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.
If you want help, we’ve helped hundreds of practices during this time in our Practice Accelerator Program and are offering special value for you and your teams!
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.
If you want more tips and tricks about delivering WOW with your dental practice, we are helping hundreds of practices during this time in our Delivering Wow Practice Accelerator Program, and are offering special value for you and your teams!
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?
And if you want more tips and tricks about delivering WOW with your dental practice, we are helping hundreds of practices during this time in ourPractice Accelerator Program and are offering special value for you and your teams!
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.
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.
To learn more about how we can help your practice to empower your team members and to succeed in their individual roles and make a significant difference in your practice, check out our upcoming Marketing & Practice Growth Challenge. You can learn more here — get a 20% discount when you use the code CHALLENGE at checkout!
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!
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.
Do you want to learn how to become the best leader for your dental team? If you’re nodding yes, you’re going to learn a lot from this episode of the podcast, where I’m joined by Dr. Ankur Gupta.
Dr. Ankur Gupta completed his General Practice Residency in 2005 and built his dental practice soon after. In the beginning, he thought his success and the success of his practice was inevitable. However, his plan went up in smoke as he watched his practice flounder and finances become unpredictable. In an attempt to turn things around, he tried personal and professional “experiments” in self-improvement.
Nowadays, Dr. Ankur Gupta enjoys excellent new patient numbers, case acceptance, a solution orientated dental team, and so much more. He even shares his knowledge and helps other dental professionals across the country implement practical step-by-step strategies to help them see the same success.
In this episode, we discuss:
What Dr. Ankur Gupta is known for
How to become a better leader
Why good leadership is important within your dental practice
The importance of showing your team appreciation
How to do an annual evaluation of your team members
Why every practice owner needs to create a “dream team” vision
Every dental practice, no matter how productive, has missed opportunities and money flying out the door. Even practices doing an amazing job meeting or exceeding production goals have room for improvement.
No one will ever reach perfection in any aspect of their practice. If your vision is to become a highly productive practice, then you’ll need a highly productive team to support your practice vision.
Whether you’re struggling to stay in business or firing on all cylinders and looking to increase your bottom line, these three tactics can do amazing things for your practice.
Review charts before each patient comes in.
Whether you keep them online or in a file cabinet, every patient’s chart should be well documented. Most dentists keep documents for patients to deal with logistical concerns when they arise. But these documents can actually lead to increased productivity just by being reviewed daily.
Every day, before a patient comes in, have a team member review their chart. Have them look at health histories, x-rays, any unscheduled pending treatment, and more. Have this information top-of-mind for when the patient comes in. That will make sure any issues or procedures that need to be addressed will get done. With more gets done, revenue and profits go up and your patients will get the care they need.
Take intraoral photos and discuss issues with patients.
You know the old saying: “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
Have your assistant show your patients the dental issues that need to be resolved—such as cracked teeth, or leaking fillings—and explain to the patient what's going on in their mouth.
Something as simple as having a visual to go along with the case presentation can make you thousands of dollars month after month. Taking intraoral photos of all of your patients ensures you can see—and show patients—everything that needs to be done to ensure optimal oral health.
Your patients want treatment for a reason. They have a vision of what it can mean for them and their personal lives. Make sure your team members discuss how their oral health issues are impacting each patient’s life.
Perhaps someone is coming in for teeth whitening because they have work or school photos coming up. Someone else might want dental implants because they’re sick of not being able to eat their favorite type of food or smile confidently. The list goes on.
If your team member can determine what is motivating your patient to get treatment, it will be much easier to present your treatment plan in the right context. In that case, present your treatment plan in such a way that it makes clear to your patient that getting treatment will help them achieve something they desire. That type of presentation will make the patient equate the cost of treatment as an investment in the outcome they want, instead of as a payment for a dental procedure. With an investor’s mindset, they will be much more likely to move forward with treatment.
What are your team members doing to make your practice more productive?
There are many strategies your team members can use to help make your practice more productive. At Delivering WOW, we’re determined to help you develop those strategies to get the results you deserve.
If you want more help with getting your team members to help make your practice more productive, join theDelivering WOW Platinum Coaching Program where you can access top training and coaching from experts in all facets of running a high-growth dental practice.
In this solo episode of the Delivering WOW Podcast, I explore whether or not practice owners should share numbers and even personal expenses with their team.
Sharing practice numbers with certain team members is a great way to increase trust. And, also can empower the people you work with every day. After all, when more people in your team are aware of the numbers it makes it easier to reach new milestones. And therefore it becomes easier to smash goals and even grow your practice.
However, knowing which team members to share this valuable information with and what numbers you should share with them can be difficult. Listen in to discover what numbers to share with your team. And, learn how sharing numbers with certain team members can help increase profits.
In this episode, I discuss:
Why you should share your practice vision and numbers with your team
The role of an office manager
Important practice numbers to share with your team
How to calculate your practice’s profits and manage your cash flow
Tips to help hold your team accountable for meeting practice goals
Why you should share a percentage of profits with your team
Do you want to grow, scale and market your dental practice, FAST?
The Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind Program is the #1 program for dentists and teams to help scale and market their practices to new heights.
Inside of this Game-Changing Program, you will learn unique practice growth systems, how to manage your time, the best strategies for building a Rockstar Team, how to market your practice and so much more…PLUS…you’ll get NEW practice marketing campaigns every single month!
To find out more about the Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind Program, click here!
Gossip is something many dental practices deal with. Many of us experience it in our practice. It is important for all team members to be able to voice concerns and resolve problems. Everyone needs to be able to talk about and improve work conditions. They need to be able to get feedback on how to handle situations and brainstorm solutions.
But when people resort to gossip, it causes pain, fractures trust, and creates a toxic culture. To eliminate gossip, we must understand where it comes from and create a safe environment to resolve issues before they lead to gossip. Here are six characteristics of a healthy, gossip-free practice culture.
1. Clear Expectations and Accountability
Dentists and other practice leaders must be very clear that there should not be any gossip happening in the office. Educate the team on the best ways to get help with team members or leadership. Talk with them about ways they can communicate with each other to discuss and help find solutions to issues in a productive way.
Ask your team members to also lead the way and set those clear expectations with each other and when new people join the practice. Clear expectations and accountability will help ensure a no-gossip environment continues over the long term.
2. Vulnerability-Based Trust
Vulnerability-based trust occurs when people are comfortable sharing problems they are experiencing without fear of retaliation or losing respect. It also occurs when people feel safe discussing issues with the person causing the issue—especially as the dentist or team leader. With vulnerability-based trust, people know others will support them in finding solutions and not judge them for not being able to solve a problem on their own.
There must be vulnerability-based trust among your entire team. If issues cannot be resolved because there is no trust, that is an environment that is ripe for gossip.
3. Agreement and Commitment from the Entire Team
Make sure there's agreement and a commitment from everyone in on the team to having no gossip in the office. This is not something one leader or dentist can do on their own.
Most of the time, gossip happens outside of the dentist or team leader's presence. If the issue is about them, the gossip will occur outside of their presence. If the issue is about someone else, their conversations are generally solution-focused. That is why it is important for leaders to set expectations but get wider agreement and commitment. The team's commitment and agreement will define your long-term success when it comes to building a no-gossip environment.
4. Commitment to Discuss Issues With any Person Directly With That Person
When the team is comfortable discussing problems or challenges with the person causing it in a productive way, everyone wins. If someone needs help, that is fine. Even having somebody sit with you while you discuss something that is difficult can help keep the situation productive.
Encourage your entire team to address things head on directly with the person causing the issue. If they want help, encourage them to approach leadership with their concerns so they can get advice and direction.
5. Solutions-Based Communication
Keep lines of communication open by promoting and practicing solutions-based communication. Leaders must keep communication lines open and allow people to talk about difficult things in a productive way—especially if they need to give the leaders feedback. This avoids putting up a barrier that leaves team members confused about how to get issues solved. Because they will not know what to do they will start talking with each other and make it much more likely that the conversation will lead to gossip.
Ask team members to bring suggested solutions to conversations if they need to talk about something difficult. The solution you bring might not be the one that is adopted but it ensures the tone of the conversation is solution-focused. Let them know that it is ok if they do not have a suggestion. In those cases, ask them to be able to discuss things they considered. That will also help focus the conversation on finding solutions.
6. Real-Time Feedback
Create an environment of consistent real-time feedback—positive feedback and constructive criticism. When we constantly solicit feedback, we will create an environment that catches issues early. When somebody needs to give you constructive criticism, it can be difficult to not get emotional or upset. You can ask clarifying questions but make it a safe discussion or people will eventually resort to gossip.
We can create an environment of consistent real-time feedback by asking for feedback at the end of each shift. Ask team members what went well and where could we have done better. As time goes on, these conversations help avoid things from getting to the point where team members feel the need to gossip.
Are you building a gossip-free environment?
An environment with these six characteristics gives all team members a safe place to have their voices heard and resolve issues without needing to resort to gossip.
TAKE ACTION TODAY:
If you’re anything like the 300 practices that have gone through our Marketing & Practice Growth Challenge, you may be feeling like your team could use a bit more energy and excitement about growing the practice. That way they could spend less time on gossip and more time serving patients and doing the dentistry we all love. If that sounds familiar, then this is your invitation to join our 21-day Marketing & Practice Growth Challenge, and get a 20% discount at checkout when you use the code CHALLENGE here.
Growing a dental practice requires you to do a number of things. First, you need to set a vision and goals for your practice. That tells you where you want to go. Second, you need to develop a WOW culture to attract and retain the best team members possible. Third, you need to give every patient a WOW experience every time they visit your office. Fourth, you need to be profitable. If you are not profitable, you will not be in business very long.
I lay out these four steps—and more—in my book, Delivering WOW: How Dentists Can Build a Fascinating Brand and Achieve More While Working Less…. (which you can get for FREE right here—just cover shipping). Here are the three pieces to building a productive, profitable practice to support you and your team as you work to achieve your practice vision and goals and give patients a truly WOW experience.
1. Empowered, Accountable People
You will never build a productive, profitable dental practice without having the right people on your team. Setting clear practice goals and a practice vision helps attract people who share your values. Building a WOW practice culture helps you keep your team engaged.
But making sure every team member has clear goals and the processes, systems, and tools to do their job well gets you profitable. In other words, once you have the right people on your team, you need to make sure they know what to do and how to do it. That's where the processes, systems, and tools come in—to empower, focus, and hold team members accountable for achieving their individual goals.
2. Processes and Systems
Processes and systems help make everyone's jobs easier. They promote consistency in people's work and hold people accountable for doing tasks the right way.
One of my favorite systems to put in place is a dental practice scorecard. A dental practice scorecard allows you to see the most important numbers in your practice, in real time, and in one place.
In my practice, I have my scheduling coordinator pull the info into the scorecard. Every Tuesday we have a leadership meeting where we discuss the numbers from the scorecard. We have a system for her to pull the information and update the scorecard by Monday morning. That system holds her accountable for completing it and allows us to spot and address issues in real time.
For example, one of the most important metrics we track in my practice is our dentist's production per visit. If we set a goal of $700 per visit but see $400 per visit in our scorecard, we know we need to close that gap. One way to do that would be to do Invisalign or crown promotions to attract more patients for high-revenue services. We could also talk with the doctors about doing as much as they can in one visit so the patient gets their treatment faster and our production per vision increases. Over the longer term, we could send one of our doctors to a CE to learn how to perform higher-revenue procedures as well.
This system allows us to make a change right away and not wait a month or longer to see the overall numbers. And if we are hitting or achieving our goals, we can congratulate team members in real time, too.
Finally, we need tools to help make the systems and processes easier and more efficient. Processes need to be very easy for your team or they will feel overwhelmed. One of my favorite tools to increase productivity and profitability is Dental Intel.
Dental Intel's software suite connects with your practice management software and pulls actionable data into one simple presentation. My team can pull everything we need for our scorecard in a matter of seconds. It has several other powerful features, too.
With tools, we need to be careful in choosing tools that help make our practice better that we have the resources to integrate and use well. Dental Intel is one that is both highly effective and easy to use.
With the right people in place and systems and processes to support them, having tools to make their work even easier is the final piece of the puzzle.
Do you have all three pieces to the productive, profitable, practice puzzle?
Way too many practices do not have all three pieces of the puzzle together. Some have great team members but lack the processes, systems, and tools to help them do their best work. Others have a strong team with processes and systems but no tools to make them easier. Once I had all three pieces working together, my practice growth skyrocketed. I worked less and made a lot more. And my team was supported and set up to succeed.
When is the last time you reviewed your core values? Core values define who you are, who you want to be, and what your company strives for.
Why Core Values Matter
Core values make running a dental practice much easier. They guide you in how you hire, fire, reward, and recognize team members. They also make tough decisions easier because they give you important context within which to make decisions. Additionally, when team members know about your core values, it guides them in many things, including these:
what they should be doing
how they should be conducting themselves
how to interact with other team members
how to interact with patients
If you have not written core values, take a few minutes to work through this exercise. If you already have core values written, take a few minutes to re-evaluate or update them to make sure you have the strongest set of core values guiding you and your team.
Brainstorming Possible Core Values
Start on a personal level. Think about yourself as a person. What are the ten or so principles you personally live by? It doesn’t matter what they are, just list things that are most important to you. For example:
How do you want people to perceive you?
How do you want people to think that you act?
How do you actually act?
What do you want people to say about you when you are not around?
Write down everything that comes to mind when thinking of those questions. If it helps, imagine you live in a perfect world in which you can design exactly who you are and how you act. Write down the characteristics you would choose.
Analyzing Your List of Core Values
Take your list of personal core values and think about them in the context of yourself, your team, and your practice. What core values do you want everyone to think about you, your team, and your practice? What values are non-negotiable in your practice? Edit your list with that in mind. Then ask yourself each of the following “yes or no” questions for each value listed. Write down your answers for each value.
Is the value absolutely necessary to our unique culture?
Would we want our organization to stand for this core value 100 years from now no matter what changes occur in the world?
Would we want our organization to hold this core value even if at some point in time it became a competitive disadvantage?
Would we want our organization to hold this core value even if in some instances the environment penalized us for living this core value?
Do we believe those who do not hold this core value or those who breach it consistency simply do not belong in our organization?
Would we personally continue to hold this core value even if we were not rewarded for holding it?
Would we change jobs before giving up this core value?
If we awoke tomorrow with more than enough money to retire for the rest of our life, would we still hold true to this core value?
If we were to start a brand-new organization, would we build around this core value regardless of the industry?
Does this value represent the primary behaviors our organization wants to encourage and stand by?
Is this value one that we will continue under stress, duress, and in the face of all obstacles?
Finalizing Your List of Core Values
Narrow down your core values to the seven to ten most important values. Use your answers to the questions in the last section to guide you. For example, the more you answered yes for a value, the more important it is. Keep only the seven to ten values that are most important on your list. Those will be your revised core values that will lead yourself, your team, and your practice forward.
Communicating Your Core Values With Your Team
Make sure everyone on your team knows your core values. Post them in your office where people can see. Discuss them openly and regularly. Let everyone know why they are so important. Be sure to let them know everyone in the office is expected to act consistently with the core values. Let them know you will be evaluating decisions they make in accordance with the core values, even if the decision goes wrong. For example, let them know whether they acted in accordance with your core values will be something you consider when mistakes happen. When you position this in a positive light and follow through on that promise, you will encourage your team members, and everyone will benefit.
Give your dental practice a core values checkup today.
If you have not set or updated your core values in a while, take a few minutes to update them today. You will come away with a list of seven to ten principles that guide everything you do in your practice.
Visionary practice leaders are an inspirational group of people. Many dentists consider themselves visionary leaders. I am a visionary leader.
Visionary leaders set big goals. We have big dreams. We can’t help ourselves. We see opportunities to make a positive impact beyond our practices and cannot help but pursue those opportunities.
That passion helps us achieve amazing things and inspire our team members. But it also presents challenges when it comes to leading more introverted or detail-oriented team members. If you consider yourself a visionary leader, it is important to understand those challenges and how to support your team members so you can get the support you need to achieve your big dreams.
The Benefits and Challenges of Visionary Leadership in Dental Practices
Visionary leaders are community changers. We are world changers. We want to impact the world beyond our practices. We want to change dentistry for the better. We are driven. We are relentless. We do not accept the status quo. We will not continue doing something just because that is what the dentists who came before us did.
While that passion and focus can lead to incredible things in our communities, the dental industry, and the world around us, it presents two key challenges for employees.
First, in the world, it can become intense. We set high expectations for ourselves and our team. We are not satisfied showing up, fixing teeth, and going home.
It can get uncomfortable for our team members.
Sometimes it becomes a little bit difficult for our team members to be able to handle our expectations.
How to Support Team Members When You are a Visionary Leader
The best way to support your team members is to put yourself in their shoes and let them know you recognize the challenges of working with a visionary leader.
Their days are full. They have a list of tasks. And then all of a sudden, you burst in with a great idea that will change the world. That can be overwhelming to them. Let them know you recognize the challenges of working with a visionary leader. (They already know the challenges; let them know you know.)
Tell them you know you have some ideas that might be crazy. Tell them you know that on a whim, you come up with ideas that you believe will change the world.
Let them know you need to get your idea out right away, but that does not mean they always need to do the work right away. Most of the time, we do not need things done immediately. But we need to get our ideas written down and scheduled.
Finally, when you give them a new idea, ask them what else they are working on. Then help them prioritize the work.
These things help you ensure that your team members feel supported.
How to Get Support Team Members When You are a Visionary Leader
Getting the support you need from your team can take time. But you can get the support you need by helping them help you. Here is how to do that.
First, be open and honest about what you expect from them. If you need something done right away, let them know.
Second, give them the tools they need to do their work well and efficiently. My team and I have been using Asana to organize and prioritize tasks. Invite them to ask questions on Asana so you can reply as soon as possible and keep all communications in one place.
Third, encourage questions. No matter how amazing your team members are, it is unreasonable to expect them to have the same vision as you. Be open to questions. It will improve results. Be patient.
A Visionary Leadership Case Study
Sara, one of my amazing Delivering WOW team members, is a high C in the DISC personality test. She is extremely detail-oriented. She is a planner. She knows exactly what she has to do at the beginning of each day, down to the smallest details such as when she’s going to walk her dog and eat.
When she first started working with me, she was not used to working with a visionary leader. She would be the first person to tell you it took her months to adjust. But we got into a rhythm, and we work very well together. I committed to supporting her, and she committed to supporting me.
So when she gets a message (or ten) from me with another idea, she knows exactly what to do. First, she asks, “How important is this task, and when would you like it done by?” This helps her stay organized.
She also lets me know what she already needs to get done that day. If this is a higher priority than that work, we set new deadlines for those projects. If not, she suggests a deadline for my new idea. Most of the time, her suggested deadline will be fine. Sometimes, I will want it sooner, so I will push out another task she is working on.
Either way, we both get what we need. She gets order to what would seem like disorder. I get the support I need to implement ideas.
Are you getting the support you need from your team members?
Are you a visionary leader? Do you feel like you are getting the support you need from your team? If not, be sure to get them the support they need to help you. Then work with them to ensure you get the support you need in return.
My Delivering WOW team members are some of the most trustworthy, knowledgeable, and motivated people I have ever met. They know marketing, dental practice management, and effective ways to help practice leaders grow.
They are successful with Delivering WOW and active in the dental industry. For example, one team member works at a multi-location dental practice. During her first year, she grew the hygiene department 104%. In the last 18 months, she added millions of dollars to the organization through hygiene production alone. She also decreased cancellations and no-shows from 30% to less than 10%. The list goes on.
Her success with Delivering WOW and in her current position suggests she turns everything she touches into gold. While it is true that she is talented and hardworking enough to do so, she would be the first to tell you her career wasn’t without its challenges.
As leaders, we can help team members fly or clip their wings and hold them down.
Earlier in her career, this amazing team member moved across the country to take a job. When she started, she was told not to say or do anything for the first ninety days. Her bosses told her to be a “fly on the wall” and just observe operations during that time.
Twelve days into her job, however, she was called into the president’s office and fired. She was told that management didn’t think the position was right for her. They complained that she hadn’t made any decisions to help the company during the first twelve days. She had moved across the country and her husband had quit a job he held for a decade to move with her.
After defending herself as having followed directions, she was given one more chance. Needless to say, she completely lost trust in the leadership team. They told her to be a fly on the wall and then tried to fire her for doing so twelve days later. After taking a break to compose herself, she told one of the leaders how disappointed she was. She then decided to go back to the office do her best work, although it was hard to trust leadership after that. Eventually, she left and found new employment where she felt better supported and did incredible work from the start.
While she was able to turn a negative situation into a positive, not every team member is as self-motivated and determined as she is. She only stayed there long enough to be noticed and recruited by her next employer.
Build a positive environment to get the best work out of every team member.
What did her new employer do differently to get her best work? Why did her earlier employer tell her to be a fly on the wall and then fire her twelve days in? Simple. The difference between the two companies is the environment the leadership team built.
The environment at her old employer caused her to feel fearful. She would sit and question her emails multiple times before sending them out. She wouldn’t take risks or reach beyond the direct responsibilities of her position. She would not take any risk. She was miserable.
The environment at her new employer gave her the freedom to take risks and make decisions she felt were best for the company. She did not have the same fear of being fired for minor offenses.
How to build a positive environment that gets the best work out of every team member.
Leadership expert Simon Sinek talks frequently about the impact of environments on productivity. In short, Sinek says if people trust leadership and feel safe and supported, they will do their best work. If not, they will do just enough to not get fired before they can find another job.
Building an environment that gets the best work out of your team is much simpler than many dentists expect. Generally, you only need two things to build a supportive environment.
First, you need consistency in what you measure and the metrics that matter. Let your team know what is most important, and systematize as much of your day-to-day operations as you can. By doing so, each team member will know what they need to do to succeed and will have simple strategies for completing the most common ones. That frees them up to direct their creativity toward helping you build your practice.
Second, you need to manage people. You need to lead people well. With systems in place and clear metrics being measured, your team will understand the goals for their position. But team members work harder for leaders they trust. If you tell them to be a fly on the wall for the first ninety days, do not threaten their jobs twelve days later for not doing more. That is a surefire way to lose trust. Your team will do just enough to not get in trouble.
If you are consistent and trustworthy and show people small failures won’t make them lose their job, they will do whatever they can to help you achieve your practice vision.
Continued improvement in systems and measurements plus your ability to lead people will create an environment in which every team member feels empowered and does their best work.
Are you building a supportive environment in your practice?
The only way to get the best work from every team member is to build an environment built on trust and support. As practice leaders, we all must continue to develop our leadership skills in addition to implanting systems and processes to support our operations.
For more help get started on becoming the best practice leader you can be, join our upcoming Marketing & Practice GrowthChallenge — save 20% off with the code CHALLENGE at checkout!
Asana is one of my favorite tools to increase productivity in dental practices. It is the best way to collaborate with team members to manage key tasks and projects. You can easily get everyone on the same page and prevent key tasks from falling behind or not happening at all.
Asana keeps everything organized and sends automated email notifications to team members when they have something to do or a task they are working on gets updated. You can also send notifications to team members manually through Asana by tagging them in a post just like you would tag someone on social media.
If you have never used Asana before, you are only four steps away from the peace of mind that comes with knowing your most important tasks are organized, assigned, and on track.
1. Sign up for Asana to manage dental practice projects with ease.
If you have never used Asana, you can sign up at Asana.com. Asana is a web-based program so you can access the secure platform from anywhere you have an internet connection. No need to stay late at the office to review progress and keep tasks on target anymore.
Asana offers a free version for small teams that do not need customized privacy settings. The free version lets you either keep information private to you or make it public to everyone on your team. For customized privacy settings, which I recommend, claim a free trial to the premium version. Customized settings allow you to choose exactly who has access to what information, instead of limiting it to nobody or everybody. When your trial expires, you pay a small fee per user. If you use Asana well, increased productivity will more than cover the fee.
2. Create teams for your practice.
The best way to manage projects is to make sure everyone knows exactly what they need to do and by when they need to do it. Asana’s “team” function allows you to do just that. Once you set up your account, you can set different Asana teams for different needs and assign team members only to the teams they need to access.
We suggest starting with five teams. First, create a team for your entire practice. There, you can share practice-wide initiatives, news, and information. Second, create one for training where you manage training activities within your practice. Third, create a team for accounting and finance. There your accounting and finance teams can manage information. Finally, set up a team for marketing where you can keep all your marketing materials and activities organized.
When you set up a team, choose a name, add a description, and then add email addresses for team members who need access. You can choose for the team to be hidden or public to the entire practice. Projects and tasks in a hidden team will only be visible to members of that team. Projects and tasks in a public team will be visible to all practice team members.
3. Create team projects.
Once you create your teams, start creating projects for each team. As with teams, you can edit privacy settings for projects to be public or private only to select team members.
We recommend adding projects for the items you want to make sure happen in your practice. For example, you could set a project for your Team Leader Live Agenda, Training, 90-Day Planning, and Systems for your practice-wide team.
Having a Team Leader Live Agenda projects allows you to make sure your agenda is up to date. It also ensures your entire team knows what topics their team leaders are focusing on. Your Training project lets everyone know what training they must complete. The 90-Day Planning makes sure you set your 90-day goals and stay on track with tasks needed to achieve them. Finally, a Systems project organizes key practice systems in one place.
4. Create sections and assign tasks to the right team members.
Within projects you can create multiple “sections.” Sections function as additional ways to organize tasks by timeline or priority. For example, in your 90-day planning project, you could have three sections, one for each month.
Once you set any sections you need, you can easily create and assign specific tasks to team members. Each task is organized in one convenient thread where you can add a description, attach documents, assign a due date, communicate with team members, and even assign the task back and forth. All of your communications will be in one place, so you never have to waste time searching email or papers again. When a team member completes his or her part of a task, they can “assign” it back to you for review similar to volleyball players knocking the ball back and forth over the net. If you need them to adjust their work on a task, you can add a comment and assign it back. If it is complete, you can mark it as complete or assign it to another team member to add their part.
Are you ready to get more organized and productive than ever before?
Asana is my favorite productivity tool for your practice. Once it is set up, creating and assigning tasks will be easier than ever. You can keep all tasks organized and on track from wherever you have an internet connection.
To learn more about using Asana to get more organized and productive than ever before, check out the team of expert coaches, training, and resources we offer in our signature Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind Program.
Join me in this episode of the podcast, where I speak with the CEO of CallForce, Cory Pinegar, about growing your practice, increasing call conversions and getting more patients back in.
As I mentioned above, Cory is the CEO of CallForce, a dental solutions company that is dedicated to helping dentists succeed in their practices by helping them improve their overdue hygiene recall. In his spare time, Cory loves to play golf and tennis.
On the podcast we discussed…
Cory’s story – how he came to be the CEO of CallForce
How the overdue patient recall system works
The reactivation process and capitalizing on your overdue patient basis
An insight into how practices can produce an additional $400 to $600 per rescheduled patient using CallForce
The importance of having a positive tone on the phone when speaking with patients
Cory’s top tips for increasing call conversions using a script that patients can’t say no to
Using patient feedback to improve your customer services
Why you shouldn’t waste marketing dollars attracting new patients and then neglect to bring them back in for a follow-up appointment
How you can manage your schedule and time more efficiently
Understanding that returning patients are just as valuable as new patients
How dental practices can improve the patient’s in-house experience
Reaching patients via their preferred channel of communication
The importance of having a recall system in place to increase call conversions
Find out more about how CallForce can help fill chairs and improve profitability by going to getcallforce.com/wow for a discounted price for Delivering WOW community members and get your first six appointments for FREE!
To watch a short video trailer of the episode where Cory explains how to schedule overdue patients over the phone, hit play below:
If there’s one thing that controls the direction of your dental practice, it’s consistency. If you and your team do consistently well, you’ll build an amazing practice. If you do consistently poor or are inconsistent, you’ll never reach your practice’s full potential.
Building more positive consistency into your practice doesn’t need to be difficult either. In fact, it can make life easier for you and your team while improving your results. Here are two ways to improve consistency in your practice.
Get your team to take responsibility for practice tasks.
Accountability is one of the best-kept secrets of the most successful people in business and life. Think about how many people set New Year’s resolutions each year only to give up after a month, week, or even a day.
While sometimes the problem with New Years’ resolutions is that people set a goal without a plan, oftentimes, the real problem is a lack of accountability. Say you want to lose weight. You might set a New Year’s resolution to lose 30 pounds next year. Even without a complicated plan, most people know they’re likely going to have to eat better and get more exercise to achieve their goal. In other words, most people who want to lose weight have some vision of a plan.
The reason most weight loss resolutions fail, however, is people lack accountability. They have nobody encouraging them to follow through with their goal. They have nobody supporting them in eating better or exercising more. In fact, the support communities that usually come with organized programs are often the main reason many people have at least short-term success with organized diets. There’s no one perfect diet. There are a bunch of diets that help people lose weight. When people sign up and get held accountable through support networks, they lose weight.
The same is true for your dental practice. One of my favorite productivity tools we use in my practice is a simple whiteboard. We use it to write goals for procedures and hold each other accountable for completing the tasks that allow us to hit our goals. This is important. If we want to place 50 implants one month, we don’t just recommend implants to people. We market to attract implant patients. We follow up with patients who have talked with us about implants. We check in with patients who we think may be interested and invite them in for a consultation.
The act of using a whiteboard this way and checking in with our team to see where we are throughout the month helps hold us accountable and keeps our goals top of mind.
We don’t just list various goals for procedures, new patients, and the like. We also ask each team member to hold everyone accountable for one or two of our goals. We then write who is responsible for each goal next to it on the whiteboard so everyone knows.
For example, one team member might be in charge of holding us accountable for crowns goals. That person would do things such as follow up on crown marketing funnels and marketing. They would remind doctors and hygienists when they’re scheduled to see patients who may need a crown. They would also make follow-up phone calls with potential implant patients.
Having each person take primary responsibility for one or two goals does two things. First, it makes sure no task or goal gets overlooked. It’s sometimes easy for five people to each assume one of the other people is performing a task only to realize nobody was. Second, it spreads out work and allows each person to focus on one or two tasks. Together, this helps you ensure each goal for your practice is being consistently pushed forward.
Give your team a safe place to address patient issues.
Another important part of your practice where consistency matters is the way you deliver WOW experiences to your patients. For example, in my practice, we offer headphones and iPads to patients to take away the sounds of our tools. This helps ease people’s anxiety along with some of the other things we do to create a spa-like atmosphere. It’s one of the things that makes us different.
If we don’t consistently provide headphones and iPads, or gourmet coffees and teas, or warm towels, or any of the other things that help us deliver WOW experiences, we’re not us.
One morning, a patient mentioned that they weren’t offered headphones. I didn’t know why they weren’t offered headphones. Maybe the batteries were dead. Maybe a pair or two was broken and we needed to order more. All I knew was a patient wasn’t offered headphones.
With everything going on in a practice, it’s easy for issues like these to be forgotten. But we use our whiteboard to get to the bottom of all these issues while they’re still minor.
Right next to our list of practice goals, we have a box that says “issues.” Whenever an issue comes up, someone writes the issue down to make sure it gets addressed.
We don’t make a big issue out of things, and my team understands that. Our issues section on our whiteboard just acts as a safe place to list things for us to get to the bottom of the next day in our morning huddle. That ensures we address things quickly, get back on track, and move forward together. We all have little things that happen in our practices. If we can address those things in real time, it helps prevent little things from becoming bad habits. And that prevents bad habits from becoming inconsistencies in the experiences our patients receive when they come in.
How do you maintain consistency in your practice?
If you aren’t using a whiteboard for practice goals, consistency, and accountability, you could be making life much more difficult for you and your team. You could also be making patient experiences subpar or inconsistent. A simple whiteboard could be all you need to make things run much smoother!
TAKE ACTION TODAY:
If you want step-by-step guidance on how to implement whiteboards in your practice, your next step is to learn more about our Marketing & Practice Growth Challenge. Hundreds of practices have gone through this challenge and experienced renewed purpose and energy in their work, clear tracking of their goals, AND growth in their production and revenue! Save your spot in our upcoming Marketing and Practice Growth Challenge here — use the code CHALLENGE for a 20% discount at checkout!