How to Create a Set of Core Values That Can Help Your Dental Practice Run Without You

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

Why Building an Irresistible Culture is the Secret to Building a Successful Dental Practice

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.

The Secret To Getting Your Patients to Say Yes with Wes Schaeffer

Today's episode features Wes Schaeffer, the Sales Whisperer. Having an extensive background in sales, Wes is a sales trainer and a sales motivational speaker where he goes around and helps organizations from beginning to end.

Wes is the author of the book The Definitive Guide to Infusionsoft: How Mortals Increase Traffic, Leads, Prospects, Sales, Testimonials, Online Orders & Referrals With the World’s Most Powerful Sales & Marketing Automation Software. Wes also has expertise in sales training & marketing and software implementation to help with automation.

Today, Wes shares with us what you should focus on as a dentist to get patients to not only accept treatment, but to enter your practice ready to start treatment.

We discuss what is sales…and no, it's not what you might be thinking!

Wes shares how to create a sales process to ask people the right questions to engage with them and show them the benefits of what you have to offer.

He says that you must first focus on creating a unique practice and work on creating great experiences for your patients so that they will have no choice but to choose your practice.

We also discuss exactly how to offer and fit in same day additional services, which increases your practice production and helps solve your patient's problems!

Links in the Episode:

The Sales Whisperer

The Delivering WOW Free Facebook Group

FBMastery Facebook Course


6 Steps to Create a Practice and Business That WOWs

Are you ready to get some MASSIVE results for 2016?  Perhaps it's time to start Delivering WOW.

So what is Delivering Wow….

Delivering Wow is a customer-focused approach that service businesses, including dental practices, can take to consistently provide a high level of service and quality. What makes Delivering Wow different from the typical activities of many dental practices is its emphasis on consistency and importance of our six core areas. Many dentists want to provide good service, but most fail to provide excellent service on a consistent basis. Not because the dentists are bad people, but because they do not have a systematized way of delivering that consistent experience day in and day out.

Delivering Wow fixes that. In fact, Delivering Wow transforms a ho-hum and struggling dental practice into an above-average practice that experiences massive growth. The reason this approach works is because it focuses on specific areas that affect the business’s relationship with its customers: Vision, Culture, Core Values, Team, Systems and Brand.

  1. Your vision as a dentist will affect the entire practice, as well as your future growth. If you do not have a vision, then anything can happen, because there is no strategic future you are looking forward to or planning. The vision is the big idea you have for your business, and ultimately, your life.
  2.  Culture is important because it is the story that you create for your practice.  It is what you want to be known for.  Every company has a culture, whether you create it, or it evolves. Being focused on your company culture helps ensure you are developing the environment to bring forth your vision
  3. Core values are important because they help you set the tone (culture) and they help you work toward the vision. If you are focused on the wrong core values, then you will produce a culture and environment opposite of or different from what you intend.
  4. It’s important to have the right team in place, because the team you hire consists of the people who will represent you and your practice to customers and the community. Having the wrong team members, or having team members in the wrong place can be detrimental to growth.
  5. Systems are essential for scaling your operation. If you are stuck and feeling as if you are having to do every single thing at your practice, then it’s because you do not have the proper systems in place. If you are providing inconsistent experiences to customers, this is also a weakness that has been revealed because of lack of the proper systems.
  6. And lastly, brand is the result of all of the earlier core areas working together. Your brand is what people say about you when you are not around — it is what they know of your business. If your brand is off, then you won’t attract the customers you desire. Creating a unique brand will separate you from the next dental practice in the mind of your customers.

If the only thing you believe you can compete on is price, then you don’t have much of a brand, and indeed, you will find yourself in a race to the bottom, as you work to grab customers’ attention by lowering your fees. In order to compete effectively, your brand must be about something besides being the low-cost provider, as there is always someone willing to go even lower. If your brand is about Delivering Wow, then you immediately set your business apart as being different. Being different is always better than being better.

Dr. Anissa Holmes, a Global leader in Social Media Marketing, and owner of Jamaica Cosmetic Dental Services, helps dentists and small business owners receive massive growth through developing their culture, systems and brand.

Dr. Holmes, through her podcast, The Delivering WOW Dental Podcast and her blog Delivering WOW, shares tips for designing a unique business culture to deliver a “Wow” experience every time, strategies to triple leads and new customers as well as strategies to build an amazing team.


Don’t Focus on the Competition, Focus on What Makes you Unique

While trying to grow a successful company, there are many things that you can focus on.  However, to get the greatest amount of success, you should focus on what matters most.  It doesn't matter if you own a restaurant, or are providing a service, like a dentist or accountant, you must focus on what makes you different.  

Let's face it, we have lots of choices of where to spend our money these days, and so do consumers.  The businesses that thrive all have one thing in common- something that makes them stand apart.  Amazon offers convenience which allows them to stand apart from other online retailers.  Zappos is known for their culture and amazing service.  Dominoes is known for delivering dinner to a hungry family in 30 minutes or less.  What makes your business unique?

The secret is to find out what matters most to your customers, and give it to them.  In my dental business I realized that people want to be seen on time.  So we put in systems and a guarantee to make that happen.  We also knew that most people are fearful when going to the dentist, so in addition to amenities such as gourmet tea and freshly baked plantain tarts, we offer headphones to take away the sound and complimentary arm and hand massages. We focused on being different.

Once you focus on being different, customers will notice and will be drawn to you because you are solving not only their needs but their wants.  The basic service that I provide is a dental service.  However, all dentists do cleanings and fillings.  It is the extra touches that have allowed my business to consistently receive 10 times the industry standard of new patients with a very tiny marketing budget.  Our marketing is our uniqueness and our culture.  

What is Your Company’s Culture?

Why have Core Values?  Every practice has an office culture, whether you have designed it, or it has evolved.  Do you focus on being compassionate?  Perhaps you value seeing every patient on time.  Other offices focus on community service.

These are the Core Values of Jamaica Cosmetic Dental Services

1.) Always Show Compassion
2.) Deliver a Wow Experience Every Time
3.) Ask the Right Questions
4.) Listen With Two Ears and One Heart
5.) Pursue Growth and Learning
6.) Think Big and Have Fun
7.) Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
8.) Insist on the Highest Standards
9.) Build a Stronger Community
10.) Be Humble

What these mean to our company are that we must always be patient and meet our patients where they are.  We must not judge them.  We must ensure consistency, and ensure that our patient's experience with us is unlike any dental office that they have ever been to before.  We must ask lots of questions to get a full understanding of what exactly the patient wants so that we can better serve them.  We must listen and treat our patients as if they were in our own family.

Education is very important.  All of our team members have kindles for our book club and we have weekly lunch and learns.  Our office must be a fun environment where we look forward to coming together to exceed our patient's expectations.  We must offer consistency and quality in our dental work.  It must be beautiful, strong, and long lasting.  We absolutely must build stronger communities.  We currently give away proceeds from our new patient exams to a different charity every month, as well as have hosted free kids dental days.  Finally, and most importantly, we must be humble.

I challenge you to take the time with your team and come up with what's important to your practice, and most importantly, put it into ACTION!