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Why You Won’t Join The AAFD. What The Heck Is The AAFD?

Last week we got an email from a dental organization called the AAFD. We didn’t join the AAFD. You didn’t join the AAFD. Why not?

They were offering great pricing with a large discount. They sent a nice email explaining all of the excellent benefits AAFD members receive. They told us the AAFD was packed with leaders, innovators, and friends.  So what went wrong?

They never bothered to tell us what the hell the AAFD is or what they do!!

What are we supposed to do? Make up our own meaning? The American Academy of Fertile Dentists? Already Aging Frail Drifters? Albanian Association of Future Dictators? Is it an organization so secretive that they don’t even know what they do? We just don’t know.

This frequently happens when you are so close to something or so wrapped up in something you overlook the fact that outsiders (in this case, non-members) have no idea what you are talking about.

Of course members and administrators of the AAFD know what it stands for. They live it. They love it. They inhale it. Or maybe they didn’t inhale. But the folks they are trying to appeal to have no idea what they are talking about.

So learn this and learn it well.

You should NEVER assume people (and this means your patients) know ANYTHING!

They don’t know what their insurance covers. They don’t know that treatment needs to be paid for at time of service. They don’t know what “crown” or “periodontal” means. And they certainly don’t know what “you have a five millimeter pocket on the distal of tooth # 30” means! (Yes – we heard a dentist say that to a patient once.)

So don’t be like the Academy of Assuming Friggin’ Dentists. Because surely you know what happens when you assume.

And if you don’t – please watch this clip from the classic TV show “The Odd Couple.” Click here to see what happens when you assume!!

Coach Rich
Coach Dave

Dr. David Madow and Dr. Richard Madow are actual dentists who have been helping dental offices become more successful for over 28 years. They are down to earth, real people who personally connect with their clients and are proud to call them friends. If you have a question for this column, please write to them at coaches@madow.com. We are now offering a complimentary 30-minute coaching session! Please CLICK HERE to schedule yours. Doctors only please.

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Ideas For December: End The Year With A Bang!

Take some time now to plan how you will keep a full and productive schedule all month long without any extra stress. It is the last month of your final quarter for the year. Why not end the year on a happy and high note?

I put together a few marketing and practice management ideas to help you do just that.

Practice Management Tips & Ideas For December

National Write a Business Plan Month :

Plan now to make 2019 your Best Year Yet! Meet as a team to discuss marketing ideas, production and collection goals, new patient goals, continuing education needs/wants, office maintenance/repairs/remodel needs. Put your plans down on paper! Be sure to include a plan of action: The Who, What, Where, When & How’s!

Note: If you struggle with implementing your practice management & marketing goals – a dental coaching relationship may be the solution! If you want to learn more about working with Madow Success Coaching, you should come to our Master Class on January 18th at The Madow Center in Baltimore! Call 410-526-4780 for more information.

Incomplete Treatment:

Do you have any patients with incomplete treatment or ones that are due/past due in hygiene with remaining insurance benefits that will expire at the end of this year? Do what you can to help them see the need and value in scheduling an appointment this month. Some offices invite their patients to take advantage of “today only” special offers that they share via their social media sites, email blasts, and telephone calls.

Be alert to any patients that are coming in with the doctor or hygienist and have incomplete treatment or are due in hygiene. If the schedule allows, encourage them to take care of both at the same time. This means carefully reviewing all charts in advance of the appointment.

Specials:

December is a great time for special offers on Teeth Whitening, Electric Toothbrushes, and Invisalign.

Consider having a drawing for a gift basket or gift card to a local business that your patients can enter to win when they come in for their dental appointment before December 23rd.

 Cosmetic Dentistry Opportunity:

Many of your patients will be attending holiday parties/events during the month of December. Typically, with these special occasions come a lot of picture-taking. Now is a great time to help them see how they can easily get their smile ready for the camera with teeth whitening and other cosmetic treatment/procedures.

Remember, Gift Certificates for Teeth Whitening should always be available for your patients to purchase as gifts for their loved ones.

Dental Marketing Tips & Ideas:

National Cookie Day: Dec. 4th & National Cocoa Day Dec. 12th

Individually wrapped cookies and a package of hot cocoa with a thank you to your “sweet” patients are a great way to recognize people.

Travel Toothbrush Bags –

Many of your patients travel during the holidays. Surprise them with a small gift for their travels. Put together toothbrush bags that include a toothbrush, floss, toothpaste and a “what to do in a dental emergency” handout. You could also include other travel sized items such as lotion, Advil, lip balm, etc.

~ Social Media Post Ideas to Improve Engagement ~

Post Fun & Easy Entertaining Ideas and Recipes

25th – 31st: It’s About Time Week
7th: National Cotton Candy Day
12th: Gingerbread House Day
21st: Short Girl Appreciation Day (Shortest day of the year)
30th: Bacon Day

Sometimes despite your best efforts the schedule still falls apart. Don’t stress over it, instead use that downtime to do some training, team building, and/or office cleaning/organizing.

Yours for Greater Success,
~Betty

Betty Hayden is the lead coach at The Madow Center For Dental Practice Success. She has over 25 years of experience in the dental profession. Her expertise is in effective telephone answering techniques, profitable scheduling, marketing campaigns, communication, social media, new patient acquisition, practice growth, and much more. She is called “The Idea Woman” because she grows practices!

If you have a question for this column, please write to us at coaches@madow.com. And remember, we would like to offer you a complimentary 30-minute coaching session! Please CLICK HERE to schedule yours. Doctors only please.

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The Madow Center Patient Translator

Do patients always mean what they say and say what they mean? Of course not!

So for your convenience, we are proud to present…..
The Madow Center Dental Translator

When a patient says…..

“My last full set of x-rays was nine months ago…”

What they really mean is…..

“Pretty soon you’ll be receiving a ten year old blurry over-duplicated unreadable set of cone-cut bitewings with coffee stains.”

When a patient says….

“I’m allergic to everything except Vicodin and Oxycontin…..”

What they really mean is….

“Just hand over your prescription pad and get it over with.”

When a patient says….

“My insurance covers one hundred percent of everything…”

What they really mean is….

“I’ve got the crappiest PPO on the face of the planet and you’re not even on the list.”

When a patient says….

“His father is responsible for the bill….”

What they really mean is….

“That creep screwed me over four years ago and he’s about to do the same to you!”

When a patient says….

“I just have one quick question for you…”

What they really mean is….

“You’re about to be running twenty minutes late.”

When a patient says….

“Let me think about it….”

What they really mean is….

“You will never see me again.”

When a patient says….

“I need to come in today – it’s an emergency…”

What they really mean is….

“I’ve had some non-issue for the last three years but I know that you are super-heavily booked today so I decided to call.”

When a patient says….

“I don’t want any ‘Novocaine’….”

What they really mean is….

“I’m about to squirm, scream, and bite your fingers.”

When a patient says….

“My kids will be fine in your waiting room…”

What they really mean is….

“Hurricane Sandy part two is coming….better call FEMA.”

But…..

When a potential patient on the phone says….

“How much do you charge for a cleaning?”

Or…. “Do you take my insurance?”

Or…. “Do you do braces, see kids, or anything else….?”

What they really mean is….

“I WANT TO BECOME A NEW PATIENT IN YOUR PRACTICE!”

Believe it or not, ninety percent of the time these calls are handled incorrectly and the potential patient vanishes, never to be heard from again. How are these calls being handled in YOUR practice?

Coach Rich
Coach Dave

Dr. David Madow and Dr. Richard Madow are actual dentists who have been helping dental offices become more successful for over 28 years. They are down to earth, real people who personally connect with their clients and are proud to call them friends. If you have a question for this column, please write to them at coaches@madow.com. We are now offering a complimentary 30-minute coaching session! Please CLICK HERE to schedule yours. Doctors only please.

To sign up for our mailing list CLICK HERE

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Oh Dr. Melvin, You’re Such A Tiger!

You don’t have to know much about golf (we sure don’t!) to know a little bit about Tiger Woods. He is generally considered to be the greatest golfer of all time, and is one of the highest paid athletes in the world. Tiger has spent more weeks at the number one ranking (683) than any other golfer – not even close. If we listed his records and achievements (and you read them) you would be late for your next patient.

And then it all came crashing down. Three back surgeries and some serious personal struggles took their toll. Tiger withdrew from tournaments, didn’t make the cut at others, missed some commitments, and couldn’t get his game off the ground. His ranking dropped… to 1199th!  While his fan base remained robust, many felt that he would never win another major tournament. He was under a form of scrutiny that would have crushed most people.

And then yesterday, Tiger won the 2018 Tour Championship!

Fortunately, most of us will never experience the ups and downs that Tiger has faced. But our own little worlds can be tough places. We have personal, family, and financial issues that are very real to us, and really can make things difficult. Let’s face it, life can be hard. And dentistry is no walk in the park either. Patients can be brutal. Competition is fierce. DSOs are real. And if you own a practice, you could be one crown prep away from missing payroll.

Tiger never quit. And most of all, he admitted he needed help. He faced his faults, and got help facing his addictions. And even though his golf greatness was obvious, he got coaching, always trying to improve his game. And from some amazing lows, Tiger is once again among the greats.

Don’t give up. Get comfortable with the fact that life has its ups and downs. And get the proper help when you need it. And if you want to chat about your practice struggles, let us know! We’re here for you!!

Coach Rich
Coach Dave

 

Dr. David Madow and Dr. Richard Madow are actual dentists who have been helping dental offices become more successful for over 28 years. They are down to earth, real people who personally connect with their clients and are proud to call them friends. If you have a question for this column, please write to them at coaches@madow.com. We are now offering a complimentary 30-minute coaching session! Please CLICK HERE to schedule yours. Doctors only please.

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End Of The Year Insurance Letter – Use It Or Lose It!

Hello all!! Lead Coach Betty Hayden here – welcome back to Coaches Corner! 

A question I am frequently asked is “Do you have a good end-of-the-year insurance letter?” After all, we don’t want our patients to leave insurance money “on the table” when they need treatment, and neither do they! 

 
Here is a good template for a letter you can send to your patients who have diagnosed but unscheduled treatment or are overdue for their preventive visit. Of course you should customize this to your office needs and culture.

Dear Theresa,

It’s that time of year again, when you are busy with school schedules, getting ready for cooler weather, and making upcoming holiday plans. During this hectic time, you may not be thinking about your available or unused dental insurance benefits.

Whether you have insurance benefits remaining or if you have funds set aside in a flexible spending account (FSA) or healthcare saving account (HSA), now is the time to schedule treatment so your co-payment amounts can be applied to this year’s deductions.

Make sure to use all available benefits to complete any outstanding treatment or for your all-important preventive dental hygiene appointment (“checkup and cleaning”). Almost all plans do not allow you to rollover unused dollars to the next benefit year, so it’s “Use ‘Em or Lose ‘Em!”

Call us today to schedule your appointment. We find that the upcoming holiday season is always our “busy time” and we are certain it is a very busy time for you too.

Beat the end of year rush and get in early! Just give us a call at 410-761-6454 to schedule. Do it right now before you forget!

Please know we are here to assist you and answer any questions you may have regarding your dental treatment.

Yours partners for better dental health,

Dr. Rightley and the team at Pasadena Smiles

A few more tips:

Personalize  – When mailing out remaining maximum letters, be sure to customize for each patient according to their treatment plan. This will help to re-create the urgency and value for treatment.  For some patients, it will take some type of additional incentive to get them to act.

Mailing Tip –  Use a bright-colored envelope and neatly hand-write the name and address. Use a “live” stamp.

Phone Calls – About a week after you mail out your letters, go ahead and start calling them to see if they received the letter and to schedule their appointment.

Document – Be sure to document that a letter was mailed, phone calls were made and what type of response you received from each patient.

Important Reminder – Before sending out these letters and making calls to your patients be sure to review your upcoming appointment schedule… Where is your open chair time? Will pre-blocking some open time be helpful? Also, before scheduling last minute appointments that require lab work, be sure to communicate with your lab guy/gal that they can in fact, get these cases back to you in time.

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Yours for Greater Success,
~Betty

Betty Hayden is the lead coach at The Madow Center For Dental Practice Success. She has over 25 years of experience in the dental profession. Her expertise is in effective telephone answering techniques, profitable scheduling, marketing campaigns, communication, social media, new patient acquisition, practice growth, and much more. She is called “The Idea Woman” because she grows practices!  

If you have a question for this column, please write to us atcoaches@madow.com. And remember, we would like to offer you a complimentary 30-minute coaching session! Please CLICK HERE to schedule yours. Doctors only please.

To sign up for our mailing list CLICK HERE

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We hate to sound like a broken record but….

Sometimes the best ways to instantly up your practice are the easiest things to do.

So……we hate to sound like a broken record, but…..

If you listen to our podcast, The Dental Practice Fixers, you know that at the end of each episode we do a “Secret Shopper Call.” And although these calls are spontaneous and unedited, some of them have been cut out. Why? Because we called a fully functioning dental practice during normal business hours, and no one answered the phone!

We would get a message that said, “We are currently at lunch.” Or…

“If you are hearing this message during normal office hours, we are busy treating patients and can’t get the phone right now.” Or….

Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring.

And what’s the next sound? Click! A $10,000 (average) new patient down the drain.

So (for those of you old enough to know what a broken record is) we hate to sound like a broken record, but….

Answer.

The.

Phone.

Every single time it rings!

And how about the ability of the person answering the phone to get the patient off the phone and into the appointment book? That’s a topic for another day.

But if you want a taste of what that is all about (and some good tips), be sure to listen to The Dental Practice Fixers. We do a secret shopper call on every episode, and they need to be heard to be believed!

Coach Rich
Coach Dave

Dr. David Madow and Dr. Richard Madow are actual dentists who have been helping dental offices become more successful for over 28 years. They are down to earth, real people who personally connect with their clients and are proud to call them friends. If you have a question for this column, please write to them at coaches@madow.com. We are now offering a complimentary 30-minute coaching session! Please CLICK HERE to schedule yours. Doctors only please.

To sign up for our mailing list CLICK HERE

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Cures For A Slow September: Treatment Tips and Management Gems

September can be a slow time for many practices. That’s why we have asked our lead coach, Betty Hayden, to come up with some ideas to make your September a great one!! But before we let Betty take it away, we want to let you know that she, along with Coach Kelly Lynch and us (The Madow Brothers!) will be in Baltimore, MD on Friday September 14, 2018 for our first ever Masterclass for Dentists!

This day will be an amazing opportunity for anyone who wants to meet all of us and figure out some ways to grow their practice. And there is no charge at all except getting yourself to Baltimore. But there are two important things you need to know…

1) The Dentist’s Masterclass is for docs only. A doctor may bring a significant other or a key team member, but no team members may attend without the doc.

2) There will be lots of learning, brainstorming, practice troubleshooting, etc. But this course is intended only for those who are serious about working with us as their coaches. It’s not for “tire-kickers!” We would love to be right by your side on the road to practice growth, and this is your chance to see what that is all about.

We sent out an email about the Masterclass last week and it is already filling up quickly. If you missed it, would like to read it again, or would like to know more, just click here!

Okay – now on to Betty with her September tips. Thanks for reading!!

Rich and Dave

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
How does your schedule look for the month of September? For some offices, their schedules tend to fall apart in September. Whatever the case is in your office, I have some fun tips and ideas to help make September a fantastic month for you, your team, and your patients!

Unscheduled Treatment Plans – Reach out to all your patients with incomplete treatment plans or that are past-due in hygiene. Encourage them to schedule their appointment during the month of September.

Insurance Renewal Letters – Send out your “Use it or Lose it” reminder texts, emails, and letters. Pick up the phone and call your patients that have treatment planned and insurance maximums remaining that renew in January but haven’t scheduled appointments to start/complete treatment.

September is World Alzheimer’s Month – use this as an opportunity to educate your patients and the community about the importance of dental health care for Alzheimer’s patients in helping to keep them comfortable and healthy.

September is also the start of Football season – whether you’re a fan of football or not, celebrating football season with your office employees and patients is a great way to have more fun and exceed expectations.

  • Special Offers on Sport Mouthguards
  • Set up a photo booth area with fun football related props.
  • Post sports related dental health tips on your social media pages.
  • Cheer on your local football teams via your social media platforms.
  • Sponsor a local football team.
  • Have a raffle to win football game tickets or a football-themed gift basket to encourage Facebook likes, check-ins, referrals, and reviews on Google, Facebook, & Yelp.
  • Deliver football-themed snacks and gifts to local businesses and specialists.

Social Media Post Content Ideas for September:

1st: Random Acts of Kindness Day or Be Kind Day
9th: Grandparents Day
19th: Talk Like A Pirate Day
22nd: Bright Pink Lipstick Day
25th: National One-Hit Wonder Day
29th: World Heart Day

There you have it, some fun marketing ideas for the month of September. Please, be sure to stay in touch with me and keep me updated on any of the ideas that you use and/or if you have some thoughts on how to take these suggestions to the next level!

Sometimes despite your best efforts the schedule still falls apart. Don’t stress over it, instead use that downtime to do some training, team building and/or office cleaning/organizing.

Yours for Greater Success,
~Betty

Betty Hayden is the lead coach at The Madow Center For Dental Practice Success. She has over 25 years of experience in the dental profession. Her expertise is in effective telephone answering techniques, profitable scheduling, marketing campaigns, communication, social media, new patient acquisition, practice growth, and much more. She is called “The Idea Woman” because she grows practices!

If you have a question for this column, please write to us at coaches@madow.com. And remember, we would like to offer you a complimentary 30-minute coaching session! Please CLICK HERE to schedule yours. Doctors only please.

To sign up for our mailing list CLICK HERE

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Why Are Concerts Better Than Sporting Events?

What’s better – a concert or a sporting event? Tough question.

Here in Baltimore (home of The Madow Center For Dental Practice Success World Headquarters) we are lucky to have a plethora of both. There is a great music scene here with a huge variety of venues that attracts everyone from the largest acts in the world to our soon-to-breakout local favorites (Snail Mail anyone)?

And when it comes to sports we have The Orioles (even though they are having a really sucky year they are still “our O’s!”), The Ravens, University of Maryland basketball, Hopkins lacrosse and tons of great local events.

So why are concerts better than sports? Well, it’s a matter of opinion of course. And even though we like sports, we’re both music guys at heart. But here is a major difference. Sporting events always have a winner and a loser. Someone always goes home disappointed. At a concert, everyone leaves happy!

One of our mentors, the great (and totally nuts) Gary Halbert once said,

“There are some games in life where the only way to win is not to play.” So true. Yet it seems dentists insist on playing games where it is impossible to win!

What makes you think you can help that patient who has been through ten dentists in three years and they have all been “terrible?”

How is it possible to make a PPO work when their fee won’t cover your overhead?

Do you really think a team member who has been sabotaging your practice for five years is going to have a sudden turnaround?

Sometimes you just gotta say “no.” And remember, there are some games where the only way to win is not to play!

Coach Rich
Coach Dave

Dr. David Madow and Dr. Richard Madow are actual dentists who have been helping dental offices become more successful for over 28 years. They are down to earth, real people who personally connect with their clients and are proud to call them friends. If you have a question for this column, please write to them at coaches@madow.com. We are now offering a complimentary 30-minute coaching session! Please CLICK HERE to schedule yours. Doctors only please.

To sign up for our mailing list CLICK HERE

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Sriracha Hot Sauce, The Grateful Dead, and your dental practice!!

Do you like Sriracha hot sauce? If so, you are like millions (and us!) who have made the green capped bottle with the rooster logo the most popular flavoring to come along in years.

But here’s the crazy thing. David Tran, a Vietnamese refugee who created the stuff, never trademarked the name Sriracha. So that means anyone can make a hot sauce and call it Sriracha. Yes – even you!! And when you go to Subway and get a Sriracha Chicken Melt, Tran doesn’t get a penny. Same with your Sriracha-infused potato chips from Frito-Lay, etc. etc…

In the 1970s hey-day of rock and roll, it seemed like a free-for-all. But one thing was strictly forbidden – taking a tape recorder into a concert and recording your favorite band as they played live. Nothing would get you kicked out more quickly. And people actually went to prison for illegally recording concerts and selling them on “bootleg” albums. (Did either of us ever buy bootleg records? No comment.) After all, the lost revenue to the artists and record labels would be substantial.

Except for the Grateful Dead. Not only did they allow taping and distribution of their music by fans, they encouraged it. They even had a “tapers section” at their concerts where people would bring elaborate setups into the shows to get the perfect audience recording.

Both The Grateful Dead and Sriracha went against all logic and advice, and both are enormous success stories. But what’s the bottom, bottom line? They put out fantastic product and knew how to cultivate the most loyal fan-base ever.

Many dental “experts” will have their prescribed recommendations for how to run a successful practice. You have to have the right “look” and use all the correct verbiage. You can’t say things like “recall” and “waiting room.” You have to do this and you can’t do that. We even know of a consulting company that says every single three surface amalgam needs to be crowned – no exceptions!!

But there is no cookie-cutter path to success. And you can’t be someone else. Of course, the universal rules apply to your practice just like they do to Sriracha and The Dead. Put out a fantastic product! Make people feel good! Bend the rules when necessary! Encourage people to spread the word! Love your consumers, fans, or patients and treat them right.

Now wouldn’t you like to experience the success of these two iconic organizations? Start with this question – how does my practice truly stand out from the rest?

Coach Rich
Coach Dave

Dr. David Madow and Dr. Richard Madow are actual dentists who have been helping dental offices become more successful for over 28 years. They are down to earth, real people who personally connect with their clients and are proud to call them friends. If you have a question for this column, please write to them at coaches@madow.com. We are now offering a complimentary 30-minute coaching session! Please CLICK HERE to schedule yours. Doctors only please.

To sign up for our mailing list CLICK HERE

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Kind Of A Stupid Dental Phrase

We’ve heard it recommended by many dental “practice management experts” and have witnessed it being uttered in offices across the country – but that doesn’t make it right!

It’s a phrase said by the scheduling coordinator and involves “block scheduling” – for example, having a scheduling strategy that places the most productive procedures in the morning. (Whether or not this is a good idea is a topic for another day.)

It has been suggested by many that when getting a patient to do a highly productive procedure early in the day the following verbiage is used:

“Let’s schedule this first thing in the morning
when the doctor is fresh!”

Hmmmm….so what happens if the patient can only make it in the afternoon? They get a stale doctor? The treatment will not be as good? There will be mold growing on their brand new crowns? This is a silly phrase that should immediately be dropped from the vernacular!
Sometimes we slip into habits with things we say or do. Maybe they made sense at one time, or we were just blindly following advice (as with the old “fresh doctor / stale doctor” thing). Or maybe we just never gave it too much thought.

But please remember – every single word you say to a patient is extremely important!! Don’t take it casually and don’t wing it!

A great topic for a team meeting is to “calibrate” your responses to the most frequently asked questions patients ask and come up with great answers that will be used by everyone.

It’s so easy to fall into bad habits. Try to make it your goal that everything you do and say in your practice will be for a reason (hopefully a good one!)

What are some things you are saying or doing that can be improved?

What are some every day procedures and protocols that can be changed to create a better experience for your patients? This is a great topic for your next team meeting!

Coach Rich
Coach Dave

Dr. David Madow and Dr. Richard Madow are actual dentists who have been helping dental offices become more successful for over 28 years. They are down to earth, real people who personally connect with their clients and are proud to call them friends. If you have a question for this column, please write to them at coaches@madow.com.
We are now offering a complimentary
30-minute coaching session!

Please
CLICK HERE to schedule yours. Doctors only please. 

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