I’m so excited about this year’s Delivering WOW Live Summit, which takes place in New Orleans, LA on March 13th – 14th 2020! This is the ultimate event for dental practices, where you’ll receive 12 hours of incredible continued education and come away from the event with everything you need to take your dental practice to the next level of success.
I’m happy to announce that my good friend, Elijah Desmond, is one of the incredible speakers at this year’s Summit.
Elijah is the Founder of Smiles at Sea and one of the best speakers, entrepreneurs, and people I know, which is just a few of the reasons why I’m so excited to have him join us at the Delivering WOW Live Summit in March. He’s also a fantastic motivator, author, and innovator!
Elijah’s work on bringing emotional intelligence into dentistry is ground-breaking and will change our industry for the better. He believes that our patients’ experiences aren’t just about providing dental treatment as a service and ‘getting the job done,’ they’re about connection and understanding.
He’s going to be delivering the most amazing deep dive on compassion and connection at the Summit and joins me in this special episode to dazzle us with a sneak preview of his talk.
If you’ve ever wondered how you can build better relationships with your patients, what your patients really want from their experience, and how to make it all happen authentically – you need to hear this!
In this episode, we discuss:
- Why emotional intelligence is so important in dentistry
- Why patients want more than a service
- When it’s the perfect time to start connecting with your patients
- What the one thing is that patients want to feel when they contact your practice
- More details of Elijah’s plans for the Delivering WOW Summit
- How the Summit will be about experience and community as much as education
- The fact Elijah will be officially debuting his alter-ego – DJ Smile – after months of training
Want to attend the Delivering WOW Live Summit 2020 and hear Elijah’s incredible speech for yourself? I don’t blame you! Get your tickets today! But hurry, seats to this year’s Delivering WOW Live Summit are going fast!
Check out this short video trailer of the episode where Elijah talks about building a connection with your dental patients:
You can deliver the best dental care in the world, have the latest technology, and serve the most gourmet coffee to your patients, but you can’t run a WOW practice without an amazing team.
One of the best ways to make your team do great work is to make them feel a part of the process. When they feel like they’re a part of a practice family and are contributing to achieving your practice story, they’ll be more motivated and happier to wake up in the morning and come to work. They’ll feel their role is meaningful.
So how do you achieve that? One of the best ways to do that is to create a culture in which both you and your team are open to receiving feedback from one another. This creates a safe environment for growth and support and ensures you and your team are constantly improving. With many leaders, this can be a struggle because many of us feel like we need to have all the answers. But when we hire the best team members, their talents and experiences will complement ours and make their feedback extremely valuable to elevating our practices to a whole different level.
Here are three keys to creating a culture in which giving and receiving feedback leads to consistent growth and high performance.
Always ask for feedback.
Many times, team members are uncomfortable giving feedback to the doctors. It’s a natural concern for people to be concerned giving feedback to their leaders—especially when it’s constructive criticism.
To make your team members more comfortable with giving you feedback, ask for it. Also, ask for it in a very specific area, and request suggestions for improvement. The more focused and specific you are, the easier it will be for someone to respond. For example, you could ask, “Do you have any suggestions for how we can adjust how we schedule to improve production?”
Also, try to get a more rounded perspective when asking for feedback. Ask a number of team members for input when it makes sense to do so. Get everyone involved.
Be grateful for feedback even if you don’t like it.
Receiving feedback helps build vulnerability-based trust and a safe environment where people help each other improve. You don’t have to agree or disagree with what they have to say. Just thank them for having the confidence to try to help you improve. By encouraging it, you also won’t seem hypocritical when you give someone feedback.
For example, it’s hard to not get upset when someone says you were tone-deaf with a patient. But if you want to get the best work from yourself, you have to take a step back and be objective about their feedback.
Everyone has room for improvement. If everyone is able to look at constructive criticism pragmatically, you can start to create a culture of consistent improvement.
Encourage everyone to seek feedback from patients.
Make sure everyone on your team looks for feedback from patients. In your office or online, what do they say? What can you read into how they act when they are in your chair? And what is their body language like when they are in your chair?
Team members aren’t the only ones who can give you feedback, but they can be a very helpful resource for gathering patient feedback. Make sure they pay attention to all forms of feedback from them, and not just from the online reviews.
When you receive feedback from patients, react the same way you would with a team member delivering feedback. Be grateful for it, and look for the practical takeaways you and your team can use to improve.
Are you getting amazing work from your team consistently?
Nobody is perfect, and nobody is going to do everything right all the time. We all have development areas. The best way to improve everyone's performance is to ask for feedback, be grateful when we receive it, and encourage everyone to seek feedback from patients. Then, you will create a culture of constant growth and improvement with a free flow of feedback in all directions. It will set the standard that all team members are expected to do their best work and constantly improve—leaders included.
If you want to learn more about building a practice culture in which everyone thrives, join our Delivering WOW Platinum Coaching program, and start learning from the best experts in the dental industry today!
In this episode I’m reflecting on my time at in Boise at a Mastermind with my inner circle.
There were some of the most incredible entrepreneurs at the event and I wanted to share my takeaways with you from those last few days.
Just being surrounded by all these inspirational people who share your goals, have beliefs of what is possible and have overcome obstacles was truly inspiring. And, their stories really hold us accountable and ensure we are also going after our own goals.
One of the mastermind group, Thomas Shipley, Co-Founder and CEO of Atlantic Coast Brands, said something that was so true. Surrounding yourself with knowledgeable, successful people who are willing to share their success stories and their fails, enables you to “collapse time frames” and “collapse the learning gap.”
It’s all about growing together rather than learning on your own. So, don’t go at business alone. Instead, find an easier path to success by reaching out to those people who have the knowledge and experience that can help you. Find out more on episode 154 of the podcast.
In this episode, I discuss:
- How surrounding yourself with knowledgeable, successful people can help you grow as an individual and elevate your business
- How I have used the power of masterminds for my own success
- How our members have undergone inspiring transformations by doing our Marketing Practice Growth CHALLENGE
- Drawing on the strength of others to level up on your knowledge and grow your business
- How to take your practice to the next level and take care of your team
- How you can find an easier path to success by reaching out to those people who have knowledge and experience
Whether you are looking at our Delivering Wow Platinum Mastermind or joining our challenges, there are people there to embrace you and help you get to where you want to go.
Are you fed up of going it alone and want a shortcut to success?
Join our Marketing and Practice Growth CHALLENGE, where you’ll receive a full marketing plan and upon completion, have launched a viral marketing campaign with a predictable repeatable process to grow your production month after month – with plenty of accountability and support to help you along the way!
The challenge starts 4th November but Registration Closes November 3rd at Midnight MST! To find out more about this exciting challenge, click here.
To watch a short trailer video of the episode where I talk about the power of Masterminds, hit play below:
Once you have an Office Manager that really steps into their role, amazing things happen.
This week I dive into how to empower your Office Manager, and place them in the role of a Chief Operations Officer (COO). And, it doesn’t take much to make this change. In fact, it only takes the leap to be open and trusting enough to reveal your financial comings and goings.
Your COO, to truly take a decision-making role, needs to understand the difference between revenue (collection, production, hygiene-per-visit) and profit. Remember, profit is not your salary. It is what’s left after you’ve taken your salary.
If you have a COO that knows the full picture of your business finances, they will spontaneously generate solutions to cashflow problems that crop up. Believe me, it feels so good to have someone in your corner, helping you think about the bigger picture. But, that is only possible if you share everything needed to evaluate the health of your business.
On the podcast I discuss:
- Why you should treat your Office Manager as your Chief Operations Officer
- How to define the Office Manager role with specific accountability
- The story of my first business – a lemonade stand – and how my mom taught me what profit means
- Why it’s crucial to separate your salary from your business’s profit
- Getting your scheduling coordinator excited about their calls with patients by imparting the right skills and systems
- The importance of your Office Manager understanding profit and your practice’s financial health
- A story of the last time my Office Manager made a very helpful and proactive evaluation to help solve a cashflow problem
Here is a short video trailer of the podcast episode where I'm talking about the process of turning your Office Manager into a COO:
On this episode of the Delivering WOW Podcast, I’m thrilled to be joined by Dr. Paul Etchison. In this episode, Paul reveals the secret to building a powerful dental team and preventing employee turnover.
Paul is the author of ‘Dental Practice Hero: From Ordinary Practice to Extraordinary Experience’. The book details how dentists can grow startups to $1m in collections the first year. As well as explaining how to de-stress the day to day running of a practice and how to become a leader that influences practice culture so positively that practice growth becomes organic.
Paul owns a large office in the Chicago suburbs and only does two days per week clinical dentistry. He is also the host of the Dental Practice Heroes Podcast. During our conversation, he talks about dealing with team power, culture and running a great practice. The practice is likely to collect a staggering $4.5 million in collections this year. And, if that’s not enough, Paul has never lost a single team member throughout the eight years his practice has been running, and as a result he has zero employee turnover.
On the podcast, we discuss:
- How Dr. Paul Etchison got into dentistry and started his own dental practice
- Why Dr. Paul Etchison has experienced zero turnover and what he attributes that to
- Tips for hiring the best team members, no matter where you are positioned
- How to grow demand for your services and why block booking is so beneficial to your bottom line
- The importance of creating an amazing patient experience and getting referrals from your existing patients
- How to keep your team happy, engaged and accountable for practice growth
Dr. Paul Etchison and his good friend, Dr. Justin Bhullar have released an amazing online course called ‘Dental Business Mentor,’ which includes over 175 videos and 50 documents relevant to dental practice management. So, if you are interested in taking part in this course, you can learn more about it here.
To watch a short trailer video of the episode, click play below:
If you want to scale your practice, you need to believe that you can. You also need to have a great team that you can trust to help you achieve practice goals and work together to build a successful and profitable dental practice.
On this solo episode of the Delivering WOW Podcast, I talk about the true power of belief. Over the years, I’ve seen some practices grow by up to 70% and many members inside the inner circle of the Delivering WOW’s Platinum Mastermind group have experienced amazing practice growth too.
When you peel back the layers and really think about how all of these practices managed to grow so fast, it all comes down to the power of belief. They believed in themselves, their team and their practice. It was that inner belief that steered their decisions and helped them to achieve their dreams, both inside and outside of their practices.
In this episode, I discuss:
- Insider secrets that have helped practice owners grow their practice
- The importance of having the right people in your practice
- Why belief is so powerful and a crucial part of being able to successfully scale your practice
- How to change your perspective by telling yourself empowering things that will motivate and inspire you to hit your goals
- Why having belief in yourself, your team and your practice is so important and shouldn’t be overlooked
Did you know that you can get our book – “How Dentists Can Build a Fascinating Brand and Achieve More While Working Less” for FREE?
Hurry though, this FREE offer won’t last long! If you want to get your free book in less than seven days, click here.
Have you struggled to grow your practice by at least 24% year over year? Are you ready for a transformational year?
Join our Marketing and Practice Growth CHALLENGE, where you’ll receive a full marketing plan and upon completion, have launched a viral marketing campaign with a predictable repeatable process to grow your production month after month – with plenty of accountability and support to help you along the way!
The challenge starts September 23rd BUT registration closes September 22nd at Midnight MST! To find out more about this exciting challenge, click here.
To watch a short trailer video of the episode where I talk about changing your perspective, hit play below:
Has your practice hit a profit ceiling? Do you feel stuck, frustrated, or overworked? Do you make way too little money for way too much work? Or is your practice running smoothly but you just know you it’s not reaching its full potential? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you might just be a few tweaks away from higher profits, smoother operations, and a much easier workday for you.
Many practice owners only dream of scaling a dental practice to $1 million, $2 million, or more, especially when they feel stuck or overwhelmed. Other practices seem to continuously grow their practice.
The difference between the practices that struggle and the ones that consistently grow are four simple things. In practices that struggle, these simple secrets are often lacking. In those that scale big, all four of these secrets are often present. Here are the four secrets any practice can use to scale to their first or next million dollars.
Investing in Your People
You’ll find it hard to scale your practice without rock star team members who are set up for success. This includes recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and team training. Any practice can recruit rock star team members if they look in the right places and making sure you’re always on the lookout. Don’t wait for a need to find amazing people for your practice.
Once you find the right team member, treat them well and incentivize them to hitting important goals. Want to increase high-value procedures? Incentivize them for achieving that procedure volume and teach them to call patients with unscheduled treatment.
Finally, invest in team culture and continuing education so they will support each other and learn best practices for your practice.
Investing in Yourself
Strong leadership, a clear vision, and the willingness to think outside the box are important skills for a practice owner to have when scaling a practice.
Strong leadership requires the practice owner and leadership team to look inward and identify areas of improvement. Do you need to increase your case acceptance? Do you need to lead with more empathy? What are two or three areas you could improve upon to lead your team better? Invest in coaching, courses, or other training to start growing as a leader.
Having a clear vision as a practice owner is critical to scaling a dental practice. If you’re struggling to hit your first million, create a clear vision for hitting three or four million. Work your way backward to identify how to lead your practice forward toward that big goal starting from exactly where you are. When you know where you want to go and work backward to where you are, it will only be a matter of time before you start scaling.
Finally, get into the mindset that you need to think outside the box to scale big. If you’re stuck, overworked, or underpaid, something isn’t working. Be willing to try new things with your operations, leadership, and marketing.
When you start to see a return on your investment in your leadership, vision, and mindset, your personal and professional fulfillment will skyrocket.
Implementing Systems and Processes
Having the right people on your team and strong leadership will set you up for incredible success. Now give your team the best systems and processes so you can get consistent high-quality work product from each of them.
Your systems and processes should help people measure progress, hold people accountable, and make sure your entire team is working together. Use software like Asana and Google Drive to keep your tasks and documents organized in a way that everyone can access and makes for easy collaboration.
Scaling Your Marketing
With your practice running smoothly, begin to set monthly marketing goals for your most profitable procedures. Then, use internal marketing to patients with unscheduled treatment plus other forms of marketing to fill your schedule.
My two favorite ways to market a dental practice is through dental Facebook marketing and dental marketing funnels. With dental Facebook marketing, you can regularly attract dozens of new patients enough for $500 per month in ad spend or less. You can also use dental marketing funnels to reach and nurture relationships with patients for high-value procedures such as cosmetic dentistry, Invisalign, dental implants, and more.
As your results roll in, consider whether it’s worth investing some of your additional profits back into your marketing to attract even more new patients.
Are you ready to scale your practice?
Is your practice is struggling to grow? If so, these four things could be what you need to scale to $1 million, $2 million, or more. Put amazing team members, improved leadership skills, and the best systems, processes, and marketing in place. As you do, you will begin to make more, work less, and enjoy your practice more than ever.
If you want help implementing these four secrets into your practice, join the Delivering WOW Platinum Coaching Program where you can access top training and coaching from experts in all facets of running a practice.
Companies across industries understand that the success of their business depends on their ability to develop amazing team members and a healthy business culture. Dentistry is no different.
That’s why I dedicated a significant part of my book, Delivering WOW, to helping practices set practice goals, find and develop team members, and build a culture in which everyone thrives. You can get a copy of my book for free here.
To build an amazing practice culture, we must first understand what makes for an incredible culture. Here are four parts to building a WOW culture for your practice.
An Environment of Continuous Improvement
With the right marketing, you can quickly attract an influx of new patients. With the right systems and processes in place, you can quickly become more productive. But culture is different.
Sure, you can create excitement and short-term progress by implementing new initiatives to support team members and improve working conditions. But the strongest cultures are built over time through continuous improvement.
An environment in which all leaders and team members strive for continuous betterment motivates everyone to become the best version of themselves incrementally and avoids complacency. This ensures team members remain optimistic, motivated, and fulfilled.
An Environment in Which All Team Members Are Set Up for Success
Few things discourage team members from doing their best work like the feeling that they have no chance to succeed. That’s why we encourage all practices to implement the best tools, systems, and processes into their practice.
Having the best tools, systems, and processes at people’s disposal lets all team members know exactly what is expected of them. It also lets them know what they need to do to succeed.
An Environment in Which Team Members Support Each Other
No matter how much you commit to continuous improvement, some team members will be asked to do things they have not yet mastered. That’s the reality of running a busy practice.
And no matter how many tools, systems, and processes you implement to set up your team for success, the demands of a busy practice will cause team members to experience busy times where they struggle to keep up. It happens when team members go on vacation, get sick, or take extended family leave. It also happens on busy days, weeks, or seasons.
When work piles up or team members are asked to do tasks outside of their experience level, other team members will step up and support their colleagues in practices with incredible cultures.
An Environment in Which Team Members Enjoy Spending Time Together
Efficient, supportive teams will make your practice more profitable. But if your team members do not enjoy spending time together, the environment will eventually catch up to you. Your best team members will leave for other opportunities. And you will struggle to attract rock star team members to replace them. The negative implications of losing your best team members will cascade from there and you will eventually find your practice less productive and much more stressful.
As busy and efficient as high-performing practices are to operate, the best practices are also fun for both patients and team members. A telltale sign of a WOW practice culture is having team members enjoy their days. They work hard, but they enjoy their time in the office. Many of them will spend time together outside of the office.
When first working toward improving your practice culture, you might need to organize out-of-office events for team members to get to know each other outside of work. Plan a trip to the movies. Organize a bowling outing. Sign up for a charity race together. Your team members will get to know you and each other in a fun, casual environment.
Over time, those fun experiences will pay dividends in the office. Team members will begin to spend time together on their own. By doing so, they will develop deeper relationships with each other. And those relationships will lead to them supporting each other more, plus other great benefits.
Are you ready to build a WOW practice culture?
If you’re ready to build a WOW culture for your practice, start by focusing on these four simple parts. Encourage and provide support for every team member to continuously improve. Set your team members up for success by providing the best tools, systems, and processes. And encourage all team members to support each other by rewarding and recognizing team members when they do. Finally, start to plan out-of-office opportunities for team members to get to know each other better.
If you want help building an incredible practice culture, join the Delivering WOW Platinum Coaching Program, where you can access top training and coaching from experts in all facets of running a practice.
Data tells us that between 66% and 87% of workers are disengaged. Even at modest salaries, disengagement is costly. Disengaged employees are more absent than engaged employees and significantly less productive and profitable. Eventually, disengaged team members leave, adding additional costs to hire, onboard, and train new team members.
One way to help improve engagement is to ensure each team member feels appreciated for the work they perform. When they do, they are much more likely to work hard and feel a part of a team. If not, they often do just enough to keep from losing their jobs.
You might appreciate your team members to the moon and back, but if they don’t feel appreciated, it might not do much good. In many dental practices, there is a disconnect between how leaders present appreciation versus how team members feel appreciated. To get the best out of your team, we must be sure to show appreciation in the way they feel it. That requires us to express appreciation on an individual basis, too, because people feel appreciation differently.
Here are the four ways team members might feel appreciation. If you have been expressing appreciation in one of more of these without results, a simple switch might be all you need.
Express praise using words of affirmation.
Words of affirmation are praise expressed in words or in writing. If somebody does something well, praise them. And be specific. Don’t just say, “Hey, you did a good job.” Instead, add some specifics, such as, “Great job setting up that marketing campaign. You really knocked it out of the park with that audience targeting!”
The specificity helps in many ways. First, it lets people know you are sincere. You’re not just saying “good job” as a matter of habit. You were paying attention. Second, it lets team members know what behavior to continue doing. In this example, it’s paying attention to audience targeting when setting up dental marketing campaigns.
Giving words of affirmation is the simplest and lowest-cost way to express appreciation to team members. And many team members will feel appreciated when they know your praise is sincere. This is especially true when your words of affirmation are paired with other ways to strengthen your dental practice culture.
Spend quality time with team members.
One of the best ways to improve practice culture is to spend quality time with team members. To some team members, a few minutes of quality time is appreciated more than even monetary rewards. Like most ways to express appreciation, it doesn’t have to be a lot of time. An out-of-office lunch works. Even taking a few minutes to go for a walk around the parking lot to burn some calories and learn about each other personally can help. Many team members appreciate even a few minutes of your undivided attention and quality conversation.
Perform acts of service for team members.
Acts of service is an often misunderstood way to express appreciation, with some people believing it requires performing chores or doing someone else’s job. That’s not true. But the reality is, with some team members, actions speak louder than words.
To those employees, words of affirmation or quality time have only a short-term effect, or none at all. But they will remember the time they were stressed by something at home and you offered to help them with their work so they could get home early.
Give team members small, tangible gifts.
Giving someone a tangible gift is another effective way to express appreciation. Again, this doesn’t need to be anything big. But the more thoughtful you can make the gift, the better. A tangible gift is personal and thoughtful. It could be a ticket to a local sporting event, concert, or play; a gift card to their favorite store, or even a little bit of extra time off after a particularly busy period.
If giving gifts isn’t your thing, don’t worry. Note that only 6% of people report that tangible gifts are their favorite way to be appreciated, and 68% of people reported that they appreciate tangible gifts the least out of these four ways.
Are you appreciating team members the way they feel it?
Don’t let your appreciation land flat. No matter how sincere it is, you might not be presenting your appreciation in a way that resonates with your team members. Find out how your team members like to be appreciated, and appreciate them in that way.
If you want help improving team member engagement at your practice, join the Delivering WOW Platinum Coaching Program today! There, you and your team can access the best resources and coaches in the dental industry.
In dental school, we learn a lot about clinical work and practice care. These are important topics, of course. They are necessary skills for performing the life-changing treatments we perform on patients every day. The treatment we can perform on a moment’s notice changes lives. It can get people smiling again after years of hiding their smiles. It can help them advance in their careers. And it can even help them make better romantic connections.
But we can’t do any of that without top-quality team members to support us and patients who trust us to have their best interests at heart. Building deep relationships with team members and patients is one of the most important parts of running a successful practice and not a topic we learn in dental school.
Our team members need to perform top-quality dental care and care deeply about the practice and patients. They also need to trust us to give them the tools, training, and support to set them up for success. And our patients need to know we are genuine, compassionate human beings who are not just trying to sell dental services to them.
In the Delivering WOW Platinum Coaching Program, mindset coach Dr. Shakila Angadi shared the following three strategies for building the deep relationships with patients and team members we need to develop as dentists to succeed.
When a team member approaches you upset about something or with an idea for improving the practice, do you stop what you’re doing? Do you look them in the eye and make them feel heard? Do you give them the attention they desire?
Dr. Angadi says practice leaders must give team members eye contact and be mindful of their body language. Make sure it’s clear that you are listening to them and giving them your undivided attention. If you are in the middle of something you can’t break away from, that’s okay. In those cases, pause what you are doing for a moment, look them in the eyes, and let them know you want to give them the proper attention but cannot at that moment. Schedule a time during which you can give them your full attention.
The same is true with patient concerns. Even if you are used to splitting your attention between multiple projects, don’t do it when a patient or team member is talking with you. Put down your phone or turn away from the computer screen. Otherwise, the person will think you don’t value them. Even if you agree with what they propose, the person will walk away feeling unimportant.
Whether you are talking to a patient or a team member, Dr. Angadi says it’s important to mirror their emotions. If they are coming to you with a problem, talk with them in a way that shows them you understand and sympathize with them. Connect with them as humans. Express emotions similar to the ones they express with you.
If a practice or patient is upset, whatever they are upset about is causing a problem in your practice. Be upset, too. Of course, you don’t need to have the same level of emotional reaction as them. But, be sure to express empathy and concern when your patients or team members are concerns. If they are happy about something, celebrate with them.
If a patient says that they’re afraid about getting a root canal, let them know you understand their concern. Step in their shoes, see why they might be afraid, and let them know it’s completely normal to feel that fear and that you understand.
We need to make sure that we acknowledge what patients and team members say and mirror the emotion they are coming to us with. Once we repeat the emotion, the person coming to you with that emotion will feel immediately connected with and supported by you. That builds trust.
Being heard is important. But we also need to offer solutions to patients and team members that help solve real problems. For example, a dental assistant might come to you and say they feel stressed because they never get a moment to breathe between patients and are constantly rushing around the practice.
Whatever the issue, once you’ve listened and understood the concern, offer a real solution. And make sure that the solution focuses on the problem and not the person. It’s easy to say, “you just need to roll up your sleeves, it’ll all be over by 5pm and then you get to go home and rest” but that won’t build a deep relationship with them. That’ll put them down and make you seem unsympathetic.
Offer a solution that focuses on the problem instead. In a short-term busy period, the solution might be to adjust their schedule to help them get extra downtime after the rush. If it’s a long-term issue, perhaps creative patient scheduling will help them get a break. Or, maybe your practice has become busy enough that you need to hire an additional team member. That can happen when you start implementing the dental practice growth strategies our WOW Platinum Coaching experts provide.
Are you ready to build deeper relationships with patients and team members?
Actively listening, mirroring emotions, and offering solutions are three ways to build deeper relationships with patients and team members. For more help, join the Delivering WOW Platinum Coaching Program today, where you’ll get training directly from Dr. Angadi and our other experts on all aspects of starting, operating, and growing a dental practice.
Running a dental practice can be scary. There are a lot of uncertainties we must overcome as we try to grow our practice and achieve our dreams.
But it’s not easy to overcome the fear that comes from growing a dental practice. Between patient care, marketing, leading a team, and more, we have barely enough energy to keep things together.
That makes it especially hard to face our fears. What if we fail? What if we can’t do it? We have so many “what ifs” that run through our minds all day, every day. If we want to achieve great things with our practice, however, we must keep going. We must overcome our fears. We must push through.
Dr. Shakila Angadi, the mindset coach for our Delivering WOW Platinum Coaching Program, took a few minutes to share the importance of overcoming fear and strategies to do so.
Here is what Dr. Angadi describes as the reason overcoming fear is so important along with three questions to ask yourself to help overcome fear.
Why Overcoming Fear is So Important
She emphasized that it is often our fears that hold us back from unlocking the full potential of what we can be as we build our practices. No matter what our struggles, at the root of the problem is often something we’re afraid of that causes the struggle.
We are all capable of whatever we put our minds to, but fear holds so many of us back. For some, it causes us to not give our best efforts, believing no matter what we do, we will ultimately fail. For others, fear causes us to not even try. We don’t think that we can achieve what we want to achieve, and we refrain from moving forward at all.
Our fears play right into our decision-making process. They make us believe we’ll fail no matter what we do. They make us believe the risks we need to take to success are not worth taking because we’re not good enough or talented enough to succeed.
In short, overcoming fear is so important because it keeps us from doing what we need to do to build an amazing practice and transform the lives of our patients and team members, build a life we want for our families, and give back to our communities.
Three Questions to Ask Yourself to Overcome Fear
Dr. Angadi teaches three questions any dentist can use to begin overcoming fear. If you struggle with fear, ask yourself these questions to start to take control over your future and not let fear get in the way of building an amazing dental practice.
1. What are you afraid of?
The fear of failure is the most common fear dentists face. For many dentists, they put 100% of themselves into something and are afraid they’ll fail after giving it their all. Others are afraid of being judged for failure. Others are even afraid of success. They are afraid that succeeding would bring on obligations they won’t know how to handle.
Whatever your reason for fear is, it’s important that you identify it. Why are you afraid? What are you afraid of? From there, you can work on overcoming it.
2. Why are you afraid of that?
Once you identify what your fear is, the next step is to dig deep and figure out why you’re afraid of that. Where did that fear come from? Many times, that fear comes from something that happened in our past. Sometimes it comes as early as our childhood. Other times, it came from an experience later in life.
Many of us cling to fears that have nothing to do with dentistry and let them hold us back. Really dig deep, and try to figure out why you are reluctant or hesitant to do something.
3. What is the worst and best thing that can happen?
Once you know what you’re afraid of and why, consider the worst-case scenario that can come if what you’re afraid of happens. Often, it’s nothing we can’t handle. We might lose a little money.
Then, ask yourself what’s the best thing that can come out of overcoming your fear. Many times, the best things include getting more time with our families, making life-changing impacts on our patients, and living our dream lives.
Usually, there are more good things that can come out of squashing our fears than there are bad things that can happen if the worst-case scenario happens.
Contrasting your thoughts between the best and worst things that can happen helps discern when risks are worth taking or when our fears are misplaced.
Challenge fear today!
Fear can make us think too much and get paralysis by analysis. I challenge you to identify something you want from your practice that you’ve hesitated to pursue because of fear. Ask yourself these three questions, and get ready to push through to amazing things.
If you want more help overcoming fear and achieving life-changing things for yourself, your family, your patients, and your practice, you can get weekly mindset coaching from Dr. Angadi as a Delivering Wow Platinum coaching member.
You can also join my free Dental Marketing and Profits Facebook group, where thousands of dentists and I help each other build better practices.
Very little damages the culture of dental practices like creating a culture full of complaining. Whether the complaining is within the team or a team member is complaining to a manager, a practice culture with complaining as a norm should not be tolerated.
Complaints create contagious negative energy in your practice that must be turned around. For example, team member complaints impact how other team members view your practice.
Eventually, your practice will suffer if people are complaining about it. As tough as it might feel, you can reduce or even eliminate complaining in your practice. Here's how.
Recognize complaints for what they are.
At their core, complaints are merely the result of unmet expectations. Someone expected or wanted one thing to happen and it did not happen. It is hardly ever anything personal about the practice or leadership.
Identify the unmet expectation.
When a dentist, team member, or patient complains, resist any urge to take it personally. We invest so much into our practice, building a culture, setting goals, building our teams, and investing in tools and technology. We work so hard to make it the best practice we can. When someone complains about it, it is easy for us to take it personally.
For example, if you have everyone create vision boards and invest in better systems and processes, your team will expect things to consistently improve. If you do not follow through on improving the practice, team members' expectations will go unmet and they will get frustrated; they expected positive changes that never happened.
Similarly, if you invest in helping your team improve but they do not follow through, you will likely get frustrated. Your expectations of team improvement will go unmet.
The next time someone complains in your practice, ask yourself what expectation went unmet to identify what is really the issue.
Be honest and upfront about the expectations.
Once you identify the issue, be honest and upfront about the expectation that went unmet. Was the person reasonable to expect that? Were they unreasonable? If they were reasonable but something changed to make it no longer possible, did you communicate with them when the change was happening?
Being honest and upfront with yourself and your team can often reduce frustrations from unmet expectations. Over time, that will build trust so your team gives you the benefit of the doubt when an expectation goes unmet. Instead of complaining in the future, they will be more likely to follow up with you or their team leader in a healthy way.
Avoid complaint policies that create an unhealthy culture.
For years, people believed the best way to handle complaints was to ensure anonymity or confidentiality. They encouraged businesses to give people a way to submit anonymous complaints or at least promise “blanket confidentiality” no matter how small the issue was. The reasoning behind these policies was that they would encourage people to express concerns. Unfortunately, the reasoning was flawed. In reality, those policies are very dangerous to practice cultures and are diametrically opposed to creating a healthy workplace culture. They create an environment of whispers, secrets, and paranoia. Your team grows to distrust each other.
Of course, serious situations like sexual harassment should be handled with appropriate confidentiality. But giving blanket confidentiality for small issues creates an uncomfortable and unhealthy environment. It also puts leaders in the position of knowing something that needs to be changed but not being able to change anything because doing so would break the promise of confidentiality.
A healthy workplace is one in which people feel comfortable being vulnerable and expressing concerns without fear of repercussions.
Close any “complaint departments.”
To start transitioning your practice from one full of complaints to one with healthy issue resolution practices, you must close existing “complaint departments.”
“Complaint departments” are generally people who others complain to without any likelihood of the issue getting resolved, usually because that person does not have authority to resolve the issue. Complaint departments only make things worse.
Talk with any people who act as complaint departments. Let them know the problem and how they are hurting the team. Sometimes, that will shut things down. In extreme cases, it might require letting the person go. Either way, complaint departments must be shut down.
Use the IDS process to a culture of healthy resolutions.
After getting rid of unhealthy policies and closing complaint departments, the next step is to replace those things with a healthier process.
Team members and leaders need to develop the ability to be open, honest, and vulnerable with each other so they can get help to resolve issues. They need to understand the concept of frustrations resulting from unmet expectations and the value of not falling into the trap of taking things personally.
Encourage everyone to raise issues as early as possible so small issues get resolved while they are still small.
Utilize the IDS process to identify, discuss, and solve issues as soon as they arise. It takes practice and patience to make IDS work but it is the best way to get your entire team to focus on the issue they need to be resolved instead of the people or emotions involved.
We recommend you use the IDS process as a core part of running weekly team meetings.
Create healthy communication habits among your team.
When someone has a complaint or concern about someone else, ask them the following question: “Are you going to tell them, or am I going to tell them? Because one of them needs to tell them.”
For example, if one team member isn't working fast enough, someone needs to have a conversation with them. The frustration with their slow work is an unmet expectation; the person complaining expected faster work. Without talking with the person, you will have no way to understand what the underlying reason is and identify an issue.
Also, while it might be uncomfortable at first, this creates a healthy environment in which everyone is more comfortable having difficult conversations with each other.
Are people complaining too much in your practice?
A culture full of complaints will never allow you to reach your full potential. Use this process to reduce those complaints and build a healthy environment in which issues get identified, discussed, and resolved without anyone needing to complain.
To learn more about creating a healthy culture for your practice, our team of expert coaches and training resources in our Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind Program can help.
You can also join my free Dental Marketing and Profits Facebook group, where thousands of dentists and I help each other build better practices.
A while back I came home from the office, and my daughter asked me to pick her up some lunch. I went into a coffee shop and ordered her a ham and cheese panini.
While I was waiting for the panini, my daughter’s ballet instructor came up to me. She had seen my daughter in a dance show from another school and wanted to tell me how great a job she did.
My daughter has been dancing for about twelve years and goes to two dance schools. In her ballet class, she is not being challenged. She gets frustrated by that and is always making up excuses for why she can’t dance.
On the other hand, she is always challenged at her other school. Each class is more challenging than the last. But my daughter never makes excuses for why she can’t dance with the more challenging classes. She always dances. In fact, she has even won a prestigious award for her performance with this class.
When her ballet instructor saw how well my daughter danced for the other class, she was surprised.
I told the instructor that my daughter loves dance but she does not feel challenged in her current class and gets bored. I suggested she challenge her a bit more or move her up a class to get her to perform at a higher level.
The instructor told me she had no idea my daughter had that in her because she never shows up performing at 100% for her class.
The same happens all the time in the dental world. Recently in one of my coaching programs, a team member expressed that she wanted more responsibility at work. We coach both doctors and team members because we know how important it is for everyone to grow. This team member was getting frustrated because they were not given more responsibility. It happens all the time. Many times, team members leave for other opportunities when that could have been avoided.
Here are two ways dental team members can set themselves up to earn more responsibility.
Examine how you show up to work.
Do you show up to work on time? Do you dress professionally? Do you take initiative? Do you work hard when you are at work? Do you run out the door at the exact time your shift ends?
All of these things send a message to the practice leader. If you show up late, wear wrinkled clothes, complain all day, and then sprint out the door the second the clock hits quitting time, you will likely not be there very long.
If you show up on time, dressed well, work hard while you are at work, and stay late if needed, you will likely open doors for tremendous growth.
Neither of those scenarios mentioned pedigree or intelligence. They mentioned how you show up to work and what you do when you get there. Those two things will help you earn more responsibility much more predictably than anything else.
Offer to take on new projects.
If a team member wants to work her way up in the practice, she could approach the doctor with a new project she would like to lead. It might be a new marketing campaign. Or, it could be an operational issue such as offering to create a process or system for something in the project. That initiative will go a long way toward earning more responsibility.
Identifying something that can be improved and offering to do the work to make the improvement is a great way to let the doctor know you are ready for more responsibility.
Are you setting yourself up to earn more responsibility?
We all want the same thing in business. We all want to be recognized and acknowledged for who we are and what we do. And we all want to be challenged at work or we will quickly get bored.
If you are a dental team member, take a look at how you are showing up to work. Are you showing up in a way that instills confidence in others? If not, simply showing up on time—every time—is a good start. Then identify something in the office you think you can improve. Ask the doctor if she is okay with you doing that.
If you are a dentist, what can you do to encourage your team to earn more responsibility? Could you reward and recognize them for showing up early to work and taking the initiative to suggest a new project? What do you do to encourage your team to work hard and take initiative?
TAKE ACTION TODAY:
When your team sees the vision and an action plan to grow the practice, that’s when they begin to step up and earn advancement opportunities. That begins today with your decision to invest in your practice’s growth. If you’re ready to make that decision, your best next step is to join our Marketing & Practice Growth Challenge! See what other practices had to say here.
Gossip is something many dental practices deal with. Many of us experience it in our practice. It is important for all team members to be able to voice concerns and resolve problems. Everyone needs to be able to talk about and improve work conditions. They need to be able to get feedback on how to handle situations and brainstorm solutions.
But when people resort to gossip, it causes pain, fractures trust, and creates a toxic culture. To eliminate gossip, we must understand where it comes from and create a safe environment to resolve issues before they lead to gossip. Here are six characteristics of a healthy, gossip-free practice culture.
1. Clear Expectations and Accountability
Dentists and other practice leaders must be very clear that there should not be any gossip happening in the office. Educate the team on the best ways to get help with team members or leadership. Talk with them about ways they can communicate with each other to discuss and help find solutions to issues in a productive way.
Ask your team members to also lead the way and set those clear expectations with each other and when new people join the practice. Clear expectations and accountability will help ensure a no-gossip environment continues over the long term.
2. Vulnerability-Based Trust
Vulnerability-based trust occurs when people are comfortable sharing problems they are experiencing without fear of retaliation or losing respect. It also occurs when people feel safe discussing issues with the person causing the issue—especially as the dentist or team leader. With vulnerability-based trust, people know others will support them in finding solutions and not judge them for not being able to solve a problem on their own.
There must be vulnerability-based trust among your entire team. If issues cannot be resolved because there is no trust, that is an environment that is ripe for gossip.
3. Agreement and Commitment from the Entire Team
Make sure there's agreement and a commitment from everyone in on the team to having no gossip in the office. This is not something one leader or dentist can do on their own.
Most of the time, gossip happens outside of the dentist or team leader's presence. If the issue is about them, the gossip will occur outside of their presence. If the issue is about someone else, their conversations are generally solution-focused. That is why it is important for leaders to set expectations but get wider agreement and commitment. The team's commitment and agreement will define your long-term success when it comes to building a no-gossip environment.
4. Commitment to Discuss Issues With any Person Directly With That Person
When the team is comfortable discussing problems or challenges with the person causing it in a productive way, everyone wins. If someone needs help, that is fine. Even having somebody sit with you while you discuss something that is difficult can help keep the situation productive.
Encourage your entire team to address things head on directly with the person causing the issue. If they want help, encourage them to approach leadership with their concerns so they can get advice and direction.
5. Solutions-Based Communication
Keep lines of communication open by promoting and practicing solutions-based communication. Leaders must keep communication lines open and allow people to talk about difficult things in a productive way—especially if they need to give the leaders feedback. This avoids putting up a barrier that leaves team members confused about how to get issues solved. Because they will not know what to do they will start talking with each other and make it much more likely that the conversation will lead to gossip.
Ask team members to bring suggested solutions to conversations if they need to talk about something difficult. The solution you bring might not be the one that is adopted but it ensures the tone of the conversation is solution-focused. Let them know that it is ok if they do not have a suggestion. In those cases, ask them to be able to discuss things they considered. That will also help focus the conversation on finding solutions.
6. Real-Time Feedback
Create an environment of consistent real-time feedback—positive feedback and constructive criticism. When we constantly solicit feedback, we will create an environment that catches issues early. When somebody needs to give you constructive criticism, it can be difficult to not get emotional or upset. You can ask clarifying questions but make it a safe discussion or people will eventually resort to gossip.
We can create an environment of consistent real-time feedback by asking for feedback at the end of each shift. Ask team members what went well and where could we have done better. As time goes on, these conversations help avoid things from getting to the point where team members feel the need to gossip.
Are you building a gossip-free environment?
An environment with these six characteristics gives all team members a safe place to have their voices heard and resolve issues without needing to resort to gossip.
TAKE ACTION TODAY:
If you’re anything like the 300 practices that have gone through our Marketing & Practice Growth Challenge, you may be feeling like your team could use a bit more energy and excitement about growing the practice. That way they could spend less time on gossip and more time serving patients and doing the dentistry we all love. If that sounds familiar, then this is your invitation to join our 21-day Marketing & Practice Growth Challenge, and get a 20% discount at checkout when you use the code CHALLENGE here.
When is the last time you reviewed your core values? Core values define who you are, who you want to be, and what your company strives for.
Why Core Values Matter
Core values make running a dental practice much easier. They guide you in how you hire, fire, reward, and recognize team members. They also make tough decisions easier because they give you important context within which to make decisions. Additionally, when team members know about your core values, it guides them in many things, including these:
- what they should be doing
- how they should be conducting themselves
- how to interact with other team members
- how to interact with patients
If you have not written core values, take a few minutes to work through this exercise. If you already have core values written, take a few minutes to re-evaluate or update them to make sure you have the strongest set of core values guiding you and your team.
Brainstorming Possible Core Values
Start on a personal level. Think about yourself as a person. What are the ten or so principles you personally live by? It doesn’t matter what they are, just list things that are most important to you. For example:
- How do you want people to perceive you?
- How do you want people to think that you act?
- How do you actually act?
- What do you want people to say about you when you are not around?
Write down everything that comes to mind when thinking of those questions. If it helps, imagine you live in a perfect world in which you can design exactly who you are and how you act. Write down the characteristics you would choose.
Analyzing Your List of Core Values
Take your list of personal core values and think about them in the context of yourself, your team, and your practice. What core values do you want everyone to think about you, your team, and your practice? What values are non-negotiable in your practice? Edit your list with that in mind. Then ask yourself each of the following “yes or no” questions for each value listed. Write down your answers for each value.
- Is the value absolutely necessary to our unique culture?
- Would we want our organization to stand for this core value 100 years from now no matter what changes occur in the world?
- Would we want our organization to hold this core value even if at some point in time it became a competitive disadvantage?
- Would we want our organization to hold this core value even if in some instances the environment penalized us for living this core value?
- Do we believe those who do not hold this core value or those who breach it consistency simply do not belong in our organization?
- Would we personally continue to hold this core value even if we were not rewarded for holding it?
- Would we change jobs before giving up this core value?
- If we awoke tomorrow with more than enough money to retire for the rest of our life, would we still hold true to this core value?
- If we were to start a brand-new organization, would we build around this core value regardless of the industry?
- Does this value represent the primary behaviors our organization wants to encourage and stand by?
- Is this value one that we will continue under stress, duress, and in the face of all obstacles?
Finalizing Your List of Core Values
Narrow down your core values to the seven to ten most important values. Use your answers to the questions in the last section to guide you. For example, the more you answered yes for a value, the more important it is. Keep only the seven to ten values that are most important on your list. Those will be your revised core values that will lead yourself, your team, and your practice forward.
Communicating Your Core Values With Your Team
Make sure everyone on your team knows your core values. Post them in your office where people can see. Discuss them openly and regularly. Let everyone know why they are so important. Be sure to let them know everyone in the office is expected to act consistently with the core values. Let them know you will be evaluating decisions they make in accordance with the core values, even if the decision goes wrong. For example, let them know whether they acted in accordance with your core values will be something you consider when mistakes happen. When you position this in a positive light and follow through on that promise, you will encourage your team members, and everyone will benefit.
Give your dental practice a core values checkup today.
If you have not set or updated your core values in a while, take a few minutes to update them today. You will come away with a list of seven to ten principles that guide everything you do in your practice.
If you want help setting core values in your practice, check out the team of expert coaches and training resources we offer in our Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind Program.
You can also join my free Dental Marketing and Profits Facebook group, where thousands of dentists and I help each other build better practices.
Holding productive team meetings is one of the best ways to make sure your most important practice tasks get done. For some larger practices, that means meeting regularly with your leadership team. Smaller practices might include every team member. Either way, the key to success is to run your meetings well.
We suggest holding meetings on a regular schedule, preferably weekly but no less frequently than every other week. Weekly works best because it puts you in better control of your practice results. They ensure you do not wait two weeks to learn about and address issues. Also, if you are traveling and your team needs to run a meeting without you, you will not go a month without attending a meeting.
Regular weekly meetings create a productive rhythm for your practice. Here is our seven-step plan for getting the most out of team meetings.
1. Opening Exercise (5 minutes)
Appoint a team leader to run your meetings. Make sure they start and end every meeting on time. Starting on time sets a standard of timeliness that extends beyond the meeting. Ending on time makes everyone focus during the meeting and avoids having them drag on.
Make sure someone takes notes at each meeting. Important items will be discussed and having to remember it all is impossible, especially with so much on our plates. Keep those notes in one place, such as a single notebook or shared Google Doc.
As the meeting opens, the meeting leader should ask for a volunteer to share one personal achievement and one professional achievement from the last week.
Personal achievements could include that someone ran a 5k and are really proud. A professional achievement could be that someone asked ten patients for reviews that earned six five-star reviews for the practice.
This is not a time for discussion, just announcements, but it is an important part of team building. Move around the room until everyone has shared a personal and professional achievement.
2. Scorecard Review (5 minutes)
Take five minutes to review and fill out your practice scorecard. Ask each team member to let you know if their scorecard items are on or off track.
If it is on track, great. Anything off track should be moved to the IDS portion of the meeting, where you will identify, discuss, and solve practice issues.
3. Rock Review (5 minutes)
In addition to practice goals, each team member should have their own rocks—or goals—to pursue. Take five minutes to review practice and individual rocks and find out what is on track and off track.
For example, one of the doctor’s rocks might be to create a dental savings plan. One of your team leaders’ rocks might be to get cancellations and no shows below 10%. Another could be to create a coffee table culture book for the practice.
Asking each team member about their rocks during your meeting helps build a culture of accountability and support among team members. If something is off track, put it on the agenda for the IDS part of the meeting, during which you all identify, discuss, and solve issues.
4. Customer and Employee Headlines (5 Minutes)
After each team member updates you on their rocks, take five minutes to discuss updates about patients or employees. These can be positive or negative, such as good Facebook or Google reviews or disgruntled patients. This is also a good time for team members to give kudos to colleagues who have gone above and beyond.
If something negative can be resolved quickly, do so. If it needs more discussion, add it to the IDS portion of the meeting.
5. Previous To-Do List Review (5 Minutes)
Take five minutes to discuss the status of to-do items from last meeting’s IDS session. Ask each team member whether they have completed their to-do items.
If so, check it off as complete. If they are on target, keep it in the to-do list for next week. If they are off target, move it to the IDS discussion for this week.
6. IDS (Identify, Discuss, Solve) (30–60 minutes)
This will take the majority of the meeting time. Ask each team member to take thirty to sixty seconds to write down the three most important issues they are facing.
When they are finished, have one team member identify their issues. Once the issue is identified, take a few minutes to discuss possible solutions. After a couple of minutes, choose a solution with which to move forward. Then put the tasks on a to-do list for your next meeting, and assign the tasks to the appropriate team member.
Go around the room until you identify, discuss, and solve each team member’s top three issues.
At some point during your IDS session, you the meeting will start to wind down. Give a ten-minute warning to ensure the meeting will end on time. Do the same with five minutes left, at which point the meeting will begin to conclude.
7. Review and Conclusion
Once you have completed your IDS session, recap your to-do checklist so everyone knows what they need to do. Read them out loud and make eye contact with the team member responsible for doing the task. Designate someone to deliver messages to people who could not make the meeting.
Finally, ask each team member to rate your meeting on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the best. If someone rates it less than an eight, ask them to tell the group why so you can improve.
Are you ready to boost productivity in your practice?
If you want to make your practice more productive, high-impact productivity meetings might be the answer. Follow these seven steps, and you will be well on your way to a more productive office.
To learn more about boosting productivity in your practice, check out the team of expert coaches, training, and resources we offer in our signature Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind Program.
And if you want to go beyond productive team meetings to a practice that’s as effective, repeatable systems designed to help you grow your production month over month, then our upcoming Marketing & Practice Growth Challenge is for you.
In many industries, businesses have owners, visionaries, and operational leaders, such as COOs and Marketing Directors leading their companies.
In the dental industry, however, many dentists feel as if they need to do everything themselves. They need to be the owner, visionary, CEO, COO, Marketing Director, HR, and even Customer Support agents.
And that's not even taking into account the fact that they need to care for patients well, too.
How can any one person do all those things, and do them well?
They can't. It's not possible.
Whenever I meet a dentist who is trying to do everything, I soon learn they're not doing well in one or more areas. Some aren't attracting patients. Others have teams who are not performing well. Others struggle to keep up with their finances. Many of them are not doing their best in any area.
It doesn't have to be that way. In fact, it shouldn't be that way. We can achieve true growth and fulfillment from our practices. We can change. But when we're stuck in the busyness of doing everything, it can seem daunting or impossible to change.
The more dentists I help through Dental Profit Academy, bootcamps, or my Inner Circle, the more I realize true change happens by lifting up and empowering leaders within our practices and letting go of things we can't or shouldn't have to be doing ourselves.
When we do that, we can build transformational leadership in our practices. We build teams of leaders and those leaders transform our practices, our lives, and their lives too. Everyone wins.
Transformational leadership makes everyone win
Some people say that behind every great company is a great leader. Have we heard that before? I say, “Behind every great company is a leader who hires and inspires great leaders, and then moves out of the way, so together, you can make your greatest contribution.”
The difference between those two phrases is important. The first phrase puts the emphasis on one person. That would be the motto of the dentist who feels the need to do everything themselves.
The second, puts the emphasis on lifting up, empowering, and letting go. That would be the motto of a dentist looking to develop transformational leadership that changes lives.
When we lift up and empower leaders in our practices and get out of the way, everyone wins. We win because we let go of the false belief that we need to do everything. We also win because we can focus on doing the things we enjoy, are best at, and need to do as owners and dentists. It's the only way we as team leaders, as doctors, can move closer to achieving our personal dreams.
Our practices can help us achieve our personal dreams. But they'll never do that if we do not hire and inspire great leaders.
Our team members win because they get to assume leadership roles, develop skills, and impact change. Great leaders are not defined by their titles. By putting people in a position to grow, we can hire and inspire leaders at all levels of our practice. That will help our team members grow faster and further than they would otherwise do so in a typical career path.
Finally, our patients win, too. When we are not spread so thin, we can focus even more time and attention on Delivering WOW to them. And when our team members continue to grow and win, they become even more fulfilled and effective in their work. That positions them to Deliver WOW to patients as well.
Who can you lift up and empower in your practice?
The only way to create change inside our practices is to change the way we lead.
If you are working too hard, feeling stressed, or feel stuck having to do everything yourself, look for ways to lift up, empower, and let go. You don't need to let go of everything at once. But the only way to grow is to let go of something.
What if Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, ran a dental practice? What would he do? Would he do all his own marketing? Would he do his own bookkeeping? Would he train everyone on his team? No, he wouldn't.
He grew and scaled Amazon because he hired and empowered the best people he could find in each area of his business.
We need to do the same to you. The first step to do that is to look for the next great leader, a great second-in-command. Who in your practice do you believe has the drive, skills, and work ethic to take over even one or two tasks that you shouldn't be doing? How can you empower them to step up and help you create true change in your practice?
TAKE ACTION TODAY:
If you want help creating change and building transformational leadership in your practice, check out the team of expert coaches, training, and resources we offer in our signature Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind Program.
You’ll also find exclusive deals and discounts from the best dental product and service providers.
You can also check out our 21-day Marketing & Practice Growth Challenge where we help practices like yours create an effective marketing plan to get more patients clients through your door. Over 300 practices have benefitted from the challenge — you can click here to see what they had to say!
Balancing work and life can be extremely difficult, especially if you’ve got what seems like a million things going on at once. But thankfully, I know just the person who can help dentists like you find the perfect balance between life and work and that’s none other than business consultant and certified ONE Thing Trainer and Work/Life Balance Coach, Audie Cashion.
Everyone tells you, you can have it all! Yet few can show you how to get there. Audie has a diverse business and time management background with 31 years’ experience in international consulting, coaching, real estate investing and brokerage. He earned a BA in Economics from UNC Chapel Hill and currently lives in Charlotte, NC, with his wife and two daughters.
In his free time, he enjoys mountain bike riding, facilitating men’s growth groups, and speaking on Peace & Purpose through his educational non-profit, the World Peace Center.
On the podcast we discussed…
- The heart-breaking and inspirational story that influenced Audie’s career path
- The truth of the dentistry profession and why it’s often glorified online
- How to create a work/life balance that works for you
- Managing chronic stress levels in dentistry
- Understanding that you’ve got to take care of yourself before you can take care of your patients
- Most common stress triggers and challenges that dental practitioners face
- The role of vulnerability-based trust between team members and the importance of supporting each other through difficult times
- How doctors can get over the mindset that they are alone and why it’s so important to be open and honest with people to get the support you need
- Why you need to eliminate the pressures that lead to burnout
- How to increase team engagement without increasing your stress
- The importance of self-care in managing stress
- Advice for Counter balancing your work/life stress
Does work/life balance seem to allude you or simply feel impossible to attain?
Recent surveys by the American Dental Association, North Carolina Dental Society and Georgia Dental Association found that dentists are stressed by balancing the many components of a dental practice with life and relationships, both professionally and personally.
In this workshop, you can learn to use simple principles to not only lower that stress but also increase your productivity at the same time. Specific topics in this session include: Make the 80/20 Principle Work for You, Eliminate the Pressures that Lead to Burnout, and Increase Team Engagement without Increasing Your Stress.
To watch a video trailer of the episode where Audie explains how to counterbalance your work/life stress, hit play below:
It doesn’t matter if you have the best online scheduling software available. It doesn’t matter how easy you make your online scheduling process. A large number of patients will want to speak with someone on the phone before making an appointment.
That means if your team handles the calls poorly or inconsistently, you could be wasting a lot of marketing dollars. Fortunately, there’s a pretty simple way to get more dental patient leads to schedule appointments when they call. All you need to do is train your team and give them tools to help them perform well every time.
The best way to do that is to create communication scripts for them to use when leads call. Here are five elements of an effective communication script for your dental practice.
A Consistent Greeting
Make sure your greeting includes (1) your practice name, (2) the name of the person answering the phone, and (3) the words “thank you for calling.”
This (1) lets people know they got the right place, (2) makes a human connection, and (3) lets the caller know you appreciate them.
Make sure your team member slows down for the greeting. If they rush through the greeting, it sets a rushed tone for the call. If they demonstrate patience and care, the caller will feel welcomed.
Acknowledge Their Questions and Ask Your Own
After the greeting, the caller will usually transition into the reason for their call. Instead of answering right away, have your team members acknowledge their question and then say, “Is it okay if I ask you a couple questions so I can serve you best?” This is important because we often don’t have all relevant information to answer questions. We also pass up the opportunity to ask important questions about how patients found our practice so we know what marketing activities are performing best.
For dental leads, ask, “Can I ask your name and how you heard about the practice?” Getting their name helps you address them by name, adding an additional human element to the conversation. How they heard of your practice gives you valuable insights into your marketing performance.
Also, ask what they’re looking for in a dentist. This helps you better understand what’s most important to patients. It also lets them know you care and that your practice is different.
Transition to Open-Ended Questions
This is the most important part of scripting.
Once you establish rapport and understand how they found you, transition to asking open-ended questions. You must ask questions that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. Yes or no questions allow prospects to close down conversations and make your team member “sell” the patient on the practice.
Sticking to open-ended questions makes your prospect think deeper. Open-ended questions can even get the caller to sell themselves on your practice so all your team member needs to do from there is schedule an appointment. For example, “Why are you interested in getting a crown?” is a great question to get the prospect to convince themselves that they want a crown. It also helps you understand exactly why they want the crown. Many times, you’ll learn they want the procedure to ease some physical pain or stop being self-conscious about their smile.
That can help you respond by saying, “We can get you smiling again” instead of “Sure, we do crowns.” Which do you think would result in the patient being more likely to schedule an appointment?
Other open-ended questions include “Tell me more about that” or “How does that feel?”
At some point, your prospect will raise an objection. That’s okay, as long as your team member is prepared to address them. Make sure to put ways to address objections in your script. That includes answers to common objections as well as ways to address objections that are not on the list.
Whatever the objection, ask the prospect to tell you more about that. Ask what their biggest concern is. Ask what’s stopping them from moving forward to get the results they just mentioned to you. For example, if they mention fitting a crown into their budget, you might ask them about their budget and how much they can afford for a monthly payment.
Understanding the objections helps your team member overcome patients’ biggest concerns on the phone, which makes them more likely to move forward.
You know what they’re calling about. You understand their real concerns. You’ve helped them overcome their objections.
This is the point where you get the patient to agree to move forward in getting the treatment they’re calling about.
To do so, repeat what they want, acknowledge the objection, and ask them if they’re ready to move forward if you can help them overcome the objection. For example, with a crown, you might say, “So, it sounds like you want to get full use of your mouth back so you don’t have to worry about your tooth cracking. We can help you with that and give you multiple options to fit it into your budget. If we can get your out-of-pocket cost below $100 per month, would that work for you?” “Would that work for you” helps you close the conversation and schedule an appointment.
Document Your Script and Get More Patients
If you’re not training your team and giving them scripts to help them succeed, you could be wasting a big percentage of your marketing dollars on leads you’ll never close. Creating a script that walks through these five steps is your first step to improving your marketing ROI.
TAKE ACTION TODAY:
As you create your script for inbound calls, one of the best ways to see results is to track your numbers! Of all the calls you received this week, how many appointments have you scheduled? How many follow-up appointments have you scheduled? How many no-shows did you have? Knowing these numbers helps you to clearly see whether you’re on track to grow your revenue for the month, and what opportunities you need to focus on when a new or existing patient calls in. Want to learn more about how we have helped over 300 practices do this in our 21 day challenge? Click here to learn more.
And if you want to get more leads to call your office so your scripts can help you close even more patients, check out the team of expert coaches, training, and resources we offer in our signature Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind Program.
What would need to happen to make the next year the best year for your practice?
Do you need to increase revenues? Decrease expenses without sacrificing quality of care or patient experience? Expand or move your office? Or, maybe you want to work fewer hours next year than you did this year. All of the above?
Now is the time to make a plan for the next year of your practice. That’s true no matter when you’re reading this. It doesn’t matter if you’re reading this as we enter the final 90 days of a calendar year or in mid-April. There’s no rule that says you need to wait until the beginning of a calendar year to improve your dental practice.
No matter how well we’re doing with our practices, we all have room to grow. Here are three steps to making the next year your best year yet.
Establish a Vision for Your Dental Practice
If you don’t know where you want to go, it’s impossible to know how to get there. That’s where your practice vision comes in. It’s also why I made establishing a vision for your dental practice the first step of my Delivering WOW process.
Do you have a long-term vision for your dental practice? What do you need to do over the next 12 months to get you closer to that vision? What do you want people to say about your practice when you’re not around? What do you want your life to look like?
Decide what you want your practice and personal life to look like 12 months from now. That will help you make better decisions and take better actions. It will help you decide what opportunities are worth your time. Even more important, it will help you decide what’s not worth your time. You’ll know when to say yes to opportunities and when to say no.
For example, assume you want to transition into a higher-end practice. That alone helps you know what types of Facebook ads or dental marketing funnels to use in your practice. It tells you what dental promotions will work and what dental marketing strategies are not worth your time.
Get Your Team On Board
The only way to build a practice you love is to not have to do everything yourself. Putting together a 90-day plan will help you systematize much of your practice so your team can handle anything you throw their way.
True Delivering WOW dental practices communicate the practice vision to all team members. Effectively doing so inspires the team to help achieve the practice vision. They also establish KPIs (key performance indicators) that will get the practice where it needs to go, and let the team know what’s expected of them. They put systems in place to help the team perform consistently well. And they incentivise and reward team members when they help the practice achieve meaningful milestones.
Make a Plan
Only after you have your vision can you put a plan together to help you achieve it. If you’ve been growing your practice for a while, you may be used to setting annual plans. While that can help, I teach my Inner Circle Mastermind and Dental Profit Academy students to create a 90-day plan for your dental practice. If you’re a member of my Inner Circle or Dental Profit Academy, you’ve likely seen the full 90-day plan training.
If not, the 90-day plan helps you set and achieve goals in three key areas of your dental practice. First, it helps you achieve profit goals, increase revenue, and decrease expenses. Second, it helps you achieve systems goals to make your practice run smoother and more consistently. Third, it helps you achieve brand development goals to help you improve what people say about you when you’re not around.
Remember, there’s no reason you need to wait for a new calendar year to change the direction of your dental practice. Over the next 90 days, you can set a vision for your practice, get your team on board, and follow a 90-day plan. That can build incredible momentum toward having a dental practice you love.
TAKE ACTION TODAY:
If 90 days feels too big and you’re not sure where to start, our 21-day Marketing & Practice Growth Challenge can help. In just 21 days you will:
- Create your 12-Month Marketing Plan
- Launch a Marketing Campaign that will allow you to grow your practice’s presence as well as make relationships with future small business owners in your community.
- Implement whiteboards in your practice to reverse-engineer your goals for more success and more profit.
Sound like the kind of growth you want to achieve? Learn more or sign up here (plus get 20% off at checkout when you use the code CHALLENGE).
This week on the Delivering WOW podcast, I explore the power of storytelling in case acceptance. Many dentists and team members struggle to get a patient to accept a treatment plan. The main reason for this is because dentists tend to get super technical and formal with patients and they ultimately lose interest because they don’t understand what’s going on.
In this week’s podcast, I share the concept of storytelling in case acceptance. Storytelling is a powerful thing. Humans have told stories since the beginning of time, whether it's on cave walls, around campfires or in storybooks. People are attracted to stories because they can relate to them and this is something that a lot of dentists and other professionals neglect in their marketing strategies.
Here’s what I discussed on the podcast:
- How we’ve used Facebook and Google ads to generate quality leads for our practice
- Using an interactive quiz where potential patients can find out if they are a suitable candidate for a particular procedure
- Why sharing success stories with your patients is more impactful than showing models of teeth and feeding them with a lot of technical information
- Finding a way to fit more intricate dentistry (such as implants and cosmetic dentistry) into every patient’s budget
- How storytelling can have a positive impact on you and your practice
- The importance of telling stories that are real and taking your patients through the journey from before you began the treatment right up until the end result
I look forward to chatting with you all again, and I would love to hear your feedback on this episode over on the Dental Marketing and Profits Facebook Group.
Head over to Delivering WOW U to find out how you can create a profitable dental practice. We’ve got a lot of excellent courses with clear action plans and proven techniques that will help to build, grow and market your practice.
I have more solo episodes coming up with some great tips and strategies, so make sure to subscribe and tune in if you want to find out how you can really grow your dental practice!
Hit play below to watch a short video trailer of this week's episode where I explain how telling a story not only improves case acceptance but changes lives:
I’m delighted to welcome Dr. Fern White onto this week’s podcast to talk about how Dental Women can find their freedom by breaking through stress to work less, earn more and take back control of their days and create a life they love.
Dr. Fern White is a principal dentist, yoga and embodiment teacher, entrepreneur, coach and growth aficionado. She came as a refugee ‘by boat’ to Australia, and now is making waves around the world for founding the first online empire for Dental Women that helps them remove the stress of dentistry and take back control of their lives.
Dental women find their freedom through her online programs, masterclasses, daily doses of V-log inspiration that has an audience across Australasia, the UK and the USA.
In excess of 100 have already transformed their lives and careers by going through the revolutionary online program, Practice Your Passion. Fern has been featured strongly in Dumbo Feather Magazine, Bite Magazine for Dentists, SBS TV and the ‘I came by Boat’ Campaign for Asylum Seekers.
On the podcast we discussed…
- How growing up in a migrant family instilled discipline in Dr. Fern’s early life and led her down a dental career path
- The stress involved in being both a practitioner and a boss and how coaching and personal development led her to launch her Practice for Passion course from her heart, not her head
- How many people face leadership struggles because they focus on skillset and forget mindset
- How to see change as an opportunity, rather than a problem
- Dr. Fern’s 8-week program – how to address fear, anxiety, anger and physical pain to break through inherited expectations
- How women can break through stress to be successful leaders
- The importance of prioritizing yourself to break through energy barriers
- How the feminine yin and masculine yang need to be clearly defined to ensure that alpha females have a happy work-life balance
- Dr. Fern’s avatar – a perfectionist who is striving but has lost her essence. She’s stressed out, time poor and yearning to find her freedom but is scared to lose the abundance.
Dr. Fern runs free masterclasses each week on how to find freedom in the dental industry – you can find out more at by clicking here.
Here is a short video trailer of the podcast episode:
I’d love to invite you to join our online coaching program, Delivering Wow U. It’s for dentists just like you who are masterminding to get to the next level. For more information and to sign up for a trial click here.
This week on the Delivering WOW podcast I am so pleased to share with you my interview with a true leader in the dental industry, Dr. Robert Pick.
Dr. Pick is a popular business practice management consultant, coach, best-selling author, entrepreneur, and professional speaker. He is known for his high energy, fast moving, motivational, highly educational and entertaining programs.
Dr. Pick is the CEO of The Pick Group, a practice management firm designed to yield a happy, healthy and wealthy practice. He is also in private practice working in the ‘trenches’.
Dr. Pick received his Dental Degree, Certificate of Residency in Periodontics and his Master of Science Degree, Oral Pathology, all from Northwestern University. Dr. Pick is currently engaged in full time private practice of Periodontics, Implants and Oral Medicine in Aurora, Illinois. He is also a member of the attending staff of Northwestern Memorial Hospital and a Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery at the Northwestern University’s Medical School. Dr. Pick has also been involved with the Jack Welch Business Management Institute.
Dr. Pick is recognized by Dentistry Today as one of the top 200 Leaders in Continuing Education and has won this honor all 19 years that the award has been given. He is also on the Advisory Board of the Journal, Dentist’s Money Digest, where he also writes a monthly article. Dr. Pick has presented programs nationally and internationally, has published numerous articles and book chapters in the scientific literature and he has been on live closed circuit TV at both the CDS and Hinman Dental Meetings. As an official spokesperson for the American Dental Association he has frequently been featured in the media.
On the podcast we discussed:
- What Robert sees as the four basics for a successful practice
- The importance of pre-clinical interviews, which Robert conducts with all new patients
- The necessity of having social media presence, an up-to-date website and the opportunity video presents
- A powerful tool Robert calls the post-procedure video check
- The value of offsite business retreats and teambuilding to developing a dental business
- How to motivate your team, including some great tips to get your team on-board
- How to build a successful fee for service practice
Dr. Pick can be reached at www.thepickgroup.com (website coming soon!) and by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's a video trailer of the podcast episode:
This week on the Delivering Wow podcast I had the pleasure of talking to Dr. Cyndi Blalock. Dr. Blalock passionately believes in ‘finding your tribe’. By finding your ideal patients and team, you can create the practice of your dreams.
Dr. Blalock completed her Bachelor of Science degree at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, MO and completed her Doctor of Dental Surgery training at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry. During her training she completed an externship in oral and maxillofacial surgery at Truman Medical Center.
Dr. Blalock is an active member of the American Dental Association, as well as the Missouri Dental Association and Greater St. Louis Dental Society. She has spent time at the Missouri Capitol educating Missouri state representatives and senators about issues effecting the field of dentistry. She also writes a column that appears in The Arch magazine and is proud to provide dental care to the service men and women in the Army, Navy, and the Missouri National Guard.
On the podcast we discussed:
- The journey that led her to where she is today
- What ‘find your tribe’ means and why she follows that philosophy
- Why you should define the kind of patients that you want to serve and then ensure that you focus on finding them
- Having team members who are onboard with your philosophy
- The process that Dr. Blalock and her team follow to define their tribe
- What to do if you have patients that you would rather not have
- How to find your ideal patient – from asking for referrals to using social media
- How powerful Facebook advertising can be when trying to define and find your ideal patient
- The culture of Dr. Blalock’s dental practice and importance of leading by example
You can find Cyndi on Facebook
If you haven’t done so already, please do make sure that you join the Dental Marketing and Profits Facebook Group
Here's a short video trailer of the podcast episode:
This week on the podcast, I interviewed Erin Doffoney – a rock star dental hygienist based out of Atlanta. We talked about how your dental team can make better connections with your patients and team members.
Erin’s passion is to bring skill, comfort and care through dental hygiene. Her goal is to focus on patients who’ve had compromising dental experiences. There have been situations where some patients have gone untreated for extended periods of times, which allows her to help patients find healthy perceptions of themselves and strengthen their confidence.
Erin knows there is no single approach that is right for everyone. Her vast experience in the dental field since 1995 includes a range of modalities consisting of; Soft Tissue Management, Paradigm Shifts in Technology, Clinical Behavior as well as Clinical Verbiage and Techniques. As the founder of Techs For Teeth, Erin has become particularly sensitive with coaching individuals and helping them structure an ACTION analysis, Clinical Excellence Through Team Work, Perfecting Team Efficiency, Understanding Your “Why”, and Team Mission Statements that aid in patient and clinical proficiency.
Erin’s educational and professional background includes a Bachelor of Applied Science Degree from Clayton College & State University in Atlanta, GA. Dental Hygiene Board Certified & Licensed in Georgia and California, with Certification in Local Anesthesia, Nitrous Oxide and Curettage from Southwestern College in San Diego, CA, a proud member of the American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA), National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) and a sponsor of AACD's Give Back A Smile program.
On the podcast we discussed:
- The important role that leaders play and how this affects attrition of both team members and patients
- Identifying the natural strengths of your team members and putting them in the right positions
- The DISC personality assessment and how it can be used as a key to creating a high performing team
- The process of turning your patients into raving fans of your dental practice
- How to start your day to make your work environment drama-free and somewhere that other’s like to work
- How to make better connections with patients through being relatable, approachable and human
- Focusing on profit generating strategies
You can find out more about Erin, including her courses and consulting programs by visiting her website by clicking here..
Below is a short trailer of the podcast episode:
In this week’s episode I interviewed Dr. Shakila Angadi.
Dr. Shakila Angadi is the owner of Palmer Smile Design in Easton, PA. As a mother, dentist and wife, she has strived to achieve balance in her personal and professional life for many years.
After practicing dentistry for over 10 years, Dr. Angadi realized that empathetic communication and self-awareness techniques were the key to expanding her practice exponentially.
After being coached by leaders in dentistry and emotional intelligence, she was determined to expand her professional expertise to combine the two. Bridging the gap between professionalism and emotional agility, she is working on many projects to help dentists (and women) communicate and react with emotional awareness to improve the quality of their lives.
- Why hitting rock bottom was the best thing that could have happened to Shakila and the mindset shift that it takes to bounce back and up-level in almost all areas of life
- How perfectionism and the fear of failure can stifle creativity and problem solving – and why this is very prevalent problem amongst dentists
- The importance of having a mindset of admitting that you don’t know everything and seeking help where you need it
- Why investing in yourself is so important and how Shakila invested in herself
- How essential taking care of our minds and exercising our mental skills is in order to identify emotions and be open and aware of our surroundings
- The changes that Shakila has made in her dental practice to foster an environment based on positivity, empathy, gratitude and fantastic communication
- Social media strategies and how Shakila has used social media to grow her practice by attracting like-minded people in both her patients and team members
Shakila runs a Facebook Group called Emotional Intelligence for the (Modern) Mom – a group where like-minded moms (not exclusively dentists) share tools and tips for shifting mindset to improve their lives.
Here's a short video trailer of the podcast episode!
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.
Running a dental practice is a lot of work. From patient care to leading team members and managing cash flow, the work never ends.
There are only two ways to respond: You can either let your practice continue to push you around, or you can take control of your practice and put a structure in place to build a practice that can run without you.
An often-overlooked step to building a practice that can run without you is to create a set of core values for your practice. Your practice’s core values are the rules of the game. They define what your practice stands for and how you will build your practice.
Your core values are the rules of your company. They guide the decisions you make for your practice and ensure your team members are all on the same page. They bring clarity and consistency to your practice.
Take buying materials, for example. With a set of core values that includes using the highest-quality materials, you wouldn’t accept anything less than the best-quality materials you can afford. Without a set of core values, you might look at buying materials as an exercise in finding the lowest-priced acceptable options. One month you may buy the cheapest option; another month you may buy a higher-quality option.
That inconsistency permeates your practice. Your patients won’t know whether to expect high-quality or low-quality materials. That means they might be pleasantly surprised one visit and disappointed the next and will be far less likely to refer people to your practice. Internally, your team members won’t know how to order materials, so you’ll either have to do it yourself or accept inconsistency in material quality.
Having a clear set of core values makes sure everyone’s on the same page and moving together toward building the practice you envision for your future.
To create a set of core values that can help your dental practice run without you, follow these three steps.
1. Write down all the values you want for your practice.
The first step toward creating an effective set of core values is to write down every value you want your practice to operate with. If you’re looking to build a practice that caters to high-end clients, for example, your list might include utilizing the best materials, providing exceptional customer service, and providing VIP services to each client.
If you need help, get key team members involved. Share your practice’s vision with them. Get their feedback. Then brainstorm values that would ensure everyone operates in a way that leads your practice toward your vision. By including your team, you’ll not only get more input, but you’ll also build more team-member buy-in and ownership of the process.
Very early in the transformation of my practice into a Delivering WOW practice, I sat down with my team and asked, “What’s important to us? How do we want to be known in the community?”
I could have done it on my own, but that wouldn’t have been nearly as powerful as involving my team. Additionally, when your entire team is on board, you won’t have to do everything in your practice, because your team will have a clear set of rules within which to make decisions in your absence.
2. Refine your list to the core values that will lead you toward your vision.
Once you have a complete list, spend some time refining your list. To do so, spend some time considering whether each value you listed is a good fit for you and your practice.
Will they stand the test of time or need to be changed in a month, six months, or a year? The most effective core values will be principle-based and stand the test of time. If you’ll need to change it, refine it so it can stand the test of time or consider eliminating it.
Is each value consistent with the practice you want to build? Picture your future practice. Is having each of those values in place consistent with that? If not, cross it out.
My team and I spent time refining each of the values we listed, refining or eliminating our list until we found ten core values conducive to a Delivering WOW practice and could stand the test of time. When we were finished, each of us knew exactly what was expected of us. That allowed us to rely on each other with more confidence than before because we knew the other team members were making decisions within the same set of rules.
3. Show off your core values.
Your core values should not be a secret! Once you have a list of core values for your practice that matches your vision for your future, share them with your patients and the community.
Print and display them in a prominent spot in your office. Point them out to new patients during your office tour. Include a printout of them in recruiting materials so every new team member comes in knowing what’s expected of them. Everyone in your practice and the community should know what your practice stands for and your team will look to those core values with pride.
My entire team loves looking at our core values display. Every time we see it, we’re reminded of exactly what we stand for. Our final list of core values includes these ten principles:
- Always show compassion. It’s important to truly understand our patients’ needs and meet them there. We want to treat our patients with kindness and understanding.
- Ask the right questions. It’s important for us to be able to listen to understand. Understanding our patients’ fears, concerns, and points of resistance helps us to treat them properly and provide better solutions to their problems.
- Deliver a WOW experience every time. Consistency is important.
- Listen with two ears and one heart. The heart in business has to be compassion, love, and understanding.
- Pursue growth and learning. We have weekly lunch-and-learn sessions to ensure we are always learning as a team. All of our team members also have Kindles to read books to help with their personal development.
- Think big and have fun. We are innovative and think outside of the box. We have a relaxed working environment where we love going to work, and the patients feel it.
- Build a positive team and family spirit. If we aren’t working together as a team, then we can’t serve our patients to the best of our ability.
- Insist on the highest standards. We want the best for our patients regarding the quality of dentistry that we provide as well as the environment in which we provide it.
- Build a stronger community. We will always make giving back to the community a part of our culture.
- Be humble. As we grow, we want always to remain grateful for what we have and humble in how we carry ourselves.
It’s your turn.
Spend some time working through this three-step process for developing your own core values for your practice. When you’re done, take a picture of your core value display and share it on your social-media channels. Be sure to tag me, so I can celebrate with you! I am on Twitter: @deliveringwow
For years, we’ve been told that trying harder, working longer, and doing everything better than others is a surefire plan for success. While they likely had good intentions, they were spreading a myth.
In fact, that’s a surefire plan to burnout and shrinking profits over the long term. The reality is, building a unique culture for your practice will make you much more successful than trying harder, working longer, or obsessing with being the best at everything you do.
It can make you more money in less time, while at the same time turn patients into raving fans and team members into loyal and enthusiastic supporters.
Your patients care more about their experience at your practice than how hard you work or whether you’re 10% better than other dentists.
Your team members will be happier and more loyal when they are aligned with or can identify with your culture. They’ll feel an emotional connection with your business and won’t just show up for a paycheck.
You’ll make more money in less time because you’ll differentiate your practice from others. When you’re the only practice serving patients like you do, you can charge higher fees and work fewer hours. Your patients will leave happier because their experience will be a pleasant change from the norm. They won’t just be paying for the dental work you do.
Follow these two steps to take control of your culture and keep it top-of-mind as you build your dental practice.
1. Decide what will be unique about your practice.
Will yours be the practice that gives patients high-end experiences? Will yours be the practice with an on-time guarantee, so your patients schedule with confidence? Will yours be the practice that gives back to the community? You get to choose.
Culture can mean different things to different dental practices. If you’re not sure what culture you want for your practice, a great way to get ideas is to ask your patients. We did that in our practice to find out what they wanted, what mattered most to them, so we could focus on those things.
Our patients told us they wanted to be seen on time, have quality and consistency with their dental services, and to have a great experience in our office. When we learned that, we decided that our practice would become about providing VIP amenities to our patients while we respected their time and treated them like family.
2. Match your practice to the culture you desire.
In our practice, we do several things to reinforce the VIP and family-like culture we were looking to build.
For the VIP experience, we give iPads and headphones to patients to block out the sounds. We also give complimentary arm and hand massages to our patients before their visit. We enforce an on-time guarantee to let the patients know we respect their time and call them right away if we’re running late.
To create a more familial environment, we showcase pictures of us having fun with our patients, as well as participating in community activities. We invest in team development and praise our team members for their contributions to our practice and culture. We don’t just praise them behind closed doors, either. We openly acknowledge and praise them in front of patients and on social media, too, so everyone knows how great our team is.
These are just some of the things we do to reinforce our practice’s culture. What you do, and what you don’t do, will create your company culture. When building your culture, ask yourself what you could add or change to promote yours, too.
What culture will you build?
Your practice’s culture does far more than make sure your patients’ experience is pleasant. It will determine the story they tell their friends and family about your practice. It will determine what your practice will become known for. It will influence whether patients come back or whether new patients come in.
You can take control of the story your patients tell by taking control of the culture of your practice. By developing a world-class practice culture, you’ll be well on your way to building a practice that can run without you.
You’ll also greatly reduce your chances of burning out like the dentists who buy into the lie that you need to try harder, work longer, or be better at everything in order to succeed.