically doing things like taking x-rays, taking internal photos, showing videos if we want to show an educational video, having those discussions, finding out their chief concern, and then they transfer the information over to the hygienist.
Dental assistants are very important to your practice, especially if you use them to their full potential. In fact, without their help, it would be nearly impossible to recover from the pandemic. Make sure your dental assistants are aware of how much their help means to you and the whole team.
Make an overflow room.
Having an overflow room will benefit your practice beyond recovering financially. This is an efficient system that should be utilized in every practice.
Here’s how it works in my practice. We have an overflow room and so patient number one will be in one room. When the next patient comes in, the assistant will get them started in another room. This allows the dental hygienist to be able to go straight to that next patient and a team member can properly clean the first room to get it ready for our next patient.
The other thing to take note of here as well is the stagger between blocks, between our two hygienists. This prevents having a bottleneck at the front desk and waiting area. Make sure time blocks do not start and end at the same time. There's a staggered approach there.
With staggered schedules and an overflow room, you can better manage the flow of patients in your practice. You also ensure every room is cleaned properly before a patient goes in.
Communicate well with patients.
Communicating well with patients is a skill your dental team members should practice daily. Especially during times like today where we can’t schedule as many patients as we used to, it is important our patients understand this and understand why.
Make sure you’re honest with patients. Let them know you want to be able to give them first priority but you are doing the best you can. Tell them you have a new system and your practice is prioritizing the longer procedures so you can have fewer people in the office and keep everyone safe. Be honest with your patients and they’ll most likely understand.
Are you ready to help your team succeed in scheduling patients?
Once you implement these easy tips, your practice will be as efficient as ever. You and your practice will have adapted to the new changes and positioned to succeed. Even better, your team will be leading the charge to building a safe, productive, efficient practice.
What are your goals for your practice in 2021? Do you want to grow and be more profitable? That tends to be on most dental practice’s goals list.
The issue is figuring out the best way to do that. Most dentists believe that by increasing production, they will become more profitable. While there is some truth to that, it is not the best way to grow a practice. The key is to focus on maximizing the revenue you’re already bringing in.
Increasing your production won’t affect your profitability if you don’t have solid systems in place. The problem a lot of dentists have is not that they need more patients. It’s often their collection percentage that’s at fault.
Your collection percentage is the percentage of funds that you not only produced but also collected. For your business to be profitable, this number needs to be as close to 100% as possible. Unfortunately, oftentimes it’s not anywhere near that.
How do you figure out where the money is falling through the cracks? Here are five key areas to check.
1. Investigate your adjustments.
Oftentimes, we don’t realize how much money we are throwing away just through adjustments. You should be taking a look to calculate how much money you are adjusting and determine if it is worth it.
How many times do you give discounts to friends and family or people in your community?
Be honest when analyzing your adjustments. Are you giving away too much?
2. Check your statements.
Are your statements being sent out efficiently? Our practices can get so overwhelming, and sometimes we forget to send out our statements for a while.
Your patients could be waiting on their statement for weeks and months and even forget about it altogether. They could be perfectly happy to pay, but they aren’t even aware of it.
If you’re looking at your collection percentage monthly and see that it’s dipping, this is one of the metrics you need to check.
3. Appoint someone to deposit checks.
If you have checks coming into the practice, are they being input in a timely fashion? Is your team busy doing other things that they don’t even have time to get to the bank?
Make sure that you have a specific team member who owns this process and a system for reporting on it regularly. This will ensure that your checks are getting deposited and you aren’t taking time away from your dental teammates.
4. Consider your electronic payments.
Maybe you have e-payments coming in, but they aren’t being entered onto the ledger. This means there’s a discrepancy between your bank statements and your practice management software.
When you analyze your collection percentage you may realize there’s a difference between your production and collections.
From there, you can look into why these discrepancies are occurring and fix them.
5. Take a close look at your fees.
It is possible you aren’t charging enough for procedures.
It can be shocking to calculate your profit margins for each of your different procedures.
Calculate your expenses and divide your monthly expenses into the number of hours you work. That will give you a cost per hour.
Then, you can look at the time it takes to do each procedure and how much the supply costs are. If you aren’t making a profit, or breaking even, there is an issue and you know to raise your fees.
Are you ready to grow your practice and become more profitable?
Make sure your money isn’t slipping through the cracks. You don’t have to get more patients and work overtime to increase your profitability. Make sure to check those problem areas to ensure you aren’t giving away money.
Many practices often prioritize getting new patients instead of focusing on their existing patients. While it is always a good idea to get new patients, if you don’t focus on the ones you already have, you’ll lose them and end up treading water, at best.
In fact, it takes about five to twenty-five times more effort to get new patients than it does to properly serve and retain your existing ones. Here are five strategies to make sure you get your dental patients to keep coming back to your practice.
Figure out what you want your practice to be known for.
This is the most important aspect of building your practice. When you know what you want to be known for, you can build your practice with that in mind and have an actual vision of your goals.
This will also help patients understand who you are as a dental practice. If you want to be known for offering high-end services and quick efficient appointments, you know you have to prioritize getting the tools and resources to make your practice high-quality and efficient.
As you're building your practice, you have this interesting and unique ability to manufacture what you want people to say.
If you want people to know your practice for being extremely comfortable and relaxing, you know it would be wise to invest in a massage dental chair and some essential oils.
Let patients know what you’re known for.
Once you know what your dental practice is known for, utilize this to your advantage. Go on Facebook Live and share on different social media platforms the unique characteristics of your office that make you “the most comfortable and caring dental office,” if that’s what you are going for.
This will not only attract new patients but also remind existing patients of what sets you apart. Make sure to explain to every new patient who you are as a dental practice and what makes your practice unique. And take the time to reinforce and remind new patients about what they get from you that they won’t get elsewhere.
Involve your patients in all of your community based marketing initiatives.
First and foremost, get involved with your community if you aren’t doing so already. This alone will get your practice’s name out there and attract new, local patients.
This could be anything from sponsoring a 5k race to volunteering at an animal shelter. When you show your local community that you are involved and caring, they are going to connect with you and likely tell others about you and your practice.
The best part is, you don't have to focus on Google ads that are $2,000 to pay Google at an agency. You don't have to worry about $5,000 mailers. You are attracting real, genuine people by getting involved.
Once you implement marketing within your community and your patients know what you're known for, and they're telling others, you can not turn that off. This is a continuous referral source that will help you gain loyal patients.
Directly communicate with your patients.
When you are about to post on social media or go on Facebook Live to share something about your practice, you should be directly communicating with your patients.
You can go to your patient email list and email everyone a link to your Facebook live. This will increase the views and visibility. And part of that is asking people when you're on Facebook live to actually share this video with everyone that they know who are their Facebook friends so that others can participate as well.
You can directly send or hand out flyers to patients. This will allow your patients to see that you're doing something great for the community. This is a great way to let patients know of any events you are having and to keep them updated and involved.
Another great way to involve your patients is by sending a monthly email. This can be photos from last month's community and campaign announcing what you're going to do in the next month or the current month, and also sharing an educational article.
Earn, collect, and share glowing testimonials.
When you are running your dental practice the way you envisioned it, you may begin to notice patients are more eager to share their amazing experiences.
If you’ve invested in making your practice uniquely good, don’t be afraid to ask your patients to honestly review their experience in your practice. If they have some concerns or suggestions, consider them, and make your practice even better. If they rave about the wonderful experience they had, don’t hesitate to ask them for a testimonial.
Once you have these testimonials, they are just yet another thing you can share on your social media platforms or in the monthly email newsletter.
Are you confident your patients will keep coming back?
It's one thing to be able to do marketing campaigns, to be able to get in front of our patients. It is much harder to learn how to keep them.
As we are coming to the end of the quarter, we are starting to think about next quarter, what we're going to be doing for both our practice and personal lives. This is important because, while many people plan in their practice, we must alo plan in our personal lives to achieve success.
As you plan your new year, working not just on building profits but also improving cash flow and time management can open many doors for your practice and your personal life. At the end of the day, we're here to serve patients, but we also want to make sure that we are taking care of ourselves so we can better take care of our families, our teams, and our patients.
To achieve that ability, we must all do three things, in addition to setting profit goals, identifying new services, or technology investments. To put together the best plan for a profitable new year, you must do the following three things as well.
Save for a rainy day.
It’s really important that every practice has a rainy day fund in case of an emergency. You never know when something is going to affect your practice. Having a rainy day fund can save your practice from temporary disasters or get you through a tough time.
During the time of coronavirus, I spent time working with practices to make sure they understand profitability and planning, especially with cash flow. I made sure they knew what their profits and expenses were and that they created a budget that includes emergency savings.
When coronavirus hit my personal practice, I was fortunate enough to not have to lay off any team members. One of the reasons was because my practice had emergency savings. Like other practices, we were closed for several weeks, at least for non-emergency services. But I was able to continue to pay my team. And that gave me a lot of peace of mind. It helped with my anxiety of what I was going through as a business owner. Without rainy day savings, it would have been hard, if not impossible.
Budget your money well.
I was recently speaking to another doctor and she was sharing how her practice is growing, and she was able to go ahead and invest in adding in a new operatory, all cash, and also purchasing a new piece of equipment, a scanner. She didn’t need to borrow, because she budgeted well.
When you budget, you have to be a little bit more patient when it comes to new projects. Saving up to save for expenses instead of just borrowing more takes a lot of discipline. Over time, making smart investments without borrowing as much helps you save interest charges and generate more stable revenue. You might not grow revenue as fast but you can often grow more stable profits and not end up in a challenging time if revenue slows down, because your loan payments don’t stop. Take a look at the investments you want to make this year and set aside money for those expenses every month.
Make sure your systems are in place.
Systems streamline processes. If you don’t have systems in place, adding them can make a big impact on your practice. One area where systems make a big impact is in marketing. Marketing systems make you more consistent and give you better data to make consistent improvements.
One system we really love is this process of what we call “creating rocks.” This is part of what we teach in terms of the entrepreneurial operating system, or EOS. Rocks are the tasks you want to complete within the next 90 days. Perhaps your “rocks” include improving your marketing. Maybe you've made a decision that you want to update your website. Whatever your rocks are, write them down and put a plan (and budget) in place to make them happen this year.
Another area where systems are critical are in tracking performance. Maybe you will use your daily whiteboards in your morning huddle to improve performance. Or maybe you will implement scorecards where you can weekly look at production collections. Or you could start tracking the number of unscheduled patients that are rescheduled. Whatever you need to improve, put systems in place to make consistent improvements.
Are you ready to plan for a profitable new year?
Plan ahead to make sure that next year is as profitable as can be. Make sure that you are saving for a rainy day, budgeting well, and making sure your systems are in place.
Does your team have a morning huddle every day? If so, do you use this time effectively? Morning huddles are a great opportunity to maximize the productivity and profitability of your practice.
But some practices don’t make the best use of their morning huddles. That means they’re not getting the maximum benefit for their practice. The good news is having an effective morning huddle is simple. Here are two things you should do in your morning huddle every day and two things you should avoid to maximize the impact of your daily huddles.
Connect with your team.
Morning huddles are not just about day planning and task management. They are an amazing opportunity to build practice culture and deepen connections with your team. For example, you could give each weekday a theme and assign a different member of the team to take ownership of the theme. In this case, assume Mondays were themed “Motivation Monday.” You could invite a team member to share something that happened recently either personally or within the practice that was positive. Or, they could share a quote, poem, or YouTube video to inspire the rest of the team and get them ready for the week.
You could have “Thankful Thursdays” where a team member leads everyone in sharing something they’re grateful for, personally or professionally. Fridays are a great day to go through patient surveys. Appoint a team member to be responsible for reading the surveys and reviews that have come in the last week and pulling out important information. It’s nice for the team to hear what patients say. Often, your patients will mention a particular team member in their response, and this is a great opportunity to share those comments, acknowledge the great work being done by your team, and get everyone excited and motivated to serve your clients further.
The connection part of the morning huddle is all about having a system, delivering it consistently, and having team members take ownership. The creativity and preparation they bring to those meetings will drive a much closer connection between team members.
Review key performance indicators.
If you only discuss what’s happening in the practice that day, you miss a great opportunity to look at the bigger picture of your practice performance. The morning huddle is a great opportunity to keep track of your performance by taking a good look at your metrics.
How are you doing this month with your goals? If you’re on or even ahead of your targets, shout out your team. Give them a big round of applause, acknowledge the work they’ve been doing, and celebrate that success.
Perhaps you had a goal to start a certain number of Perio Protect cases and your hygienists have surpassed it. This is an opportunity to get really excited and show them how much you appreciate their hard work.
As you review your goals, emphasize how important it is to communicate with patients, to explain the benefits of those value services, and how their hard work has paid off with more cases booked and more patients served. This will lead to more energy, excitement, and awareness of how their work that day will impact the practice.
Reviewing key performance indicators lets you know what needs more attention, too. Does your team need more training in an area? Are you hitting your targets for getting new patients? If not, what are you going to do about it? You might want to run a targeted social media campaign to get those numbers up. Maybe you can plan some Facebook Lives or ask patients if they have family members that need to be scheduled when you call them.
Avoid sitting around reading charts.
Does your team use the morning huddle to read up on the patients they’ll see that day? Of course, it’s crucial for your team to know the important facts about their patients. But is reading about them in the morning the best way to remember this information? Or are they likely to get distracted and miss out on the important details?
What if you used stickers on physical charts, or pop-ups on digital charts, to identify patients with diabetes or high blood pressure, or other important details? This means you’ve not only found a better way to log these important notes, you can also eliminate reading time from the morning huddle.
Avoid using the huddle to huddle to identify and fill gaps in the daily schedule.
Identifying and filling schedule gaps should happen days earlier. If you wait until the same day, you will end up with many gaps you can’t fill. Ever thought, “Wait, is there an opportunity to get Ms. Jones in today?” but then found that Ms. Jones can’t leave work so you’ve missed the opportunity? It happens all the time.
If you contact patients ahead of time, there’s much more chance they’ll be available. And it gives your team more time to prepare for that patient’s appointment. It makes your days much smoother.
Instead of using your morning huddle to try to fill in holes, create a regular process for looking at the schedule a few days earlier, and concentrate your huddle time on the things that will make the most difference to your practice.
Do you need to make your morning huddle more effective?
Making your morning huddle more effective is as simple as doing two things and avoiding two things. Build connection. Review key performance indicators. Avoid reading charts. And avoid trying to fill schedule gaps each morning.
If you’re searching for a dental marketing plan that works, you came to the right place. Dental marketing has come a long way since the days when phone book ads were the way to go.
Today, a good dental marketing plan includes both offline and online marketing strategies. But many dental practices struggle to choose dental marketing plans that work with so many options. Here are three proven dental marketing strategies that work today.
1. Serve your patients well.
Many times, dental practices that put together a dental marketing plan focus solely on marketing to new clients. While that’s natural, a practice’s best and fastest path to higher profits is often by serving patients well.
One way to serve patients well is to implement a monthly newsletter to stay top of mind. Include in your newsletter what you have done that month to serve your community. Include a featured service. Highlight continuing education, new services, and exciting team members and practice accomplishments. Your newsletter demonstrates your commitment to the community and serving patients well in a way that gives patients a gentle reminder to schedule their next appointment.
In addition to a newsletter, look for ways to add excitement to your practice. For example, you can start a kid's club. We implemented one in my practice and kids love it. Each kid gets a t-shirt. When they come in, they get a printed kids’ newsletter that we produce every three months or so that includes a special deal at a local business, which we arrange with other businesses. We also include a few dental tips for kids. The kids love it and feel very special.
Finally, make sure your patients feel like VIPs when they’re in your practice. One thing we do in my practice is bring out warm peppermint scented towels on a silver platter at the end of the treatment, so people can wipe their hands, or even freshen up their face. Patients love it.
There are lots of things that you can do for existing patients to make them feel like VIPs. By doing so, you generate loyalty and raving fans that will start referring you to their family, friends, and coworkers.
2. Build community engagement.
Another dental marketing strategy that works is to invest in getting your community to talk about you. This is an area I'm really excited about because it works so well while improving your local community. I’ve helped a number of practices implement these campaigns in their community, too, and it works incredibly well.
One of the best things about community engagement campaigns is their simplicity. For example, one community engagement campaign that works well is a clothing drive. In my practice, one successful campaign we conducted was a post-Christmas clothing drive. We encouraged people to clear out their drawers and drop off clothes at our office. We then randomly selected someone to win a gift card toward services in our practice who dropped off clothes.
Other examples of community engagement campaigns include having a free kid's dental day or doing coloring contests for kids. You can promote and implement these types of campaigns easily by sharing on social media and even build an email marketing list by having people submit their email to be able to download the coloring sheet.
Finally, one of the most impactful and successful campaigns you can do is to conduct a Project Smile competition, where you ask people to nominate someone for a chance to receive a new smile. Project Smile campaigns are extremely powerful, very fulfilling, and it's really great for your team health and culture.
3. Create a consistent presence and strategy.
The third strategy that works is to be simple and consistent with your marketing. Way too many practices market in piecemeal. They have one look, feel, and messaging on their website but their marketing campaigns look completely different. Others only market online but not offline. Others market only offline.
As simple as it sounds, the most successful practices maintain a clear, consistent, presence and marketing strategy both online and offline. They market online but don’t forget about serving their patients and investing in their community. They have a professional, modern website but also brochures that patients can pick up. They market to patients but also other businesses, dropping off brochures at pediatricians and other medical providers in their area. They go out of their way to thank people who refer patients to the practice and strike deals with local businesses to give their customers or employees special treatment or a special deal.
If your marketing plan doesn’t seem to work very well, it might be that you are investing too much time and attention on only one type of marketing. A simple, consistent, balanced approach to dental marketing helps maintain a more consistent, professional message throughout your potential patient pool.
Do you need a dental marketing plan that works?
With so many dental marketing plans available, it’s easy to get stuck spending money on marketing that doesn’t work. If you’ve struggled to build momentum with your marketing, three strategies can help.
I don't know about you, but inside of my practice, sometimes we have people that come in saying, “Wow, that much for an implant?” Or, “Wow, I didn't know that Invisalign would cost so much.”
I’m sure I’m not the only one experiencing this. It can be difficult to come up with an answer for these patients. This is especially true ifwe don’t fully understand ourselves. When we know, it’s much easier to explain costs to patients well.
If you struggle with responding to your patients when the cost is too high, you’ve come to the right place.
Know your profit margin.
Every owner should know their profit margins. Profit margins are the actual cost to be able to do a particular service.It takes into account the supply costs to be able to do that service, fixed expenses, and variable expenses per hour for the use of variable expenses.
Oftentimes, dental practice owners don't know how much it actually costs to run their practice per hour. What are your costs per hour for salaries? What is your cost per hour for use of your office? Make sure to include rent or mortgage, utilities, marketing costs, and other expenses. Divide those numbers into the number of hours you work. When we are not certain of our actual expenses, it’s easy to start to doubt your prices. You might just see the fee number and agree that your fees are high when the reality is, it might be that your operational expenses are too high, and that’s what’s requiring higher fees.
When you know that, for example, it's going to cost you $140 to do a filling in your practice, you won’t feel bad if a patient says, “Wow, $160 for a filling,” if that's your fee. Knowing your numbers help you better prepare your case presentation and enhance your verbal skills.
If you haven't looked at your costs per hour, I highly recommend doing so. And if you want help, you could join our Platinum Coaching program and we can help.
Present your treatment plan with the patient's personal goals in mind.
The other step to take if patients complain that costs are too high is to present treatment plans from your patients’ perspective. You must understand your patient’s goals and so you can help them see what investments they need to make. For example, many of the most successful dentists ask each patients, “What are your goals for your teeth, your mouth, your smile?” They then ask patients questions like, “What would it mean for you if you got this fixed?”
The patients’ answers will help you better understand why they're there, what they want and desire. And they then present options to them in the context of how the options will help the patients achieve their goal.
We suggest asking patients for permission to present the case to them. Keep it simple, asking “Is it okay if I take some time and share with you how we can help you and how we've helped other patients just like you?” Of course the answer's going to be yes. Then present your treatment plan in that context.
At the end, say, “Now, this is going to be an investment. The great thing is that once you have your smile makeover done, this is what your life is going to look like.” Follow that with the goals they want that your treatment plan will help them achieve.
Once done, ask if they want your help. Encourage them that they’re worth it and show them options to help afford their treatment. You can say, “This is an investment in yourself and you're worth it. But we can work with you and create a customized plan so that you can fit this dentistry that you so deserve and you so want into your budget.”
Are you ready to help more patients move forward with their treatment?
If patients think fees are too high, we might not know our numbers enough or be presenting treatment in the context of their goals. These two steps can help you immediately boost case acceptance rate. And then you will be able to help more patients achieve their goals and live a better life.
Have you ever had a team member who was afraid to talk to patients or was not outgoing or building connections with your patients? I have had several team members like that throughout the years.
Unfortunately, many team members who aren’t naturally outgoing or warm assume they have a disadvantage. However, the truth is introverted team members and team members who struggle to make connections can excel in the dental practice if you give them the right training, tasks, and direction.Here’s how to help those team members thrive.
Identify the personality types of your team members.
When people struggle to make connections, the first step to help them is to identify your team members’ personality types. Identifying personality types helps you understand many things about team members, including how they make connections with others.
I recommend using the DISC profile to identify personality types. Within DISC, there are four personality types. There is the D type, which stands for a dominant personality style. They tend to be the leaders and are okay with taking risks, but they also can come off as pushy. Then there is the I type, which stands for the influence personality style. They tend to be more outgoing and the life of the party. People with the I personality tend to not be very good at following through.
The S style, which stands for steadiness, tend to be more sensitive with strong feelings of connection to other people. On the flip side, people with S personality types tend to be taken advantage of more often because they're so kind and loving. Finally, you have the C type, which stands for conscientiousness. People with C personalities are very detail-oriented. These are people that typically are going to be accountants or that may be surgeons. On the flip side of the Cs is sometimes they are very serious and sometimes they are really slow to make decisions.
Personality assessments can be very insightful and instructive, so we even administer them within our Delivering WOW Accelerator Program, as well as for our coaching clients in our Mastermind. It's been insightful to get feedback from doctors saying, “Now I understand why my hygienist, who's very outgoing, struggles with writing chart notes.” As team members start to understand their behavioral style and team members understand each other better, you can assign tasks accordingly.
Delegate tasks with each team member’s personality in mind.
As we start looking at behavioral styles and the roles of our team members and the roles that they occupy in our practice, it's really important that we understand where they are in terms of a natural behavioral style.
I remember in the early days of my practice, I wanted to have social media implemented. We ended up giving that task to someone who had an S-style, so they were a calm natured, introvert. But they struggled with one of the key parts of our social media strategy, to collect patient video testimonials. There were great creating posts but were uncomfortable asking patients for video testimonials. We decided to switch it up and gave that part of the task to a team member that had more of the I-style. That person was very outgoing and loved talking to people. All of a sudden, it was easy for her to make that connection and get those video testimonials.
Once you start to assign tasks according to your team members’ strengths and put them in the area of their natural behavioral style, you'll see the results that start to happen in your practice. Then, give them training on tasks that fit their natural strengths so they can get better and better. The more you do this, the more your team will work better individually and together.
Build your team with diversity in mind.
Take a look at the personality styles across your team. The best teams have balance. Start looking at building out your team with diversity of personality styles in mind. Think about what you have a lot of and what types of people can fill the gaps in your practice in terms of behavioral styles.
If you have a team that is full of I-types, you're going to have a lot of fun in your practice because there's going to be a lot of extroverts. However, consider that flip side of it, where if you're having too much fun, you need somebody to be serious, get things done, and make sure that everyone is being held accountable.
As you grow your team with diversity in mind, you will be able to build a better, stronger team. You will also be more able to put people in positions that match their natural tendencies, making everyone more likely to succeed.
Are you ready to train dental team members who are not good with patients?
If you haven't yet tested behavioral styles in your practice, I highly recommend doing so. Then, direct tasks and training to the activities that fit your teams’ natural strengths. If you want help, get in touch with my team and we can help.
In the meantime, join our free Dental Boss Movement group on Facebook. Inside that group, you will be able to mastermind and share with dentists and team members to help you grow your practice quickly.
If growing your dental practice quickly sounds attractive to you, you’re in the right place. After helping thousands of dental practices grow using our Delivering WOW programs, we’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t work. And the good news is that what works to grow a dental practice quickly is simple.
That’s right. A few simple strategies can make the difference between success and failure when it comes to growing your practice. That’s great news because fast dental practice growth is completely within your control—and you can use three of the best strategies in your weekly team meetings.
If you take the right steps you’ll get your desired results. Here are three simple tips you can start using in weekly team meetings right away to grow your dental practice quickly.
1. Ask your team members to share their personal and professional best.
We must remember that our practice is being run by a bunch of humans. We’re human. Our team members are human. Start every meeting by asking your team members to share your personal and professional bests for the week.
Sharing personal and professional bests brings tremendous benefits to everyone on your team. We all share a human experience with ups and downs. Asking team members to share personal and professional best gives every team member an opportunity to share and open up with each other. Even if one of your dental team members is struggling that week, this gives them a chance to recognize that, get help, and move forward. And your team can understand where they are and they can support them.
And asking for everyone to share their bests helps people focus on positive parts of the week, even if most of it was stressful.
2. Review results and performance from the previous week.
Take some time from the weekly meeting to look at doctor production per visit, hygiene production per visit, production collection, and new patient numbers. Ask your team how many patients last week left without an appointment? Ask how many patients were rescheduled, that were unscheduled? Review your a/r from last week. Appoint a team member to collect and present those numbers so you can easily access and analyze them. Ask them to compare those numbers to weekly goals you set for each of them.
When you don’t hit a goal for the week, analyze why and identify steps to hit the goal for the following week. For example, if doctor production per visit was low, ask what can be done to improve it. Can you pull a list of unscheduled patients and call to get them scheduled? Can you send unscheduled patients an email with a scheduling link?
Reviewing results and performance in a real-time, collaborative way helps catch issues fast.
3. Identify specific issues within your practice that need to be resolved quickly.
Before ending your weekly meetings, ask your team to identify any specific issues within your practice that don’t fit into the categories already discussed. This may be something like broken appointments or hygiene production per visit being consistently low. It could also involve a challenging HR or patient issue or training needed.
From there, brainstorm ways to resolve the issue, end the meeting with a plan to move forward, and identify a team member who will take ownership of the plan. Put that issue on the agenda for the following week.
Are you ready to grow your dental practice quickly?
Growing your dental practice requires you to be consistent and proactive. Take a few minutes to celebrate high moments with your team every week. Don’t sit around waiting for the month’s productivity numbers to be finalized before adjusting. Do that weekly. Don’t wait for small issues to be big before fixing them. Do that in real-time. Taking these three simple steps will help everyone in your practice perform.
If you want more help, your best next step is to join our free Dental Boss Movement group on Facebook. Inside that group, you will be able to mastermind and share with dentists and team members to help you grow your practice quickly.
Just like with any business, hiring is one of the most important parts of a dental practice. If we don’t put the right systems and strategies in place when looking for new members for our dental practice, we’ll end up with the wrong people on our team.
Bad hires are extremely costly. They lead to a high turnover rate amongst your staff—not to mention other problems like poor productivity—and can be super costly. Good hires, on the other hand, are the key to consistent performance.
That’s why these three steps are so important. We need to start before we hire people to ensure we keep bad team members away. Then, with the right ones on our team, we use the critical first week of work to get them on the right track for success. Here’s what to do to ensure you get the right people on your team and train them to become future superstars.
1. Make the expectations of the job clear before you hire them.
When we’re interviewing a potential employee, we need to ensure they understand exactly what roles and responsibilities come with the job. It’s easy to tell an applicant that they’re applying for the role of being your office manager, for example, but that’s a very general statement. The applicant might not know the unique tasks and duties that come with being an office manager for your specific dental practice. So, by making the job expectations clear, they’ll know whether they’re equipped with the right skill-sets to handle the position they’re applying for right off the bat.
And, just as importantly, any potential team member should have an understanding of your practice’s core values before they become a part of it. In fact, for my practice, during the interview and/or on the pre-interview application, we actually ask our applicants about which of our core values resonate with them the most.
2. Focus on orientation during the first week and continue training them for six weeks.
The first six weeks someone works with you is critical. During the first week, you’ll teach them the most important aspects of working with your practice. Make sure they can set goals. Teach them shutdown and start-up procedures. Have them read the office manual. Walk them through what’s expected of them in their role. Because all practices are different, we can’t assume they know what’s expected of them in your practice. Way too many practices assume someone with experience at another practice will jump right in and know what you want them to do. That is almost never the case, especially if you have invested in building a practice that does things differently to deliver WOW to patients.
After the first week, test them on what they learned and continue training them. Ask them to give you an office tour. Have them shutdown and start-up your office. As they learn, add additional responsibilities and give them additional training. Provide educational videos from your favorite CE curriculum—like our Practice Accelerator Program—so they know how to succeed.
3. Get your team involved.
As you build an amazing dental team that delivers WOW, you can start elevating your star team members to become leaders, too. In my practice, for example, we have a lead dental assistant who helps and supervises other dental assistants to set them up for success.
One of the roles and responsibilities of my lead dental assistant is to go through the training and onboarding process with new hires. A dental practice gets busy, as we all know, and doing all the onboarding and training can be a bit too tedious for the practice owner or office manager to do by themselves. Getting your team involved by delegating the process to members of your team who can serve as role models can really free up your schedule and pave the way toward better productivity overall.
Are you training your dental team to set them up for success?
Putting new-hires through the right onboarding and training during the first week and throughout the critical first six weeks can be the best investment you make in your practice. Be sure to include onboarding as well as training and testing hires about what makes your practice different.
As dentists, we’re visionaries, and if having an automated dental practice is something you’ve dreamed of for your practice, you might be surprised to learn it’s not very difficult to put in place.
If you want to create an automated dental practice, you only need a few pieces in place. After all, a vision alone won’t help you achieve your goal. You also must take action and hold yourself accountable as you pursue your goal. Here are the three pieces to put in place if you want to work toward building an automated dental practice.
Buy a whiteboard to automate setting and hitting goals for your dental practice.
Of all the strategies I teach dentists to grow their practices, using a whiteboard is one of my favorites. It’s simple. It’s effective. There’s no tech to learn. Best of all, it’s very lost cost, often less than $10.
I know whiteboards don’t sound very sexy or exciting, but this tool can change everything in your practice. With it, you can publicize relevant key performance indicators and see at a glance whether you’re on track to hit our targets. Even better, everyone in your office can see progress in real-time and is held accountable without any uncomfortable conversations.
The public nature of the whiteboard helps people avoid falling behind and encourages others on the team to support each other so the group hits all goals. That means you don’t have to go around talking about production or letting people know they’re behind. As long as the whiteboard is updated everyone on the team can work together to set and achieve important practice productivity goals.
Automate communication among team members.
With your goals on track, the next step to automating your dental practice is automating communications among your team members. In my practice, automating communication means using a project management tool called Asana. It’s a free online tool where we can record and manage information, share resources, and easily assign tasks to team members.
With Asana, we can even automate weekly check-ins so every team member can give a quick update on their tasks and progress. We can assign specific to-dos from inside Asana and automatically update everyone who needs to know. And then we can quickly review people’s to-dos, see what’s still open, and figure out why something hasn’t been done. Even better, if someone on the team needs my specific feedback on a task, they can just tag me in Asana in the same way they would tag a friend on Facebook. I don’t need to set up a meeting or even be in the office to review and respond to their question.
Automate your dental practice marketing.
Automating your marketing is an extremely powerful part of automating your dental practice because it will drive new patients into your practice on an ongoing basis. What’s so amazing about automated marketing is that once you’ve set it up, it essentially runs itself—it requires very little time or money on your part.
Automating your dental practice marketing is simple. You just need to do two things. First, set up dental marketing funnels to and Facebook ads to key audiences that drive traffic to your funnels. In my practice, we’ve built out multiple marketing funnels. They’re easy to set up and require no work from you after the setup. Through funnels, we send people to quizzes to prequalify them. At the end of the quiz, we offer patients the opportunity to come in and talk to us or leave their email so we can communicate with them. With these in place, high-value dental practice leads hit our inbox on a regular basis.
Do you want to build an automated dental practice?
Automating your dental practice doesn’t need to be complicated. A simple whiteboard can help you set and more easily achieve practice goals. Asana can make team member communication easy. And automated dental practice marketing can keep patients coming in on a regular basis. With those three pieces in place, your job as practice owner will become much, much easier. Even better, your team will be set up for success. They'll be able to continue to perform without you needing to be there and get involved in everything.
If you want more help with your practice, join our community of Dental Bosses just like you, in the Dental Boss Movement Facebook group if you want support and training as you grow your dental practice. More than 1,000 Dental Bosses are already in there learning and growing together.
I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve helped thousands of dentists increase their revenue, grow their practice, and turn their practice into the practice of their dreams. That’s why I’m active on social media, keep a weekly blog, and host a podcast on a multitude of topics in dentistry—to help dentists, like you, run a practice that delivers WOW.
Whether you’re struggling with your marketing, productivity goals, or whatever else comes with running a dental practice, I’m here to help. For example, a member of my mastermind group once came to me asking for advice about paying her dental team. A team member had asked for a raise, and she was put in a tough spot. She simply didn’t know if she could afford to pay that team member more, no matter how much they deserved it. It’s a dilemma that every boss faces, dental boss or not.
And as a dental boss, I’ve had to deal with discerning how much to pay my team quite a few times. So, when that member of my mastermind group asked this question, I was quick to share some of the lessons I have learned. So, how do you know how much to pay a dental team member? Here’s how.
1. Determine how much value each team member offers with their skillset.
Do they achieve their goals? Do they engage and apply the training? If so, those are good signs the team member is adding a lot of value to your practice. But simply achieving goals and utilizing skills enough for the practice to grow isn’t necessarily enough for each team member to get that raise they want. They also need to be continually growing those skills. Why? Because the more value they can offer, the more you can pay them.
Help them be able to handle a more complex assortment of tasks. For example, if they’re not only handling phone calls like rockstars but can also be super effective at scheduling, they’re going to become a bigger asset to your practice. And when they’re a bigger asset to your practice, the positive return on your investment in them will enable you to raise their salary without putting yourself in a deficit.
Once they get the raise, they might even increase their ROI more. Just by having that monetary incentive, their motivation might increase substantially. More motivation will likely make them even more productive. But they need to be productive in more than one area, or they aren’t working hard enough to increase their pay grade. That brings us to the second step.
2. Set up a pay-grade system that pays each employee based on the value that their skillset offers.
If you set up a pay-grade system that classifies what work warrants what pay, it’ll be easier to understand whether you can afford giving one of your team members a raise. Keep it simple, a higher amount or value of work should qualify for a higher amount of pay. This not only ties hard work to pay it ties continuous skill improvement to pay.
This type of pay-grade system will also make it very clear to your team about the expectations that need to be met in order to receive the different levels of pay that you offer in your practice. It’s up to you to help each team member understand that they can’t get a higher level of pay without putting in a higher amount of work.
For example, say you have a dental assistant who has a limited skillset. They can assist with fillings. They can set up your trays. And they can sterilize the instruments. Most dental assistants can handle those tasks so that’s not exactly going above and beyond. So, that person would qualify for the level one pay-grade. If that dental assistant developed a broader skillset, they could earn more pay. I have a dental assistant in my practice who puts in the amount of work to warrant way more than a level one pay-grade. She can place sealants. She orders all of the supplies. She’s amazing at making all of the temporaries. She also can work at the front; handling phone calls, making appointments, discussing treatment plans with patients, etc.
Because of her broad skillset she’s able to bring a higher ROI to the practice. And because she’s on a different level than many dental assistants, I can afford to increase her paygrade to level two and give her a higher salary.
Are you paying your dental team adequately?
Dentistry is a fast-paced lifestyle with lots of stress, and you can’t blame your team members if they ever feel like they deserve more compensation for their hard work. But a dental practice is a business, and finances aren’t something to be impulsive about. Before you give your team member a raise, consider their skillset and the amount of work they’re putting in. And give them opportunities to expand both so they can add more value and earn more work.
While a dental practice is a business, dental school doesn’t teach us much about collecting payments and managing operations.
That’s what continuing education is for. And that’s what Delivering WOW is here for, too. We have helped thousands of dentists strengthen their practices while delivering WOW experience to each of their patients.
But we want to continue to be able to deliver WOW, we need to ensure our businesses are financially strong, too. And one of the most important parts of becoming financially strong is empowering our team to collect payments from our patients well. If you’ve struggled with collections in your practice, here are three tips that have helped my practice and many others improve.
1. Set up a system with which you can monitor whether your collections are under control.
By the time that many practice owners take a glimpse at their AR (accounts receivable) or collections, things have already spun out of control without them even knowing. They’ll find out that patients didn’t pay on time because their dental team failed to follow up properly about that patient’s claims. Now they have to break some bad news to that patient, and things can get ugly. It’s embarrassing—and frustrating for the patient—to call them to let them know they actually have a balance due or that you’ve misquoted their payment from the very beginning. Chasing them around and demanding money make you appear unprofessional and can stir up some drama that might lead to a bad review online or worse. So, I recommend you utilize a system that helps you to track your AR from week to week.
If you follow my blog, social media, or podcast, then you know I’m a huge fan of using scorecards. They can help you stay on top of productivity goals, measure metrics, and more. They’re just a great way of tracking numbers, and one of those numbers can actually be your AR. Using a scorecard to track AR has been super effective both in my practice and for many members of my platinum program. When we can use a scorecard to track AR on a consistent basis, things won’t spin out of control because your dental team will be on top of your collections numbers. When they see things spiraling out of control, they can let you know and you can decide how to counteract any chaos from erupting.
2. Be prepared to keep your collections in control by utilizing a process called “amnesty.”
If things do end up spinning out of control, it’s time to work the amnesty process. Amnesty helps us get back under control. Here’s how it works.
Say you suddenly realize that your AR is $50,000. Some practices turn those accounts over to a collection agency or, even worse, just write it off. That’s not a good idea—you're writing off $50,000 or selling it for pennies on the dollar. You could have used that money to pay for your kids to go to college for a year.
Instead, contact patients who have an overdue balance and let them know their account has come up for audit. Tell them you are giving them a courtesy call to help them out and to clear up their balance. Offer to lower the balance if they pay in full.
Perhaps they have a balance of a thousand dollars. Rather than charge them the full thousand, lower the amount that they have to pay so they don’t have to go to collections and you can create a true win-win. They pay less than they owe and avoid collections. You get guaranteed money and often at a higher price than what you would get through a collections agency. Many patients will gladly pay a smaller portion or go on an auto-debit to pay off their balance to avoid being sent to collections.
3. Put in place a reliable and effective means of getting in touch with your patients.
As surprising as it might seem, being unable to easily get in touch with patients is one of the most common problems I hear from members of my mastermind. They’ll tell me, “Anissa, our patients just aren’t responding. They see our calls and won’t pick up.” While phones are a great way to put yourself in direct communication with a patient, don’t make it your only contact method. If you can, use text messages and emails to start conversations. Especially with text messages, your messages will get noticed. Send them a text or email that lets them know there is an urgent message from their dentist and that you’d like to speak with them on the phone as soon as possible.
When a patient sees an ominous-sounding message like that coming from their healthcare provider, they’re more likely to give you a call. In all likelihood, they’ll even be a bit nervous. So, when the patient calls your practice and your dental team member speaks on the phone with them, make sure they make the purpose of the call immediately clear. Have them calmly greet the patient using all the right social cues and explain that the purpose of the call is to help the patient save money and resolve their balance. Once they understand what’s going on, your team member can proceed to get the patient’s credit card information and begin to sort things out via the amnesty process. If they don’t call back right away, send follow-up messages and call their phone to make sure they get your message. With people being so busy, if your message hasn’t been returned within a couple of days, it’s unlikely that it will be without additional follow-up.
What are you doing to ensure your payments are under control?
As dentists, we must work creatively to ensure the revenue we worked so hard to attain gets paid. When it comes to collecting payments, we must give our team members the tools and resources they need to collect payments well. Scorecards, amnesty, and multiple methods of contact can help everyone stay on top of accounts receivable. What works in your practice?
For most businesses, the pandemic has made it a real struggle to keep afloat. Quarantining and social distancing have led to an absence of eager customers for almost every industry and profession. People are trying to stick it out in their homes and avoid getting infected with Covid-19, so they’re just not going to go out shopping or seeking services unless they really need them.
While things are slow for the vast majority of businesses, it’s safe to say that dental practices are definitely amongst those struggling the most. Patients simply don’t want to come in to get treatment unless it’s urgent. It makes sense; providing dental treatment is a very up-close and personal thing. While healthcare providers are typically great at being diligent with sanitization, some people just don’t want to take that risk.
Unfortunately, it’s not surprising to me when people come to me and tell me that their dental practice isn’t just struggling but is actually in the process of failing. Does that sound like you? Are you hustling like mad to get patients in the door only to find yourself coming up short at the end of the month? Trust me, you’re not alone.
In fact, I have some awesome news for you: I can help you turn your failing dental practice around. It’s nothing too complicated, either. These are just a few simple, amazing strategies that can do wonders for your practice. If you’re interested, keep reading!
1. Buy a whiteboard.
This sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? I can almost hear you thinking: “How could buying a whiteboard turn my failing dental practice around!?” Believe it or not, though, something as simple as a whiteboard can be the key to unlocking profitability, efficiency, and, subsequently, the growth you need to turn your failing practice around.
An ordinary whiteboard—one you can buy at any office supply store for a few bucks—is responsible for doubling my practice revenue. It’s done the same for hundreds of dental bosses all over the world, too. It’s not the whiteboard itself, of course, but what you do with it. And what you need to do with it is use it each month to track individual services, set goals for those individual services, and then shoot for the stars with each coming month.
Start by listing all the services you offer on the whiteboard.
Set target numbers for the month based on your revenue goals and write that number in RED.
Every day, mark down the number of that service that your practice has completed month to date in BLUE.
When you hit the target you’ve set, change the BLUE number to GREEN.
Your goal is to change all of your blue numbers to green by the end of the month. When you get every blue number to turn green, you’re meeting productivity goals—which means you’re at least keeping your practice afloat.
But ending the struggle isn’t the objective; I want you to turn your failing practice around. So, next month, aim higher. Make those numbers larger. As each month passes and you keep turning those bigger and bigger numbers from blue to green, you’ll notice your practice is doing better than ever before.
2. Deliver a WOW customer experience.
At Delivering WOW, we’re all about providing each and every one of our patients an experience that WOW’s them. When we can make them feel like VIP’s, they’re bound to become raving fans of our practice who are quick to refer us to their family and friends.
That means our patients don’t just become loyal, they refer other patients who are likely to become loyal too. Having a dependable and ever-growing influx of patients coming through your practice doors is a big deal. You’ll be increasing the productivity of your practice — helping you hit those whiteboard targets each and every month. Any practice owner knows productivity is what paves the way for profitability and growth.
3. Give your team extensive training.
If you want your patients to be enthusiastic about the results they see after coming into your practice to receive dental treatment, you can’t be the only one WOWing them. Your team must, too, through the treatment they provide and the care they show your patients. The best way to achieve this is to provide your team with the right training. When your team improves their craft and can provide amazing results for your patients, your patients will be happy with their care. And when your team treats them like a VIP every time they walk through the door, your patients won’t ever think about going anywhere else for dental care.
When training your team on procedures, make sure to also train them in the benefits of the procedures so they can better connect with patients. So, don’t just give your team the right training in crowns. Make sure they understand the benefits of crowns, the different types of crowns you offer, and the long term effects if recommended crowns are not completed. Also give your team training about how to socially interact with your patients. Your team should be able to show before and after cases, answer questions, and refer patients to the proper resources. Train your front desk to handle phone calls effectively. Train your assistants to do preliminary work—X-rays, impressions, etc.—that allows you to be in and out in a jiffy. Set up your team for success, and you’ll see the results you want to see.
Need to turn around a struggling or even failing dental practice?
Turning a struggling practice around boils down to production and consistently delivering WOW experiences. And the key to doing that isn’t diagnosing more patients or bullying them into accepting unnecessary treatment. You just need to put the right systems in place and make sure all your team members are on the same page. If you do, you’ll get the results you want while better serving your patients.
Also, if you want to join a community of Dental Bosses just like you, I have a Facebook group where over 1000 Dental Bosses are already learning and growing. Join us in the Dental Boss Movement Facebook group if you want some support and training as you grow your dental practice.
Coming out of dental school, many new doctors gravitate to spending thousands of dollars on expensive branding and marketing services in an effort to grow their practice fast. While strategic Facebook marketing for dentists is a wise investment, spending thousands on complex marketing strategies is often not wise, especially for newer doctors.
A much better alternative to grow a practice fast is to focus in your own community. Form relationships with other businesses in your community and you can earn more referrals and build a strong reputation as a community destination. Here are three ways you can support local businesses in a way that helps you grow your dental practice.
1. Form strategic alliances with local businesses.
With a strategic alliance, you partner with local businesses who serve the same people you want to serve and create offers to encourage their clientele to come to your practice. For example, my practice often partners with a local bridal shop to offer brides a deal on teeth whitening. We’ve also given a local Day Spa and Optical $50.00 gift cards to give to customers who spent over a certain threshold or who purchased specific spa packages.
Each of those arrangements was true “win-win-win,” benefiting our practice, the other business, and the other business’ customers. We benefited by being able to earn new patients with a special offer but no advertising costs. The only cost to us was a little bit of our time reaching out to the local businesses.
The other businesses benefited by being able to offer greater value to their customers (our deal) without costing them anything. And the other business’ customers benefited by getting a deal with a dental practice that will treat them like a VIP!
2. Engage in host beneficiary promotions.
Host beneficiary promotions were huge for my dental practice in the early days. They work similar to strategic alliances with one key difference. Specifically, instead of offering something of value to the business’ customers, you make a new-patient offer to the business’ team members and their families.
Host beneficiary programs work well with local banks, investment firms, bakeries, and even local associations, especially ones that are smaller or mid-sized that don’t offer many benefits to their team members. Similar to strategic alliances, host beneficiary promotions allow other businesses to add value to people important to their business without costing them anything. At the same time, we save money and get new patients because there’s no advertising costs involved, only the cost of the offer itself.
We recommend starting by choosing one local business a month and deciding whether to grow from there. After identifying the local business, call up the office manager and let them know how the program works and that their business has been chosen for that month.
When we were doing host beneficiary programs on a regular basis, we had to hire an additional hygienist to serve all the new patients!
3. Use local business products and services in your practice.
Another great way to grow your practice is to use local products and services in your office and to proudly display the local connection. For example:
If you have a local gourmet coffee roaster, consider stocking their beans for some of your gourmet coffee and tea offerings.
Give pastries from a local bakery to your patients.
Display local artwork and invite them to host art showings at your practice.
Use furniture from local manufacturers in your waiting room.
Subscribe to community-produced magazines and newspapers.
Don’t let those five ideas limit you, though. Look for local options for other services you purchase in your practice.
As you integrate local business products and services, promote those relationships through your social media channels. This can be as simple as posting a picture of the local coffee bean with a caption that reads “We love our locally-roasted Pete's coffee beans at Beautiful Smiles Dentistry.” You could also post pictures of the local artwork with a caption saying how much you love walking by the local artist’s beautiful painting every day.
The options are endless. And most of the time, they won’t cost you any significant additional money to utilize local businesses. In fact, you may find some local business owners who will offer their products or services at discounted rates, and sometimes free, for the opportunity to be displayed to your patients.
How will you grow your business fast while supporting businesses in your community?
Supporting local businesses will help you develop deeper relationships, attract more patients, and build a stronger local brand. These three examples can help you get started growing your business while serving your community well.
If you want more help, join my community of dental bosses where dentists come together for support and action taking tips and motivation. Join today for free.
How much would you pay for a strategy that could help you generate $15,000 or $20,000 in a single day? I know a lot of people who would pay a lot of money for a strategy like that, including me.
But how much you pay to learn and implement a strategy doesn’t always correlate with how much money you make in return. In fact, one of my favorite tactics to teach practices is how to use a simple whiteboard to increase their income quickly. By the way, never feel bad for wanting to earn more. The more money we make, the more we can invest back into our practices and the bigger impact we can make in our communities and for our family.
The total cost to implement that strategy is nothing. Your return could be unlimited. Here’s why whiteboards are so powerful and how to use them in your practice.
Use whiteboards to keep everyone accountable.
The first reason whiteboards are so powerful is simple. They work. They hold everyone accountable by keeping your monthly targets front-and-center. They give everyone a “month at a glance” view of where we are in our practice. They show everyone what’s important and where to focus for the rest of the month.
About ten years ago, I developed a process of how to use Whiteboards to reverse engineer increasing practice revenue. And the year we implemented the strategy, we tripled our practice revenue. Since then, I have coached many practices on how to use this method of using whiteboards. When implemented correctly, practices often increase revenue by thousands in the first month alone!
Use whiteboards to help you set goals proactively.
Many practices set goals based on old information. They wait for the end of the month, look at the numbers, and reflect on what happened. The problem with that is the time already passed. There is nothing you can do to improve that performance. In fact, by the time you reflect, you are already a couple of days into the next month, again reacting to what happened instead of choosing where to focus.
I fell in that trap before I started using whiteboards. Now, I look at all my services and calculate historicals of how many procedures I do of each service. From there, I set goals of how many of each procedure I want to do for the following month.
When you’re tracking things proactively, you have much more control. You can think more strategically and if you realize you’re not hitting your goals, you can take action in real-time. For example, your front desk can send out a newsletter to your patients to highlight a particular service you are wanting to do more of in your practice. You could also record a Facebook Live video talking about the three ways missing teeth are being replaced by your patients and the risk of not replacing your missing teeth. Or, you could increase Facebook ads into an Invisalign dental marketing funnel. Your options are endless.
Use whiteboards to achieve immediate returns.
Recently one of my clients shared a really big win with me. She had just finished a $20,000 day. When I asked her what made that happen, she said it was using her whiteboard. It all started when she realized her practice was way behind in their monthly crown and bridge goal. The whiteboard let them know they were behind in real-time so they could adjust right away. So they took action and started calling patients.
They didn’t call patients randomly by their name or date of their treatment plan, though. They called people based on their monthly goals. In this case, they called people who had bridges in their treatment plan. That would allow them to do multiple units. They quickly filled up their schedule and the $20,000 day came to be.
Are you using a whiteboard to increase your practice income?
Technology, systems, and dental practice software get a lot of attention, and for good reasons. They can help you plan, grow, and operate a WOW dental practice. But don’t forget about low-tech options like whiteboards to keep you and your team accountable. They can help you increase your income quickly.
We put so much time, effort, and money into our practices to create a WOW dental experience for patients. But before we can deliver that WOW experience, we need to hire a team to help us execute.
It doesn’t matter how beautiful your practice is, you need amazing team members to execute on your vision for your practice. When hiring, it’s not enough to just look at skills and credentials. You need to go deeper than that. You need a team of like-minded individuals who share your values and are just as excited as you are about the business.
A strong team of loyal, motivated people working together in the same direction can overcome even the toughest challenges. It will help you delegate what you don’t want to do and take time away from your practice without worry.
Here’s how to identify the right candidates to help you build a practice that delivers WOW experiences to patients every time they walk through the door.
Step #1. Know where you’re going and how the new hire fits into that vision.
The first step for any good plan is to know where you want to go. For every potential hire, ask yourself where your practice is going in the next three to five years and how the position fits into that vision. Do you want to grow to have multiple doctors in the future? If so, adding team members who are excited about growth and supporting additional doctors will be a plus.
Step #2. Identify and rank the traits, qualities, and skillsets you need.
Write down the traits, qualities, and skillsets needed for each position you want to fill. Do you need someone who is detail-oriented? Outgoing? Calming? Extra patient? Do you need someone with specific training? Specific experience? Specific skills?
Write down everything that comes to mind. Once you have all the qualities in mind, rank them by priority. Be sure to identify your non-negotiables. Non-negotiables are traits, qualities, and skills someone must have for the position. This could include a certification or license, a particular personality style, specific experience, or even a particular availability.
If you need someone to work on Saturdays or who can travel with the practice for CE, for example, Saturday or travel availability would be non-negotiable.
Step #3. Prescreen candidates before you interview them.
Interviews take time. Before interviewing, screen candidates to avoid you or a candidate taking time to interview for a position that won’t be a good fit. Before I invite people in for an interview, I ask them to take a personality test and answer pre-interview questions.
Different positions fit better with certain behavioral tendencies. Introverts and detail-oriented people, for example, are great for positions that involve accounts or ordering supplies. Outgoing and talkative people generally fit better at the front desk.
Be sure to include position-specific questions in your pre-screening. For example, if you know you need someone to take on a specific role in the practice, such as social media, make sure your new hire will be not only comfortable but excited to take on that task.
You can address these issues in the pre-interview questionnaire. My pre-interview questionnaire asks candidates several questions. We ask what they know about our office. We ask why they’re leaving their current position. And we ask where they see themselves in five and ten years. If traveling is important, we ask whether they can travel for training. If specific availability is important, we ask whether they’re available to work evenings or Saturdays. And if a specific personality trait is important, we ask whether they consider themselves shy or outgoing. Finally, we ask their desired salary. The way they answer these questions helps us know whether we want to interview them.
This form saves a lot of time and money.
Step 4. Conduct more than one round of in-person interviews for candidates who pass the initial screening.
Finally, I recommend you do at least two rounds of in-person interviews for candidates who make it past the pre-interview screening.
The first interview should involve you and the office manager. If you and your office manager are both excited about the candidate, arrange for a second round with key coworkers.
The second interview is almost an orientation. Its goal is to see how your other team members feel they’ll get along with the new candidate. This helps ensure a great interpersonal fit in addition to the technical and personality-style fit for your new candidate.
How do you find the best dental team member candidates for your practice?
Building an amazing team is one of the most impactful things you can do for your dental practice. In many ways, it’s at least as important as your business and marketing strategy. For some practices, it’s even more important.
Many dentists make the mistake of overlooking their team and the importance of the hiring process. Your team is who you and your patients interact with every day. Without them, you don’t have a business.
And if you want to start your practice in what we call the comfort-zone level of dentistry, I can’t help you. But if you want to start your practice off on the right foot from the start and avoid the common pitfalls, I invite all dentists to join our Dental Boss MOVEment Facebook Group.
Building a successful dental practice does not have to be complicated. In fact, the best ways to improve your dental practice are the simplest because the simplest plans are the easiest to put in place.
If you've been struggling to make your dental practice a success, it might be time to try a new, simpler approach. Here is one of my favorite—and simple—systems to build a successful dental practice. This three-step system could make a massive difference in your practice.
1. Create a scorecard for your practice.
Using a simple Excel or Google spreadsheet, list out the important key performance indicators, or KPIs, for your practice. What important numbers do you want to measure?
Include more than just high-level production and collections, too. For example, many practices include the following on their scorecards:
new patient numbers
doctor production per visit
hygiene production per visit
specific procedure production
After you list out the KPIs, list out your current numbers. How many new patients did you get this month? Last month? How about doctor production per visit? And so on.
Knowing these numbers gives you a snapshot view of the health of your practice. How does it look?
2. Assign team members to take primary responsibility for each scorecard item.
Once you know your current numbers, assign a team member to each scorecard item. That ensures consistent attention to the most important KPIs. The person you assign each KPI to will have primary responsibility for improving that item. Ask the person to put together a plan for how to improve that item.
Take new patient numbers, for example. Challenge your team member to identify as many activities that contribute to improving new patient numbers. While marketing is the first item that comes to mind for many people, other things impact new patient numbers as well, such as:
Telephone training for front-desk team members so they can get leads scheduled when they call
Treatment plan presentation to convert patient leads into patients
Following up with leads who are not ready to schedule an appointment
Asking current patients about scheduling family members who are not yet patients
and much, much more
Having someone take the time to list out tasks that improve their scorecard item helps put together a practice plan for improvement.
3. Set goals for each scorecard item.
You've identified key performance indicators. You've assigned people to each item. And you've identified the tasks that need to be done to improve each item.
Next, work with your team to set goals and action plans for their scorecard items. Ask them how you and the practice can support them. What systems and processes could be added or improved? Do they need additional tools or training?
With goals, an action plan, and support, your team member will be well-equipped for success.
Are you ready to build a successful dental practice?
Building a successful practice does not have to be complicated. Create a scorecard of the most important metrics. Assign team members to each scorecard item. Put together goals, an action plan, and a support plan for each key performance indicator. Then update your scorecard to measure progress. If you're on track, great. What else can you do to improve? If not, what do you need to adjust to make better progress?
With this much focus and attention on KPIs, your practice will be set up for success. If you don't want to go at it alone, we are helping hundreds of practices during this time in our Platinum Mastermind Gold Program, and are offering special value for you and your teams!
One of the most impactful actions you can take to improve your dental practice is to start presenting treatment plans the right way. Not only will you benefit if you do but your team members and patients will too.
For decades, case presentation consisted solely of education. Doctors simply educated patients about the care they suggest moving forward with. They list the issues they suggest addressing and what it means for their oral health.
It’s no surprise that the old way caused so many practice owners to struggle. Patients know they need treatment or they would not have gone to the dentist. They might not know everything that’s needed but they know they need treatment. So, if all you are doing is educating them, you are only adding medical terms and confirmation to what they already knew. You’re not doing anything to help them move forward. You’re not helping them say yes to the treatment they need. That’s why so many patients leave offices without scheduling appointments to get their treatment completed.
Here’s how to present a treatment plan to help your patients move forward with their care.
Understand your patients’ perspectives and objections before presenting your plan.
Before you can help a patient say yes to treatment, you need to take the time to understand what’s going on in your patients’ lives outside of your practice.
They’re busy. They have family, job, and personal commitments. And they have countless financial stresses. So, although they come to your office knowing they need dental care, they also often come in feeling busy and limited by budget pressures.
Thus, in order to help them move forward, we have to give them the confidence that they can do so with limited time and a tight budget. We know they want the care because they’re in our chair. But we must act as patient advocates to help them move forward to better oral health.
Once you commit to taking the role of patient advocate, follow this simple treatment acceptance framework. By doing so, you will help more patients move forward with the care they need.
Start your case presentation with one, simple question.
When we jump right into presenting our treatment plans, we fail to offer important context to our discussions. If we present too much, patients get overwhelmed. But withholding treatment we recommend to avoid overwhelming patients doesn't help patients either.
Thus, we must present everything needed without overwhelming them. To do so, ask for permission to tell them everything that’s needed to achieve optimal oral health. They will say yes and you can present everything that’s needed without overwhelming them.
Make it easy for patients to say yes to your treatment plan.
We know patients have time and financial restrictions that keep them from moving forward. To be true patient advocates to help them move forward we need to help them overcome those constraints. Make scheduling and affordability easier and you will get more patients to move forward.
Overcoming Time Objections
Consider scheduling longer appointments so patients can get their care done in fewer appointments. That helps them avoid taking more time off or having to come back and forth multiple times. It also helps them get to optimal oral health faster.
If you can get care done in one longer visit, ask patients if there's a reason they wouldn't be able to come in for one visit to achieve optimal oral health. Many times, they will be surprised that they can get their care done in one shot and will move forward. Sometimes they will reference affordability being an obstacle.
Overcoming Money Objections
If affordability is an obstacle, help patients afford their care. Let them know many patients have limited budgets and that it is very common. Then, let them know how other patients fit care in their budgets.
Tell them many patients have zero or low-interest credit cards that help them spread out the payments while receiving treatment right away. You could have a few zero-interest promotion credit card offers on file to show them if you want as well. If credit card payments are not an option, talk with them about using dental financing to structure payments into monthly installments they can afford. Finally, you can offer to spread out care over months so they can still get all the care they need.
Once you present these three options, ask them, “Which one of these ways would work best for you?” That question encourages them to move forward to get the care they need.
Immediately schedule their treatment in accordance with their choice.
Once they say yes, secure a deposit or set up the financial arrangement for their care and get them on their schedule. If they choose the option of spreading out care, make sure they know the entire schedule is important. That means, if they cancel or miss one appointment you will have to cancel the rest of the appointments.
Are you presenting treatment plans the right way?
If patients leave without scheduling their treatment, your case presentation style is often the reason. Do you take the role of patient advocate to help them move forward with the care they need? If not, get permission to tell them everything that’s needed. Make scheduling easier for them to fit into their schedules. Have three affordability offers ready to help them overcome money objections. Let them know they’re not alone with time and money pressures. Then present the three affordability options and ask them to choose among the three. By doing so, you will help more patients move forward with the care they need.
If there’s one thing that’s sure in a post-covid-19 world, it’s that the future of dental practice cash flow will be different. That doesn’t mean it has to be worse, just different.
So how do we position ourselves to ensure the future of our practices will be strong? One way is to be very intentional about how we open back up. We must take social distancing and PPE requirements into account when we open up.
If we plan our opening to minimize the impact of social distancing and PPE requirements on our patients and our practices, everyone benefits. Patients benefits by ensuring they get the best care as safely as possible. Our practice benefits by opening up with stronger cash flow to support our team members and operations. And we benefit by being in more control of the future of our practice.
Here are three ways to get cash flow back in your practice as fast as possible while continuing to provide incredible care for your patients.
1. Use block scheduling to maximize production.
When we operate at full capacity, it is easier for the patient and the practice to break treatment plans across multiple appointments. With limited capacity, this could cause issues to go untreated for months. It was also easier to mix less urgent care with more urgent care with so many available appointments.
With lower capacity and additional time required between patients, we will have fewer available appointments for patients. Thus, we must look through our patient population and prioritize.
That might mean prioritizing patients who need scaling and planing. These patients have infections or inflammation and have already delayed treatment. They need to be a high priority. It might also mean prioritizing perio patients. In my practice, we are also focusing on patients with more extensive treatment plans, such as crown and bridge patients.
In addition to prioritizing, we want to have conversations with patients about doing more care in one appointment because of our limited capacity. If they need to spread out the care to spread out the costs, we should be prepared to help them spread out the costs through financing even if they do all the care in one appointment.
Having your patients come in and do more per visit is going to allow them to be able to get their treatment done without gaps in time. And it’s also going to allow you to be able to have fewer patients in the practice. That will also increase cash flow because you’re going to be doing higher production and higher profitability types of procedures.
2. Minimize patients per day.
I’ve long been a proponent of block scheduling for your dental practice. It helps us maximize productivity by prioritizing high-value procedures. But with new PPE requirements, block scheduling also saves us money.
The more patients we see, the more PPE we need to buy. And with it being hard to get and more expensive than ever, those costs add up. Some practices are passing through the charges. We chose not to in my practice. Instead, we are minimizing the number of patients we serve as well as the number of appointments for each patient so we can minimize our PPE use.
We’re talking with our patients about how they can help us care for more people and minimize the PPE we need to serve people by maximizing their procedures per visit. With financing options available if they need to spread out costs, they understand. We’ve built amazing relationships with our patients over the years.
So we are asking our patients to help us minimize PPE use. We’ve gone from seeing twelve patients per day to six. That alone can cut your PPE expense down quite a bit. And your patients can get the care they need without having to take multiple days off of work.
Many doctors are uncomfortable having conversations about what’s going on in our practices with patients. But if you have always been there for your patients to take care of them, they’ll understand and support you.
But you can’t minimize your need for PPE without block scheduling for productivity and minimizing the both the patients per day you see and visits per patient for each patient to complete their treatment plans.
3. Set specific goals for your practice.
There’s an old saying in business: “What gets measured gets done.” If you open your doors without specific goals, you will never maximize cash flow and production, even with more efficient scheduling.
No matter what your history is with setting goals, setting new goals for your practice can help you get all of your team members focused on the same outcomes. Once you set your production goals, bring your team together each morning, and take a look at your progress.
If you’re falling behind on some goals, ask team members what can be done to get back on track. What can the scheduling coordinator do? What can your doctors do? Do you need to jump onto Facebook and do a Facebook Live discussing a procedure you want to promote? Do you need to bump up your marketing?
Waiting rooms are far from being the most exciting places in the world. However, there is a way that you can make your practice’s waiting room entertaining, educational and even (dare we say it) fun for patients.
On this exciting episode of the Delivering WOW Podcast, I’m joined by Dr. Michael Sernik, the CEO of Channel D, a company that creates fun, engaging, and customizable videos to play in your dental office reception area. Their bite-sized videos are high-quality and designed to stimulate interest in the treatments your practice provides. You can even customize videos to incorporate things like your team’s photos, names, logo, and a call to action that drives engagement and practice growth.
Channel D is so creative and unique. By showing short, fun, and informative videos to patients as they wait in your reception area, you can keep them entertained while showcasing a consistent message that educates patients on your latest treatment options. This is an incredible service that I highly recommend, especially if you want to make sure your patients come back to your practice for their next dentist appointment.
In this episode, we discuss:
How Channel D was founded and what they are known for
How dental videos can create interest in your treatments
How to drive patients to accept treatment by focusing on the damaging result of the existing condition
The importance of using videos that contain emotional triggers and humanize the dentist
A brief overview of the process of working with Channel D
Tips to get patients to pay attention to your videos
How dental videos for your waiting room can help improve your team’s clinical knowledge
You can sign-up for a two-month FREE trial with Channel D by heading over to their website and subscribing (no upfront fees and no commitment – you can cancel your subscription at any time).
When running a dental practice, simpler is usually better. It’s true with systems and processes. It’s true with messaging. And it’s true with growth.
And these days, with so much going on, the simpler the better. We have more than ever on our plates. So, simple strategies to improve our practices are even more valuable.
There are few simpler growth strategies for your practice than to use a budget and profit sheet organized by procedure. If you don’t track revenue by procedure in one place, now’s a great time to start. Without it, you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities to learn what’s working best and what might be falling through the cracks, all in one place.
Once you have that set up, all you need to do is follow a few simple steps to identify gaps and growth opportunities for your practice.
Identify top performances.
Take a look at the past twelve months and identify your most productive months. Start with your best overall month. What procedures contributed to that? What procedures stuck out as low? You might be surprised at the answer to both of those questions. Many practice leaders are.
Did any procedures spike in on or two months? When you identify outlier performances for procedures, think back to those months and see if you can identify what was going on with those procedures that month.
When I did this in my practice, I noticed my best months had spikes in sealants, perio, and even dentures. That’s important because many practice leaders don’t think of dentures as a top contributor. We think high revenue will come from crown and bridge or clear aligners. But we did more than $10,000 in denture production during our best month.
Set goals and take action based on what you learn.
There’s a saying in business that people “vote with their wallets.” In other words, while it’s helpful to listen to what patients say, it’s even more helpful to watch what they do.
So, if you see production it tells you your patient pool is interested in those procedures. Take that information and use it to grow your practice and serve your patients better.
First, set big goals for those procedures. Several years ago, I hired a coach who challenged me to set bigger goals. It started with me setting goals. I was so proud of my goals. She was happy with them, too. But then she told me to double them. I was thinking too small, she explained. If you think too small, you act too small.
So I’d encourage you to set goals for those procedures that start at your best performing months. Set out to make your best month over the past year your lowest month over the next year. When you think bigger, it forces you to take bigger actions.
Once your goals are in place, identify the actions you need to take to make them happen. Identify patients who need those procedures. Get them scheduled. Talk with them about those procedures.
Turn on some marketing relating to those procedures. Do Facebook Lives about the procedures. Email existing patients about the procedures.
Talk with your team members about your goals, so they can be on the lookout for patients who might need those procedures.
Update your sheet weekly and review results at least monthly.
Once you set goals and devise a plan to achieve your goal, have a team member take five minutes per week to input real-time results. It takes just a few minutes for a member of the team to take the production by procedure code report and input the numbers for each service once a week. Update your numbers each week so you have the most up-to-date numbers and can adjust as needed.
At the end of each month, review the results from the past month and adjust goals for the following month as needed. As you hit your goals, you might need to set even bigger goals for the following months.
Are you looking for gaps and identifying opportunities?
If you don’t maintain a sheet of revenue by procedure, you’re missing a big opportunity to find gaps and discover hidden growth opportunities. These simple steps can help you turn that simple information to high growth for your practice in any environment.
On this episode of the podcast, I’m thrilled to be joined by Jennifer Turner, our very own Dental Hygiene Profitability Coach at Delivering WOW.
Jennifer helps dental practices drive growth with key metrics, KPI's, scorecards, and business process improvement systems. Essentially, she gives you what you need to run a successful dental practice. Jennifer has had many incredible accomplishments throughout her career, including her former role as the Editor in Chief of Preventive Dentistry Canada, developing numerous webinars and authoring articles within the dental hygiene industry.
Nowadays, Jennifer’s primary focus is helping dentists get ‘the lightbulb moment’ where they learn to believe in themselves, grow their careers and scale their dental practices.
In this episode, we discuss:
Who Jennifer is and what she’s accomplished throughout her career
Why Jennifer enjoys making dental professionals see that they are capable of achieving more
How Jennifer can help the hygiene department increase revenue
The importance of focusing on education to help scale your hygiene department
If you’d like to learn more from Jennifer and find out how you can grow, scale, and market your dental practice, consider joining the Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind group, where Jennifer is an active coach and you’ll learn about practice growth, marketing, and so much more!
Our options are limitless, too. We can make physical adjustments to our practice to promote physical distancing, such as plexiglass barriers at the front desk. We can change policies and procedures. For example, you could only allow patients in our office and doing all intake and paperwork in the operatories. You could also check the temperatures of all team members and patients. Finally, we can invest in additional safety protocols.
Together, these adjustments help us create a safe environment for everyone who comes into contact with my practice.
Maintain consistent communication with your team members and patients.
While we know what we’re doing to ensure our practice is a safe place, our patients and team members might not know everything we’re doing, and why.
This is important because other doctors, team members, and patients are rightfully concerned about their physical safety these days. Thus, not only is it important for us to invest in safety measures, we should also communicate what we are doing to our team members and patients.
Put a new page on your website that shares everything you’re doing to keep your practice safe. Send your patients an email or text message directing them to that page.
And make sure your team members know what you’re doing, too, so they feel safe and comfortable coming to work.
Don’t let it be a one-and-done communication, either. Communicate regularly about what you’re doing so everyone knows you take their safety seriously.
Be a leader in your community.
I’m consistently asking myself how I can be a better leader in my community, not just in my practice. I challenge my Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind members to do the same, too.
So, how do we be leaders in the community? We start by creating a safe environment and staying in communication with our patients and team members. In addition, we do things such as investing in the best and latest technology and top systems and processes to keep everyone safe. We research PPE. We research air quality. And we research tools and technologies to help create safe spaces.
We then share that information readily in the community. We connect with other business owners in the community and share what we found out and are doing for our businesses. This helps them make better decisions for their businesses, too.
Are you preparing for a strong dental practice reopening?
As you prepare to reopen your practice, invest in safety, communicate with your team and patients, and continue your role as a leader in your community. That will help you come back strong as you reopen your dental practice.
Have you ever worried about what would happen to your dental practice if you were unable to work?
Jordan and Bryan Brenner wanted to create a safety net for dentists so that they would be protected in their time of need. So, they co-founded Dental Safety Net, a company that connects dentists to help support each other during difficult times.
Dental Safety Net is a network of dentists and practitioners who are willing to go above and beyond for their fellow doctors. Their mission is to provide peace of mind for dentists and their families in times of need. If you have to unexpectedly stop working for whatever reason, Dental Safety Net has your back. They make sure that your business is protected as well as you and your family’s financial well-being.
In this episode of Delivering WOW, I talk to Jordan and Bryan Brenner about their company and how they can help dentists when life takes an unexpected turn.
In this episode, we discuss:
How Bryan and Jordan launched Dental Safety Net
What Dental Safety Net is and how they can help give dentists peace of mind
The power of forming groups of dentists to support each other
What it’s like to be a member of Dental Safety Net
How Dental Safety Net has helped real dentists in difficult times
How to become a member of Dental Safety Net
To learn more about Dental Safety Net, you can visit their website or give them a call (206) 880-0513.
That means putting the right preparations in place to make your practice stronger than ever once things start coming back. Your practice can grow again. And it will grow again if you build growth into your recovery plan. One of the best ways to build growth into the day-to-day operations of your practice is to offer services that generate repeat visits and recurring revenue. Here are three ways you can promote recurring revenue in your practice.
Offer and regularly promote teeth whitening.
People aren’t always coming to our dental practice to receive treatment. They're not always coming in to improve their dental health. Often, they’re coming to make their smile shine brighter. And while many practices offer teeth whitening, many still do not. Of those that do, many leave a lot of opportunity on the table by not promoting it consistently. If you fall into either one of those categories, now might be the time to start offering or promoting your teeth whitening.
Teeth whitening is easy to do. It's nice and quick and can create a great source of recurring revenue for your practice. It might be a low-ticket offer, but it can bring in a high volume of patients. And it can add additional revenue opportunities from existing patients who might have no idea how easy it can be to leave your office with a bright white smile.
Teeth whitening services can be very helpful in growing many parts of your practice, too. You could offer a deal for a first-whitening. Or you could offer it as a free add-on service for high-value procedures.
But teeth whitening is also just a great add-on service you and your team can offer all patients who come through the door. They will leave feeling better about themselves while you enjoy being able to grow your practice and earn recurring revenue from future whitening sessions.
Conduct oral cancer screenings.
Preventative care in dentistry takes many forms. Hygienists can find periodontal disease before it progresses. They can offer treatment methods to preserve a patient's gum health and subsequently preserve their heart health. Dentists can extract teeth in order to avoid crowding as well as the pain and dental issues that will result from the crowding.
All of those things can lead to health problems down the line, which helps patients in many ways. But we can also help patients while growing our practices and adding recurring revenue to our practices by conducting regular oral cancer screenings.
Offering oral cancer screenings won’t only help save lives, but it’ll help you create recurring revenue for your practice. Patients often readily agree to screenings and both you and your patients sleep easier knowing you're helping them catch issues early.
Dental membership programs give patients an alternative to insurance, which often gets in the way of dental care instead of helping patients get better dental care. Frequently, the complications of dental insurance causes many patients to pay more out-of-pocket than they should. Many times, patients choose to forego treatment they need for financial reasons.
With dental membership programs, you can offer patients more choice and freedom with their care while simultaneously generating regular monthly income for your practice. This will be especially important for patients who lose their insurance and need an alternative way to get the care they need.
What options have you implemented in your practice to unlock recurring revenue?
There are many ways to strengthen a dental practice. You can invest in leading your dental team well. You can invest in Facebook marketing for your dental practice. And you can build dental marketing funnels. The list goes on. But some of my favorite ways to strengthen a dental practice are the ones that simultaneously help patients improve their health while generating recurring revenue from your practice. These three strategies can help you do both of those things in your practice. What are you doing to unlock recurring revenue?
Reopening a dental practice post COVID-19 is a welcome event. But while opening the doors is a welcome event, it's not as simple as opening the doors and getting back to normal.
We have new guidance to follow. We have new demands from our government, team members, and even patients. Expectations of our practices have never been greater. Our patients need to be confident that they are safe in our offices. Our team members need to as well. Thus, we must take very deliberate steps to ensure our practices are a safe, welcoming place for everyone.
We've been monitoring the best and latest information for you to help you successfully reopen your practice. Here are key steps to minimize health risks when reopening your practice post COVID-19.
Prepare Your Dental Practice for New Oversight and Regulations
Regulations and oversights used to move slowly. COVID-19 changed that. In a matter of days, we were told to cancel elective dental procedures. That forced many dental practices to close completely. Others were open only for emergency visits.
As we reopen, consider whether you want to perform emergency procedures or even virtual consultations should COVID-19 flare up again. Put a plan in place should regulations return over the summer months or even next fall or winter. Will you perform emergency procedures? Will you conduct virtual consults? If so, how? Who will handle those? Will you promote that your office is open for emergencies and virtual consultations? If so, have your messaging in place so you can get started quickly.
Similarly, connect with communities of practices, like the Delivering WOW Dental Hangout Facebook group. There, you can connect with other practices navigating the post-COVID-19 world. You can share resources and information to maintain flexibility and be in a better position to navigate any future disruptions.
Establish Additional Safety Procedures for Post-COVID-19 Heath Risks
For example, before dental care begins, the ADA recommends you address the following three issues.
1. Dentist and Dental Team Preparation
We must have procedures in place to ensure the safety of the staff. This includes ensuring all dental health care personnel have received their seasonal flu vaccine. Any team members experiencing influenza-like-illnesses should know to not report to work. Those who are of older age, have pre-existing, medically compromised conditions, or other high-risk qualities should take extra precautions.
Practices must also ensure team members self-monitor, check their temperatures, and remain alert to symptoms of COVID-19.
Other preparation suggestions include:
Being diligent in ordering personal protective equipment. These items may be in short supply from time to time.
Removing magazines, reading materials, toys, and other objects that may be touched by others and which are not easily disinfected.
Scheduling appointments apart enough to minimize contact among patients.
Preventing patients from bringing unnecessary companions to their appointments.
Together these preparations will minimize the spread of COVID-19 for everyone in the office. Communicate these procedures to all staff and patients so they can comply. They will also be comforted that you are taking these precautions.
2. Screening for COVID-19 Status and Triaging for Dental Treatment
While minimizing the spread is important, the ADA also recommends putting in place screening and Triaging procedures.
Specifically, the safest way to reopen is a phased approach, focusing only on emergency or urgent care.
While doing so, the ADA suggests making every effort to interview patients by telephone, text, or video before their visits. Utilize these COVID-19 interview and assessment guidelines from the CDC when interviewing patients. Review the ADA interim guidelines for how to handle patients with various symptoms. The ADA recommends that only asymptomatic patients, patients who have tested negative for COVID-19 infection, or recovered patients (after 3 days since the resolution of signs and symptoms) be seen in dental settings.
3. Take precautions upon patient arrival.
When a patient arrives, permit them to wait in their personal vehicle. Communicate this policy before the appointment.
Ensure team members keep adequate supplies to reduce the spread of germs, such as appropriate hand rum, tissues, and no-touch trash receptacles.
Take precautions during dental care.
The ADA recommends taking extra precautions during dental care, as well, including the following.
1. Adhere to both Standard and Transmission-based Precautions and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Standard precautions are the minimum infection prevention practices. This includes:
use of PPE
safe injection practices
sterile instruments and devices, and
clean and disinfected environmental surfaces.
In addition, implement transmission-based precautions, such as:
patient placement (e.g., isolation)
adequate room ventilation
respiratory protection (e.g., N-95 masks) for team members, or
postponement of nonemergency dental procedures.
The ADA also recommends replacing PPE frequently, with surgical masks being replaced between each patient. Wear face shields to protect yourself, especially during procedures likely to generate splashing or spattering of blood or other body fluids.
3. Address suspected unintentional exposure quickly and schedule appointments to minimize risk.
Follow CDC recommendations in the event of suspected unintentional exposure. This includes having instructions on hand regarding when and where to go for testing. Include information about how to justify the need for testing and how to contact the dental practice to report results. If a test is positive, the office needs to report the exposure to all team members or patients at risk.
Additionally, schedule appointments to minimize risk. For example, the ADA suggests aerosol-generating procedures should as the last appointment of the day.
Put post-dental care procedures in place to increase safety.
Put policies in place to ensure safety post-dental care. This includes both practice procedures in between patients as well as adjusting post-operative instructions for patients.
1. Enhance safety procedures in between patients.
While practices regularly engage in cleaning between patients, take extra care to reduce transmission risk. This includes cleaning or replacing PPE and disinfecting non-dedicated and non-disposable equipment.
2. Update post-operative instructions to patients.
Review the latest guidelines regarding appropriate post-operative treatment. For example, there is controversy regarding whether ibuprofen is appropriate to take in light of data suggesting it might harm patients with COVID-19. Thus, you might consider recommending other medications to manage pain in case a patient has COVID-19 but is asymptomatic.
Teach team members to protect themselves and their families after work.
The ADA suggests team members should change from scrubs to personal clothing before returning home. Upon arriving home, they should take off shoes, remove and wash clothing, separately from other household residents, and immediately shower.
These activities will help reduce the risk that a team member brings COVID-19 to their families.
How are you preparing to reopen your dental practice post-COVID-19?
While reopening your dental practice post-COVID-19 is exciting, it must be done with safety in mind. Not only will that protect you, your team members, and your patients but it will also help you make everyone feel safer in your office.
Running a dental practice is a team effort but, as dentists, sometimes it feels like we’re doing all the work. The reality is, that’s not the case. In fact, your practice wouldn’t be as amazing as it is without your team members contributing greatly. Your practice might not feel amazing right now. But with a few simple shifts, you can experience incredible growth and fulfillment.
While these challenges are important to overcome in any environment, now is an even better time to help get them done. The covid-19 crisis, and the resulting pause to our practices, gives us an unprecedented opportunity. During this pause, work on putting simple strategies in place to come back stronger and with an even more productive and motivated team.
Here are two daily challenges many practice owners express and how to solve them.
“My team member isn’t getting done what I want them to get done on a daily basis.”
With this one, sometimes the cure is a dose of hard truth. When this feeling comes up, are you sure the issue is with the team member? To find out, ask yourself, “What did I not do to make this person as good as they could possibly be in their position?”
Oftentimes, frustrations cause us to only focus on a team member's mistakes. That causes us to think about taking measures to replace them. When that happens we need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and remember the value of that team member. They’ve surely done a lot of amazing things for your practice. If not, it's possible they need to be transitioned out to protect the rest of your team. But many team members just need better direction and management from us.
A great way to point your team member in a better direction, and ensure they get done what you want them to get done, is to create a task list. Reprioritize their responsibilities. When you do this, you might even realize that your current expectations are unrealistic. You might be asking them to do too many things. You might be asking them to do low-value tasks that cause high-value tasks to go undone. Or, you might ask them to do things that are too difficult for them to do.
Create a realistic, prioritized task list that has your team member focusing first on what you want them to get done every day. That way, they’ll get the high-value items complete first. They’ll also be much happier and motivated. They aren’t being given a daily list of duties that leaves them feeling unproductive and overwhelmed.
“My team members aren’t implementing my processes.”
When you strive to deliver a WOW experience to patients, you’re going to do unconventional things. You'll hand patients warm towels when they come in or offer them gourmet coffee. You might spend a whole lot of money to get all these processes put in place. And then you might get annoyed when you realize your team members aren’t giving the patients what you want them to give them.
If your team members aren’t implementing your processes, educate them as to why they need to put those processes in place. To use the example of handing out warm towels, explain that patients come back to your practice for the experience rather than the dentistry. Talk about how this motivates people to get dental care they need and improve their health. Your team will be more motivated knowing handing out towels helps people avoid big health issues in the future. All of your processes can be tied to a motivating positive outcome. Your team members will begin to see the importance of them.
Motivate them further by telling them that increased productivity will result in an increased bottom line, which will result in them getting bigger bonuses. Dangling the carrot of a big bonus is an incentive many dentists use when trying to get the best work from their team.
What issues are you having that we can help you with?
Are your team members regularly completing their tasks or following procedures? If not, ask yourself whether a shift in the way you lead them is the answer. And try these tweaks to the way you lead them. They might be just what you need to take your practice to new heights.
If you want more help with building a WOW practice, join the Delivering WOW Platinum Coaching Program where you can access top training and coaching from experts in all facets of running a high-growth dental practice.