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The Most Common Mistake


Welcome to our brand new column, Coaches Corner! We are happy to share our years of experience working with dental offices all across North America.

Today’s question comes from a doc in Atlanta.

Hey guys, would you be willing to share the most common mistake or problem that you have observed from the offices you have worked with over the years?

Dr. Mike H., Atlanta, GA.

 

Dear Dr. Mike,

Great question. There are so many things we have observed over the years, but one thing stands out in our minds for sure. The most common problem we see even today is offices that are overly concerned with how many new patients they are receiving. Everyone wants more new patients. But most docs think that more new patients are the panacea – the answer to all of their problems.

So we get into a conversation and we ask why they want more new patients. It always comes down to wanting to earn more money. Then we ask questions. How is your cash flow? What do you mean you can’t pay your bills? Why aren’t your current patients making appointments for their recommended treatment? Why did you just go into more debt to purchase that new piece of equipment? A salesman told you it would increase your production? Do you really think it’s going to help you? Why do so many patients owe you money? You have an associate doctor who is making more money than you? Can you explain why? Do you even need an associate? What is your overhead? You don’t know? Well let us share this – it’s about 90%. Why aren’t you treating any periodontal disease in your hygiene department? Is it that your hygienist doesn’t own a perio probe? Or is it that she has no time to use it or discuss perio with your patients? Do you think your front desk person is actually getting patients to make appointments? Doesn’t look like it. She needs help badly. Have you looked through your file cabinet lately? No you haven’t. It’s FILLED with patients that need to come in. Do you know how to get them in? You are taking a course to treat headaches and you can’t even treatment plan a crown? REALLY? Do you honestly believe that dropping all insurance is the answer? Your problem is NOT new patients!

Dr. Mike – Sorry about the rant. But you asked. We see this situation almost every day.

 

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, please write to them at brothers@madow.com. If you would like to ask a confidential question, please CLICK HERE to schedule a free call.

Slightly disappointed

Yes – we are slightly disappointed. In your office? Maybe. But it’s okay – it’s not too late.

You see, a few weeks ago we set out to call a bunch of practices that have attended“TBSE – The Best Seminar Ever” recently to get their opinions on some things. But the project was pretty much a flop. Why?

Fewer than half of the offices we called even answered their phones! And this was during normal business hours. Instead we received voice mail messages like:

“If you are hearing this message during regular office hours, we are currently serving other patients.”

CLICK!

“We are currently at lunch.”

CLICK!

Sorry to tell you – this is simply not acceptable. The phone is where 99% of your new patients make their first contact with your office. Way too many people tell us they need more new patients, but more often than not, that is not their real problem. If your phone isn’t answered EVERY time it rings during normal business hours (and yes – that means during lunch and during your day off) you are losing new patients you never even knew existed.

How do you make this happen? That’s a lesson for another day. And honestly – you are smart enough to figure it out!! But for now, listen to our friends from Sugar Ray, and answer the phone!!

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…..”

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?

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.

Are you just a pair-of-hands?

Henry Ford was a genius with automobiles. But with people, he had his limitations.

More specifically with the “worker-person.”

On one occasion he asked, “Why is it that I always get the whole person, when what I really want is a pair of hands?” 

You, friend…and dental professional are more than “a pair of hands.” Though there are days, chairside, bent over mouths, preventing, restoring, treating, diagnosing, treatment planning…that you feel like a “pair of hands,” right?

Years have gone by, and the Industrial Revolution mindset still rears its head. It gives you the idea that you’re a “production unit.”

It’s easy to see how your team can feel that way too. And if you’re not careful, that is how you can communicate to your patients (“production” instead of people).

Good news: you’re whole-y valuable! Chin up there, Sport!

Let’s talk value. Because that’s what you bring to every patient who trusts you enough to allow you to diagnose, let you treat, and part with their hard-earned resources to stay healthy (and remember…bottom line…it’s about health!).

Three L’s of Value (and Why You’re More than a Pair of Hands)

1)     Listen between the lines
Your patients are saying more than you’re possibly hearing. Value-based care listens between the lines where you’ll hear their deeper motivation for treatment.

For example…Remember it’s not about porcelain veneers – it’s about your patient’s confidence to smile in front of a crowd as they deliver a presentation. Or it’s not about orthodontic treatment –

it’s really about attending their 25th high school reunion next summer looking better than they did when they graduated.

 

2)     Leverage features into benefits
It’s Marketing 101. Features appeal to logic. But benefits connect emotionally.

That’s why no one cares (really) about your state-of-the-art thingamajig you invested in. Stop talking up the technology and instead talk up the benefits it delivers.

Do a feature-benefit assessment of every technology, procedure, product, or service you provide. Then present around the benefits.

 

3)     Look beyond today
Your ultimate professional responsibility is wellness. Patient priority one: prevention.

But won’t that diminish returns?

Hmmm…good question, but…

Maybe (with a long term perspective) you’ll begin to feel more “whole” and less like a “pair of hands.”

Just a thought…and a value-able one at that!

Is your practice being skewered? Don’t let it…..

It is amazing how the small actions of one person can totally undermine an otherwise fantastic practice or business. Don’t believe it? Check this out.

Our hometown of Baltimore is constantly receiving accolades as one of the best restaurant cities in North America. Why should you care? Because of this.

Recently a brand new Peruvian restaurant called Inka Grill Fusion was reviewed in The Baltimore Sunpapers. (Despite the downfall of newspapers, they still have a lot of clout when it comes to making or breaking a restaurant as their reviews are not only read in the paper but sought out online.)

It seems the setting was beautiful and the food was great. Yet the restaurant received a lousy review. Why? Because the reviewers felt their waiter did a horrible job. In line with Peruvian cuisine, they “skewered” him! (You can read the review here: http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/dining/bs-lt-inka-grill-fusion-review-20160922-story.html

This is really sad, and maybe a little bit unfair. After a sizable investment, lots of planning, an incredibly creative chef, and doing so many things right, they were ultimately judged by the poor behavior of one person.

You can be sure that after this review came out, this server got a tremendous ass-whooping if not a firing. And here is how this relates to your practice.

No matter how great your office may be, oftentimes you are judged by one person who doesn’t care to give every single patient a memorable experience every time they visit or are on the phone. It can be anyone in the practice – a hygienist, a dental assistant, a business team member, and perhaps more frequently than we like to admit…the doctor!

You can be doing 99 out of 100 things right and all of it can be undermined by a single person doing a single act. The beautiful crown you are about to cement is forgotten if a patient doesn’t feel completely appreciated. The gentle touch you provide is not as valued if you ran twenty minutes late. The beautiful office is undermined if the patient doesn’t get their questions answered in plain English. And on and on and on and on…..

So take a lesson from Inka Grill Fusion. Hopefully they will clean up their act and survive the bad opening review; then again they may not. Don’t let the same thing happen to you and your dental practice!!

The “greatest-thing-since-sliced-bread”

Thank Otto Frederick Rohwedder. For what, you ask?

He invented sliced bread.

His idea in 1912 introduced a machine that would take a loaf of bread and slice it.  How practical, right?

We hate to burn-your-toast but the invention was a failure.

As Seth Godin confirms, (It was) “…a good product with lousy marketing (that) had very little chance of success.”

Fast forward 20 years…

A new brand known as Wonder began marketing…ready…?

Sliced bread!

And the innovation (from 20 years earlier) caught on.

“It was the packaging and the advertising (“builds strong bodies twelve ways”) that worked, not the sheer convenience and innovation of pre-slicing bread.”

Think about that…

The next time you talk to a patient about teeth whitening, for example. Is it about brighter, whiter teeth in the convenience of a one-stop appointment…or…renewed confidence for a job interview, a wedding, or a school reunion?

We could talk about how you promote other treatment and procedures. But we think you get the picture (hopefully).

To your patients the “greatest thing since sliced bread” might be a tad bit deeper than the obvious features and surface benefits you most often talk about.