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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.
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The Letter

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

Today’s question comes from Dr. Alan Chilton of Memphis, TN

Dear Coaches,

I haven’t raised my fees in over three years and realize this is long overdue. But I don’t want to scare my patients and chase them away. Do you have suggestions for a letter I can send them that explains everything?

Thanks for you help.

Alan Chilton, D.D.S.
Memphis, TN

Alan-

First of all, congratulations on the decision to raise your fees. It is one of the easiest ways to increase your revenue overnight, and three years is way too long to wait.

Here is our suggestion for a letter to send to your patients. Don’t do it. Did you hear that?

DON’T DO IT!

As far as we know, there is no legal or ethical reason to do this. And should you choose to notify everyone, it will cause more harm than good. When is the last time you got a notification from the grocery store that the price of a jar of mayonnaise is on the rise? An oil change at your car dealership? Has your physician announced that the fee for a colonoscopy is going up? (“Going up, my ass!!” “Yes, that is correct, sir.”)

Look. Your patients think your fees are too high anyway. When is the last time you presented a fee and the patient thanked you for providing such a bargain? It just doesn’t happen.

So please – give your fees (and yourself) a hefty raise. After three years you deserve it. After all, the price of everything else has gone up. No announcement is necessary. It is totally fine, and hardly anyone will notice.

Or, you could do this…..

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.

 

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.

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…..”

Think about it

Picture this. You are presenting a treatment plan to a patient. Everything is going great. You think you have it wrapped up. But then they pull out the dreaded excuse…

“Let me think about it.”
You know from past experience that whenever you hear this objection there is a 99% chance this patient will turn into a ghost, not to be heard from in ever again.

Up until now you have tried all of the crappy comebacks that the two-bit consultants have taught you over the years but you know in your heart they just don’t work.

Today we are going to give you a new response to “Let me think about it” that should take care of this problem once and for all. It has proven to be very effective in our testing.

Can you guess what the best response to  “I need to think about it” may be?

Here is our suggestion:  DO NOTHING!

That is correct. When a patient tells you that they need to think about it, you know damn well it’s simply a stall tactic. There is something else on their mind but they are not saying what that is. Maybe it’s financial. Perhaps they are worried about the actual procedure. Pain. We are not sure.  If you just let them go and tell them it’s ok to think about it, you will not hear from them in 99% of the cases.

So try this. When they tell you they need to think about it, don’t say a word. That’s right… just keep quiet. You can look at them or look down a little bit. Or a combination of the two. Your body language must convey that you are concerned. But remember…

Do not say anything!

So what will happen next?

After a short time, your patient will feel very uncomfortable with the dead silence. Human nature is such that we want to fill in silence with words. So he or she will begin talking.

Once he begins talking, he will normally make his objection very clear and oftentimes come up with a solution without you even getting involved.

For example after a period of silence he may say “I don’t have the money at the moment but I am getting a fairly nice inheritance in October so would it be okay to wait until then?”

Bingo! You win.

Your response is “Sure Mr. Jones, why don’t we have Madge set you up right now for mid October?” Then have Madge give Mr. Jones two good options on dates and times and you are all set. You have treatment scheduled that in the past never would have happened.

Understand this. The silence at least gets them talking. Then it’s up to you to take the objection that comes up and turn it around and come up with a solution.

Will this work 100% of the time? Of course not. But we do guarantee it will increase your acceptance MUCH MORE than what you have been doing up until now.

Did you like this tip? Our goal is to make you more profitable! Please stay tuned for more answers to some of the most common objections in dentistry! We want you to be incredibly successful, and knowing the best responses will be a tremendous help to you and your practice! Stay in touch!

Stop Cancellations On The Spot!

 

It’s a constant problem in dental practices – a patient calls at 10:00 AM to cancel their 2:30 PM appointment. What do you do?? Can the appointment be saved?

 

What you DON’T want to do is get into a fight with the patient or start asking them a million questions about why they can’t keep the appointment. They will most likely get defensive and nobody wins.

 

So what do you do? Here is an amazing trick that is simple to do and actually saves around fifty percent of your last minute cancellations!! When the ubiquitous Mrs. Jones calls to cancel, simply say:

 

“Mrs. Jones, please allow me to put you on a brief hold while I retrieve your patient record.”

 

This is pretty much the ONLY time we recommend putting a patient on hold. Keep them there for around two minutes while you look at their record and have a brief conversation with the doctor or hygienist if necessary.

 

They are now listening to your great on-hold message, getting a little squirmy, and feeling kinda guilty. Then come back and say…

 

“Mrs. Jones, thanks for your patience. It looks like we have you scheduled for a thirty minute appointment to do a tooth-colored filling restoration on the lower right. Dr. Sardonicus is CONCERNED that if you don’t get this taken care of as soon as possible, the decay can grow and cause an even bigger problem which will need more extensive treatment. Is there any way possible you can keep this appointment?”

 

Do the same for hygiene, but say something like…

 

“Your hygienist Becky is CONCERNED about the area of inflammation and infection on the upper left.”

 

Amazingly, using this technique saves around fifty percent of those pesky last minute cancellations. That is good for your patient, good for your schedule, and money in the bank!!

Doctor, we are slammed at the front desk!!

A frequently asked question / observation we often get at our seminars:

“You guys are up here stressing customer service, treating every patient like they are the most important person in your practice, never putting anyone on hold, listening patiently, etc…

Unfortunately you have NO IDEA what it is like to be in the front desk hot seat. What are we supposed to do when we have a patient on the phone and the other line keeps ringing? What if there is a patient waiting at the front desk to talk to us? Doesn’t a live person deserve priority? It’s not easy to juggle five things at once you know….”

If your office is frequently in this situation – congratulations! You are busy! People want to come to your practice! Way to go – you must be doing something right!!

But if the front desk is constantly slammed, you are losing new patients left and right. Possibly center too.

Doctor – it may be time to crowbar your wallet open and invite another talented team member in. And the good news is – that team member will pay for themselves many times over!

Think about what a great front desk team member would earn. Then think about what a lost new patient costs your practice. (By some estimates it $10,000+!) This is what’s called a no-brainer!!

Staff up, offer the best customer service possible, and watch your practice grow!!

A great phone tip for the holidays!

The holidays are getting close! Here is a great phone tip that we actually teach all year long, but is especially helpful in the next couple of weeks when you’re planning on taking some time away from the office.

Instead of using your answering machine, voicemail or answering service when your office is closed, try this and you will make it much more convenient for new patients as well as patients of record to get in touch with you and get on the schedule.
When you close the office, forward the office phone to ring to a dedicated cell phone. Give the cell phone to a trusted team member who is enthusiastic about building the practice. When the phone rings during the off hours, no matter where she is, ask her to answer the phone exactly as if she were sitting in the office. Remember our article from last week? In our office, we answer the phone
 
“Thank you for calling The Madow Group, this is ____________ speaking, I CAN HELP YOU.”

When the caller asks a question, your team member will do her best to simply answer the question. It is helpful if she has remote access to the appointment book. This should be easily accomplished in a paperless office. If at all possible, make the caller an appointment if this is appropriate. And if for some reason, the answer must wait until office hours, it is very easy for your team member to say “I’m sorry Mrs. Jones, I am not at the office right now so it is difficult for me to answer your question. But I will be back at my desk on Monday, so how about if I call you Monday at 9:00AM? OK, and your phone number is ______________ ? Great I will speak with you then!”

Simple, huh? You would not believe how many offices report back to us how this technique has helped build their practices since calls NEVER go unanswered. Try it… you’ll love it. And feel free to work out a fair arrangement with the team member who takes the phone home. Many offices do it differently, but one example would be to pay her a flat amount for any new patient she is able to schedule. Or pay per call taken. Just figure out what is fair for your office. It needs to be a win-win-win!

And speaking of the phone, here is one more important point. No matter how high tech we are, the telephone is still the main artery into your dental practice. It is crucial that every single person on your team possess good phone skills to get patients from the phone into the appointment book. There are all kinds of expensive systems and institutes out there that claim to teach this. Our “Profitable Scheduling” system is the best because of its very quick learning curve and its affordability. And right now if you order Profitable Scheduling through the end of the year we are giving you a very special price. Regularly it is $597 (a great deal) but order now and we’ll give it away for $397.

Please take advantage of this now because as soon as the clock strikes midnight, it’s going back up to regular price. Order now so that you do not forget. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION! Your team will love you for it. And so will your accountant! You can write it off for this year!!!

Again, go to https://www.madow.com/profitable-dental-scheduling.html for more information or to order Profitable Scheduling! Call us with any questions. Our lines are always open!

The World’s Most Amazing Dentist

When we were kids, our Mom took us to Dr. Isaac Koppel – a man who could be described as “The World’s Most Amazing Dentist.”
 
The multi-talented Dr. Koppel had no team members at all, and he could answer the phone, collect money from a patient, drill on a tooth and smoke a cigarette – often all at the same time. His amazing multi-tasking abilities surely kept overhead down, but even as kids we knew this was no way to run a dental office. Even so, some of his forty-plus year old amalgams are still in place!
 
Everyone these days knows that it takes a true team to have a successful practice. But sometimes, as opposed to Dr. Koppel’s office, it may not be clear exactly what everyone does. Sure – we know that the members of the business team deal with financial matters, appointments and other stuff like that. We certainly know that the hygienists provide periodontal therapy and that the assistants help the doctor with patient treatment. Most offices probably have a protocol for cleaning and setting up rooms, ordering supplies and many of the other tasks that go with the day to day running of the practice.
 
But one thing that we strongly believe is that EVERY team member is responsible for helping to bring new patients into the practice. Here are a few tips to make sure this is being done:
 
1) Every single team member needs to have personalized business cards. But it is not enough to have them – they must be given out at every opportunity!
 
2) All team members must know how to ask for referrals from existing patients. Many times it is actually more effective if team members do this instead of the doctor. Be on the lookout for opportunities such as a patient mentioning their spouse, children, co-workers, etc..
 
3) Let everyone know that you are a proud member of a dental team. All of the people you transact with on a regular basis – school parents, business owners such as dry cleaners, co-workers of your spouse, etc. need to know that you are a member of a fantastic dental office. Make sure that your e-mail signature says so as well!!
 
4) Telephone, telephone, telephone!! Every single team member needs to be properly trained in correct telephone skills. If this is not the case, your practice is losing hundreds of new patients each year!! We strongly suggest that you check out our “Profitable Scheduling” training program. Compared to other programs it is inexpensive, fast, and we believe it is the best one out there – guaranteed!! If anything will pay for itself many times over it is getting more potential patients off the phone and into the appointment book!
 
Even though good old Dr. Koppel may have been the world’s most amazing dentist, he most likely did not have the world’s most amazing practice. It takes an entire team to have a truly amazing practice, and that includes having a great flow of new patients. So remember – don’t ever say “That’s not my job!!!” Take the steps listed here and watch your practice grow!

Once They Start Texting – Part One

What would you think if you took your spouse or your significant other to a beautiful romantic dinner and halfway through the meal, she (he) started texting a friend?

How about if you were taking a piano lesson and while you were playing a beautiful piece that you had been working on so diligently, you look up only to see your teacher texting?

You are going through a rough divorce and you catch your lawyer texting under the table during the trial.

You are speaking to a patient about necessary treatment. You think you are getting your message across and all of a sudden your patient gets on their smartphone and begins texting.

Well guess what?

once they start texting, they are gone
and there is very little chance of a recovery!

How do you avoid this “texting” from happening in your practice? How do you keep your patients engaged?

It’s called communication and people skills! Please listen: you can be the best damn dentist in your area (skillwise) but if you and your team do not understand how to communicate with your patients, then your practice could be in big trouble.

Rule #1. Speak to your patients regularly!

Rule #2.  When you or anyone on your team are speaking to a patient – smile, look them in the eye, do not speak over their level and act like they are the ONLY person that matters. Because it’s true. They ARE the only person that matters at that particular point in time. If you just follow these simple rules, you will make out fine in over 99% of the cases. Break the rules and see what happens. They will “start texting.” And then you lost them.

If there is any way we can help you with YOUR communication skills, please let us know. Two things you may want to find out more about are how to communicate better on the telephone (our Profitable Scheduling) and how to communicate better through Social Media. We can help you with either or both! Give us a call today. We’re here and our phones are on! And we will NOT be texting while we are talking to you! You are the ONLY thing that matters to us. Try us! 😉