The countdown is on. Come November, Dr. Lori Cockley, owner of East Berlin Dental in East Berlin, Pennsylvania, and her devoted team of dental professionals will leave for Belize. Thanks to help from International Health Outreach, they’ll be lending their skills to the local villages and towns that need it most. Helping men and women of all ages, the team will focus on preventative and restorative care while working alongside local dentists to encourage a more tooth-conscious culture. “We aren’t just shuckin’ teeth,” Dr. Cockley explains. “We want to leave them with something more. There’s a huge educational component.” The trip to Belize isn’t the first time the East Berlin team has volunteered internationally. The six-some also spent 16 days in the Vietnamese jungle helping and educating local people just last year. Volunteer efforts like this are hardly cake walks, and they don’t happen in a vacuum. There are countless fundraising events leading up to the November trip, and Dr. Cockley knows better than anyone how much legwork and dedication is behind the adventure. The entire team convenes regularly outside of work hours for unique forms of fundraising, like handcrafting jewelry to sell at open house events, to make the trip possible. The fundraising doubles as team-building, and the Madows’ teachings have shown Dr. Cockley that the best type of team is a cohesive one. It was at TBSE that she learned that a feeling of community – whether around the office or around the world – is the foundation of success in life as well as business. “It’s not just a job. We don’t just clean our instruments and go home. TBSE has taught me that we’re a part of something bigger.” Case in point: on the return flight from TBSE in 2011, Lori and her whole team had their noses buried in copies of “Get Off Your ‘But:’ How to End Self-Sabotage and Stand Up for Yourself,” a powerfully motivating book authored by one of the weekend’s premier speakers. While reading, the group noticed that one of the flight attendants had a particularly abrasive attitude. In response, one of Dr. Cockley’s team members handed her a heartfelt note that made her demeanor do an instant 180. It simply read: “You are fabulous.” If this wasn’t a life lesson about the power of positivity and engaging encouragement, nothing was. Hardships and negativity can be shattered with less effort than your brain might let on, and as a dental professional and a humans being, Dr. Cockley operates strongly under the notion that “we are all in this together.”
Thanksgiving is in just two days, then Black Friday and the holiday season.
It’s a time to count your blessings, be considerate of others and be charitable. (Actually, we should be doing that year-round, but that’s a different topic altogether.)
But as you get into that spirit, please don’t forget that you have a business to run which is called a dental practice. The doctor and every team member are responsible for its success.
So – if you start discounting your work, not collecting what you are owed, and giving reduced fees to everyone with a crazy story – you will be undermining that business.
Charity is great – even required in some ways. But it needs to be on your terms.
It’s great to help the unfortunate in your community. But if you start to give discounts to everyone or fail to collect what is owed to you, you are undervaluing your work and eventually cheating yourself and your team.
So please do lots of charity. Pick some patients who are unfortunate and provide free or low-cost treatment. Do a “Dentistry From The Heart” event. Donate your time to a local free clinic. But also remember not to get screwed by patients who are trying to take advantage of your generosity. Then you will really have a practice to be thankful for!!
- A dental hygienist cleans 80% of a patient’s teeth and removes “most” of the plaque and calculus.
- A dental assistant passes the correct instruments some of the time and makes temporaries that are kinda decent.
- The dental business team member who is responsible for collecting fees is usually within 20% of getting the right amount.
- A dentist does crowns with margins that are usually pretty good; typically within 2 millimeters of where they should be.
No doubt about it – all of these people would lose their jobs. We are in an exacting profession where the line between success and failure is very slim and there is constantly pressure to be on the right side of that line.
Unfortunately, some offices let this mindset work against them when it comes to practice growth.
We’re afraid to move ahead with something unless it is perfect. That new ad campaign, that great marketing strategy, that idea to begin using social media……are you “almost” ready to do it?
Sure – that sedation course was great, and so was the implant course. But you just need a little more time to get comfortable with it.
Does any of this sound familiar? Instead of “ready, aim, fire” dentists have a tendency to be “ready, aim, aim, aim, aim……….”
But the fact is – sometimes (or maybe any time a patient’s health is not on the line) you gotta be “ready, fire, aim!” After all, what’s the worst that can happen??
If you’ve got some great ideas cooking, don’t wait for perfection – it will never arrive. Put it out there! Stop worrying and start moving! Waiting for something to be 100% correct is the same thing as not allowing your practice to grow.
After all, everythink dos nut have too be perfekt.
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!