Hey – What’s The Small Idea?

Recently a small grocery store chain did a study that showed customers without shopping baskets spend significantly less per visit than those with baskets. (They needed a study to prove that?) They held a meeting looking for a solution to this problem.

All kinds of “big ideas” were discussed – things like coupon dispensers inside of shopping baskets, frequent shopper programs that involved scanning your cart, and many other good yet cumbersome ideas. None of them were ever launched.

Then a “stock girl” had an amazing yet small idea. Knowing that customers without baskets end their shopping once they can no longer carry any more items, she suggested putting additional stacks of baskets throughout the store, so when a customer was about to juggle their final item they could grab a basket.

Did it take a Ph.D to come up with this idea? No. Did it double sales within the first year? Of course not. But the average customer spent 7% more per visit after it was implemented – and who wouldn’t want that? Not a bad result for putting a few stacks of baskets in.

So how about your practice? Sometimes at team meetings we focus too much on the “big ideas” and everyone falters under the pressure. Next time, try asking those in the trenches for some “small ideas” to help solve office problems. You’ll be amazed what everyone can come up with.

There Is No “Control – Z” In Life”

One of the best computer shortcuts is “Control – Z.” Why? Because it automatically erases mistakes.

Didn’t mean to delete that paragraph you just spent one hour refining? Control –Z! Moved those PowerPoint slides to the wrong place and got them out of order? Control – Z! That font looks horrible! Control – Z!

Had one drink too many? Pissed off someone at work? Told your husband your college boyfriend was a better lover? “Yes honey, to be honest with you those pants DO make your butt look big. Huge actually.” Sorry – there is no “control – Z” in real life!

How about in your practice? Surely mistakes will happen – and when they do a sincere apology and maybe even a small token like movie tickets or a mug with flowers can work wonders. But even better yet – perfect your systems so that mistakes rarely happen.

So yes – it is fantastic to apologize to a patient for running late, but it is even better to consistently take them back on time.  And if a patient’s crown doesn’t fit and they need to be rescheduled, it is fantastic to explain to them how high your standards are and that is why you are re-doing the crown – but getting it right the first time is even better. (As a quick aside, if this seems to be happening more than you would like – and even a few times should be more than you would like, be sure to take us up on our offer of three free crowns just for trying Maverick Lab. You’ll be glad you did!)

Maybe worst of all  – if you get a potential new patient on the phone who is “shopping,” asking difficult questions about insurance, etc. and they do not make it into your appointment book, well, there is absolutely no “control-z” for that! That potential new patient is lost and gone forever!

Get it right the first time – that’s the main thing. There is no “control-Z” in life!

By the way – please check out our brand new program  – “Profitable Scheduling.” It will pay for itself so quickly in new patient flow you’ll be kicking yourself for not getting it sooner! And this time there IS a “control-z!” If you aren’t thrilled with the results, we will give you your money back!!

Time For A Vacation – Dental Style?

As we are still shoveling out on the East Coast, one phrase seems to be jumping from everyone’s lips : I NEED A VACATION!

Yes – it may just be time to put down the handpiece, scaler, suction, EOBs, and everything else that is surrounding you and get the hell out of Dodge. So why not take a “Dent-Cation?” After all, you may even be able to write it off if you play your cards right. (See you tax professional, of course!) Ready to relax and still not forget your toothy origins? Here are a few suggestions.

NEW ORLEANS: It was in the Crescent City that Levi Spear Parmly invented modern day dental floss back in 1815. Now you can visit the city of the Super Bowl Champion Saints and consider what it would be like to eat those sugar laden beignets while slurping down diabetically sweet café au lait at Cafe du Monde without the benefit of dental hygiene. Go during Jazz Fest or just any old time and visit one of America’s treasures.

ITALY: In 700 BC Etruscans in Northern Italy made dentures from human and animal teeth. These did not last very long but amazingly were used up to the mid 19th century! Dentures in Italy have improved but the culture remains just as fascinating. There is not a bad place to visit in the entire country, but if you want to witness an amazing spectacle, make sure to be in Siena during the incredible Palio horse race. It takes place twice each year – on July 2 and August 16 and is completely indescribable.

LAS VEGAS: Yes – the most decadent city in the world also has the best dining, largest concentration of high quality entertainment, shopping that puts most cities to shame, non-stop action and incredibly cool hotels –  like The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, home of TBSE 2010!

CHICAGO: Hopefully you will be there later this month to see The Madow Brothers perform at the Oral Health America Gala or give a full day talk at The Chicago Midwinter Meeting, but Chicago is a great dental destination any time of year. The ADA Library, a must-see for everyone in the dental profession, is a cool place to look around and the city has fun on every corner.

CHINA: The very first form of dental anesthesia was acupuncture and it was used in China to treat dental pain in 2700 BC! Things have changed quite a bit since then, but if you want to see where practically everything you use these days was made and what real Chinese food actually tastes like, visit this country of beautiful history and contradiction before they take over the world. Your phone will ring!!

BALTIMORE: That’s right – our great city will be ready for visitors any day now and as you may know, it is the world’s top destination for a dental vacation! Why? The National Museum of Dentistry, adjacent to The University of Maryland School of Dentistry  (the world’s first dental school and alma mater of both Madow Brothers) is truly a world class destination for those interested in all things teeth related. Where else could you see such exhibits as “Saliva – A Remarkable Fluid?” This fantastic museum has become a popular stop for class groups throughout the country and anyone with ties to the dental profession. Wait just a little bit longer for nice weather and you can see why Baltimore is one of the coolest yet somewhat undiscovered places in the country.

Enjoy the weekend – we hope to see you soon!!

A Mid-Winter Mix of Info

Scenario: A call comes in to your office and the person on the other end asks the question “How much is a cleaning?”

Now of course you have been doing some good marketing and it’s just starting to pay off. But you are busy and you are not able to monitor the calls that come in. You don’t even know about most of them.

What are the possibilities here?

  1. The correct fee for a cleaning is quoted.
  2. The call is terminated quickly because the caller is a “shopper.”
  3. The caller is asked if he or she has insurance and what type it is.
  4. The caller is told that we really can’t quote a fee because we don’t know what kind of a cleaning he or she will need.
  5. The caller is told that cleanings are not done on the first appointment.

Which one out of the above possibilities are you praying that your front desk person says? Well guess what? None of them are effective.

By the way, do you know exactly how this type of call is being handled? Probably not. But even if you were standing right there, would you even know what the most best answer is? They certainly did not teach you this in dental school.

Listen. We are six weeks into this year. Resolutions that you made on New Years day are quickly fading. Don’t you agree if there is one thing you should do this year, it would be to have your team properly trained to get callers from the phone into the appointment book easily and predictably?

Good news – you no longer have to pay thousands of dollars and then put your team through painful, agonizing, embarrassing, lengthy training videos. Yes, there is a much easier way now. Please do yourself and your team a favor and click HERE to find out more!

Next.  Our Social Media Marketing Summit in Baltimore last week was our best one yet by far! What a great group of people we had here! Everyone that was in attendance came away not only totally set up, but with a “blueprint” if you will, of EXACTLY what they need to do. If you have been living in a cave for the past year, Social Media Marketing is only getting stronger and it’s something every dentist needs to be doing for his or her practice if they want to survive the next ten years!

Our next course is in Chicago on March 19-20, and then in Phoenix on April 9-10. These are both filling up quicker than ever and if you are considering learning with us, you should sign up now! Click HERE for more info about this amazing course that dentists are calling “the best two days I have ever spent in dentistry!”

Onward. We just put the final touches on our February Dental Powerhouse DVD, and it should be in the mail within a few days to our Powerhouse members. This month’s program teaches you how to get more referrals than ever using some really cool original techniques. Not a Powerhouse member? It’s not too late to get in on this month’s program. Click HERE to see what you are missing.

Lastly, thanks so much for being a Madow friend! If you ever have a question for us, it is now easier than ever. Many people are turning to our Facebook page and asking us questions right there. It’s simple to do and you will always get a very quick response. Plus, our thousands of Facebook fans will get to learn as well as they look on. What a win-win Social Media is!

Have a great day today. If you are one of the many stranded in the mid-Atlantic region blizzards (as we are), please enjoy it and just make sure you kiss a loved one!

Until next time… your friends – The Madow Brothers!

Is Anybody Out There?

Here’s a little tip that will greatly increase your new patient numbers and help you to provide much better service to your existing ones.

Once again we are experiencing a tremendous blizzard in the Baltimore area which seems to be getting thicker by the minute. There is pretty much a white-out at The Madow Group world headquarters in Reisterstown, MD.

Despite the fact that the entire metro area is shut down, there will be people with dental emergencies today and an answered phone can easily equal a new patient. But what will that potential new patient hear when they call most offices? Most likely an answering machine.

Now of course most people do not expect dental offices to be open on a day like today. But did you know that up to forty percent of calls to dental offices go unanswered during normal business hours? Yes – it’s true, and in today’s consumer oriented, I-want-it-now society,  that is one hundred percent unacceptable!

Let’s face it – a patient of record does not really care if you are out to lunch, have Wednesdays off, or (yuck) are “busy helping other patients.” And even worse, those potential new patients that you have worked so hard for probably will never call back.

The fact is – your phones need to be answered when a patient calls. There should never be a time during the day when someone gets a robotic machine. So yes – this means having a team member in the office on your days off and during lunch. It will pay off by a huge multiple of whatever that person is being paid. Besides – there’s always something to do in the dental office!

Let’s take it a step further (and better!). It is so simple to get call forwarding put onto your office phone plan. It is also dirt cheap to buy a basic cell phone with an inexpensive calling plan. Do you have it yet? Concentrate. The name of the game is “Snaps.” That’s right – have a team member carry the cheapo cell phone (no calls to Malaysia please) and when someone calls your office (which is actually closed)  – they will have the phone answered live! This is incredible service!

Of course you can start whining and come up with ten reasons why you don’t want to do this, or you can say: “Our office goes the extra mile to get new patients and provide fantastic service to our current ones!” Which office are you?

Okay – time to look out the window and watch the snow fall! If you want more fantastic ways to use the telephone to it’s true potential, be sure to check out our brand new “Profitable Scheduling” program!

The Least You Can Do!

One way to think about running the most profitable dental practice is to figure out what the least you can do is, and just do that. That’s actually what many of the so-called “consultants” out there are teaching.

Spend more quality time with a patient? Heck no, get them out quickly in order to get to the next one. Send more staff to that great CE course? That’s a crazy idea! Way too expensive. Hot towels after an appointment? Come on now, that increases overhead. So does soft toilet paper in the restroom. Use the stuff that feels like sandpaper. Answering the phone in fewer rings… what’s the point? No sense being kind, looking people in the eye, being open or welcoming or grateful. That takes positive energy. Doing the least acceptable amount is the way to maximize short-term profit.

Of course, there’s a different strategy, a crazy alternative that seems to work: do the most you can do instead of the least.

Radically over-deliver.

Turns out that this is a cheap and effective marketing technique.

————-

Thanks to our friend Seth Godin!

How To Work All Day And Produce Nothing!

Dr. Vincent Monticciolo of New Port Richey, Florida has one of the most productive dental practices in the country. With just two associates in his practice, his annual revenues are right around eight million dollars!!

Yesterday – February 5, 2010 – he had one of his most productive days ever! Several hundred patients were seen during an incredibly busy day in his practice. Take a guess what the total production was. Have your guess ready?

Well, if you said “zero” – you were correct. That’s right, yesterday they worked long hours, saw hundreds of patients, and produced exactly a big fat zero! Why?

Dr. Monticciolo is the founder of “Dentistry From The Heart,” a national program that selects one day each year and provides free dental treatment to the underserved members of its community.  Dr. Vince started this in his own practice in 2001 and since then has overseen its growth to the point where it now includes over 100 offices in 37 states, providing an incredible $3 million worth of free dentistry annually. In a profession that is often derided by the press and entertainment industry, Vince has created a shining star!

So congratulations to Vince and his team! If you want to find out how to participate, please check out www.dentistryfromtheheart.org. And if you want to see Dr. Monticciolo in person and learn how this incredible young dentist produces over $8,000,000 per year and still has time for his family, his hobbies, and this amazing charity – well  – he is scheduled to appear at TBSE 2010!! Of course, Vince being the kind of guy he is, will be there before and after he speaks to hang out, shoot the breeze with you, and let you in on his amazing practice success secrets. He (and we) would love to see you there!

A Message For Your Dental Office From Bill Murray

Yes – today is Groundhog Day. Perhaps even more famous now than the day itself is the classic Harold Ramis movie starring Bill Murray. In one of his best roles ever, Murray plays Phil Connors, a sarcastic miserable ego-inflated weatherman for a local TV station who covers Groundhog Day every year.

A blizzard (which ironically Phil failed to predict) keeps him stuck in Punxsutawney an extra day, but that day turns into what seems like an eternity as Phil awakes every morning to find it is still February 2nd.  His negative lifestyle has forced him to live the same day over and over again. After a series of wild daily escapades, it is only when Phil cleans up his act and starts to love life again that he can escape the cycle.

So how about your practice? Are you experiencing a “Groundhog Day?” Are you practicing the same way year in and year out, complaining and whining but making no progress? Has playing it safe led you to a stagnant and unfulfilling practice?

When is the last time you:

  • Learned a new clinical technique and incorporated it into your practice with enthusiasm?
  • Redecorated your office, even with fresh paint, new carpet, different wall hangings – and just created a newer, happier mood?
  • Took the entire team to a high quality practice management course and got out of your comfort zone by truly changing the way you practice?
  • Pumped up your marketing strategies by using Social Media and other current techniques?
  • Joined up with a group of like-minded dentists to brainstorm, share ideas and grow everyone’s practices?
  • Increased your new patient flow by really learning how to handle every single phone call that comes into your office, including “shoppers” and difficult questions such as “Do you take my insurance?”
  • Blocked off a long weekend for the entire team to learn, bond and have a great time together with the ultimate goal of taking your practice to a higher level?
  • …or done ANYTHING to get out of a rut and stop practicing during “Groundhog Day?”

If any of these things ring true to you, make today the day you decide to finally take action! You can have a more successful practice, enjoy dentistry more, and actually, like Phil Connors did, have a much better life. The choice is yours. Make today the day you decide to do it!!