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How Can I Lower My Overhead?

Welcome back to Coaches Corner! We are happy to share our years of experience working with dental offices all across North America. Here is today’s question.

Hey Coaches!

My practice is doing pretty well, but I always sweat it out when payroll comes around, or there is a large bill of some type. How can I cut my overhead and get a little breathing room?

Dr. James
Enid, Oklahoma

Dr. James-

First of all, is that your first name or your last name?? We are not sure what to call you here.

Lowering your overhead is a great goal, but without knowing more about your practice it is difficult to give you truly effective pointers. When we do this for our coaching clients we have a fairly intense interview process and get really specific. But….. here are ten things that you can do, many of them starting tomorrow, that will surely help!

  1. Get on your collections! Make a list of everyone that owes you money for one reason or another and call them!! If you need to leave a voicemail, be somewhat vague. (In other words, instead of saying “I’m calling about the money you owe, you damn deadbeat!” say “We have a quick question for you that is very important…”) Get a credit card number from them right on the telephone! For those who don’t pay, send them a # 207 form!
  2.  Raise your fees! Do it now!! Don’t overthink it – just do it. And get paid more from your PPOs too! If you haven’t negotiated your PPO fee schedule, get in touch with Apex Reimbursement immediately!
  3. Offer fluoride to all adults. It’s not a huge money maker but it sure helps with cash flow.
  4. Offer sealants to all adults and kids. Both of these (fluoride and sealants) will bring in a little cash AND improve the health of your patients.
  5. Renegotiate your credit card fees. Establish a great relationship with your bank and let them know that you want to pay less for credit card processing. You may just be amazed!
  6. Renegotiate your lease.  Even if your lease is not up, with commercial real estate still down a bit, you can totally re-do your terms if you sign on for a few more years. This can immediately put cash in your pocket.
  7. Pay less for your lab bill!! Are you using our favorite lab, Maverick Dental Laboratories? They have extremely reasonable pricing and high quality. Plus – they will give you three free crowns – BruxZir, emax, or PFM –  just for trying them out! At the very least you’ll save a few hundred bucks, and probably more!
  8. Always get paid up front – don’t be a bank!! Never do in-house payment plans; you will get burned. That’s what Care Credit is for. Get the money in the bank and don’t look back.
  9. One bad apple DOES spoil the whole bunch!! A team members who saps everyone’s energy and positivity is costing you a TON! If you are in this situation, you know what we are talking about.
  10. Have a long talk with your accountant about the upcoming year. Now is the time! Are there deductions you should be taking? Things you can legally charge to the business that you aren’t? A good CPA can help immensely!

So there you have it – ten quick and easy ways to shave your overhead. While none of these are “home runs,” do five or more and we promise results!

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.

Important Office Policy

Very frequently we are asked questions such as:

“The crown came back and it really didn’t fit well. What should I tell the patient?”

Or…..

“My assistant doesn’t use correct grammar when she speaks with our patients. What should I tell her?”

Or….

“The patient’a insurance didn’t pay what we expected….”

or many variations of the same question.

The simple answer is……tell the truth!

Sometimes we may be tempted to tell a little white lie or somehow weasel our way out of a situation. And when it comes to this kind of stuff, we’ve heard it all!

But the simplest, best and easiest to follow policy in every situation is……tell the truth!!

Of course, there is a right way and a wrong way to do this. Going on a rampage against the lab in an attempt to save face just makes everyone look bad. But saying something like…

“The crown came back from the lab, and we are just not happy with the way it fits. We could spend some time trying to adjust it, but the best result would come from getting you numb again, shaping the tooth a tiny bit more, and doing a new impression. We really apologize for the inconvenience, but in the end this will give you the best and longest lasting result.”

Big difference there, eh?

Or instead of saying “I’m sorry Mrs. Luther – your insurance is just horrible!” (believe it or not, we once heard that during an in-office consult) – try something like…

“The good news is that your insurance will contribute seventy-eight dollars to the fee for this procedure!”

Again – same truth, different message.

So while we are not fans of lots of strict policies, one that can never flex is……
“Tell The Truth!!”

Just make sure that you do it the right way!

A few days ago, we had to tell you the truth – there was a technical error in our online ordering system and some people could not register for TBSE at the special pre-announcement discounted tuition. So….we had to extend it for a very short time! To find out how to get the discount code which will save you tons of money, click here. We hope to see you at TBSE 2012 – The Best Seminar Ever. And that’s the truth!!

Sometimes It’s The Simplest Things!

It’s really fun and rewarding to come up with fantastic ways to grow your practice.

But it’s just as important to take control of your overhead. After all, what good is it to produce millions when it all vanishes due to high expenses?

Thousands of dental practices have trusted us for advice on both practice growth and overhead control. Sometimes it is complex, and sometimes it’s simple. (Simple is usually more fun!)

So today – we are going to let you in on an incredible way to lower your overhead TODAY and keep it lowered in the future.

Remakes. Long crown and bridge adjustments. Rescheduling patients. Crowns that don’t fit well (and die a premature death). Frustration. Time spent on the phone with your lab. Breaking down instruments and rooms when nothing was accomplished. High lab bills.

All of these things are overhead killers, and they can all be rectified by working with a great lab.

But besides all of that stuff, here is a way to save a few hundred dollars TODAY just by picking up the phone.

We have recommended a fantastic, reliable, inexpensive and HONEST lab to thousands of dentists, and the results have been spectacular.

So what if there was a way to try out that lab for FREE?? You can save a few hundred on your lab bill right from the get-go AND be introduced to a lab which will save you lots more in the long haul!

Look – we have been helping dental practices for over twenty-two years, and wouldn’t steer you wrong!

That’s why we are urging you to pick up the phone right now, call 1-866-318-6624, and claim your three free crowns!

They are from Maverick Lab of Monroeville, PA – and we know that you will love them. To read more about this great lab, please click here.

You will save lots of money right away, and since you will love their work (thus lowering your lab bill, decreasing remakes, and eliminating frustration) – you will save thousands and thousands more!

If there is any reason you don’t want to give Maverick a try, grab your three free crowns, and be introduced to a great lab, please let us know!

If not, just call 1-866-318-6624 and tell them you want your three free crowns! You will be happy you did, and you don’t even have to thank us!!

Special Guest Message – PLEASE READ

*** Instead of the usual message from Rich and Dave, today we have invited a special guest to give you some very important information. Please read it carefully*** 

Greetings.

My name is Blind Harry. I’ve been in the dental field for over fifty years, and I’ve got something very important to tell you. Please read on, as this will definitely save you time, money, frustration, lower your blood pressure, make you happier, and possibly improve your sex life. (Well, the last one may not be true, but at my age I’ve got to try every chance I get!)

Has this ever happened to you?

You are inserting a crown, bridge, onlay, denture, or whatever – and the darn thing just doesn’t fit. Or maybe it fits but it is just butt ugly. You vow that you are finally going to try a new lab.

So there you are just a few minutes later with a bloody saliva soaked impression in your hand, not sure who to send it to. The mail just came in and right on top is a glossy postcard from some huge lab offering low prices, speedy turnaround, and the best work this side of The Rio Grande. Soon enough the impression is in the box being mailed off to who-knows-where.

A couple weeks later the crown comes back and it is beautiful. Better yet, it fits so nicely you could pretty much fill it with cement and hook-shot in from across the room. It’s laboratory nirvana.

The next few crowns are the same. You are pleased as punch that you have finally found your “go-to” lab.

A few weeks pass, then a month or two. The work you are getting is still pretty good, but not quite like it was when you were the new client. You pay your bills on time and are a good customer. The lab is pretty sure that you will keep sending them your stuff.

Then the next crown comes back. It looks like a Kaiser Roll and the fit is so poor you’re not even sure it’s for the right tooth. Then the next crown comes in, and even though it fits okay, the occlusion is so high you are grinding and grinding until the metal shows right through the occlusal surface.

When your patient asks you what that big ugly black dot is on their brand new crown, you tell them it’s called a “Power Spot.” You’re frustrated as hell and you wonder what the heck happened.

Well, I’ll tell you what the heck happened! That lab you thought was so fantastic was saving their best techs for their new customers – and since you are no longer new, they gave you to me.

That’s right – me. Let me re-introduce myself. I’m Blind Harry – and if you want to waste time and money while frustrating your patients, I’m your man! The worst part is, people like me can be found in labs all over the country. My work is mediocre, skills poor, and I just don’t give a sh*t.

But since I’m near retirement, I wanted to do a favor for my buddies The Madow Brothers. Those guys really care about the dentists and team members they hang out with and wanted to spare them the pain and cost of dealing with me (Blind Harry) and others like me. So what did they do?

They went on a two year mission to find a fantastic lab – one they could recommend to everyone in the dental world. Their goal was to find a lab which does fantastic work, provides great customer service, has really low prices, and really cares about making you happy. And best of all, they do it consistently – day after day, month after month, and year after year.

They wanted to find a lab where the owners were helpful, ethical and honest – guys that you could actually get on the phone if you wanted to.

And most of all they wanted to find a lab who would never hire me – Blind Harry! The sad news for me is that because of my “friends” The Madow Brothers, I may be on the unemployment line soon. But that’s okay. I know that you’ll be glad not to have Blind Harry to kick around anymore.

The lab that they found is Maverick Laboratories in Monroeville, PA. I went there to meet with the owners, Joe Fey and Larry Albensi, with a job application in hand and they told me to get lost. I guess I shouldn’t have brought my seeing-eye-dog to the job interview. But that’s okay. I hung around long enough to hear Larry, Joe and The Madow Brothers cooking up something unbelievable. Here’s what they are going to do.
Give Maverick Lab a try and they will give you your first three crowns
ABSOLUTELY FREE!

That’s right – no obligation, no strings attached.

They know that once you see how great their work is, you will continue to use Maverick. You’ll save time and money, your patients will be happy, and your blood pressure will go back to normal. Best of all – you will never see me – Blind Harry. And I certainly won’t see you, even if I could.

You would be absolutely crazy not to give this a try. Even if you are happy with your current lab, it’s great to have a reliable backup. And Maverick is better than reliable – they are fantastic!

Don’t wait until you are standing in the treatment room with an impression in your hand, not sure where to send it. Do that and I – Blind Harry – may wind up making that crown for you. Yikes!

So how do you get started? Call my buddies The Madow Brothers at 1-888-88-MADOW. They will contact Maverick for you and make sure that you get a lab box, prescription pads, a really cool free gift, and best of all – your certificate for THREE FREE CROWNS!

No other lab in the country is willing to make that offer – certainly not the one where I work. So call 1-888-88-MADOW right now and tell them you want to get those three free crowns and kiss me goodbye

Get Your Free Twenty Dollar Bill!

“For a limited time, The Madows are giving away FREE twenty dollar bills!”
Why did we put a picture of a $20 bill on the top of this email? First of all, it was to attract your attention! You gotta admit… most people are attracted to money! And secondly, we wanted to share a question we have asked each other for at least the last twenty years!

Here is the question we have been pondering… if we sent an email out to our entire list offering a free $20 bill and all you’d have to do is reply “YES” and you would get one sent to you, how many people would actually take us up on it?  We will probably never know the answer because unfortunately…

we can’t afford to try this!

But how many do you think would do it?  You probably think 99%.   Or maybe 75%.   The lowest some of you may think is perhaps 50%.   Well guess what!!! It would be less than you think. MUCH LESS! And we’re not sure of the reason other than disbelief or laziness.

We are sure that you understand that offering a free $20 bill to you is not in the cards today. We would put our business in jeopardy if you were right about the percentage! But being the Madows, to make up for this we would like to offer two things free that will surely beat a $20 bill any day of the week!

First thing – FREE membership in The M Club, which is our incredible dental buying group! Yes, we have teamed up with Darby and called it The M Club and we urge you to join for free today! When you are a card carrying member (yes, you REALLY do get a black card to keep in your wallet), you get the best deals on your dental supplies, VIP concierge service, rewards (that you pick from a catalog) just for buying dental supplies, and all kinds of free perks at Madow seminars! This is worth so much more than a $20 bill, it isn’t even funny. Go to The M Club online or call 1-855-THE-M-CLUB right now to get started!

Second thing – Three FREE Crowns from Maverick Dental Lab! We searched the planet far and wide to find the best lab for our Madow dental friends. And Maverick is it. By far! We have been recommending Maverick for three years now and we have so many great testimonials, we had to have another file cabinet delivered yesterday to hold them all! Oh, and Maverick is offering new clients (only Madow friends) three free crowns so that you may give them a try! Ask any other lab if they would do that for you and they will laugh (or spit) in your face. That’s why you gotta give Maverick a try. Call them at 1-866-318-6624 and ask for Joe or Larry (the owners). They will take care of you. We promise. Or click HERE!

So to recap… no actual twenty dollar bills today, but we think we did MUCH better! How many of you will click on both of the above or even easier yet, get a team member who is in charge to take care of this? The SMART dentists reading this will do it immediately. The others will just be wondering forever how to get ahold of one of the twenties!

How To Ask For Referrals

After over twenty years of teaching, we have learned quite a bit. And one thing that we have definitely learned is that most people will not take action, even on a good thing.
 
It’s pretty safe to say that if we wrote:
 
“Fax us your address and we will send you a crisp new twenty dollar bill” most people would not do it.
 
The odds get even worse with something like asking a patient to refer someone to your practice. No matter how many courses you take with some great script that is supposed to do the magic, the reality is most patients simply will not refer when asked.
 
One of the problems is that when it comes time to ask for the referral, the doctor or team member makes it about them and not the patient.
 
Picture the typical scenario. A patient is happy with the new crowns you just inserted. They are glowing and say:
 
“Oh Doctor Pickles – I just love my new teeth!”
 
Boom! You know that’s the best time to ask for a referral. But why doesn’t it work? Because we tend to say something lame like:
 
“That’s great Lucinda. If you have any friends or family who could benefit from the same type of dentistry, we would be glad to see them here at Pickles Dental Care.”
 
Okay – Lucinda knows that at this point it’s all about trying to increase your practice.
 
When asking for a referral – it’s crucial to work with human nature. Make it about the patient. Engage in a little conversation first before jumping on the referral question.

Let’s do an example.
 
“Oh Doctor Pickles – I just love my new teeth!”
 
“Lucinda – thanks for saying that. It really made my day! But actually, you made it easy. It’s a pleasure treating you here.”
 
“Oh – thanks!”
 
“As you can imagine – in the dental field we hear all kinds of crazy stories, so it’s our goal to make every single patient as comfortable as possible.”
 
“Yeah – I know what you mean. My Mom went to the dentist and they started drilling before she was even numb!”

“Oh – so sorry to hear that Lucinda. We would be glad to make room for her in our practice and would be sure to treat her extra gently. Debbie will even give you a few of our cards. When she’s ready to come in – just let us know. We’ll look out for her and give her the red carpet treatment.”
 
See the difference? We engaged Lucinda in a valuable conversation before jumping to the referral issue. It was about her (and subsequently her Mom) – not about the practice.
 
And most importantly, the conversation was tailored to lead to the referral of a specific person. This is SO much more powerful than asking for a referral of generic “friends and family.”
 
So yes – asking for referrals can work, especially if you put a little bit of extra oomph into it, make it about the patient not the practice, and try to hone in on a specific referral.
 
The goal is not always instant gratification, but the fact that when the patient is ready to refer, you are the beneficiary of the action.
 
Trust us – it works!!
 
Oh yeah – with that in mind, we would like to ask you to do something right now – and it will be of benefit to YOU!
 
Just like most people won’t take a free twenty dollar bill, most people won’t take something that is worth much more!!
 
For several years now we have been recommending (and will continue to recommend) Maverick Dental Lab of Monroeville, PA. We think so highly of them that we want to give you your first three crowns (PFM or eMax) absolutely free.  We promise that you will love the quality, customer service and pricing AND that you will become a satisfied long term client.
 
Yes – it’s about you, not us!! You can begin a relationship with a fantastic lab AND get three free crowns
 
But you will never know how satisfied you are unless you try! So give Maverick a call right now at 1-866-318-6624 and just ask for your three free crowns. They’ll send you out a lab kit, prescription pads, a certificate for your three free crowns, and a really cool gift too.
 
It’s all yours, and all you have to do is ask! Don’t wait – call 1-866-318-6624 right now and claim what should be yours – three beautiful crowns for free!!

To make it even easier, here’s a cool coupon for you!

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?

SHORT WEEK? LOWER YOUR OVERHEAD!

The upcoming Thanksgiving holiday means so many things – sweet potato pie, the chance to say “pass the stuffing” with a straight face, playing football on the lawn like The Kennedys, crashing on the couch in an L-tryptophan haze, being with friends and family – and if you are a dentist, complaining about all of the revenue being lost due to a three day work week.

Well now you can take that well deserved break knowing that even though your production may be down due to the holiday you are also taking steps to lower your overhead immediately AND in the upcoming years as well!!

Two of the biggest overhead items in the dental office are wasted chair time (i.e. spending chair time on non-productive procedures) and lab costs. So what would happen if your crowns popped right in with very few adjustments or remakes necessary AND your lab bill was lowered at the same time? Obviously there would be a big chunk taken out of your overhead. But let’s face it – sometimes we reach a certain comfort level with our lab and are willing to put up with them because it is easier than switching. It takes a lot to get a dentist to switch a lab – maybe getting sent the wrong denture (“Wow – I’ve been adjusting this thing forever and it still isn’t close!”), not getting cases back on time, having little insects included in the lab box, and the like.

Over the last three years we have researched hundreds of labs, interviewed the owners and even performed site visits, all in order to answer the question – “Can you guys recommend a great lab?” And wow did we find a winner! As a matter of fact we were so impressed with Maverick Dental Lab that we actually teamed up with them! Why? Because we wanted to offer a fantastic high quality lab with unmatchable customer service owned by ethical caring people – and give you incredibly low prices!

The fact is, sometimes we tolerate mediocrity in a lab because it is just easier than switching, or maybe we don’t really know where else to go. That’s why we are going to make you an offer that is impossible to refuse! Try Maverick Lab this week and cut your overhead even more by getting THREE FREE CROWNS! This is an unbelievable opportunity to make your practice better and cut your overhead at the same time!

Think about it – how much better would your life be with better fitting crowns AND a lower overhead? Why wait? Check out our offer of three free crowns before you do your next impression! Just click here or call 1-866-318-6624. Now you can enjoy your Thanksgiving more with fewer remakes, lower lab bills, and three free crowns!!

By the way, to lower your overhead even more, be sure to ask Maverick about fantastic prices on top quality burs! Why pay retail if you don’t have to? Call 1-866-318-6624 now!!

Dental Lab Three Free Crowns!

Economy Buster – THREE FREE CROWNS FROM A GREAT DENTAL LAB

No tricks, no catches, no fine print, no further obligation!!!

Dental labs. You either love them or you hate them. There’s really no in-between, is there? Your relationship with your dental lab is probably one of the most important relationships in your practice. The reason is that the work that your lab sends back to you is a reflection on YOU!!! The days are long gone when you could blame everything on the lab! That simply doesn’t work these days as your patients are becoming more and more informed!

Well, here is the good news: The Madow Group has recently teamed up with Maverick Dental Lab to offer you not only the best quality that you could ever ask for on your lab cases, but the best customer service, as well as 10% off their regular pricing. We took our time and literally searched the country to find the right lab to co-op with. Since we started this relationship with Maverick, the response has been nothing short of spectacular. And we’re about to put our money where our mouths are and PROVE it to you.

Think about what the most important aspects of your dental lab are. Good quality workmanship and materials. Of course that’s important! And Maverick Dental Lab has both of these. When you send your cases to Maverick, there will be one less thing to be stressed out about when you have your patient in for an insert appointment. You will know with a very high level of confidence that the case will not only fit well, but it will look great. Again, it took us years to survey labs from coast to coast, and Maverick was hands down the winner by far!

Excellent customer service. Don’t you hate it when you are treated like a nobody by your dental lab? We sure do! The reason you are treated like this is because you probably are a nobody to them. They just don’t have the time to service you properly so they play the churning game (lose some clients but hopefully gain a few as well).

When you deal with Maverick, you are not a number. As a matter of fact, you deal with the owners directly! That’s right…Joe Fey and Larry Albensi (two of the nicest guys around) will get to know you personally because..

they actually care!!!

You can feel free to call them any time you need to discuss anything! You will never be alone in the lab world again!

Full service. Once you find a good lab, you want to stick with them for all of your needs. Nothing is more disappointing than a lab that only does one or two things well, forcing you to spread your other services among different labs. Well rest assured that Maverick is a total full service lab that you can feel confident sending all of your cases to, no matter what they are.

Pricing. Well, here is where the rubber meets the road. Because you can now get both of the above qualities in your lab as well as get instant overhead reduction the absolute bottom line pricing on top of that. Sounds like a win to me; don’t you agree? Well, as soon as you send a case to Maverick Dental Lab, you will be privy to our very special 10% off the bottom- line pricing! That’s right…every time you send a case to Maverick, take 10% off of their fee schedule.  That’s right, my friend, that money goes right into your pocket. In your dental practice, decrease your expenses by just 1% and that could be $10,000 in your pocket. The more, the better!

Here is the great news: sending a case to Maverick Dental Lab is so simple and absolutely no risk to you. We feel so confident about this that we are actually going to pay for your first three units. That’s right – the first three units that you send to Maverick are on us, so try us out risk-free. If we were not confident that Maverick was the best lab around, do you think we could do this?

To summarize:
Price of your first crown – $0
Price of your second crown – $0
Price of your third crown – $0

See, you are on your way to decreasing your variable costs!!! To get started with your first three cases, simply call our totally dedicated toll-free number at 1-866-318-6624. We will get you set up and you’ll be ready to go. Then you decide.

Call 1-866-318-6624 and ask for Joe or Larry. They are the owners. They’ll come to the phone for you. Can you say that about your present lab? Oh, and by the way, tell them that you are a friend of The Madow Group! They will REALLY take good care of you!