Posts

Beer

Is there trouble brewing at your office in the form of patients not accepting their treatment? This may be the reason.

One hundred years ago, Schlitz Beer (remember Schlitz??) became the number one selling beer in the country by running a radical marketing campaign. Their ad detailed how Schlitz beer was actually made. Since no one reading the ad previously knew how beer was made, they assumed this was some kind of proprietary process – and Schlitz’s sales quickly rose to the top! It became known as “The beer that made Milwaukee famous!” (Or was it “the beer that made Mel Famey walk us?”)

Fast forward to 2017. Do beer ads describe the brewing process in detail? No way. They show attractive twenty-somethings at the beach. They show beautiful crispy-clear snow-covered mountains. They show majestic horses. The goal is to get a feeling attached to their brand, so when you pick up a six-pack of Budweiser you are transported from your dull, ordinary life to a place you would rather be. We all know it isn’t true, but with annual US beer sales topping $100 billion, it seems to be working!

So what’s the point? Your patient doesn’t want to hear about how the crown is made, how the implant surgery is done, and what their composite resin is made of. They want to know how it will look, how it will function, and how it will make them feel!

Get excited about how your dentistry will transform your patient! And if you can get them equally excited, go pop open a beer!

Say this, not that…

SAY THIS

“We would love to see you as a patient in our practice! Would tomorrow at 3:00 PM or Tuesday at 11:00 AM be better for you?”

NOT THAT

“Would you like to make an appointment?”

SAY THIS

“I know what the problem is and I can help you.”

NOT THAT

“This tooth needs a crown.”

SAY THIS

“Would you mind if I place you on a brief hold? I’ll be right back and able to give you my full attention.”

NOT THAT

“Dental office – hold please….”

SAY THIS

“We have some fantastic financial options to help make the cost of treatment more comfortable.”

NOT THAT

“Sorry – it’s not covered by insurance.”

SAY THIS

“Hello Mrs. Costello, I’m Dr. Luther. What may I help you with today?

NOT THAT

“Open wide please…..”

SAY THIS

“Thank you for calling Hill Valley Family Dentistry, this is Lorraine – I can help you!”

NOT THAT

(Voice mail answers) “If you’re hearing this message during normal practice hours, we are busy treating other patients…”

SAY THIS

“When you return for your next cleaning and examination in three months, we want to pay close attention to that area on the lower right to make sure the inflammation is under control.”

NOT THAT

“You’re due for a check-up in six months.”

SAY THIS

“If you were a member of my own family, that is the treatment I would recommend.”

NOT THAT

“If you can’t afford a crown we can always do a large filling.”

SAY THIS

“Yes!”

NOT THAT

“No…..”

This word is now officially banned from your office

The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.
James and The Giant Peach by Roald Dahl.
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
The Color Purple by Alice Walker.

What do these books, and hundreds of others have in common?

True, they are all classics. And yes, you may have been forced to read them.

But believe it or not, all of these great novels have been banned at one time or another.

As you may know, we are not big fans of censorship, or even strict rules and policies – especially when it comes to your dental practice.

However, there is one word that we would like you to ban completely from your office, both in the written and verbal form. That word?

Cancellation.

A short time ago we were observing in someone’s office and heard this phrase:

“We don’t have anything for you next week, but don’t worry – we ALWAYS get cancellations!”

Yikes! Why would anyone even insinuate to a patient that a cancellation is okay?

When you make confirmation calls, do you give the option to cancel? We hope not. As a matter of fact, why even use the word “confirmation?” That still gives the patient a little bit of an out.

Here’s our suggested verbiage for what was formerly known as the confirmation call:

“Hello, Mrs. Jones? This is Emily from Dr. Sumner’s office. We’re looking forward to seeing you this Friday at 11:00 AM.”

That’s it. Nothing about if you need to change it, if you have any questions, etc.. Short, simple, sweet and positive is the way to go.

And that goes for signs in the reception area and text on your website and cards that say something like:

“If you need to cancel, kindly give 48 hours notice.”

What does that mean? It means that if you cancel 48 hours and one minute before your appointment, that is fine. But it’s not fine!! Do you really want to give a patient permission to do that?

So try it. It works! Get the word “cancellation” the heck out of your vocabulary!!

Winner or Whiner? Take the test.

Winner or Whiner? Take this quick quiz to find out!
WHINER

Complains about the team – they don’t work well together, they don’t have an “ownership mentality,” they complain and bitch, yadda, yadda, yadda….

WINNER

Hires the most exceptional team around, gets them the proper training, and pays them well. Bad apples are not tolerated.

WHINER

Is bored by dentistry but can’t quit due to their lifestyle expenses.

WINNER

Loves what they do. Takes the best courses to stay focused and motivated. Learns new procedures and throws them into the mix.

WHINER

Won’t spend money to build the practice.

WINNER

Invests in the best education, coaching, team, equipment, etc…

WHINER

Complains about all of the competition.

WINNER

Makes friends with other dentists and master-minds to share ideas that will help them all.

WHINER

Pines for the “old days” when advertising was taboo and tacky.

WINNER

Takes advantage of the best and most cost-effective ways to professionally market the practice.

WHINER

Tolerates the patients as a necessary evil.

WINNER

Loves their patients and looks forward to improving their health.

WHINER

Offers patients in-house “payment plans” and then gets all upset when they don’t pay. This includes “half at the prep and half at the insert…”

WINNER

Seeks out the best financial options possible for their patients and leaves collecting to the professionals such as Care Credit.

WHINER

Refers out everything and then complains about the “rich specialists.”

WINNER

Learns how to do more procedures in their office and also has a great relationship with their local specialists. Gets jazzed up by doing interesting services such as sleep apnea treatment, short-term ortho, and more.

WHINER

Comes to the office in a bad mood and expects others to tiptoe around them and read their minds.

WINNER

Even though life isn’t perfect, they are always pleasant, enthusiastic, and willing to help others. Leaves the attitude at the door.

WHINER

Micro-manages everything and everybody and trusts no one except themselves to get the job done correctly.

WINNER

Trusts the team and encourages them to grow. Knows that mistakes are part of the learning process.

WHINER

Leads by fear, intimidation and implied threat.

WINNER

Leads by example.

So how did you do?

TIPS Series # 3

Some of our favorite tips come from people who have spoken at TBSE. That’s why once each month we have been bringing you “TBSE Tips!” The third in this series comes from Laney Kay. Laney is absolutely the best educator we have ever met in the field of OSHA, HIPAA, and all of those other annoying acronyms. She is also incredibly hilarious.
Laney’s tips are pretty simple to implement (especially # 4) – and they will save you lots of time and trouble in the long run! So take it away, Laney Kay!
1. When it comes to regulatory compliance, documentation will save your butt.  Whenever you train your team, whenever you change the way you do things, whenever you encounter a problem, write it in your notebook.  Documentation proves that you are taking regular, positive steps to stay in compliance and maintain your programs.

2. Don’t let regulations drive you crazy.  Establish a program, set up a schedule to maintain it regularly and then stop worrying about it.  The best way to avoid problems is always to treat your patients well and do your best work.

3. Neither OSHA nor HIPAA requires you to use a certain product or endorses any specific program.  If anyone tells you that, they’re trying to sell you something!

4. Always wear underwear with a skirt.  (That’s just good advice in life.)

Thanks so much Laney! We know thousands of people just did a skirt check.

Are you a dental shark or a dental guppy?

Are you a dental shark or a dental guppy?

Do you rule the dental world or do you get swallowed up by the competition?

Everyone seems to love the TV show Shark Tank. And why not? It’s fun to watch people pitch their businesses to the sharks – a panel of wealthy investors who can turn from welcoming to brutally critical at the drop of a BeardHead Beanie Hat. We even had one of the sharks, Daymond John, at TBSE a few years ago and he was a huge hit!!

So here are seven Shark Tank lessons from the most famous shark of them all, Mark Cuban. They certainly apply to your dental practice!! (Some will be paraphrased for dentistry!)

1. Learn to sell. You are always selling – to your patients, your fellow team members, and your community. But don’t sell a product – solve a problem.

2. “Everyone has the will to win – but the winners are those who prepare.” You can dream of having a great dental practice all day long, but what are you actually doing to achieve it?

3. Your patients can tell you what is broken and how to fix it. But you have to listen to them. Listen!!

4. One thing we can all control is effort. Put in the time to become an expert in whatever you’re doing. It will give you an advantage because most people don’t do this. This is not just clinical expertise, it’s people skills and running the practice.

5. “The beauty of success, whether it’s finding the love of your life, the right job or financial success, is that it doesn’t matter how many times you have failed – you only have to be right once.”

6. Get an advisory network. No one has all the answers or ideas.

What do you think? We think is great advice that will work for anyone at any practice! One thing is for sure – learning from successful people (like “The Sharks”) is much better than asking that floundering schmo at the local study club what he thinks!! It’s time to swim with the dental sharks!

* * * * * * * * * * *

You seem like the type of person this blog post is for.

Here is some really cool information for you that will help when discussing treatment needs with your patients!

Last week we sent an interesting story about treatment plan acceptance based on a story from Dr. Robert Cialdini’s excellent book “Pre-Suasion.” The response was so great that this week we will go back to that book again with another cool story and lesson!

Have you ever been at a mall and been approached by someone with a clipboard, asking for “just a few minutes of your time to give your opinions for some market research?” Even when the pot is sweetened with a free gift or cash, the percentage of people who comply is very low.

A study was done to see if there was a simple way to boost response. (A study about a study – how meta…)

In the control portion (just asking people to help with the survey) 29% said yes. But then the same steps were taken with one difference. Before asking people to take the survey, this question was asked:

“Do you consider yourself to be a helpful person?”

Following brief reflection, nearly every person said “yes.” (We all consider ourselves to be helpful!!) Then, once the public affirmation was made, the researchers asked for help with their survey. This time 77.3% of the people volunteered to help!!

We are not fans of the old car salesman technique of presenting a humongous treatment plan and then asking, “Is this the kind of dentistry you want?” That strategy just smells a bit funny.

But there is certainly nothing wrong with asking pre-emptive questions to have your patient affirm what they want.

If you are about to discuss periodontal disease, why not “pre-suade” the discussion with something like “You want to keep your teeth for the rest of your life, right?”

When a patient presents with a shattered molar, before explaining the core and crown, why not say – “Good news – we can repair this tooth and make it solid and strong again. Does that sound good to you?”

Getting someone to publicly affirm their belief can be a great way to lead to a commitment towards dental health. And you do want your patients to have excellent dental health, right?

TBSE Tips # 2

2017 is going to be a great one, and we are here with you all the way to make sure it happens!

Let’s start the year with our next series of “TBSE Tips” – simple strategies from one of last year’s TBSE speakers that are sure to get things off to a good start.

For the start of the year it makes sense to hear from personal change specialist Linda Edgecombe. Linda had the room rocking at TBSE and gave everyone memorable strategies to move their practices and lives in a positive direction.
1.  The first step in “Breaking Busy” is to write down all the roles you currently play in your life.  Acknowledge each one and ask yourself if this role energizes you or drains you. Choose one role you will drop for the next month and one role you will drop off your plate completely.  You are creating opportunities to open a space and clear your mind.

2.  The number one tip to re-energize, re-engage and build your own resilience is MOVE YOUR BUTT. That’s right, get more oxygen flowing through your blood system more often. Walk, bike, hike, run, garden, take the stairs… it doesn’t matter.  Make movement a part of your everyday routine. Ten minutes here, 20 minutes there, 3 minutes NOW!

3. Sell your shares in the “Deferred Life Plan.”  *THERE*  does not exist!  If you are waiting for “There” to happen before you celebrate, you will never open that champagne.  All we have are benchmarks, and we need to get better at celebrating them. Big and small, that’s all there is. If you are coveting a special bottle of this, or something special for that…  Celebrate now.

Thanks so much Linda!! Let’s get the new year off to a great start!!

How would MacGyver handle 2017? How would you?

MacGyver.

The name is synonymous with many things. Resourcefulness is one.

Look up resourceful in the dictionary. There’s his picture. Okay – we’ll do it for you.

resourceful

[ri-sawrs-fuh l, –sohrs-, –zawrs-, –zohrs-]
adjective
1.
able to deal skillfully and promptly with new situations, difficulties, etc.
2.

The original MacGyver was a 1980s American action-adventure television series character. This guy could get out of any life or death situation with his trusty Swiss Army knife and a roll of duct tape.

He was the master of improvisation. In minutes he’d craft a bomb out of a paper clip and his own earwax if necessary.

MacGyver was resourceful to the max.

With all due respect there’s an unmentioned and perhaps non-apparent Achilles heel in his story.

MacGyver was constantly getting out of bad situations with the grace and skill of a ninja. Yet you have to wonder why he didn’t avoid some circumstances altogether.

MacGyver is the model for resourcefulness, no doubt. And that is a skill that will help every doctor and team member. But an even better skill is…

Don’t get into difficult situations to begin with!!

Be honest with your patients. Keep them comfortable. Anticipate their questions. Speak in plain English. Make sure patients understand their insurance and financial arrangements ahead of time. In short – solve problems before they happen!

But how about some different types of problems? Dentistry is evolving, and the evolution of dentistry demands that you be on your toes. Insurance changes, the increasing rise of corporate dental structures and systems, the abundance of dental providers in your region, and an often apathetic patient base are a few of the things we can look forward to.

So what can you do? One thing is for sure – doing nothing is sure to get you nowhere fast.

Marketing challenges? Insurance margins encroaching?  Competition on every corner squeezing you?

What would MacGyver do? He would probably wait until his practice was sinking and then magically solve everything with a 204S scaler, a bib clip, and a couple of old amalgam capsules. But (fortunately) you’re not MacGyver…or MacDentist…or MacTeamMember.

Now is the time to identify potential problems and plan for them.

Failure isn’t the issue. Not trying is.

The best teacher you and your team have on occasion is failure. Perhaps even better is to anticipate where it can and potentially will occur and have a ready Plan B.

Plan B thinking gives you hope, help, and heroic opportunities.

Here’s a thought…

While you’re closing the books on 2016 in a few weeks do something different.

List some bold initiatives for 2017. Then go a step beyond.

Picture where failure could occur. Stare it down and…

Plan B the crap out it!

That’s enough to make Mr. MacGyver (and those competing voices of fear) stand up and take notice.

Tips

Everyone loves some good and simple tips to help their practice and their life, right? That’s why we asked some of our TBSE 2016 speakers to share some of their favorite ones with you! We will be presenting them from time to time throughout the year.

For the first stop in this series, we will visit Dr. Ric Zambito. “Dr. Z” was a surprise guest speaker at TBSE 2016, and even though he wasn’t on the stage for a long time, his incredible message really resonated with everyone there! Ric is a general dentist who has one of the most successful, productive and happy practices we have ever seen. His figures easily put him in the top one percent nationally, and he does it all in the small and depressed town of Wheeling, West Virginia!

One of the best things about Ric is his leadership abilities and the way he deals with his team. These four tips from Dr. Z will give you some insight into how he accomplishes this – and how you can too!!
                                                                                           

1. Leadership is the process of getting everyone to the place they are supposed to be.  It is the opposite of controlling people.  No one can be a leader unless they are trusted and possess the number one characteristic that staff and patients want – integrity.

2.  The only way a team member will know what you expect is consistency.  You must constantly be teaching your staff, and be sure to compliment them when they achieve the success you expect.  Complimenting may be important, but so is helping your staff grow.  Making them aware and accountable when they have fallen short is equally important.  This will lead to improvement of your team.

3.  Why would anyone want to settle for being an average dental office? That is the best of the worst and the worst of the best.  Dreamers and achievers will never stop at this level.  It is always the doctor’s opportunity to help team members become the best they can be.

4.  Have you noticed that your dental office takes on your personality?  By speaking to just one employee, you should be able to decipher the tone of the entire office.  If you have a positive doctor, it will permeate throughout the office to the rest of the staff.

Want to hear more from Dr. Z and get his tips delivered to your inbox on a regular basis, including some fantastic ways to handle 14 scary situations that are probably happening in your dental practice right now?

Just visit www.integritydentalpracticemanagement.com.