When dental practices want to increase productivity, the natural instinct is to increase their marketing efforts. After all, new patients are the obvious way to increase productivity. And since we can use Facebook to attract new patients on autopilot, increasing marketing efforts is an easy choice.
But most dental practices ignore a factor that is even more impactful on productivity than new patients and even easier to improve. I am talking about production per visit.
Productivity is not just about how many people you are seeing each month. It is also about what you are doing with those people. If you have been focusing only about the number of patients and visits, do not worry. The number of patients and visits is important. But you can exponentially increase profitability by increasing production per visit as well.
How Focusing Only on New Patient Acquisition Limits Production . . . and Profits
The real problem with focusing only on number of visits is the trickle effect it has on the rest of your practice.
We see it all the time in dentistry. We get more patients in and fill up our hygiene schedules. When our hygienists get busy, we shorten hygiene appointments and double book our hygienists. That makes it so hygienists do not have time to talk about oral health with patients. They do not have time to assess whether somebody is actually brushing and flossing. They do not educate patients on dental options. They get in, scale people’s teeth, and move on. We’re not educating patients on their overall mouth health.
Yet, no matter how much we shorten hygiene appointments, double book our hygienists, or even give them assistants, we do not see a huge jump in the amount of production coming out of hygiene. We might see some increase but not the type of growth that really moves the needle.
Too many dentists get almost addicted to gaining new patients. Yet new patients take time and some money to acquire. We have to do the Facebook ad or Facebook Lives. We have to give away some dentistry, excite people, give them office tours, sell them on our practice, or even give them gifts. We then have to spend time learning about their health history and diagnosing them. That takes time and costs money.
How Focusing on Production Per Visit Drives Production . . . and Profits
If you have been attracting patients to your practice, you probably have hundreds or thousands of patients. You already know them. You know their issues. You have already done dentistry on them. And they know, like, and trust you. They are the most likely patients to make appointments and move forward with treatment plans. Yet they have fallen through the cracks.
When you shift your mindset from a singular focus on new patients to increasing production per visit, something shifts in your practice. Your mindset shifts. Your team members’ mindsets shift. You all focus on doing things to increase production per visit and get current patients all the care they need as efficiently as possible.
Instead of looking for new marketing methods, you stick with what is working, leaving your Facebook marketing bringing patients in on autopilot. But your time and energy are focused on production per visit. So you talk with your team about scheduling all care for patients in one visit. You schedule more time for hygiene visits to give your team time to educate the patients who already trust you. You start booking more higher-profit procedures that change your patients’ lives for the better. You place dental implants, perform teeth whitening, and other higher-profit procedures. You make more money while giving patients life-changing improvements to their smiles and mouth health.
Production Per Visit and Profits in Action
Team WOW member, Josey has five offices in North Carolina. Over Thanksgiving 2017, Josey spent about twenty-five hours digging deep into her productivity data. She pulled reports. She looked at historicals. She did month over month and year over year. She looked at everything she could to determine proper staffing.
What Josey found was she was better off with six hygienists doing 40% chair capacity than three hygienists doing 90% chair capacity. When she was operating with three hygienists at 90% chair capacity, the hygienists were almost forced to just go through the motions and move to the next patient. For example, the six hygienists sold a total of eight sonic air toothbrushes in the prior six months. That was terrible production.
Josie analyzed and made a list of all the relevant products and procedures hygienists with sufficient time and the proper focus could offer to patients. She discussed them with her team and then adjusted scheduling so the hygienists had more time with patients. All of a sudden, everyone on her team was working together to give patients all the time and attention they needed.
She went from below $200 production per visit, to more than $300 per visit for hygiene. Her goal was $225 per visit, and she now regularly sees them doing $300 or $325 production, or more, per visit. One office with six hygienists hit $42,000 in hygiene production in a week. Another with six hygienists hit $39,000.
How much effort have you put into increasing production per visit?
If you focus only on attracting new patients, you might be missing out on the easiest and fastest way to increase production. By setting up your team with the time and training they need to increase production per visit, you create a true triple win. Your patients get more time and attention from your team. They also get the care they need to achieve improved feel, function, and the health of their mouth. Your team members do not have to rush from appointment to appointment all day. And you get increased productivity and improved patient and team member satisfaction.
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We have helped hundreds of practices to boost profits by implementing simple, repeatable systems for consistent growth in their production month over month. Our Marketing & Practice Growth Challenge helps them do this in just 21 days! Want to learn more? Click here!
Marketing your dental practice on Facebook is the most effective way to get a regular flow of new patients. In my practice, I frequently get returns of up to 5,000% on my Facebook marketing. Yet many dentists never achieve their full potential. Some never get past four common myths about Facebook and never give it a chance to help them. Others dabble, trying one tactic after another with no real purpose or focus.
No matter what your experience with Facebook for dentists has been, you can attract new patients from Facebook each and every month from this point forward by utilizing this one secret.
Your success with Facebook depends more on posting right type of content to Facebook than it does on simply posting more often or paying more to promote your page or posts. To grow your dental practice on Facebook, you must post shareable content.
There’s a lot of competition for people’s eyes on Facebook. By posting shareable content, you’ll naturally attract people to interact with your post by liking, commenting, or sharing it on their timeline. When that happens, Facebook will see your post as popular and will show it to more people. As those new people like, comment, and share your post, Facebook will continue to show it to more and more people. That’s how posts go viral.
Here are three ways to create shareable content:
1. Post things that tell your practice’s story.
Anyone can fix teeth. People don’t choose dentists because they can fix teeth. They choose dentists because of the people who work at your practice and the experience they expect from a visit.
Post things that make your practice unique. Do you give back to your community? Do you serve an underserved market? Do you provide a VIP, Delivering-WOW experience to everyone that walks through the door? Do you have the latest technology that makes patient experiences better?
Post about whatever makes your practice unique. Post pictures of your staff smiling about the new technology with a note about the benefit to your patients, like “We’re excited to make your next dental experience painless with this!”
Post things that evoke emotions, such as patient testimonials stating how their confidence improved after visiting you. Let people know that your practice is about changing lives, not just caring for teeth.
2. Hold contests and promotions for page likes and post interactions.
A great way to get people excited about your practice in a way that encourages them to share your posts with their friends and family is to create a contest for a free service in a random drawing of everyone who likes your page, and then likes, comments, and shares your post within a certain timeframe.
You can also hold a contest or promotion for people to nominate people to receive a free service. In my practice, we regularly do something we call Project Smile. We do this entirely on Facebook and don’t even tell our patients about it, to reward people who follow our Facebook page. With Project Smile, we announce that we’re going to give away a free smile makeover and ask people to share our content post on Facebook. Our post asks people to send us an email with why they (or someone they nominate) should receive a free smile makeover, along with an image of their smile, so we can see if they’re a candidate. We then narrow down the list to people who we can really help in our office, invite the finalists for a cleaning, so we can take a closer look at their mouths, and then choose a winner for the full smile makeover. (Actually, we pretty much choose all of the finalists every time we do a Project Smile promotion, because we enjoy it so much!). Our Facebook fans love following and sharing our Project Smile promotions. Not only do people interact with the post and participate in the contest or promotion, but they often also see what other services we provide and come to us for an appointment.
3. Congratulate, encourage, and promote your patients.
A third way to create shareable content is to post about all the great things your patients are doing. When you and your team learn about what your patients or their family are doing, take note and post about them on your Facebook page. Are they star athletes? Did they win a creative competition? Do they have a dance recital? Do they run a great business?
Look for the great things your patients are doing in their lives and the community, and tell your Facebook fans about it. Celebrate, encourage, or promote your practice on your Facebook page whenever you can do so without revealing patient confidences! You can even tag your patient in the post, so they know about the post and ask your Facebook fans to congratulate or encourage them in the comments to the post and to share the post on their timeline to further promote their accomplishment. As more people like, comment, and share, Facebook will show the post to more people.
Your patient will feel special because you’ll be showing them you listen to them and care about what they’re doing, not just making small talk during a procedure, and others will interact with your page, post, and practice!
Shareable content doesn’t have to be complicated.
No matter what tactic you use, the secret to explosive growth on Facebook for dentists is to make sure the content you post is shareable. With shareable content, you put your practice in a position to benefit from your Facebook fans liking, commenting, and sharing your content.
A simple image of a smiling patient enjoying a gourmet cup of coffee in your office with a note that you love your patients as much as they love your coffee and a request for people to tag someone who loves coffee tells your practice’s story and encourages your fans to interact with and share your post!
If you want to know more ways to create shareable content and grow your dental practice on Facebook, you can check out my Facebook mastery course, Facebook Bootcamp or sign up for a trial membership to the Delivering WOW U membership community, where I help dentists like you grow their dental practices so they can make more while working less.
One of the most important factors for patients when choosing a dentist is trust. When people trust you, not only will they be more likely to choose you to be their dentist, they will also trust your care recommendations and accept your treatment plans more easily once they become patients.
Years ago, trust was built based with word-of-mouth recommendations. Although word-of-mouth referrals still happen today, dentists can build trust with many more patients through effective Facebook marketing. And the single best way to do that is through video.
Video is huge on Facebook. Video shows people who you and your practice are. Videos with you in them allow people to see you and hear your voice. It allows you to show people your personality. It allows people to get to know your staff and your office from the comfort of their own home. It builds trust far more effectively than a written post or even an image.
Additionally, Facebook’s algorithm favors videos, so video posting can get you in front of more people because the time people spend watching videos tells Facebook even more about them than what they like, comment on, or share. Although people sometimes like, comment, or share something because it was posted by a friend—even if they’re not interested in the post—they rarely watch an entire video if they don’t genuinely like it. Because of that, when someone watches a video on Facebook, Facebook sees that video as something people are genuinely interested in and will show it to more people.
If you’re not using video on Facebook, you’re missing a big opportunity. Here are three simple ways to use video to grow your practice on Facebook:
1. Post short video testimonials.
It’s one thing to say or write that you have an amazing practice. It’s even more amazing to post a video of a patient glowing about the incredible experience they just had in your practice. When someone sees and hears an actual patient gushing about how they can’t wait until their next dental appointment with you, viewers will want to be that happy leaving their next dental appointment and will see your practice as the place to go for that feeling!
The video doesn’t have to be professionally produced. In fact, recording it with a cell phone and posting it on your page is the best way to show people the testimonial is real. You can even do it as a live video from your phone if you prefer, which Facebook loves.
In our practice, after treating our patients to a WOW experience, our hygienist will ask patients how their experience was. We do this to get feedback on our practice and constantly improve.
Because we so intentionally treat our patients like the VIPs they are, their response is usually that it was great. We ask about specific parts of their experience, like the hand massages, gourmet coffees and teas, and our commitment to timely service. Again, they almost without fail gush about that. The most common response from our patients is they’ve never had that great an experience at the dentist before. We explain that so many people are fearful of the dentist, so we appreciate that feedback. We then sometimes ask people if they’d be willing to share their experience in a video for us to use on Facebook to let those fearful patients know that our practice is different.
2. Post video tours of your office.
If your office is amazing, take a video tour and let people know. When we do this, people see the iPads, gourmet coffees and teas, towel warmers, and more. It shows viewers how well we treat our patients. It helps them imagine themselves being treated that way at the dentist. It lets them know our practice is different.
You can do the same, too. Grab your cell phone and record videos of your office for your Facebook page. You can do a tour of your entire office, or record multiple videos showing people small parts of your office, talking about one thing that makes your office experience different per video.
3. Post videos about your practice policies and promotions.
Video is a great way to let people know about your business policies or promotions. For example, our practice offers our patients an on-time guarantee that guarantees that our patients will be seated within fifteen minutes of their appointment time or their next exam is free.
In your practice, you or one of your outgoing team members could record videos about policies that make you unique, promotions you’re doing for new patients, payment options to make dental care more affordable, and more. Let your current and future patients connect with your policies and promotions by hearing it straight from you or one of your team members. This creates a personal, emotional connection between your patients and the policies and promotions that make your practice amazing.
Get started with video today!
By posting video content to Facebook, in addition to text and image posts, your content will stand out and make deeper connections to your audience. It also allows you to take advantage of Facebook’s love for video content to build organic momentum in addition to your paid reach.
By posting videos with testimonials, tours, promotions, or policy explanations, you’ll make more emotional connections with your audience, who will see your passion and feel your excitement about dentistry.
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It’s now amazingly simple, and so convenient, for you to achieve your practice’s marketing targets with just your cell phone and laptop! But maybe you’re feeling like video is way outside your comfort zone. You’re not alone: over 300 dentists felt that way too when they first joined the Marketing & Practice Growth Challenge. But then they received step-by-step support from Team WOW and at the end of 21 days, they got very comfortable with using video in their practice to connect with their patients. If you want this kind of step by step guidance and support, you can save your spot for the challenge here — plus use the code CHALLENGE and save 20% at checkout!
When I was building my latest startup, I tried everything to grow my practice, from the Yellow Pages to coupons, and more. I kept looking for a better way. During my search, I found myself in a lecture about how local businesses could use Facebook to grow, and my life changed forever.
I started experimenting right away, testing different things and seeing amazing results right away. Over the next two years, my practice grew very quickly. In fact, we got so many new patients our revenue tripled, we had to hire another doctor and hygienist, and we outgrew our office in about two years. Personally, the profits from the practice helped my husband and me become debt free, a dream of ours.
Since that time, I decided to help other dentists build practices to help them make more, work less, and love their lives through courses, like my Facebook mastery course, Facebook Ignite for Dentists, as well as podcasts, bootcamps, and the Delivering WOW U membership community.
After working with thousands of students, I identified the following four myths about Facebook that dentists need to overcome in order to achieve explosive growth using Facebook.
1. They think, “I’ve tried Facebook. It doesn’t work.”
This first myth is that Facebook doesn’t work or won’t work for them. Many dentists and other professionals have played around with Facebook for a few days, weeks, or even months, without any measurable success.
They look at pages like mine, with over 50,000 fans and think Facebook only works when you have a large following. They’ve posted a few pictures, spent a couple dollars boosting some posts, or placed an ad or two promoting their page, but they can’t identify any new patients, so they think Facebook is the problem.
I hear it every time I speak about Facebook. The truth is Facebook does work. I’ve helped everyone from practices that have been around for decades to practices that have been around for less than six months, like one client of mine who started getting 50 patients a month using the techniques I teach—with a six-month-old practice.
Just because Facebook hasn’t worked yet for you, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work at all. I’ve seen the results!
2. They think Facebook might work, but not for a dental practice.
The second myth is that Facebook only works for other types of businesses.
For decades, dental practices placed ads, contracted with insurance plans, and relied heavily on word-of-mouth to build their practices. Because of that, many dentists don’t see Facebook as part of a patient’s decision-process.
The reality is, there’s no better place to connect with patients, build excitement for your practice, and tell your practice’s story in a way that makes people want you to be their dentist.
3. I don’t have the time for Facebook.
Running a dental practice is a lot of work. Because of that, many dentists think it would take too much of their time or their team’s attention to use Facebook to build their practice.
Today, Facebook remains my best referral source with my team handling everything in about 30 minutes a week. Many of my students are seeing the same thing.
I recommend most dentists have their team members learn how to use Facebook well and then have their team members handle it.
With just a few hours of training and less than one hour per week, you, too, can grow your practice on Facebook!
4. It takes a lot of money to profit from Facebook.
Finally, many dentists believe it takes a lot of money to profit from Facebook. I had one dentist come to me who was spending $3,000 per month advertising on Google and another $2,000 advertising on Facebook. Every month, he spent $5,000. That’s way too much money, but those are the figures many dentists are used to seeing for advertising methods.
Facebook is different. In fact, once you know what to post and how to get your posts seen by the right people, you can attract dozens of patients for a fraction of what you might be spending in other places.
Have you tried using Facebook to grow your dental practice?
If so, what’s worked best for you? What hasn’t worked?
If not, why not? What’s keeping you from connecting with your future patients on Facebook?
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If you want to know how you can use Facebook to grow your business, AND take action on your new knowledge, our upcoming Marketing & Practice Growth Challenge is for you! By the end of 21 days, you will have launched a marketing campaign to increase your visibility in your community AND grow your new patient list. Click here for more details!
And if want us to train you or your team on how to use Facebook to get 30 plus patients a month without discounting and wasting money on Marketing that doesn't work, our Facebook Bootcamp is for you! Click here to learn more.
In this interview with Michael Stelzner, I share why Facebook Marketing is so powerful for local businesses, including dental offices.
Why Local Businesses Need to Go Beyond Review Sites
If your new patients hang out on Facebook, that’s where you need to be. People aren’t hanging out on Yelp or Google. Most people check Facebook first thing in the morning, between daily tasks, and in the evening. That’s why Facebook marketing needs to be your focus.
Creating the right content is important. A lot of businesses post information about how great they are and share a lot of stock content, but that really doesn’t work. Local businesses need to share their story and what makes their business unique. For example, if you have a plumbing company, what are you offering that’s different from everyone else?
To compete with photos of kids, community happenings, and articles, it's important to create engaging posts that connect with people and make them want to click, including content about community impact and what you do to change patients’ lives.
We also discuss the importance of gathering patient testimonials and running video campaigns as well as the importance of knowing your target audience.
It's important to be specific with your targeting.
Even with the right content and target audience, you can’t just put up a post and hope people see it. You need to be strategic. Retarget to people who have been to your website, your existing customers, Facebook lookalikes, and so on. To get conversions, you need to make the most of Facebook’s marketing tools.
Focus your marketing on what sets your business apart from competitors.
To start, determine what makes people want to choose your business and not someplace else.
Anytime you’re marketing on Facebook or elsewhere, you begin by highlighting little features that make your business special. Figure out what makes your business unique and focus on that in your marketing messages.
For example, in my practice, I ran a Facebook ad for teeth whitening that has provided a 5,000% ROI. Instead of simply targeting people within 10 miles of the practice, I showed the ad to women who met specific criteria. The teeth whitening ad appeared to women who are engaged, are between the ages of 24 and 55, and have interacted with the dental practice in some way.
Building a Delivering WOW dental practice that can run without you requires a strong team of loyal, motivated people working together in the same direction. Without this, you’ll be forced to work more and do tasks that you don’t enjoy, shouldn’t be doing yourself, or both.
Although many dentists have great existing team members to help them build their practice, natural turnover and the growth you can experience from building a Delivering WOW dental practice often pushes practices into the market for new team members.
When you do so, the stakes are high. Although the right team members can help you build the practice of your dreams, a bad hire can damage your relationships with patients and other team members. It can also cost you a lot of money. For example, according to Samantha Leonard of Stream Dental Staffing Solutions in an expert interview I conducted for my students in Delivering WOW U, 41% of respondents to a survey said they had a bad hire in the past year that cost them at least $25,000!
Identifying the right candidates is paramount to building your practice and avoiding all the costly relational and financial ramifications one bad hire can cause to your practice. These four steps will help you do just that.
1. Know where you’re going and how the new hire fits into that vision.
The first step in any good plan is to know where you want to go. From a hiring perspective, you need to understand where your practice is going in the next three to five years and how this position fits into that vision. For example, if you want to integrate new software into your dental practice, hiring someone with software integration experience or experience with the specific software could help. On the other hand, you might want to avoid someone who tells you they don’t work well with technology. Similarly, if you want to add services to your practice over the next few years, you could target someone with broader experience that includes those targeted services.
Having your plan in mind helps you identify the traits, qualities, and skill sets you need to build the practice you envision and then locate and screen people within that framework.
2. Identify and rank the traits, qualities, and skill sets you need.
Once you evaluate the position within the context of where you want your practice to go, write down the traits, qualities, and skill sets needed for the position. Do you need someone who is detail oriented? Outgoing? Calming? Extra patient? Someone with specific training? Specific experience? Specific skills?
Write down everything that comes to mind. Once you have all the qualities in mind, organize them into three categories. The first category is non-negotiables. Non-negotiables are traits, qualities, and skill sets someone must have for the position. This could include a certification or license, a particular personality style, specific experience, or particular availability. If you need someone every Tuesday because a team member needs to switch days, for example, Tuesday availability would be a non-negotiable. The next category of traits, qualities, and skill sets needed are ones that are “important to have.” These are close to “non-negotiables” but any given one is not a deal breaker. For example, if you're hiring two team members, it might be important that one of them be bilingual, but not necessary that both of them are bilingual. It could also include things like technical capabilities.
The last category includes things that are “nice to have.” This might include things like experience with specific software, in contrast to having general comfort levels with technology. In this case, it would be nice if the person has experience with specific software, but you’ll be fine as long as they’re willing and able to learn.
When putting this list together, think about the specific position you’re looking to fill. If you’re hiring for the front desk, for example, that person will have the first contact with your patients when they walk in the door. Because of that, you’ll want that person to be welcoming.
Having your vision and ranked traits, qualities, and skill sets before you begin your search helps you craft job postings and communicate more effectively with recruiters and candidates. It also helps you more effectively evaluate candidates by looking at how their stated skills and experience match your non-negotiables, “important to haves,” and “nice to haves.”
3. Prescreen candidates before you interview them.
Interviews take time and someone might be a great person with impeccable references and experiences but a poor fit for your practice, the position, or the culture.
For that reason, before I invite people in for an interview, I ask them to take a personality test and answer pre-interview questions. The personality test I use is the DISC personality test, which gives you insights into people’s behavioral styles and whether it’s the right fit for your office and the position. Different positions fit better with certain behavioral tendencies. Introverts and detail-oriented people, for example, are great for positions that involve balancing accounts or ordering supplies. Outgoing and welcoming people may generally fit better in patient-facing roles.
In addition to the personality test, I have every candidate answer a pre-interview questionnaire. My pre-interview questionnaire asks them what they know about our office, why they’re leaving their current position, where they see themselves in five and ten years, whether they can travel for training, if they’re available to work Saturdays, whether they consider themselves shy or outgoing, and their desired salary. The way they answer these questions helps us know whether we want to interview them. This form saves a lot of time and money because in-person interviews take both.
4. Conduct more than one round of in-person interviews for candidates who pass the initial screening.
Finally, I recommend you do at least two rounds of in-person interviews for candidates who make it past the pre-interview screening. The first interview should involve you and the candidate’s potential supervisor. If you and their supervisor are both excited about the candidate, arrange for a second round with key coworkers. The second interview is almost an orientation. Its goal is to see how your other team members feel they’ll get along with the new candidate to ensure a great interpersonal fit in addition to the technical and personality-style fit with the position.
Who will be your next great team member?
Many dentists spend far too little time qualifying candidates. Investing in these four steps can help you avoid costly bad hires, so you don’t end up like one of the 41% of survey respondents who suffered a $25,000 loss in the past year due to a bad hire.
If you want to learn more from my expert interview with Samantha Leonard of Stream Dental Staffing Solutions and have access to the templates I use to recruit superstar team members to my practice, sign up for your 14-day free trial to Delivering WOW U. In there, you’ll find a sample ad I posted for a front-desk team member, plus templates I use for my pre-interview
Building your dental practice starts with setting goals for your practice that take your personal goals into account.
When I started building my practice, I knew I wanted to travel and spend time with my family. I envisioned working part time, taking a month off, going on a European vacation with my family, and then giving back to the dental community by helping others set and achieve their practice goals.
In order to accomplish all of that, I knew I needed to build a practice that could run without me. Without a practice that could run without me, there’s no way I could take a month off.
With that in mind, I set practice goals that included having multiple dentists as well as systems and processes to allow me to delegate activities to others without worrying that the quality or consistency of service would suffer.
When I first told my husband of my vision, he thought I had lost my mind! After accumulating a bunch of debt for dental school and building a home for our family, our finances were tight, so the idea of taking a month off and going to Europe was crazy.
After assuring him that I was committed to doing it wisely, without going into more debt, he trusted that I hadn’t completely lost my mind and trusted me to move forward with my plan.
I spent the next several months working hard to get the right pieces of my practice in place. By July 2016, my vision had come true, as I spent the entire month with my family, going to concerts, bringing my son to soccer camp, and more.
Although it seemed to happen fast, it took careful planning, focus, and a lot of hard work to overcome the obstacles I faced, the biggest of which was needing to build a big practice without a big budget.
I overcame that by focusing on the most cost-effective ways to learn, stay accountable, and grow my practice. That meant investing in a business coach to keep me on track and accountable, reading hundreds of business books, and utilizing social-media marketing, all while making sure every patient left my practice with a WOW experience.
After starting to achieve my practice goals, I established the Delivering WOW podcast and blog, wrote the Delivering WOW book, and continued building the Delivering WOW Facebook Dental Community, Facebook Mastery Course, Delivering WOW U learning and networking community, and more.
I now help thousands of dentists build their practices while continuing to run my practice the way I imagined that day with my husband. In doing so, I’ve recognized the following three roadblocks that each of us faces in achieving our practice goals.
1. “I don’t know where I’m going.”
You wouldn’t go on vacation without knowing your destination, would you? Of course not. Nobody would just go to an airport and get on the first available flight without regard to where it’s going.
So why do so many dentists do that with their practice? They just show up at work and do the work that comes to them. After eight, nine, ten, or more hours of feeling like they’re just putting out fires all day, they lock the doors, go home, and get ready to do the same thing the next day. They end up spending months or even years living the same stressful day, putting out fires until they burn out.
To get past this roadblock, spend some time deciding what you want to build with your practice. Don’t worry about what you currently have for now. Just envision the future. Do you want to work part time? Do you want multiple locations? Do you want to build a practice, sell it, and start over? What do you want to be known for?
2. “I don’t know how to get there.”
Dental school does a great job of teaching us how to care for teeth, but a lousy job of teaching us how to build a practice we love. Because of that, sometimes the problem isn’t knowing where you want to go, but knowing how to get there. Many dentists get stuck at this roadblock.
The easiest way to get past this roadblock is to get help and direction. With so much information at our fingertips, we need others to help us. When I started building my practice, I learned from listening to my coach, reading books, attending conferences, and joining mastermind communities to help me. I would never have built my practice without that help and support.
3. “I don’t have enough time.”
One of the most challenging mental roadblocks in building your practice is finding the time. Between caring for patients, running a business, recruiting and training a team, doing payroll, managing supplies, and taking care of your family, many dentists feel like they barely have time to sleep, never mind build a dream practice, set goals, and plan for the future.
To overcome this roadblock, you need to invest a small amount of time in setting a vision and developing a plan to make that vision a reality. That process will have the effect of freeing up time because it will make you more focused and efficient. For example, you’ll discover best practices, implement systems and processes to free up time, and delegate or outsource, to name a few.
What about you?
What is your roadblock? What do you want to do? What’s keeping you from your goal?
We all face roadblocks in building our practices. With me, finances were the biggest obstacle. Once I established my vision, got help, and made the time to do it, focusing on the most efficient ways to deploy my resources helped me get over those roadblocks until finances were no longer my issue.
Your obstacles might be different, but you will face roadblocks. Your family might not understand why you’re working so hard. They might tell you to quit, or just live a little, not appreciating that you’re only working so hard for a short time so you can achieve something greater. Your friends might think you’re crazy for investing in yourself or continuing your education after getting your degree. They might not understand you’re working hard for a short period to achieve a bigger purpose for your life. They might not understand why you’re investing in yourself, hiring a coach, or continuing your education after college and dental school. Your finances might be tight. Your time might be stretched.
No matter what your obstacles are, you can overcome them by understanding what you want to build and getting help to know how to achieve your goals.
If you want help from me and other dentists who are growing their practices in Delivering WOW U, sign up for your 14-day trial membership. You can also connect with me and over 2,500 other dentists in the Delivering WOW Facebook Dental Hangout on Facebook.
Patients have many options when choosing a dentist. With hundreds of thousands of dentists in practice already and thousands more graduating dental school every year, your ability to retain patients and earn their referrals to their friends and family is more important than ever.
Loyal patients who refer you to their friends and family not only make marketing your practice easier, they make it more profitable, because you don’t have to spend more advertising time and money to earn the right to serve those patients or their referrals, as you do to attract new patients with no prior connection to your practice.
Thus, your ability to turn your patients into raving fans can make the difference between constantly struggling and chasing new patients with advertising time and money to building a thriving practice with loyal patients who send you even more patients, allowing you to utilize advertising strategically from a position of strength.
Here are three ways to turn your patients into raving fans of your practice.
1. Provide an escape.
Your patients can get quality dental care anywhere. What they can’t get anywhere is an escape from the stresses and discomfort of dental visits. From the sounds of drills to uncomfortable waiting rooms, dental offices haven’t traditionally been a pleasant place to be. Even a simple thing like providing iPads and headphones to mask the sounds of our drills when doing services can make a difference.
2. Provide extra relaxation services.
Your patients live busy, stressful lives. With family commitments and work pressures becoming more demanding, many people go through life stressed or depressed and don’t have time or money to enjoy little personal luxuries. Do what you can to give them the relaxation they desperately want and need.
A few simple adjustments in your office to help your patients relax can make a big impact on your patients’ lives and earn their loyalty and referrals. Even simple things like having comfortable waiting-room furniture, soft, relaxing music; and warm fabrics and wall colors can create a spa-like experience for your patients. In our practice, we go one step further and provide hand-and-arm massages to ease our patients’ tension and relax their minds.
3. Control the smells in your office.
Industries like spas and luxury real estate are known for using scents to evoke emotions and feelings. By controlling the smells in your office, you can help make your patients feel relaxed or at home.
Cooking things like fresh baked cookies or popcorn give your patients a tasty snack after their visit, but they also make your office smell great. You could also use mildly scented lotions, soaps, or perfumes to control the smells in your office and create a spa-like smell that evokes a sense of luxury and relaxation.
Does your office help you turn your patients into raving fans?
Does your office help your patients escape from the stresses of dental care? Does it make them see your office as a place they can go to take a break from their stressful lives? What smells do your patients experience in your office? How does that make them feel?
If your office is full of the same uncomfortable furniture, expired dental magazines and brochures, and sterile colors and smells, you’re missing an incredible opportunity to transform your practice.
Creating a luxurious, spa-like experience for your patients by helping them escape, relax, and feel pampered can help turn casual patients into raving fans that can set growing your practice on auto-pilot.
For more ideas for turning patients into raving fans, sign up for a 14-day trial membership to Delivering Wow U and connect with me and over 2,000 other dentists in the Delivering WOW Facebook Dental Hangout on Facebook.
In this Episode, I interview Dr. Hoda Bassiri, the owner of Fusion Dental Care.
Hoda shares her story of becoming a dentist and discusses the importance of sharing your story with your team.
She shares the exact steps that she took to grow her practice quickly and discusses how she was able to align her TEAM to help her achieve the practice's Vision.
Hoda also discusses her strategy for building a unique practice culture, and the impact that it had on her practice's growth.
We also discussed:
- The mindset needed to grow a successful practice
- The role of the Dentist as a leader
- The importance of investing in yourself
- The unique way that she's her team to achieve the practice’ s goals
- Which systems she has put in place to be more profitable
- What she's doing to make her practice unique
- How she's using FB to share her practice’s story
- How her practice and life has changed since she embraced becoming a Delivering WOW practice
Running a dental practice can be challenging, demanding, and stressful. On top of providing quality dental care to patients, you need to operate a full business, build and lead a team, manage costs, oversee marketing, deal with insurance companies and regulators, and more. As if that weren’t enough, many dentists also carry hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more) between personal student loans and practice debt. It's no wonder so many dentists are stressed and end up burning out. With all those pressures, the simplest decision is to just work more, put more on your plate, and struggle for a decade or more until the practice debt and student loans are paid off, hoping you'll have your practice under control by then and your finances will ease up.
Unfortunately, even if you'd get more control of your practice by then, many dentists never experience an easing of their finances, as practice debt and student loans are often replaced with other obligations like house payments, their children’s college tuition, and retirement planning and saving.
When that happens, dentists end up ten, twenty, thirty, or more years out of dental school having spent the best years of their lives working harder than they ever wanted, making less than they expected, and missing out on important personal and family events like vacations and school activities.
That was almost me. A few years ago, before I hired a business coach and built my Delivering WOW practice, I was working so hard I started missing important family events, was spending no time with friends, and was doing little for myself. I was unbalanced and stressed. My practice took all my best time and energy and it wasn’t getting better. After hiring my coach and beginning to look at my practice differently, I started taking more control of my practice and putting things in place to keep my practice from ruining my personal life.
Here are three things you can do to keep your practice from ruining your personal life, too.
1. Take control of your schedule.
One of the most difficult things to do in business is set and stick to boundaries. To do so, decide what’s important in your personal life, schedule blocks of time in your calendar for those activities, and defend those blocks, even that means asking a patient to come in at another time. Almost without exception, your patients will find a time that works with them that doesn’t conflict with your blocks. If a patient can’t, then let go. They’re not the right patient for your practice and that’s okay because your practice needs to support a personal life you enjoy.
In addition to regularly scheduled things like early Friday dinners, weekly exercise classes, long weekends for your wedding anniversary, family birthdays, or whatever predictable events are important to you, decide what types of events are important to you, so you know to block off time for those beforehand. For example, if it’s important for you to be at all of your kids’ sporting events, have your team block out those times on your calendar as soon as the schedule is released so you don’t inadvertently schedule a patient during those times. If a patient is on the schedule already, have a team member reach out to them as soon as possible to ask them to reschedule. With enough notice, this is hardly ever an issue, and at the end of the day, you’ll get to enjoy what’s most important to you without sacrificing business performance. In fact, this type of planning has helped my practice regularly get 80% to 90% of our daily target revenues before lunchtime.
2. Build a practice that allows you to delegate as much as possible.
Have you ever wished you could be in two or three places at once? Wouldn’t it be great if you could be sitting on the beach instead of doing paperwork, billing, or ordering supplies? By building a practice that allows you to delegate with confidence, you essentially can. In fact, you can be in two, three, or even more places at once. To do so, all you need to do is create systems and processes that anyone in your office can follow to perform activities exactly how you would do it every time. Record those systems and processes by writing down the steps you take, creating checklists, or even recording videos of you doing things how you want them and then store those recordings in a place everyone can find.
Systematizing your practice so you can delegate more is the only way to get your practice to run how you want it to run without your having to be there to do everything.
3. Take time off.
In service-based businesses like dental practices, owners can go months or years without a vacation. They look at the monetary cost of going away, especially if they’re the only dentist working at the practice, and they don’t take time off.
You need to take time off if you want to keep your practice from ruining your personal life. If you aren’t in a position to take a week off, start taking long weekends and getting away. Plan a month or two out and schedule patients on other days to protect that time. Go back to your schedule and have your team block out vacation time well in advance.
After scheduling your time away, stick to it and take that time to fulfill your best personal objectives. If you want to get in better shape, book a fitness boot camp. If you want to relax, go for a spa getaway. If you want a deeper relationship with your spouse, plan something meaningful to do together.
It’s time to take your life back from your practice.
You’ve worked too hard for too long to let your best years pass you by without feeling personally and professionally fulfilled. By systematizing your practice, taking control of your schedule, and taking time away to engage in activities that are meaningful to you, you can make more, work less, and love your life!
Join me and over 2,000 other dentists in the Delivering WOW Facebook Dental Hangout on Facebook to get the support you need as you start putting these pieces into place in your practice. For more ideas, forms, best practices, and focused help building your practice, sign up for your 14-day trial membership to Delivering Wow U right here.
When building a Delivering WOW dental practice, you'll quickly discover that one of your best investments of time and money is in your team.
Although building a better team starts with committing to making sure every team member is aligned with your practice vision, investing in continued training and inspiring them to perform their best, you must invest in keeping your team members motivated if you want consistent and steady growth for your practice.
With a team of motivated and loyal team members in place, you'll be able to delegate more and work less, without sacrificing profits.
With disloyal or unmotivated team members, your patient care will be inconsistent at best. Here are three ways to create a WOW work experience for your team members so you can keep your team motivated and performing their best.
1. Make working for your practice about more than the money.
Make sure working for your practice isn't just about collecting a paycheck. A paycheck might bring them back to work the next day, but it won't keep them motivated to do their best work.
Although this starts with recruiting the right people into your practice, it can't stop there. Team members who see their work connected to things like giving back to your community and participating in charitable initiatives, it gives them regular reminders that their work is connected to a bigger purpose.
2. Support and showcase your team members in public.
Look for opportunities to support and showcase your team members in public. Even small gestures like sharing, retweeting, liking, or commenting on their social posts will build their connection to your practice. Other things you can do is share praise for them online or donate to causes or fundraisers they're involved with. You can also allow them to lead a charitable initiative for your practice. These small gestures remind them they're important to you and keep them motivated to do their best because they'll know that they'll be publicly praised and privately appreciated.
3. Give your team members unique perks.
According to John Ruhlin, author of Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Retention, one of the best ways to build a motivated and loyal team is to give them unique perks. The best perks to give, according to Ruhlin, are “practical luxuries,” which are benefits that make their lives easier or more enjoyable. For example, Ruhlin budgets $1,500 per employee per year to have their houses cleaned.
Look for ways to invest in practical luxuries for your team members, too. In my practice, I give my team members Amazon Kindle ebook readers and give them books for their personal and professional enjoyment. Be creative. Listen for things they struggle with in their day-to-day lives and look for ways to create a perk to make their lives more enjoyable. How can you make your team members’ lives easier or more enjoyable?
Show me your team and I’ll show you your future.
A well-known quote says if you “show me your friends . . . I'll show you your future.” In business, the same things holds true, only the friends who control your future are your team members.
If your team members are loyal and motivated, your future will be bright. You'll make more, work less, and enjoy your life. If not, you'll struggle and eventually burn out.
Show your team members you care about them. Take an interest in what they do. Make working for your practice about more than just a paycheck. And look for opportunities to give them practical luxuries.
That care and generosity will be reciprocated and everyone will benefit—your team members, your patients, your family, and you.
If you want more ideas for how to motivate your team members, you can still get a 14-day trial membership to Delivering Wow U right here. You could also get ideas from me and over 2,000 other dentists in the Delivering WOW Facebook Dental Hangout on Facebook right here.
Today I'm interviewing Reuben Kamp from Darkhorse Tech and we're talking all out how you can ensure that your practice is HIPAA compliant in the dental age.
- The role of HIPAA in data security
- The best ways to backup your data
- Email encryption and which files need to be encrypted
- The best ways to encrypt emails
- The right time to upgrade your hardware
- The best type of server to use for your practice
- The most common virus threats to a dental practice
- The pros and cons of switching dental practice management software and imaging software
- The benefits of Facebook Wifi
Links in this episode:
While building a dental practice that helps you achieve personal and financial independence, it’s critical that you focus on controlling your costs, and not only focus on marketing and increasing your revenue.
Setting budgets and key cost metrics for expenses you incur on a regular basis helps protect your profits so you don’t end up losing money on services you perform. That helps you increase profits by eliminating services that aren’t profitable in the short or long term and using the time you’d normally spend performing those services to perform more profitable services.
Although your fixed costs like rent, mortgage, practice debt, and student loans are often locked in for a period of time, variable costs like dental supply costs can generally be reduced without sacrificing the quality of the services you provide.
One reason for that is because many dental offices don’t set budgets or metrics for their dental supplies. Without a budget or metric to measure the cost of supplies, dentists often order too little or too much supplies. This can cause you to run out of supplies needed and be forced to order a small quantity with rush delivery charges to serve patients. It can also cause supplies to sit too long and expire.
To avoid that, it’s critical that you set a budget for your dental supply costs as well as a system for ordering them. By controlling your costs and setting a budget for supply costs, you empower yourself to negotiate with your suppliers to lower the costs of supplies that would render the related service unprofitable.
Here are four steps to start controlling your supply costs today.
1. Assess how much you spend.
If you haven’t paid attention to your supply costs, you might be surprised at how high they are. Task a team member with determining how much your practice has spent on dental supplies for the past three months.
If this is your first time doing this, you may want to ask them to also determine how much your practice has spent in the past six months and one year to account for any bulk orders you may have made for supplies you’re still working through.
2. Compare your supply costs to your revenue for the same time period.
When your team member calculates how much you’ve been spending on dental supplies, compare it to your gross revenue for the same time period.
In my practice, we keep our dental costs between five percent and eight percent of our gross revenue. If your percentage is significantly above or below that, consider why that’s the case. If your percentage is much higher than eight percent, you could be ordering too much or too little of something, you might need to negotiate, you might need to find an alternative product or distributor, or you might need to reassess whether there’s a service that’s not profitable for you.
3. Commit to a percentage or amount and systematize you ordering.
When you have a goal and a reason for that goal, it’s much easier to change. For example, if your cost for supplies is fifteen percent, you may set a goal to get down to ten percent within two months and between five and eight percent within four months. That gives you motivation to look for ways to reduce those costs as well as a reason and the confidence to ask your team members to press your distributors or suppliers for lower prices or other ways they can help reduce your costs.
Once you know your targets, systematize your ordering so your team knows the budget for supplies and everyone works from one shared spreadsheet or inventory management system to ensure everyone’s on the same page. If you’re utilizing multiple distributors, you may want to document a process where your team member gets pricing from each distributor and then places an order based on those quotes. You should also make sure you're checking costs on a regular basis, because prices can fluctuate over time, and the source of the best price might not be the same place this year as it was last year.
Finally, if you’re using a software solution for reducing supply costs, such as Zen Supplies, make sure to train each of your teammates who will have access to the information. If you’ve never heard of Zen Supplies, listen to my interview with Tiger Safarov where he talks about their software solution.
Tiger also did a video demonstration of the software and gave an exclusive and significant recurring discount to their software for members of WOW U. In fact, the discount is even greater than the cost of a WOW U membership, so if you’d like to use their software to reduce your supply costs, be sure to sign up for WOW U first!
4. Evaluate and adjust.
As with any new process, it’s important that you evaluate your progress on a regular basis and adjust as needed.
That can help you improve your costs even more over time and reduce the time you and your team will need to spend on costs. Also, because the costs of specific supplies can vary over time and across suppliers, it’s important that you don’t just find the best option at the beginning and then order that way every time.
Do you know your dental supply costs? What is your range?
If you haven’t calculated your dental supply costs as a percentage of your gross revenue in a while (or ever), it’s time to start!
Whether you implement an internal system or utilize software like Zen Supplies, taking control of your costs can have an immediate positive impact on your personal and professional life!
Dr. Chris Bowman is a full-time practicing dentist, speaker, author, and dental coach from Charlotte, North Carolina. A graduate of the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill School of Dentistry, he started Advanced Dentistry of Charlotte in 1996, where he currently collects among the top 5% of dentists nationally.
Dr. Bowman also serves as a Clinical Instructor for Six Month Smiles since 2011. Focal points in his private practice include elective cosmetic dentistry, esthetic restorative dentistry, Six Month Smiles adult orthodontics, aligner orthodontics, Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation, Obstructive Sleep Apnea treatment, and sedation dentistry.
In 2005 he founded Dental Insiders, which provides coaching, consulting, and training programs for dentists and dental team members. DI currently reaches over 3100 dentists domestically and internationally, at several levels ranging from E-letter subscribers to private coaching clients in his Dental Success Blueprint program.
Dr. Bowman has authored numerous articles on practice growth, communications, marketing, and internal business strategies. He has been a contributor to Dental Economics, The Profitable Dentist magazine, 1000 Gems, and several online dental publications and forums, including Dentistry IQ. He has also shared the stage internationally as a dynamic speaker with many of dentistry’s leading speakers at such events as the Yankee Dental Congress, Excellence in Dentistry’s “Spring Break” Seminar, the Academy of Comprehensive Esthetics Seminar, 1000 Gems Super Seminars, Rondeau Annual Orthodontic Symposiums in Las Vegas and Toronto, and the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry’s Annual Session.
In today's episode we discuss:
- How Simple, reproducible SYSTEMS and “Dental Communications” are THE missing links to massive success in every dental practice.
- The true COST of not having “bulletproof” verbal skills!
- Why ALL team members must exhibit “friendly phone fluency”
- How to “Reel In” New Patients when they call…my simple 1-2 punch
- What to do after the call and before the appointment to virtually guarantee your new patients will show up!
- How to structure the sequencing of steps in New Patient and Hygiene appointments to maximize treatment acceptance
- Why TEAM members need to initiate discussions of dental problems with patients…to TEE UP the doctor (ladder of authority)
- Why “Case Presentation” often fails…and the secret that drives treatment acceptance like nothing else!
- Building Value vs. “Teaching How To Do It”
- Effective “Front Office” communications, including financial arrangements, scheduling, etc.
- Internal Marketing techniques that keep you “top of mind” with your patients
- Acquiring AWESOME Reviews and Testimonials…”Catch them saying something good”
- Leveraging Patient Satisfaction for Referrals
- and more!
Contact Chris at Chris@dentalinsiders.com
One of the most effective ways to grow your dental practice is to form support businesses in your community. In addition to earning more referrals, you’ll build a strong reputation with your most likely customers.
Here are three ways you can support local businesses in a way that helps you grow your dental practice. By implementing these three strategies into your marketing, you can attract more new patients and establish your office as a community destination.
1. Form strategic alliances with local businesses.
With a strategic alliance, you partner with local businesses who serve the same people you want to serve and create offers to encourage their clientele to come to your practice.
A well-planned strategic alliance is a true “win-win-win,” benefiting your practice, the other business, and the other business’ customers. You benefit by being able to earn new patients by offering a deal and then Delivering WOW experiences to them, without having to spend on advertising. The only cost to you is the cost of the deal. The other business benefits by being able to offer greater value to their customers (your deal) without costing them anything. And the other business’ customers benefit by getting a deal with a dental practice that will treat them like a VIP!
One of the alliances we’ve done with our practice was to partner with a local bridal shop to offer brides a deal on teeth whitening. We’ve also given a local Day Spa and Optical $50.00 gift cards to give to customers who spent over a certain threshold or purchased a specific spa package.
Each of these promotions allowed our strategic alliance partners to serve their customers better in a way that was relevant to their services. The bridal shop was able to offer brides a deal to boost their confidence and to have even brighter smiles on their special day. The Day Spa and Optical was able to offer their VIP customers a way to experience VIP treatment during their dental visits, such as our hand-and-arm massages and gourmet coffees and teas.
2. Engage in host beneficiary promotions.
This strategy has been huge for my dental practice. It’s similar to strategic alliances except instead of offering something of value to another business’ customers, you make a new-patient offer to another business’ team members and their families.
We regularly offer a 50% discount off new patient cleanings to team members and family members of local banks, investment firms, bakeries, and even local associations. Similar to strategic alliances, host beneficiary promotions allow other businesses to add value to people important to their business without costing them anything. At the same time, we save money and get new patients because there’s no advertising costs involved, only the cost of the offer itself.
When we began conducting host beneficiary promotions on a regular basis, we had to hire an additional hygienist to serve all the new patients!
3. Use local business products and services in your practice.
Another great way to grow your practice is to use local products and services in your office and to proudly display the local connection. Here are five ways you can incorporate local businesses into your practice:
If you have a local gourmet coffee roaster, consider stocking their beans for some of your gourmet coffee and tea offerings.
Give pastries from a local bakery to your patients.
Display local artwork and invite them to host art showings at your practice.
Use furniture from local manufacturers in your waiting room
Subscribe to community-produced magazines and newspapers.
Look for local options for other services you purchase in your practice.
As you integrate local business products and services, promote those relationships through your social media channels. This can be as simple as posting a picture of the local coffee bean with a caption that reads “We love our locally-roasted [name brand] coffee beans at [your practice name].” You could also post pictures of the local artwork with a caption saying how much you love walking by the local artist’s beautiful painting every day.
The options are endless. And most of the time, they won’t cost you any significant additional money to utilize local businesses. In fact, you may find some local business owners who will offer their products or services at discounted rates, and sometimes free, for the opportunity to be displayed to your patients.
How will you grow your business while supporting businesses in your community?
Supporting local businesses will help you develop deeper relationships, attract more patients, and build a stronger local brand. These three examples can help you get started growing your business while serving your community well.
If you want more ideas for how to implement these three strategies in your practice, you can still get a 14-day trial membership to Delivering Wow U right here. You could also get ideas from me and over 2,000 other dentists in the Delivering WOW Facebook Dental Hangout on Facebook right here.
There are several ways to grow your dental practice. Some of them require an investment of money. Others require only time. And some require both.
No matter how tight your budget is, however, you can invest in dental marketing and start growing your practice by focusing on these three categories of marketing.
1. Direct-to-Patient Promotions
High-impact direct-to-patient promotions should be designed to do a combination of building loyalty, getting referrals, and expanding your business with current and future patients. One of the best ways to connect with your patients is through an email or physical newsletter. A patient newsletter doesn’t have to be long, but it’s a great way to deliver a few pieces of news, an update on your practice, and a list of events, activities, or community involvement. It’s also a place where you can highlight great patient accomplishments, which you would share on social media as well. This helps connect you with your patients, remain top of mind, and update them on your practice and any promotions or programs they might be interested in joining.
Examples of programs or promotions you might include in your newsletter are toy drives, contests, giveaways, discounts on luxury services for patients to try, senior specials, and running a fun kids’ club.
Another great direct-to-patient promotion you can highlight in your newsletter is a referral rewards program. Giving a small gift card, a credit for future services, or an additional service, like a basic teeth whitening, if they refer a new patient are great ways to encourage people to refer their friends and family. Make sure to check your state board so you see what's allowed. These direct-to-patient promotions don’t have to cost much at all and can be very effective.
2. Community Promotions
Community promotions are a great way to build your reputation with influencers and connect with people whom your current patients aren’t connected.
Community promotion activities can be as simple as updating and distributing brochures, creating practice videos that you put online and promote to people in your community, attending, hosting, or creating events like a family night during Children’s Dental Health Month that people in your community can attend.
In addition, you could connect with other businesses to form strategic alliances to refer patients or offer a special promotion to each other’s patients or customers. You could run ads on Facebook or other social media platforms, in print, or on the radio or TV. Finally, you could reach out to businesses and schools in your community and offer to talk with them about dental health. Community connections can turn into patients or referral sources very quickly.
3. Dentist and Team Promotional Activities
Dentist and team promotional activities are things you and your team do in your office and through direct outreach to people who aren’t patients, such as specialists or pediatricians.
These activities are helpful because they can open doors to people who influence large numbers of patients, such as specialists or pediatricians and can build information, including testimonials, which can be used in future marketing efforts.
Examples of these activities include:
· sending brochures or other materials to dental specialists or pediatricians,
· conducting an internal campaign to get reviews or testimonials from happy patients that you can share with others,
· conducting tours of your Delivering WOW office for influencers, patients, and the general public, and
· team-building and learning activities, such as helping your team members prepare elevator pitches about why patients love your dental practice.
These activities help keep your practice top of mind with key influencers and show people what makes your practice so special and unique from your patients’ perspective so influencers feel confident referring patients to you and patients know they’re going to be treated like a VIP by you and your team.
Pulling it All Together
No matter what your budget is, I recommend every practice engage in one or two activities from each of these categories every month. For example, next month you might launch a physical or email newsletter where you promote a patient giveaway. You might also attend a senior event in your community and conduct a campaign to collect reviews or testimonials from happy customers. This opens communication with your patients with a giveaway, rather than asking for something in your first newsletter. At the same time, you will be connecting with your community and building reviews or testimonials to help you promote your practice in the future.
The next month you might promote your referral rewards program in your patient newsletter, speak to a preschool, and deliver brochures to five specialists.
I like to plan my marketing activities at least 12 months at a time. This 12-month picture helps me make sure I’m consistently engaging in each of these three ways to grow my practice.
I also created a Google spreadsheet that includes a sample 12-month marketing calendar, a list of 84 marketing strategies that fall into these categories, and a budgeting tool to help evaluate the return on investment for each activity.
When you’re starting out, I recommend investing five to seven percent of your revenue into marketing activities. If that’s not a possibility right now, start with as much as you can and focus on some of the lower-cost activities. When you find activities that are working consistently, you can begin increasing your budget and directing the additional money into the activities that are proven to work with your practice.
If you need help with getting started, I invite you to join me on the inside of Delivering WOW U, You'll have access to a detailed training on creating a 12-month dental marketing plan, plus access to the strategy spreadsheet, 12-month marketing template spreadsheet, and budgeting tool. You also have access to the Delivering WOW U forums where you can connect with me and other dentists building their practices to get ideas, support, and feedback on your dental marketing calendar and activities.
Jayme Amos is a bestselling author, expert in building practices and founder of dentistry’s most popular website for opening dental offices.
Jayme Amos is the founder of www.HowToOpenADentalOffice.com where tens of thousands visit his site. His bestselling book, Practice Location is in its second edition and not only is he master at helping dentists with startups, I’m thrilled to call him my friend.
In this episode, we discuss:
-When is the right time to do a startup, and are startups for everyone
-The benefits of doing a startup practice versus a practice acquisition.
-If location really matters, and how to know where to start your practice
-The top things that dentists need to consider before beginning this process
-The top challenges dentists face that could cost them thousands in the future.
-Where dentists can go to get a good office design, and what’s the best way to find a contractor to do the buildout
-How dentists can fast track their success in the first year of their startups
Dentistry is a high-stress, high-risk profession. As a practicing dentist, I know how stressful our work can be.
Many of us got into this profession because we wanted to help people while earning a good living to support our families and fund a comfortable life.
When we entered dental school, we dreamed of brightening smiles, serving our communities, supporting our families, and enjoying a flexible lifestyle.
When we come out of dental school, however, most of us are hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, and if we build or buy a dental practice, we add hundreds of thousands of dollars more to our debt burden.
In addition to the typical heavy debt burdens, many dentists struggle to balance growing regulatory oversight, overbearing insurance plan regulations, and unhappy patients.
All of a sudden, we can find ourselves close to a million dollars in debt and needing to work long, demanding hours six or seven days a week serving those unhappy patients and navigating those burdensome insurance companies just to stay afloat.
Years later, we’re exhausted, stressed, and often angry.
The idea of helping people, earning a good living, supporting a family, and funding a comfortable, flexible lifestyle is a distant memory.
We work more than we ever wanted to, and by the time the debt burden is paid, there’s hardly any money left. Our dreams are shattered and we feel helpless. By that point, our business plan is to hope someday something will change or that things will get better decades down the road when the student loans and practice debt are gone.
At home, a day when we spend even one hour with our family is rare. We miss milestones, sporting events, celebrations, competitions, award ceremonies, and more. Even during that limited family time, we’re often exhausted and distracted by the stresses of our practice.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
I know. I used to struggle, too, until one day I had a wake-up call. After missing one too many family events, I realized I had sacrificed the most important thing in my life—my family—for my practice.
That pushed me to hire a business coach to help me build my practice to support the reasons I went to dental school in the first place. I decided I would no longer hope that things might get better years or decades later. I decided to take control of my future and make it certain, and sooner.
Over a few short years, I built the practice of my dreams and no longer worry about missing important family milestones or events—and you can, too.
After hiring my first coach, I developed a six-part system that helped me build the practice of my dreams by taking control of the direction of my practice while delivering WOW experiences to everyone who walks through the door.
Since transforming my practice, I’ve trained hundreds of other dentists on how to utilize the six-part system to transform their practices, reignite the passion they once felt for dentistry, and build the lives they dreamed of.
Life is too short to spend the best years of your life overworked, stressed, and separated from the things that matter most.
The six-part Delivering WOW system works because it's designed to help you accomplish your goals and achieve your dreams.
The first step to building a WOW practice is to develop a vision for your practice. This forces you to dream big again and design your ideal dental practice. With your vision in place, you choose your practice culture that everyone in your practice will need to adhere to. From there, you set the rules, or core values for your practice, recruit and develop a WOW practice team, and put systems in place for common tasks so you can delegate tasks to team members. Having systems in place is the only way to build a practice that can run without your needing to be there and do everything yourself to ensure consistency and top quality.
With those things in place, the final step is to build and promote an irresistible brand that attracts the patients you want to serve most and keep them coming back and referring friends and family to you.
You’re not alone.
One thing most struggling dentists have in common is they’re trying to do everything on their own. From dental care to practice management, they have little to no help or support.
The most successful dentists, on the other hand, are surrounded with support and encouragement them from family, friends, coaches, organizations, and peers working on similar transformations.
Because of the transformative experience I had after hiring my coach and developing the Delivering WOW practice-transformation formula, I developed Delivering WOW U, a membership community to get the help and support you need to grow your practice, including Delivering WOW trainings, expert sit-downs, member workshops, live training sessions, and an interactive community of dentists supporting each other while implementing the Delivering WOW system to their practice.
It’s your turn to Deliver WOW.
No matter what your practice looks like today, there’s no reason you can’t transform your practice and start living the life you dreamed of.
If you need guidance, support, encouragement, and accountability to help you take control of your practice, make more money, work less, and start realizing the dreams you had when you entered dental school, our community of like-minded dentists is waiting for you.
As we’ve discussed before, building your team holds a special place of significance in your practice. Having the right team in place helps you make more money in less time because it allows you to delegate administrative tasks to others and focus your time on building your business and enjoying what’s important to you outside of your practice.
When we last talked about how to build the right team to transform your dental practice, we walked through finding and testing candidates to make sure they fit the vision and culture of the practice you’re building. This included things like identifying qualities you need in each team member, such as a strong work ethic or good attitude, and incorporating your practice vision and culture into your candidate search.
By evaluating team members and candidates to ensure they share your vision for your practice, embrace the culture of your practice, and have the personal and professional qualities you need, you’ll help ensure you have the right people working with you.
Once they’re on board, however, it’s critical that you keep them inspired and motivated to do their best work on a consistent basis.
Even the most positive, hardworking team members can grow frustrated and uninspired over time. Because of that, it’s important to be intentional about designing your practice so it helps keep your team members inspired and working hard.
Here are two things you can do to help inspire them so you can be confident they’ll help you deliver a WOW experience to each and every patient, turn those patients to raving fans, and allow you to build a practice that helps you achieve your personal and professional goals.
1. Create clear systems and processes.
Some people are surprised that having systems and processes in place actually helps inspire team members. They think having more rules reduces satisfaction. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s not that the systems and processes inspire. It’s what having those systems and processes does that inspires and motivates your team members.
Without clear systems and processes in place, you’d have to do everything yourself to be confident it would be done consistently well or train people over and over again to do things that need to be done in your practice. That would be frustrating for everyone.
On the other hand, when you have clear systems and processes in place, you can train people once or twice on following the systems and processes, and then you can be confident they can perform those tasks instead of having to do them yourself.
Clear and documented systems and processes let your team members know exactly what’s expected of them. This sets them up for success and ensures they can do their job consistently well. That’s what helps keep them inspired and motivated. (It also reduces frustration on your part because things will be done right the first time and every time.)
2. Make sure your practice is about more than just teeth.
If your team members share your vision and get involved with community or charitable initiatives, it changes how they view their work. They’ll see an impact beyond the dental care and when people ask them what they do, they’ll connect their work to that greater impact.
When people ask how they like their job, they’ll light up and talk about all the great things your practice does beyond the teeth.
To promote this, regularly give back to the community through things like charity drives, donated or low-cost services, and more. Get your team on board. Reward them for participating. Have fun with it by recognizing their contributions on social media. Let them know that their great work allows your practice to make an even bigger impact.
Connect their work to a bigger story they can be proud of. In my practice, openly acknowledging how much my great and Spanish-speaking team member Mayra’s connection to the Spanish-speaking community helped us serve Medicaid patients who weren’t being served like the greater population helped keep Mayra inspired and motivated because she knew she was making an important impact. It also inspired other team members who helped serve those same patients.
What will you do to inspire your patients?
The key to personal and professional freedom lies in your ability to build a practice that can run without you.
Without inspired and dedicated team members, it doesn’t matter how hard you work, you’ll never be able to keep up, and you’ll never build a practice that helps you build the personal and professional life of your dreams. You’ll be stuck in the office all day, every day because you’ll have to do everything, every time.
Take a few minutes to identify how you can create systems and processes to help your team members take some work off your hands and to make their work part of something much bigger than fixing teeth.
Today's interview is with Tiger Safarov of Zen Supplies
Tiger came to the US from Russia in 2005 and has created a number of successful dental businesses including a construction company that has built over 100 dental offices, as well as Zen Supplies, a dental supply company that is radically changing the way Dentists order supplies.
In this episode we discuss:
What it takes to be a successful entrepreneur
Why Tiger decided to create a company that focuses on dental supplies inventory
What mistakes he sees practices making with their inventory management
The HUGE impact that supply costs have on the bottom line
as well as the role of the team in helping to make the practice grow
After transforming my own practice several years ago, I began helping other dentists do the same, helping them develop six key areas of their practices in order to thrive.
I started out coaching dentists on a one-on-one basis, which I continue to do today, albeit on a very limited basis. To help more dentists than I could help on a one-on-one basis, I later wrote a book, started a podcast, created course content, and launched a membership mastermind community to be able to share best practices and strategies in group settings.
Collectively, I’ve helped dentists in over 80 countries build their practices. From solo practices to groups, urban practices to suburban and rural, I’ve had the privilege of looking behind the scenes to identify the real reasons some practices grow while others struggle.
Many times, the dentists who work with me are struggling to grow. They’re stressed, overworked, overwhelmed, and sometimes already burned out. I’ve talked with you about the real reason dental practices struggle before and for practices that are struggling, it’s easy for dentists to begin implementing my Delivering WOW system to start getting better results.
Other times, dentists who work with me operate highly successful practices and are motivated to get even more intentional and systematized to accelerate their growth. For these dentists, refining, organizing, and systematizing the Delivering WOW practice areas helps them experience even more success.
But what about the practices in the middle? What about dentists who’ve experienced some level of success and then hit a wall, seeing their practices stagnate for months or years?
A large number of practices fall into this category. They deliver great dental care, and they have systems for customer intake, billing, advertising, and operational matters, but they struggle to continuously grow.
Why do some practices experience continued growth while others hit a wall and stagnate for months or years?
For most dental practices that hit a wall, the real reason is they’re just like everyone else.
They’ve built an efficient practice that doesn’t stand out from the competition. Although that’s a great foundation upon which to build a thriving practice, it doesn’t give your patients a reason to go out of their way to make you their dentist.
They won’t leave with a WOW! experience. They won’t tell their friends and family about your practice. And they won’t become raving fans.
It doesn’t matter how efficient your dental practice is, what keeps customers coming in is a WOW! experience that nobody but you delivers.
When I hired a coach and implemented the Delivering WOW system into my practice, I tripled my revenue in the first year. We built a new office with three times the capacity out of those profits the next year. And the year after that, we added another dentist.
We kept growing and continue to grow because we didn’t just build a more efficient practice; we built an efficient practice that was unlike any other dental practice around. We gave patients reasons to be loyal to us and tell their friends and family.
Here are some of the ways we made sure we wouldn’t be like any other practice:
- We offer a powerful guarantee that eliminated one of my patients’ biggest concerns;
- We give patients iPads and headphones to block out the sounds of the dental equipment;
- We give hand and arm massages to our patients; and
- We give them gourmet coffees and teas to make sure they know they’re special to us.
When I did my first start-up in Birmingham, we differentiated ourselves by identifying unique groups of people we wanted to serve. In our case, it was Spanish-speaking immigrants. We made sure we promoted to them and my hygienist, Mayra, who had trained as a dentist in Mexico, was on staff to help serve them well.
Whether it’s patient experience, demographic, insurance, or some other unique part of your practice that matters to your patients, you need to give patients reasons to choose your practice, stay loyal to your practice, and tell their friends and family about your practice in order to keep growing.
These are just some of the things that distinguish us from other practices, but they give our patients an experience they can’t help but rave about to their friends and family and help us connect with groups of patients who are underserved.
We continue to look for ways to distinguish our practice from others. The practices that experience continued growth do so as well.
If your practice is stagnant, kickstart your growth by looking for unique ways to differentiate yourself from others.
What are three ways your practice is different from the competition?
If you can’t answer that question, take some time to develop some in order to promote continued growth!
Julie Varney has had a 24-year career in the dental profession has blossomed into many leadership roles including that of Certified Dental Assistant, Practice Manager, Chapter President, and Dental Education Director/Instructor. Beginning in 1992 as a dental assistant, Julie rapidly cultivated a desire to deliver the highest standards in dentistry. After many hours of continued education, she became a DANB Certified Dental Assistant and Licensed New York State Dental Assistant.
In this episode we discuss:
- Where Dentists should start
- The core problem that dentists face with getting patients to accept treatment
- Why so many dentists are struggling to grow
We talk a bit about the importance the dental team, and their role in increasing conversions, the exact steps of the patient hand off and how dentists and their teams can structure the sequencing of steps in New Patient and Hygiene appointments to maximize treatment acceptance.
Julie shares why “Case Presentation” often fails as well as the difference between Building Value vs. “Teaching How To Do It”
It's no secret that dentists experience burnout at a higher rate than professionals in almost any other industry do.
Unless you get help or take action to do things differently, the constant pull between treating patients and running a business makes burnout a real possibility for any dentist. On top of that, growing regulatory and liability concerns create a high-pressure environment that looms over almost everything we do in our practices. In addition to the practice, regulatory, and liability concerns, we can't forget that we're human. Sometimes, we get so caught up in all the details of serving patients and running a regulated, higher-liability business that we forget to take care of ourselves; we lose ourselves amid all the pressures we feel on a daily basis.
These stressors push a lot of dentists out of practice altogether. Others go through life overworked, underpaid, unhappy, and depressed. It's no wonder dentists experience burnout so often.
It doesn't have to be that way.
With just two mindset shifts, you can start building a practice you love and position yourself to avoid burnout altogether, or overcome burnout you're currently experiencing. These two shifts work by helping you do two things that are critical to avoiding or overcoming burnout.
Two things these mindset shifts do to help you avoid or overcome burnout.
First, they help you change the way you view your roles as dentist and business owner. They give you a healthy perspective on your roles and responsibilities. This is important because many dentists view their roles in a way that promotes stress and burnout. By adjusting your vision of your roles, you can build better boundaries and structure in your practice. That will give you more control and help you reduce stress.
Second, these mindset shifts help you identify the parts of your practice that aren't in your control. This is important because it sets you up to emotionally let go of things you can't control. Letting go of things you can't control helps you focus on the things you can control, which makes you more effective in those tasks. Over time, this helps you achieve better results in less time.
When you're just starting out, take a few minutes each morning to review these two mindset shifts. Be intentional about keeping them top of mind throughout your day. As time goes on, you'll begin retraining your brain to be burnout resistant by reducing, eliminating, or outsourcing the most stressful parts of your practice.
1. Start viewing your patients as customers to serve instead of people to treat.
Seeing your patients as people to treat is problematic for two reasons. First, it defines the role of the dentist as someone who's only there to work on teeth. Second, it defines customer success in terms of treating teeth.
With that mindset, a dentist focuses all of their attention on the customer's teeth. As long as the treatment is professional, the dentist has done her job.
The problem with this mindset is, although it helps the dentist focus on caring for teeth, that skill is something every patient assumes their dentist has. They go to the dentist expecting the dentist to take good care of their teeth. If that's all you do, it creates a very forgettable, blah experience.
Shifting your mindset to view your patients as customers to serve, on the other hand, changes how you view your role as dentist and helps you look beyond the teeth. That mindset causes you to focus on every part of your patients' entire experience with your practice. When you do that, you improve every interaction about your practice, including patient intake, appointment scheduling, patient policies, customer service, and more.
This creates WOW experiences that your patients don't expect—and don't get from other dentists—which leads to much happier patients, more efficient and pleasant operations, and much less stress for you.
2. Treat your practice like a business and act like a business owner, not just a service provider.
Shifting your mindset from a service provider to a business owner is one of the best ways to avoid or overcome burnout because it causes you to get help and build efficiencies, so you don't have to do everything yourself.
The best way to scale your practice to run without you is to systematize everything about your practice. When your practice is systematized, your best practices are documented and shared with your team. This helps ensure anyone in your business can take tasks off your hands because they have step-by-step instructions from you about the best way to perform those tasks.
A systematized practice also makes more money because the dentists can spend their time on income-producing or other high-value activities and let salaried administrators perform administrative tasks at a far lower cost.
Treating your practice like you’re a service provider causes dentists to focus on doing too much work themselves, including administrative work on nights and weekends. Additionally, even if they have staff to help out, without documented best practices, their employees will be less efficient and inconsistent. That means the dentists end up working more, making less money, and giving patients inconsistent experiences. It's almost impossible to grow a practice like that, leading the dentists to constantly feel stressed and stuck.
Are you ready to lower your stress levels?
Avoiding or overcoming burnout starts with your mindset. Two of the best ways to start are to change the way you view your patients and your practice. With these two mindset shifts in place, you'll be well on your way to a more fulfilling and profitable practice!
One of the first things you’ll learn after making the decision to grow your dental practice is you’ll never scale your practice if you try to do everything yourself.
If you want to grow, you’ll need help. Internally, this means finding the right team to transform your practice, so you won't have to do everything yourself. Internal team members can take tasks off your hands and help you document and implement systems to help your practice run without you.
It also means looking outside of your practice to hire specialists and coaches. The benefits of engaging outside help include being able to get experienced, independent help without having to commit to a costly, expensive relationship. Engaging a specialist or coach on a part-time or project basis is much easier than committing to a full-time team member.
If you’re only getting help with projects and tasks, however, you’ll miss out on three key things every dentist needs to build a practice that can run without them.
These three things make you more productive, organized, and effective. They keep you focused when times are good. And they prop you up when times are tough. Collectively, they can help you turn a good practice into a thriving one.
Building a thriving dental practice requires consistent work in six areas. Without someone helping you stay accountable and pushing you forward, it's easy to try to cut corners, lose focus, or procrastinate.
Having someone in your corner who pushes you to keep moving forward, checks in with you to make sure you’re progressing, and isn’t afraid to call you out if you start to lose focus is critical to maintaining momentum.
Accountability is usually found through a trusted friend or colleague who agrees to be an accountability partner to you or through an independent business coach whom you hire to help guide you.
2. Organized and customized information.
Information is a commodity. It’s everywhere. Organized and customized information is extremely valuable, however.
You can learn anything you want through a simple Google search. I guarantee there’s a how-to guide, YouTube video, blog, article, or white paper on any topic you can think of.
So why is organized and customized information so valuable if free information is everywhere? So many reasons. Here are two very important ones. First, free information is usually very generic. You can find a how-to guide for anything, but it might not work for you. Relevant information helps you avoid the time-consuming and often costly task of weeding through irrelevant information or advice that doesn’t work for you.
Second, most people don’t even know what to search for. For example, you might know you want to learn how to run Facebook ads for your practice. If you just search for how to run a Facebook ad, you’ll find some information. But you might not find information about sophisticated techniques that can get you returns as high as 5000%. Having someone collect and organize customized information removes you from the equation and helps you get better results. In other words, it helps you spend less time and make more money.
Organized and customized information is often provided by experienced specialists or coaches, each of whom needs to be up to date on the latest information in their specialized field to get you the best information for you.
3. Unbiased advice.
You’ll never grow your practice to its full potential if you surround yourself with people who will agree with everything you say.
Whether it’s your team members, outside specialists, or a business coach, make sure everyone knows a vital part of their performance involves telling you the truth. Let them know that’s what you expect.
This is very difficult with internal team members because they rely on your practice for their full-time income and are often conflicted. Also, most people say they want people to tell them the truth, but don’t really want that, so team members are naturally hesitant. Over time, you can gain their trust, however. Also, they’re often too close to the details of the day-to-day operation to identify issues and solutions.
Unless and until you build a team of people who can see things objectively and aren’t afraid to tell you the truth about your practice (and yourself) to help you grow, you’ll need to rely on outside consultants or business coaches, who are removed from the day-to-day operations enough to look at your practice with fresh eyes. They’re hired to be independent eyes and voices. Make sure they know that.
The sky’s the limit with these three things.
Dentists who have accountability, organized and customized information, and unbiased advice are the most focused, have the best information available, and get advice they know isn’t tainted by someone else’s personal fears or desires. This gives them a big advantage when growing their practice.
From where do you get your accountability, information, and advice? How could you be more accountable and get better information and advice?
In the latest episode, Alex Nottingham and I dive deep into what really works to get your patients to say yes…
You can pay thousands on fancy marketing, but if your team can't communicate, then you are not going to get conversions!
In this episode, I interview Alex Nottingham, of All-Star Dental Academy.
Alex is the CEO and Founder of All-Star Dental Academy. He has authored the dental practice game-changer book “Dental Practice Excellence” and co-wrote a bestselling book with Brian Tracy. Alex has shared the stage with Michael Gerber (the author of “The E–Myth Revisited”), and lectures nationally and internationally to prestigious dental organizations.
Alex is a former Tony Robbins top coach and consultant, having worked with companies from $1 million to $100 million. His passion is to help others create personal wealth and make a positive impact on the people around them. Alex received his Juris Doctor (JD) and Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Florida International University.
In this episode we discuss where the magic begins….the front desk. We discuss how to find rockstar team members and how to get them to pour excitement and enthusiasm into the practice. We discuss the secrets to getting your team members to connect with your patients, and how by training your team, your practice will be more profitable and everyone will achieve more.
Links in this episode:
Building a successful dental practice can be stressful. Three of the top causes of stress for most dentists are heavy financial burdens (such as student loans), rising overhead (such as rent, salary commitments, and material costs), and operational stressors (such as needing to do everything yourself).
Those other stressors can cause any dentist to burn out, unless they address them very intentionally. Here are three simple shifts you can make in your practice to combat these burdens, reduce your chances of burnout, and position you to make more money while working less.
1. Get the right help.
One of the most common sources of stress for dentists is trying to do everything themselves while building their practice. Dentists who do this end up working more and making less because they spend too much time doing activities other people can do better and more efficiently than they could, instead of focusing on high-value tasks or other tasks that only they can do.
Many dentists fall into this trap in an effort to pinch pennies or because they don’t trust others to do things well. This is a big mistake because although it can theoretically save time or money in the short term, having to do everything yourself will cost you even more time and money over the long term because you’ll eventually run out of hours in the day.
The right help, whether as full-time team members or qualified outside contractors for highly-specialized activities, can help you reduce the stress of having to do everything yourself and free up your time—your most valuable asset.
Over time, team members will be able to perform activities better and faster than you because they’ll follow the directions you provide in training and identify ways to improve the process as they become more experienced. Outside vendors will come into the relationship with the skills and experience to perform tasks within their specialty better and faster than you.
In short, hiring the right people is one of the best ways to reduce this stressor, while simultaneously making more, working less, maintaining consistency, and achieving better results. Here’s a step-by-step guide to building the right team for your dental practice.
2. Systematize your practice.
One of the hardest parts of building a practice is letting other people handle important activities. Having effective systems in place for as many tasks as possible helps alleviate that stressor.
Documenting how you want tasks to be performed and then sharing those steps with team members or vendors helps you let go of activities that you shouldn’t be doing yourself. It also ensures consistency among team members and vendors, so you can quickly get someone new up to speed if a team member moves on or a vendor goes out of business.
Documenting the steps to perform tasks doesn’t need to be complicated, either. It can be as simple as writing instructions down on a piece of paper, buying software that will record your computer screen as you do a task so you can share a video of you performing the task with others, or anything in between. The important thing is you end up with something others can follow to take tasks off your hands. This can greatly reduce stress because after investing a few extra minutes documenting the steps you want others to take, you can be more confident having others perform those tasks.
Here’s even more information on how to systematize your practice so you can make more money while working less and providing consistently great service to your patients!
3. Turn your patients into raving fans.
Marketing your dental practice is another area of building a dental practice that stresses dentists out. Between social media posting, search engine marketing, and other traditional and online marketing, a dentist can spend hours a day and thousands of dollars a month on marketing, hoping to connect with future patients. Some of these activities can be outsourced to specialists who can help you become more effective and confident in your marketing tactics. I highly recommend you consider budgeting some time and money to do this, as I’ve achieved up to a 5,000% return on my marketing strategies.
But I also know that one of the best ways to market your practice is literally right under your nose every day: your patients. Most people are swayed by good or bad referrals from friends or online review boards. If you make sure your patients have the best experience possible, which I call a WOW experience, you’ll be building a large team of fans ready to sing your praises to their friends and family and post positive reviews online.
The best part about this is it doesn’t cost any significant time or money. In my practice, we give our patients iPads with headphones to drown out noise, hand and arm massages to relax them, and gourmet coffee and teas to make sure they know they’re special to us. We do this as part of the vision and plan for my practice, but it also helps turn our patients into raving fans so we can get the best advertising around—for free!
The next step is yours.
Building a dental practice can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be if you focus on building it as a business that can operate without you. Getting the right help, systematizing your practice, and turning your patients into raving fans are three of the best ways to reduce your stress while you make more and work less.
What are you doing to reduce stress?
When building a dental practice, most dentists know to hire team members like dental assistants, hygienists, other dentists, lab technicians, administrative personnel, and dental specialists like oral surgeons or orthodontists.
Those team members help take care of day-to-day operations of your practice, so you don't need to do everything yourself. They’re vital to building a practice to run without you. They also provide the capacity for you to grow your practice because you can’t grow a practice unless you have the ability to serve more people.
If you want to grow your practice exponentially, however, you need to have two other types of people involved.
1. Business specialists for dental practices
Dental school teaches us a lot about teeth, but very little about things like bookkeeping, cash‑flow management, financial accounting, traditional or online practice marketing, social‑media strategy, or content marketing.
Despite that, many dentists spend hours a day pouring through spreadsheets, bank statements, and boxes of receipts trying to figure out their finances or project into the future. Other dentists spend too much time trying to figure out what to post on social media, how to grow a relevant following, and how to turn it all into practice growth. The list goes on.
Dentists who try to do everything themselves find it impossible to grow. For better results (and better personal fulfillment) they should hand off tasks they either struggle with or dislike to business specialists who are experts in those business activities.
This helps your practice grow in two ways. First, business specialists will be much more effective than you because they spend all day, every day doing one specific task. You get the benefit of all of their experience and keep up to date on the latest trends and strategies.
Building a dental practice is a lot of work and very stressful if you try to do everything yourself. Outsourcing to specialists any activities you dislike or struggle with helps you get more personal fulfillment and reduce your odds of burning out.
If you’re struggling to fit outsourcing into your budget when just starting out, you can purchase courses or memberships for existing employees and block out time on their schedule for them to perform certain activities. For example, instead of outsourcing to a vendor, you could subscribe to WOW U and have an administrative professional learn and apply the latest practice-growth strategies including social media marketing and online reviews, avoiding cancellations, and setting fees and goals for profit taught in there for you for a set number of hours a week.
2. Business coaches
The second type of person to hire is a business coach.
In short, business coaches work with you to help you get from where you are to where you want to go. Business coaches provide a number of highly valuable services for you that virtually nobody gets from family, friends, or current team members, who are often either too close to a situation or biased.
Coaches will push you outside of your comfort zone. They’ll be trusted, independent voices. They won’t be afraid to say “no” to you. They’ll hold you accountable, and give you support and confidence in making tough decisions.
Because business coaches are trained to help you set and achieve goals, business coaches are often the best choice as a first hire to help you. If you’re just starting out, they can help you establish your vision, culture, and core values; and then build a team and systems to accomplish your goals and build a brand that stands out. If you have a well-established vision, culture, core values, team, systems, and brand, they can help you identify what activities to outsource to specialists, identify and evaluate opportunities, or make other difficult practice decisions.
The best athletes and business executives in the world work with business coaches. They’re the best of the best in their fields, yet they are constantly working on their craft. Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Alphabet, Inc., (Google’s parent company) famously said in a YouTube video he recorded when he was CEO of Google that everyone needs a coach. Even Mark Zuckerberg hired an executive coach to help him identify and hone the skills he needed to run a rapidly growing company.
Although you might not be working at the same scale as Google or Facebook, you can achieve similar benefits for your practice by hiring a business coach to guide you, keep you accountable, and give you the support you need to grow your practice.
It’s time to take action.
You can benefit from hiring a business coach and outsourcing tasks to specialists no matter where you are with building your practice. Without these people involved in your practice, you’ll work harder, longer, less effectively, and with less personal fulfillment.
If you’re looking to grow a practice that helps you work less, make more, and enjoy your life, your next step should be to connect with a business coach whose job includes helping you work with the right business specialists at the right time for your practice.
Finally, don’t let your budget keep you from moving forward. If you’re just starting out or your budget is too tight for one-on-one help, you can even start out in a group setting like WOW U for the latest information, monthly live coaching and strategies as well as support in a group setting.
In this episode, I interview Dr. Shawn Van de Vyver, a practicing dentist, who has discovered the benefit of using funnels and email marketing to attract new patients.
In this episode, Shawn and I discuss email funnels as well as how you can use a combination of Facebook Ads and email sequences to build trust.
Shawn discusses how to create “lead magnets”, or free PDF's, guides, and checklists to get people to opt-in to your email list so that you can continue to market to them about the specific topic that they opted in for.
For example, if they sign up for a free PDF on sleep apnea, you can continue to send them information and educational pieces on sleep apnea.
This keeps you top of mind so that people know that you can solve their problems.
Links in this Episode:
Contact Dr. Van de Vyver: firstname.lastname@example.org
Would you be willing to make one simple change to your practice if it guaranteed you could regularly meet up to 90% of your daily revenue goal by lunchtime?
Of course you would. Anyone would.
A few years ago, I did. You can, too. Here’s how:
All you need to do is make one simple change to your practice for it to be more efficient, profitable, and controllable.
The change? Systematize everything about your practice.
Systems promote consistency, efficiency, and quality. They ensure everything gets done the same way no matter who’s doing it. That means you can empower any team member to do more work, faster, because they won’t have to figure everything out every time, ask questions, or waste time searching for answers or information.
Better yet, you’ll no longer have to do everything yourself, oversee or review everything other people do, or rely on any one team member to get things right.
You’ll finally be able to let go.
If you systematize your practice.
How to systematize your dental practice to run without you
Systematizing your practice only takes one simple shift in how you do things. That shift is to record your best practices with all common tasks the next time they come up, share those best practices with your team, and empower them to take over those tasks by following the best practices.
Recording your best practices is simple, too. You can record things by writing down the steps yourself, having an assistant write them down as you complete the task, or by creating an audio or video recording of you doing it. It doesn’t matter how you record it, as long as you record it.
Every time you document a best practice, put it in a central location and share it with your team. Let them know they can take over those tasks by following your instructions and ask you if they have any questions.
After recording and sharing your best practices, you’ll no longer have to do or oversee everything because your team can see exactly how you do things every time. Most dentists never systematize their practice. Because of that, they need to work more and do almost everything themselves. With the right systems in place, your systems can run the business side of your practice without you. They can be that impactful.
How one system helped us regularly meet up to 90% of our daily revenue goal by lunchtime
In our practice, one of our most impactful systems was the way we scheduled our patients. Specifically, we moved to a block-scheduling system that split our days into “time blocks” depending on the services needed by our patients. Our block-scheduling process helped us regularly meet up to 90% of our daily revenue goals before lunchtime.
Here’s how it works.
First, we created three-morning blocks on our calendar every day but one. For us, that was 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., and 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Second, we defined what type of work could go in each block. For example, we only fill a block with four or more fillings, a crown, veneers, implants, or a combination of those. We do not do root canals, but they could be placed in a block as well. Patients requiring a longer block can take the two-hour block or the two one-hour blocks.
Cements, follow-ups, consults, and patients who need fewer than four fillings are not to be placed in the blocks. Those are done on the one morning we don’t block out. We also allow them to be booked during a block if we haven’t filled the block by the afternoon before. For example, if lab cases come in and we haven’t filled our blocks for the next day, we’ll call to schedule those patients for those open slots. Otherwise, we schedule them for the next available afternoon or non-blocked morning. Patients love it when they can get back in quickly to cement their cases.
That’s it. Simple, right? We block off time and dedicate it for the time-consuming activities, moving all other activities to non-blocked time. This makes scheduling easier and operations smoother.
After implementing this shift, every patient who had four or more fillings and/or a combination of crowns could have all work done in one day. They loved it. Sometimes that meant we numbed both sides of their mouth, but oral surgeons do that all the time and it was a small tradeoff for only having to come in for one visit.
This system has been a game changer for my practice because it allows us to schedule longer, more detailed procedures in the morning, and complete them in one visit.
It provides convenience to patients because they no longer have to interrupt multiple days for their procedure. It lets me schedule longer procedures in the early part of the day, when my eyes are fresh and my energy is the highest.
It also decreases overhead costs because it reduces the number of setups needed throughout the day because we only need to have one setup for these services instead of two or more, which was required when we broke them up into multiple visits. This reduces the cost of sterilization bags, needles, water, disinfectant, and electricity.
It also lets me work fewer clinical hours. We used to take two and a half hours to fill multiple fillings over multiple 30-minute appointments. Now, we can do it all in a single one-hour appointment because we only have to do one setup.
All told, the greater efficiency helps us regularly earn 80-90 percent of the day’s revenue by lunchtime.
It's your turn
Creating a block scheduling system has allowed us to increase our efficiency, revenue, and client satisfaction.
Creating systems in your practice can do the same for you, and more. Without them, your practice will be inefficient and rely on you. But if you want to scale your dental practice so you don’t have to do everything, you need systems in place.
If you want help implementing systems in your practice, consider joining WOW U, our online community for dentists looking to grow their practices. WOW U is full of high-impact courses, live trainings, and a private forum to get direct feedback on improving your practice.