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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!

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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.

Do your patients really want freedom of choice?

Is freedom of choice hurting your practice’s bottom line?

In 1980, the great Devo song Freedom Of Choice declared:

“Freedom of choice is what you got
Freedom from choice is what you want!”

Let’s move to this morning.

5:30 AM – on the elliptical machine, frozen. Why? The all-important decision – what music to listen to. If you have Spotify or another streaming app on your phone, you have pretty much every piece of modern music ever made available right at your fingertips, rendering the decision “What should I listen to this morning?” pretty much impossible.

If you’re a baby boomer, you certainly remember the day when your TV choices were pretty much limited to three channels – and that was great! Even in 1992 Bruce Springsteen realized there were “57 channels and nothin’ on!”
Many millennials who use dating sites such as match.com report that it makes finding a boyfriend or girlfriend extremely difficult, because with hundreds of choices available, you’re always looking over your shoulder for the next date. “Sure – I like this person, but will lovesdogs347 be better?”
We have so much freedom of choice these days – but is it always a good thing? Maybe not when it comes to your patients!

The fact is, people love to be led. When they have a relationship with a trusted professional, they like to be told what to do. So while it’s tempting to thoroughly discuss a bevy of options, in most cases the best thing to say to a patient is…

“I see what the problem is, and this is how we fix it.”
Boom. That’s it.

“Freedom of choice is what you got
Freedom from choice is what you want!”

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.

What kind of ridiculous question is that?

The story is told of a professor. He lectured frequently as a well-known expert in his field.

Same speech. Dozens of cities. Week after week.

He admitted his travel weariness to his chauffeur as they were driving to yet another engagement.

The perceptive chauffeur offered his assistance.

“I’ve heard you deliver this lecture dozens of times. I’ve practically got it memorized. They’ve never met you. We’re the same height, build, and bear a resemblance. Let’s swap roles and clothes. Take the night off. You drive. I’ll speak.”

They arrived. The professor chauffeured and the chauffeur lectured.

In fact, he delivered the speech better than the professor had in recent engagements. He wrapped up and prepared to quickly exit the stage to resounding applause but was stopped short by the program’s emcee.

He announced to the now primed and gathered crowd that they had time for a few impromptu questions from the audience.

The chauffeur-professor returned nervously to the podium. The first question of a highly technical and academic nature was asked by an unsuspecting, yet impressed audience member.

The chauffeur-professor paused…rubbed his brow…and said, “Sir, that has to be the most elementary, unthoughtful, and RIDICULOUS question I’ve ever been asked. In fact just to show you how elementary and ridiculous a question that is…I’m going to ask my “chauffeur” at the back of the room to answer it for me!” (Drops mic).

Speaking of questions (we’ll address another “ridiculous” one in a moment)…

The questions you and your team ask your patients are either strategic and therefore useful.

Or…

Your questions are trivial, unnecessary, and lack the ability to compel a beneficial response.

There’s a slightly “ridiculous” dental question that’s asked a lot. And it reveals a principle that can potentially harm your patient relationships…

Ready?

“Do you floss?”

Think about it – you and your hygienists know the answer to that question…right? In fact, you won’t spend two seconds gazing into their mouth before you know the answer.

You want your patient to hear in the “do-you-floss?” question that “Flossing is essential to good periodontal health.” What they hear instead (between the lines) is, “You idiot, how could you be so stupid as to neglect your oral health?”

The principle: Your professional role and expertise give you permission to speak confidently not condescendingly.

Questions matter. And it’s the deeper message that holds value.