Posts

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!!

It Might Get Crazy!

Something is happening soon that could knock the socks off of dentistry as we know it. Please read until the end to find out what it is! Here’s the story.

Of all the mega humongous dental conventions, the Chicago Midwinter is by far our favorite. This year it will be held on February 25th -27th, and it’s moving to the new western side of the fabulous McCormick Center in Chicago.

One of the reasons the Chicago Midwinter is so great is that each year on the night before the convention kicks off, Oral Health America presents their annual gala. Not only is OHA a great charity that helps to bring dental health to many underserved Americans, they host a kick-ass event that is one of the best in the field.

The Oral Health America annual gala is a who’s who of the dental profession. All of the top clinicians, lecturers, industry giants and other assorted superstars are there. As a charitable event which is open to the public, many caring dentists attend to give back to the profession and get to rub shoulders and mingle with the stars of dentistry.

The event includes an open bar, great food, live music, cool auctions and is always guaranteed to be a fun night of festivity. We urge you to attend. If you’re not sure, read on!

The thing about these charity events is that sometimes they can be a little, well, stiff. Well – you won’t believe who those wise (or possibly daring) folks at Oral Health America have invited this year to spice it up a bit. That’s right-

THE MADOW BROTHERS will be performing their one-of-a-kind off the wall totally crazy dental musical entertainment at the OHA Gala!!

Maybe the good folks at Oral Health America didn’t know what they were getting into when they invited The Madow Brothers – but it is very safe to say that this will be an event like no other!!

If you’ve seen us perform before, you know that nothing is off limits, no cows are sacred, and the only thing that is certain is that anything goes!! This will be a first in dentistry, and you gotta be there to witness this historic night!

Can you imagine what will happen when the crazy guys of dentistry take the stage at this event? It’s our goal to make sure it will be a night to remember!

Of course we are donating our time and further contributing by purchasing a full table – and we would love to see you there! It’s on Wednesday February 24th at beautiful Union Station in Chicago. The premier event in dentistry will get totally crazy this year! (Even if you can’t make it, it would be fantastic to give them a donation. But hey – you should be there!)

Check it out by clicking here.

Oh – and by the way – we will be doing our now famous full day program – “How To Love Dentistry, Have Fun and Get Rich!” on Saturday February 27th, also at The Chicago Midwinter Meeting. Why not do a Madow Brothers doubleheader?? You won’t have as much fun and learn as much at the same time anywhere in dentistry!!

Which Lemonade Stand Is Your Practice?

In some ways, every business is like a lemonade stand. Here is what our friend Seth Godin has to say about that:

The Lesson From Two Lemonade Stands

The first stand is run by two kids. They use Countrytime lemonade, paper cups and a bridge table. It’s a decent lemonade stand, one in the long tradition of standard lemonade stands. It costs a dollar to buy a cup, which is a pretty good price, considering you get both the lemonade and the satisfaction of knowing you supported two kids.

The other stand is different. The lemonade is free, but there’s a big tip jar. When you pull up, the owner of the stand beams as only a proud eleven year old girl can beam. She takes her time and reaches into a pail filled with ice and lemons. She pulls out a lemon. Slices it. Then she squeezes it with a clever little hand juicer.

The whole time that’s she’s squeezing, she’s also talking to you, sharing her insights (and yes, her joy) about the power of lemonade to change your day. It’s a beautiful day and she’s in no real hurry. Lemonade doesn’t hurry, she says. It gets made the right way or not at all. Then she urges you to take a bit less sugar, because it tastes better that way.

It may take a little longer, but you don’t mind, because you’re engaged, almost entranced. A few people pull over and wait in line behind you.

Finally, once she’s done, you put $5 in the jar, because your free lemonade was worth at least twice that. Well, maybe the lemonade itself was worth $3, but you’d happily pay again for the transaction. It touched you. In fact, it changed you.

Which entrepreneur do you think has a brighter future?

So how about your dental practice? It is also like a lemonade stand.

Do you treat your dentistry like a commodity? Do your patients think they would get the same level of care anywhere else? Or do you personally “squeeze the lemon” for every single patient? Do they feel like they are getting an experience they can’t get down the street?

Does everyone smile and call each patient by name? Are they personally escorted throughout the office?

When you are inserting that crown they just paid a lot of money for, do you act like it is “just another day in the office” or do you tell them how great it looks and “fits?” Do you let them know, for example, that you are using a really cool new material called e.max (maybe you got it as one of your three free crowns from Maverick Dental Lab!) for a great combination of strength and beauty?

Your patients deserve customized top-of-the-line service from you, and hopefully they are getting it. What are you doing to let them know?

What’s Your BHAG? You Need To Know!

Yes – it’s that time of year again- the time when you get stuck with a really stupid white elephant gift from the annual gift exchange, drink too much at the office party and reveal a really embarrassing moment  from your past, get all nostalgic for something that wasn’t all that great anyway – and maybe, just maybe, begin thinking about next year.

When things in the office slow down a bit due to the holidays and you have a few more days off than usual, it is a good time to think about the future, namely your BHAG. So just what is a BHAG?

A BHAG is a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” – a long term picture of where you see things going – not a one year plan, but a futuristic vision of what you would like to accomplish many years from now. When you do your short term planning you need to keep your BHAG in mind.

What are some examples of BHAGs? Here’s one.

“By the end of the decade we will send a man to the moon and have him return safely home again.”

Most people know this was one of the BHAGs of President John F. Kennedy. He didn’t say that first we would develop the Mercury space capsule and have someone orbit the Earth for a few minutes. But that was certainly one step of many that had to be taken.

Or how about this one from the business world?

“A computer on every desk in every home.”

When Bill Gates said that in 1982, most people, including the big shots at IBM, thought it was ridiculous. What use could the everyday consumer possibly have for a computer in their home? They certainly never pictured that right now this blog would be written on a laptop at 30,000 feet. But Bill Gates did. (Of course, he probably did not think it would be a MacBook!)

So while those are great examples of Big Hairy Audacious Goals, how well do they translate to the dental office? Actually, very well.

Bill Gates had so much work in front of him and his colleagues to get a computer in every home. Things like writing code for an operating system that normal people could use, making processor chips small and powerful enough to fit into a compact enclosure, and tons of other things we now take for granted had to be created for that BHAG to be achieved. But without it, they may never have happened.

So let’s take it to the dental office (or chiropractic, podiatric, medical office or any type of business if you happen to be one of our growing numbers of non-dental followers). Pretty soon you will be sitting down to set your goals for 2010 – or you certainly should be anyway. And in it you will have all of the normal stuff, things like:

  • Increase production and collections by 22% over last year.
  • Obtain 45 new patients each month.
  • Begin the interview process and hire a second hygienist by March 2010.
  • Complete a course and have a Social Media Marketing program up and running in the first quarter.
  • Ask every single patient if they would like whiter teeth.

Okay – you probably get the picture there. And that is all great stuff. But without the BHAG, you really don’t know where you are going with this. So take off your loupes for a second and put on your binoculars. What do you want to be doing ten years from now?

Maybe you want to sell your practice and work for the new owner, netting enough money on the sale that you can comfortably retire. Or perhaps you want to develop your practice from a one-person show into a multi-specialty group practice. Maybe you want to buy your own building and lease out space to other medical professionals.

Or how about this one – maybe you want to grow your practice by converting associates into partners so that you may be involved clinically just one or two days per week, take off the months of April and September to stay at your resort condo in Hawaii, and keep your income high and your retirement plan funded. Sounds pretty good! That goal is really big, kind of audacious, and pretty hairy too. And the only way to make that happen is to start now!

Team members – does this involve you? Absolutely!! Remember, the more the practice changes and grows, the more you will be rewarded (or should be rewarded anyway). So feel free to pitch in with the BHAG. And you can also have a personal BHAG, so please take some time to contemplate that.

Here is the point. Many offices will be doing their 2010 planning around this time of year, and that is fantastic. But to REALLY know how to plan, you need to know where you are going long term, and for that you need a BHAG.

So go ahead and make one! Make it super big, pretty darn audacious, and really hairy. Don’t worry – you can always modify and change it, so dream large! And then, when you begin your 2010 planning, keep the BHAG in mind.

SCARY STUFF GOING ON IN YOUR OFFICE!

There is something very scary going on in most dental offices across the country – probably yours. Learning what it is and taking the proper steps to correct it could be one of the biggest things you ever do to help your practice grow. What is it? Please read on.

But first – want to have some fun? Pull out the Yellow Pages – oh wait a minute – no one uses the Yellow Pages anymore! Go to your computer and Google “Dentist” and the name of any city or town. Find a listing that you like and then go to the telephone and give them a call, asking one of the following questions:

 –         How much do you charge for a cleaning?
 –         Do you take dental insurance?
 –         Where are you located?
 –         Do you do cleanings and crowns?
 –         Are you accepting new patients?
 –         I just moved here from out of town and my previous dentist told me I need some gum treatment, six crowns and a root canal. I would like to pay in cash. Is that alright?

After they answer the question, just say “okay – thanks for the information.” What will happen? Over 90% of the time they will not put you on the schedule! How do we know?

Since 1995 we have been doing “secret shopper” calls at our live events and as a service to offices that we work with. And it is amazing how most team members simply have not been properly trained in converting a caller into an actual patient. The scary part is that your office could be losing nine out of ten potential new patients because of this!

Think about all of the questions on that list. What they are really asking is “May I become a new patient in your practice?” And ninety percent of the time the answer is “NO!”

Think this is happening in your office? Do you want to know? You should. After all, you need to know if you are losing potential new patients! Well, we would love to help you find out with a

FREE SECRET SHOPPER CALL!!

That’s right – our expert team will secret shop your office and record the call. We’ll give you a grade from zero to one hundred with an explanation of what went wrong (or right!) and some fantastic suggestions to help you increase your telephone skills. We will also include a detailed report to let you know exactly what you need to do in order to be scheduling many more new patients in 2010!

Please keep in mind that the purpose of this call is not to poke fun or belittle anyone – it is to help your team and your practice become a new patient scheduling machine!

Just go ahead and submit the following contact information and pretty soon you’ll be “secret shopped” – the first step on the way to significantly increasing your new patient flow! After all, potential new patients are calling offices all across the country and being turned down. Don’t let it happen in your office!

Please note – this request must come from the doctor or practice owner! By filling out and submitting this electronic form, you are giving The Madow Group permission to place a “secret shopper” call to your practice, record the call, and send a detailed report back to your office. Are you ready? Then just click this link:

I Want A Free Secret Shopper Call!

Remember, as a service to you this call is free! By taking this step, you will be on your way to scheduling more new patients than ever before! There is nothing to lose – and hundreds of new patients to gain!

I Want A Free Secret Shopper Call!

There is NO WAY a stupid song can help your practice in December!!

Here it is – the middle of December and you may already be sick of hearing holiday songs blaring from every corner of the Earth – from Sirius XM all the way to Quizno’s. Well here is a holiday song that can mean lots of income added to your bottom line before the end of the year!

Let’s face it – even the most highly productive offices can be a little bit slow this time of year. But instead of just shrugging your shoulders and saying “That’s the way it is” – here are five sure fire ways to either save lots of money or earn more before the end of 2009! Just to make you pay attention, we’ll gear the list to the first line of a popular holiday song – “Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire.”

1)     Chestnuts:  Okay – the first one may be an old “chestnut,” but as you know many of your patients have dental insurance dollars just waiting for them, and it is “use it or lose it” before the end of the year. Some of them are not even aware of this situation. These days it’s easier than ever to get the word out. Simply compose an email to let them know that if they don’t take advantage of this benefit in 2009, they will lose hundreds of dollars that belong to them! In just a few minutes you can tell your entire patient base.

Also, go through the files starting with patients who were seen the most recently (they most likely have this treatment on their minds) and let them know that in order to maximize their benefits they need to start treatment before the end of the year. People who need multiple restorations can do some now and some at the beginning of 2010. You can easily schedule ten units of crowns or other high-end restorations this way!

2)     Roasting:  It seems like we are always “roasting” the government because all they want to do is tax us to death. So when the government wants to give us some money, we should go for it!! If you check with your accountant, they most likely will confirm that you can take advantage of IRS code section # 179, which allows dentists to take a deduction of up to $250,000 on equipment either purchased or leased before the end of 2009. This is free money from Uncle Sam – grab it!!! Not sure what to get? According to dental technology expert Dr. Larry Emmott, here are the top two choices:

My #1 tech investment recommendation is to make sure you have a good complete office network. No other tech investment will give you as fast a retun on investment or allow you to do so many more things with technology. So this is the year to add computers to all the treatment rooms, put a workstation in the lab, upgrade the server, improve your security, and anything else you may have been putting off. This will cost a typical dental office between $20 to $25,000. A big multidoctor office will of couse spend more.

#2 is digital radiography. If you have #1, that is a complete up to date safe and speedy network, then you need to have digital radiography. Adding a sensor system to an exisitng network will cost less than $15,000. Adding a digital panoramic will cost around $30,000.

Speaking of digital x-ray, we absolutely love the new Dexis Platinum Sensor. Check it out at www.dexray.com.

Just think about it – if you were planning on purchasing new computer equipment or a digital x-ray system (or even a few new sensors for your existing system) you can get a HUGE check from the government for doing it now!

3)     Open:  As the year comes to a close, more and more offices are taking vacation time, longer lunches, closures for holiday parties, and anything else to celebrate the end of the year. And we are all for that! But just make sure when your office is not technically open that it is “virtually” open by forwarding your office phone line to the cell phone of a team member or using a virtual scheduling service. The holiday season is actually a great time to pick up new patients and emergencies – unless they call your office and get an answering machine. Then they are lost and gone forever.

4)     Fire:  Okay – this may not be the nicest topic in the world, but the new year is approaching, and it is a great time to make a fresh start. Is there a team member who just is not “on the bus?” I know we all love them or feel sorry for them or for some mushy reason can’t face up to the fact that they don’t belong in our office. But someone who is not 100% on your team for all the right reasons and bringing their “A Game” into the office every single day is costing you tens of thousands of dollars and really ticking off the rest of your staff (and probably patients as well). This is a toxic situation and it needs to be remedied. Go ahead and do it – you will feel better when 2010 comes around.

5)     White Christmas:  Who doesn’t want whiter teeth for the holidays? Everyone does! But it is also a tough time when shopping for everyone else is on the minds of most patients. So take a tip from the marketing geniuses who invented Black Friday – have a sale! Give your whitening fee a significant discount and tell all of your patients that you are having a holiday sale. You will be amazed how many patients will just say “yes” at the end of their hygiene appointment when offered a great deal on whitening. Then just move ‘em on over to the next treatment room and get started! It’s December – you weren’t doing anything anyway!!

So please – don’t just write December off as a month where nothing gets done! All five of these things can add up to huge earnings and savings as the year comes to a close!