Three Ways to Improve Case Acceptance

Three Ways to Improve Case Acceptance

While some patients think dentistry is inconvenient, expensive, and uncomfortable, many are open-minded and ready to move forward with the care they need. The reality is, improving case acceptance is not very difficult. You just need to have the right strategies.

To help you get started, here are three strategies Delivering WOW Platinum Coaching Program coach, Dr. Chris Bowman shares to improve case acceptance.

Present the Problem, Not the Treatment

 

Three Ways to Improve Case Acceptance

 

Often, the issue keeping patients from moving forward isn’t money. Sure, money might be tight. But if you have flexible financing options, that can be overcome. 

Many times, the issue keeping patients from moving forward is a lack of a perceived need. Patients simply don’t think they need the care we recommend, so they don’t consider moving forward a good use of their time and money. That’s why Dr. Bowman says doctors should focus on presenting the problem, not the treatment. This way, patients know the consequences of not moving forward with treatment. If they understand the gravity of their issue, they’ll understand the importance of moving forward with the treatment they need. 

Additionally, explaining treatment might sound like a foreign language to a patient. Telling them they might need their tooth extracted if they don’t get their cavity fixed, on the other hand, will be much more persuasive. 

Do a “Gloss Over” for Patients Who Need a Lot of Care

 

Three Ways to Improve Case Acceptance

 

Avoid overwhelming patients on their first visit. To do so, get a sense of how much thought patients have given to their care before coming. Some patients—typically cosmetic patients—will have thought about getting the care they need for quite sometime before they come in. With those patients, you can generally tell them about all the care they need without overwhelming them. For patients who haven’t mulled over treatment options, however, you’ve got to do what Dr. Bowman calls the “gloss over.”

For example, you might have a patient come in with a broken tooth. Upon examination, you might notice four cavities they had no idea about. To avoid overwhelming the patient and putting them off, get them started incrementally by taking their care one step at a time. 

Help them fix their broken tooth and identify any urgent care that’s needed. If some of the cavities are less urgent, mention those to them but let them know they can wait to fill those. Go back and revisit each tooth that needs treatment, develop a comprehensive plan, and go as fast or as slow as the patient wants. The key is to relieve the pressure of telling your patients they need lots of care and treatment by doing a “gloss over” of their needs and moving forward very deliberately.

Take Digital Photographs of Their Teeth and Compare Their Photographs to Other Patients' Photographs

 

Three Ways to Improve Case Acceptance

 

Dr. Bowman suggests creating different folders for each type of dental problem you’ve faced as a dentist. You can have one folder for cavities under fillings, another for cavities under crowns, another for broken or split teeth, another for periodontal disease, etc. 

For each dental problem, have digital pictures of before, during, and after the treatment of patients who had those dental problems. Show these pictures to patients who have the same problem. This will show them what treatment can do for them.

Taking digital photographs of the “during” phase and showing those to patient’s is especially important. Before and after pictures don’t sell dentistry, unless it’s a cosmetic treatment, Dr. Bowman says. When a cavity is under a filling, for example, it’s hard to see the cavity because the filling is on top of it. If you did a before and after picture, they might not look very different. If you show a “during” picture, however, the patient will see the tooth once the filling is removed. Thus, they will see all of the decay going on under the filling. They’ll be much more convinced to move forward with treatment when they see all the decay. 

Are Your Patients Moving Forward with the Treatment They Need?

It’s our jobs as dentists to help patients maintain healthy teeth and enjoyable lives. Thus, it’s important for our patients to moving forward with the treatment they need.

These three strategies can help you get more patients to say yes to your treatment plan. For more strategies to help you increase case acceptance, plus coaching for you and your team, and more, join our Delivering WOW Platinum Coaching Program today.

How to Know If Your Overhead Expenses Are out of Control

How to Know if Your Overhead Expenses Are Out of Control

If you focus on practice production but not reducing overhead expenses for your dental practice, you’ll be forced to work harder than you need to.

While many dental practice growth plans rightfully focus on increasing revenue, it’s important to do so as part of an overall practice profitability plan. And every good practice profitability plan also focuses on reducing overhead expenses. After all, you can be as productive as possible and still end up not making enough money if you are paying too much for your overhead.

Many practices can make an immediate positive impact on their practices by reducing wasteful spending and either redirecting that money to more productive uses or taking that money home as profits. That’s why it’s so important to know your numbers and make sure you are not paying much for overhead expenses, such as dental supplies, lab fees, rent, and administrative costs.

So how do you know if your overhead expenses are out of control? Dr. Glenn Vo, our Delivering Wow Platinum “Reducing Overhead” coach shared strategies he uses to help practices reduce overhead. Here are two steps he suggests every practice to complete. These will help you understand exactly how to know if their overhead expenses are out of control.

Determine your overhead expenses.

 

How to Know if Your Overhead Expenses Are Out of Control

 

The easiest way to figure out your office overhead is to get a profit and loss statement from your CPA. If your CPA isn’t offering that already, ask them for one and make sure you get one every month from now on. (If your CPA doesn’t—and won’t—do that, switch CPAs. You need to know your numbers if you ever want to build a dream dental practice!)

When you look at your profit and loss statement, add up all the expenses and then divide that number by the gross collections of your practice. Dr. Vo suggests that you exclude your salary as well as your associates’ salary from overhead calculations. Generally, industry standard calculations exclude these numbers for overhead calculations. For calculating overhead, focus on the items you and your fellow doctors need to support your practice, which would include hygienist and staff salaries.

That calculation will give you a good general overhead percentage. For example, if your monthly collections are $500,000 and your overhead expenses are $300,000, your overhead percentage would be 60%.

Compare that number to benchmarks.

 

How to Know if Your Overhead Expenses Are Out of Control

 

Some practice owners are surprised by their overhead numbers. Industry ideal for overhead is 55% of collections for a general practitioner. Many times, practices fall between 60% and 65%. Of course, with Delivering WOW, we’re overachievers and strive for even better. Obviously, the lower you can get your overhead, the more profitable your practice can be. But be sure you maintain the right level of quality so you can continue to Deliver WOW.

A general rule of thumb is if you can get your number below 50% and approach 40%, you’re doing an amazing job. If your number starts to track over 75%, however, your overhead is likely out of control. Don’t worry, though. If this is the first time you’re paying attention to your number, you can likely reduce this number fast, especially if you’ve joined the Delivering WOW Platinum coaching program and taken advantage of the deals we’ve negotiated on your behalf.

Is your overhead out of control?

 

How to Know if Your Overhead Expenses Are Out of Control

 

Once you know your number, examine each expense a little more carefully. Are all of your expenses absolutely necessary to the survival and growth of your business? If not, you may need to cut a few out until you can afford them.

If you’ve already cut out unnecessary expenses and are still left with a number that’s too high, it’s possible your practice is underproducing. Or, you might need to evaluate—and perhaps raise—prices. Usually, a combination of cutting unnecessary expenses and increasing revenue gives the best results.

What does your overhead percentage tell you about your practice? If want help reducing overhead, sign up for our Delivering WOW Platinum Coaching Program where overhead guru, Dr. Glenn Vo, can help you take control of your finances.

How to Treat More Rockstar Patients with Weston Lunsford

How to Treat More Rockstar Patients with Weston Lunsford

I’m so excited to introduce you to my special guest on this episode of the podcast, Weston Lunsford. Together, we discuss how you can find your ideal patient. And, the things you can do to attract more ‘rockstar’ patients to your practice.

As CEO of Dental Intelligence, Weston oversees the strategic direction of the company and its products. Above all, he is responsible for the revenue growth and future expansion plans. But he also dedicates a large part of his time to be intimately involved with their clients, the dentists. This allows him to fully understand their needs, wants and their experience with their solutions.

Weston spent the previous 10 years as the founder and principal partner in Lunsford Peck. Lunsford Peck is a Certified Public Accounting firm providing services for medical and dental professionals. Also they have an impressive community of clientele, with nearly 2,000 clients on their books.

Weston and his team are passionate about what they do. So, they trust in each other and in their abilities to create something special, unique, and impactful. As Dental Intel always says, “we make incredible happen!”

 

How to Treat More Rockstar Patients with Weston Lunsford

On the podcast we discussed:

  • Weston’s professional background and how he got into dentistry with Dental Intel
  • How to increase production in your practice
  • Why it’s important to identify the type of dentistry you want to do
  • Efficient ways to target your ideal patients
  • Why and how you should rate your patients
  • How to increase patient retention

 

How to Treat More Rockstar Patients with Weston Lunsford

 

If you’d like to get a FREE practice analysis from Dental Intel, whereby you’ll discover strengths and opportunities for growth in your practice, click here.

To watch a short trailer for this episode click the video below.

3 Ways to Get Help Running Your Dental Practice

3 Ways to Get Help Running Your Dental Practice

 

Running a dental practice is a lot of work. There's no denying that. But that doesn't mean all that work needs to be done by the doctor. That's a prescription for stress, burnout, and physical and mental health challenges. 

Help is all around the dental industry. The key is finding reputable, reliable, and quality help for your dental practice. Here are three ways to get real help running your practice.

Invest in training your team. 

 

3 Ways to Get Help Running Your Dental Practice

 

Some dentists are so overwhelmed that they cannot even carve out the time to train their team. They spend all day putting out fires and by the time the patients are all taken care of, they just want to go home and sleep. Early morning hours aren't the solution for practices like these, either; with such a hectic and stressful day ahead, doctors need all the rest they can get.

We have so many options to help our team members get trained. For example, we can invite trusted dental consultants to our practice to train our team members. We can also put team members through online or in-person training courses.

One key to getting your team to implement the training is to make sure the systems and processes they learn become your office's standard. One of the biggest challenges to getting consistent work product from team members is to make sure every team member knows what to do. Implementing the training and holding team members accountable is often the hardest part for dentists. But it is essential to being able to delegate confidently and achieve consistency in your practice. If you invest in training, be sure to support the learning. 

Invest in dental technology.

 

3 Ways to Get Help Running Your Dental Practice

 

Dental technology has come a long way in a short time. We have technology available to help with almost everything we do. For example, dental technology can help make dental marketing easier. It can help increase dental practice efficiency and communication. It can help with dental SEO and online reviews for dental practices. And, of course, new technologies can help us provide better care to patients.

Together, the right combination of dental technology can help you increase profits and save time and money. It can help you perform more and higher-value procedures. It can help your team communicate more efficiently. It can help you understand where to focus your marketing time and efforts. And it can help you hold your team accountable for implementing new systems and processes into your practice.

Give yourself the tools you need to do your best work. And give your team the tools they need to do their jobs consistently well.

Invest in coaching.

 

3 Ways to Get Help Running Your Dental Practice

 

The best thing I did to shift away from being deeply in debt and working way too hard was hiring a coach. My coach helped me see things more objectively, get organized, and make better choices.

Getting outside guidance from an experienced and objective coach can immediately improve results. Coaching can take many forms. Some coaches help with specific areas of running a practice, such as case acceptance, setting a practice vision, or reducing overhead. Others guide you on more general operations and growth strategies. 

But coaching does not only have to be focused on dental practice operations to be helpful. Many dentists could benefit from hiring a mindset coach, life coach, or personal trainer to help them continue their personal growth. If your challenges extend beyond practice-specific operations, hiring an experienced coach can help.

One of the best benefits of coaching is that it is an ongoing relationship. Your coach works with you, your team, or both on a regular basis. This helps ensure consistent improvement and accountability. If you want help with consistent improvement and accountability, working with a coach can be one of your best investments. 

Do you have enough help with your practice?

If you need help running your practice, then investing in team training, dental technology, and quality coaching can help. Team training can help implement new systems and processes to get your team working efficiently and consistently. Dental technology can help in many ways. It can even help reinforce the team training if you choose the right technology to match the training. And coaching can help you and your team members get additional help, direction, and accountability to promote consistent improvement.

TAKE ACTION TODAY:

If you want help developing leaders within your team, our team of expert coaches, training, and resources we offer in our signature Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind Program can help. Not only will we share tools, trainings, and resources, but we can also train your team members directly and help hold them accountable.

You can also create an easy opportunity for your team to increase their commitment to the growth of your practice! Our Marketing & Practice Growth Challenge is exactly that opportunity. Over 300 practices have participated and the feedback we hear all the time is that by the end of the 21-day challenge team members are so much more invested and excited about the growth of the practice. But don’t take our word for it, read their testimonials about the challenge here.

How to Build a Dental Practice Like an Entrepreneur

How to Build a Dental Practice Like an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs have been lauded as the end-all-be-all of business people. They can start from scratch and build a thriving business. So why doesn’t dental school teach us how to build a practice like entrepreneurs build their businesses?

As it turns out, there are many ways we can build our practices like entrepreneurs build their businesses, but we must first recognize some of the differences between entrepreneurial businesses and more traditional, bureaucratic ones.

 

How to Build a Dental Practice Like an Entrepreneur

Traditional, Bureaucratic Dental Practices:

  • Encourage learning by researching
  • Have rigid titles and responsibilities
  • Base pay on time and attendance
  • Values reason over emotions
  • Lead based on status
  • Are transaction-focused
  • Operate with rigid plans
  • Build a culture of scarcity

Entrepreneurial Dental Practices

  • Encourage learning by doing
  • Build teams with fluid titles and responsibilities
  • Base pay on outcomes
  • Value emotions as well as reason
  • Lead based on contributions
  • Are relationship-focused
  • Operate with malleable plans
  • Build a culture of abundance

Entrepreneurs give up security in exchange for opportunity. Unlike most people who are content with a job, a regular paycheck, and clearly defined responsibilities, entrepreneurs are willing to jump into the unknown: betting on their intelligence, expertise, and ability to problem-solve and create solutions in hopes of generating a profit. They are not always successful, and they are by no means perfect. Four out of five new businesses fail, and working in an entrepreneurial company can be far more demanding than a traditional one.

But there are some really incredible pieces of the entrepreneur puzzle that can make for a high-performing practice. You’ll be more secure and structured in a bureaucratic practice—you’ll have all the power to make decisions—but that also means you’re doing all of the work to lift and lead the practice. Your job title will entitle you to status, and the practice will work according to that status. This is organized and can work well for many people. But it creates a less collaborative and, we think, a weaker environment.

If you decide you want to build your dental practice like an entrepreneur, here are four things you need to commit to.

Be willing to change the status quo, even when your practice is profitable.

Bureaucratic practices find something that works and stick to it no matter what. It might be a system or process to run your practice or a way to attract new patients. Even good things can be made great.

To grow a practice like an entrepreneur, you must be willing to make changes, even when things are going well. Things will always be changing in a thriving entrepreneurial business. Entrepreneurs are constantly trying new things out to see what works. They are always looking to improve, even when things are going well.

Create a culture of abundance.

 

How to Build a Dental Practice Like an Entrepreneur

 

A culture of abundance is one in which your team cooperates with each other to help the entire practice improve. This is in sharp contrast to a culture of scarcity, which results in a competitive environment in which team members fight for credit and look to achieve personal gain.

Entrepreneurs know the best way forward is when every team member works together as a team. To achieve a culture of abundance, we must encourage and reward things that encourage cooperation and teamwork.

Help your staff do their best work.

Entrepreneurial leaders give their team members the tools, training, and resources to do their best work. They invest in the best systems and processes and on constantly improving them so each team member can perform consistently well.

Beyond tools, training, and resources, entrepreneurial leaders let their team members know small failures will not get them fired. We must give team members permission to make mistakes in the pursuit of consistent improvement. Remember, it’s easy for those in a position of power to take a risk. It’s harder for those who feel they have more to lose.

Shift your pay scale toward rewarding performance.

 

How to Build a Dental Practice Like an Entrepreneur

 

Rewarding people on results will shift the mindset of your team members from rewarding people’s presence to rewarding their performance. Even if it just means creating a commission or rewards system for hitting practice goals, rewarding performance will transform your practice from a bureaucratic one to one in which everyone begins to think like entrepreneurs.

Are you building your practice like an entrepreneur?

These practices can begin to boost the culture and work ethic in your practice. True leaders and entrepreneurial team members will rise up. Also, team members who are not on board with a healthy, entrepreneurial culture will be more likely to move on to create a stronger team moving forward.

If you want help building a practice like an entrepreneur, check out the team of expert coaches, training, and resources we offer in our signature Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind Program. Our coaches will help transform your practice by implementing entrepreneurial systems and processes, coach your entire team, and even keep them accountable for helping achieve your practice goals.

You can also join thousands of other dentists helping each other in my Free Dental Marketing and Profits Facebook Group.

How to Build a Gossip-Free Environment in Your Practice

How to Build a Gossip-Free Environment in Your Practice

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

 

How to Build a Gossip-Free Environment in Your Practice

 

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

 

How to Build a Gossip-Free Environment in Your Practice

 

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

 

How to Build a Gossip-Free Environment in Your Practice

 

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.

3 Pieces to a Productive, Profitable Dental Practice

3 Pieces to a Productive, Profitable Dental Practice

Growing a dental practice requires you to do a number of things. First, you need to set a vision and goals for your practice. That tells you where you want to go. Second, you need to develop a WOW culture to attract and retain the best team members possible. Third, you need to give every patient a WOW experience every time they visit your office. Fourth, you need to be profitable. If you are not profitable, you will not be in business very long.

I lay out these four steps—and more—in my book, Delivering WOW: How Dentists Can Build a Fascinating Brand and Achieve More While Working Less…. (which you can get for FREE right here—just cover shipping). Here are the three pieces to building a productive, profitable practice to support you and your team as you work to achieve your practice vision and goals and give patients a truly WOW experience.

1. Empowered, Accountable People

 

3 Pieces to a Productive, Profitable Dental Practice

 

You will never build a productive, profitable dental practice without having the right people on your team. Setting clear practice goals and a practice vision helps attract people who share your values. Building a WOW practice culture helps you keep your team engaged.

But making sure every team member has clear goals and the processes, systems, and tools to do their job well gets you profitable. In other words, once you have the right people on your team, you need to make sure they know what to do and how to do it. That's where the processes, systems, and tools come in—to empower, focus, and hold team members accountable for achieving their individual goals.

2. Processes and Systems

 

3 Pieces to a Productive, Profitable Dental Practice

 

Processes and systems help make everyone's jobs easier. They promote consistency in people's work and hold people accountable for doing tasks the right way.

One of my favorite systems to put in place is a dental practice scorecard. A dental practice scorecard allows you to see the most important numbers in your practice, in real time, and in one place.

In my practice, I have my scheduling coordinator pull the info into the scorecard. Every Tuesday we have a leadership meeting where we discuss the numbers from the scorecard. We have a system for her to pull the information and update the scorecard by Monday morning. That system holds her accountable for completing it and allows us to spot and address issues in real time.

For example, one of the most important metrics we track in my practice is our dentist's production per visit. If we set a goal of $700 per visit but see $400 per visit in our scorecard, we know we need to close that gap. One way to do that would be to do Invisalign or crown promotions to attract more patients for high-revenue services. We could also talk with the doctors about doing as much as they can in one visit so the patient gets their treatment faster and our production per vision increases. Over the longer term, we could send one of our doctors to a CE to learn how to perform higher-revenue procedures as well.

This system allows us to make a change right away and not wait a month or longer to see the overall numbers. And if we are hitting or achieving our goals, we can congratulate team members in real time, too.

3. Tools

 

3 Pieces to a Productive, Profitable Dental Practice

 

Finally, we need tools to help make the systems and processes easier and more efficient. Processes need to be very easy for your team or they will feel overwhelmed. One of my favorite tools to increase productivity and profitability is Dental Intel.

Dental Intel's software suite connects with your practice management software and pulls actionable data into one simple presentation. My team can pull everything we need for our scorecard in a matter of seconds. It has several other powerful features, too.

With tools, we need to be careful in choosing tools that help make our practice better that we have the resources to integrate and use well. Dental Intel is one that is both highly effective and easy to use.

With the right people in place and systems and processes to support them, having tools to make their work even easier is the final piece of the puzzle.

Do you have all three pieces to the productive, profitable, practice puzzle?

Way too many practices do not have all three pieces of the puzzle together. Some have great team members but lack the processes, systems, and tools to help them do their best work. Others have a strong team with processes and systems but no tools to make them easier. Once I had all three pieces working together, my practice growth skyrocketed. I worked less and made a lot more. And my team was supported and set up to succeed.

To learn more about building a productive, profitable 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.

How to Give Your Dental Practice a Core Value Checkup

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

 

How to Give Your Dental Practice a Core Value Checkup

 

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

 

How to Give Your Dental Practice a Core Value Checkup

 

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

 

How to Give Your Dental Practice a Core Value Checkup

 

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.

Using Google Drive to Organize Practice Documents, Photos, and Monthly Bills

Using Google Drive to Organize Practice Documents, Photos, and Monthly Bills

With so many documents, photos, and bills to manage, keeping organized can be a nightmare. We need to organize leadership files, patient photos, advertising assets, and more. We need to keep our accounting documents organized to make sure bills get paid. We need to keep training and development files up-to-date and accessible to everyone who needs them. And with many team members accessing key documents, it can be easy to get disorganized.

Google Drive can help you keep everything organized and make sure everyone is working from the best and latest information. Here are four steps to using Google Drive to make organizing documents, photos, and monthly bills easy.

1. Create primary folders within your main Google Drive.

 

Using Google Drive to Organize Practice Documents, Photos, and Monthly Bills

 

Google Drive is a cloud-based file storage and synchronization service. If you manage your practice email using Google, you already have a Google Drive account. If not, you can sign up for free. Google Drive allows you to control who can access documents on an individual level or by folder.

Once your account is active, set up folders for your primary practice categories. We set up folders for accounting, leadership, marketing, office documents, patient photos, and training and development. If we have special projects that are outside of those main categories, we will set up additional folders. If you use Asana to create teams and assign projects, you could match your folders to your project names to make it familiar for team members.

These main folders should make it easy for team members to know where to find and save documents. Invite team members to the folders they will need to access to make sure the right people have access to the right documents.

2. Create important sub-folders within your folders.

Sub-folders are an important part of getting and staying organized. Instead of putting all files relating to marketing in one big folder, organize the documents further using sub-folders, and sub-sub-folders. For example, within marketing, we have sub-folders for articles, Facebook ad examples, Google ad examples, images, swag information, and a few more.

We also have a main folder for photos. Within those, we have a sub-folder for patient photos. Within our patient photos sub-folder, we have further sub-folders for procedures, such as dental implant before-and-after pictures. Within that sub-folder, we have additional folders for each doctor. Within each doctor's sub-folder, we have folders for each letter of the alphabet.

That folder structure allows us to easily find patient photos by procedure, doctor, and last name.

3. Make sure everyone uploads all documents to the right folder or sub-folder.

 

Using Google Drive to Organize Practice Documents, Photos, and Monthly Bills

 

Once your folder structure is in place, make sure each team member stores documents in the right folder. Have one file system and one place for each type of document. This way, nothing can get lost.

This is especially important for keeping monthly bills organized. In my practice, we scan all bills into the computer. We then put them in sub-folders by month. For monthly bills, my team knows use the accounting folder, monthly bills sub-folder, and specific month sub-sub-folder.

4. Communicate about each document using Google Drive comments and Asana.

Google Drive's document sharing feature is helpful. You can create a link to each folder, sub-folder, and individual document that you can share with your team. If you need to communicate about a document, you can add a comment within Google Drive and tag the right team member to see the comment.

You can also use Asana to communicate by creating a task for the document within Asana, pasting the link, and communicating back-and-forth within the Asana task.

How do you keep files organized in your dental practice?

 

Using Google Drive to Organize Practice Documents, Photos, and Monthly Bills

 

If you do not have one place to organize your documents, Google Drive is a simple but powerful tool. You can add every type of file to Google Drive. You can add images, PDFs, Microsoft Word documents, Google Spreadsheets, or any other type of file. It helps you keep everything safe and in one place.

To learn more about getting organized and productive, check out the team of expert coaches, training, and resources we offer in our signature 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.

How to Get the Support You Need as a Visionary Practice Leader

How to Get the Support You Need as a Visionary Practice Leader

Visionary practice leaders are an inspirational group of people. Many dentists consider themselves visionary leaders. I am a visionary leader.

Visionary leaders set big goals. We have big dreams. We can’t help ourselves. We see opportunities to make a positive impact beyond our practices and cannot help but pursue those opportunities.

That passion helps us achieve amazing things and inspire our team members. But it also presents challenges when it comes to leading more introverted or detail-oriented team members. If you consider yourself a visionary leader, it is important to understand those challenges and how to support your team members so you can get the support you need to achieve your big dreams.

The Benefits and Challenges of Visionary Leadership in Dental Practices

 

How to Get the Support You Need as a Visionary Practice Leader

 

Visionary leaders are community changers. We are world changers. We want to impact the world beyond our practices. We want to change dentistry for the better. We are driven. We are relentless. We do not accept the status quo. We will not continue doing something just because that is what the dentists who came before us did.

While that passion and focus can lead to incredible things in our communities, the dental industry, and the world around us, it presents two key challenges for employees.

First, in the world, it can become intense. We set high expectations for ourselves and our team. We are not satisfied showing up, fixing teeth, and going home.

It can get uncomfortable for our team members.

Sometimes it becomes a little bit difficult for our team members to be able to handle our expectations.

How to Support Team Members When You are a Visionary Leader

The best way to support your team members is to put yourself in their shoes and let them know you recognize the challenges of working with a visionary leader.

Their days are full. They have a list of tasks. And then all of a sudden, you burst in with a great idea that will change the world. That can be overwhelming to them. Let them know you recognize the challenges of working with a visionary leader. (They already know the challenges; let them know you know.)

Tell them you know you have some ideas that might be crazy. Tell them you know that on a whim, you come up with ideas that you believe will change the world.

Let them know you need to get your idea out right away, but that does not mean they always need to do the work right away. Most of the time, we do not need things done immediately. But we need to get our ideas written down and scheduled.

Finally, when you give them a new idea, ask them what else they are working on. Then help them prioritize the work.

These things help you ensure that your team members feel supported.

How to Get Support Team Members When You are a Visionary Leader

 

How to Get the Support You Need as a Visionary Practice Leader

 

Getting the support you need from your team can take time. But you can get the support you need by helping them help you. Here is how to do that.

First, be open and honest about what you expect from them. If you need something done right away, let them know.

Second, give them the tools they need to do their work well and efficiently. My team and I have been using Asana to organize and prioritize tasks. Invite them to ask questions on Asana so you can reply as soon as possible and keep all communications in one place.

Third, encourage questions. No matter how amazing your team members are, it is unreasonable to expect them to have the same vision as you. Be open to questions. It will improve results. Be patient.

A Visionary Leadership Case Study

Sara, one of my amazing Delivering WOW team members, is a high C in the DISC personality test. She is extremely detail-oriented. She is a planner. She knows exactly what she has to do at the beginning of each day, down to the smallest details such as when she’s going to walk her dog and eat.

When she first started working with me, she was not used to working with a visionary leader. She would be the first person to tell you it took her months to adjust. But we got into a rhythm, and we work very well together. I committed to supporting her, and she committed to supporting me.

So when she gets a message (or ten) from me with another idea, she knows exactly what to do. First, she asks, “How important is this task, and when would you like it done by?” This helps her stay organized.

She also lets me know what she already needs to get done that day. If this is a higher priority than that work, we set new deadlines for those projects. If not, she suggests a deadline for my new idea. Most of the time, her suggested deadline will be fine. Sometimes, I will want it sooner, so I will push out another task she is working on.

Either way, we both get what we need. She gets order to what would seem like disorder. I get the support I need to implement ideas.

Are you getting the support you need from your team members?

 

 

Are you a visionary leader? Do you feel like you are getting the support you need from your team? If not, be sure to get them the support they need to help you. Then work with them to ensure you get the support you need in return.

To learn more about getting the support you need in your practice, check out the team of expert coaches, training, and resources we offer in our signature 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.

How to Run a Productive Team Meeting

How to Run a Productive Team Meeting

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)

 

How to Run a Productive Team Meeting

 

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)

 

How to Run a Productive Team Meeting

 

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

 

How to Run a Productive Team Meeting

 

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.

How to Build an Environment in Which Every Team Member Does Their Best Work

How to Build an Environment in Which Every Team Member Does Their Best Work

My Delivering WOW team members are some of the most trustworthy, knowledgeable, and motivated people I have ever met. They know marketing, dental practice management, and effective ways to help practice leaders grow.

They are successful with Delivering WOW and active in the dental industry. For example, one team member works at a multi-location dental practice. During her first year, she grew the hygiene department 104%. In the last 18 months, she added millions of dollars to the organization through hygiene production alone. She also decreased cancellations and no-shows from 30% to less than 10%. The list goes on.

Her success with Delivering WOW and in her current position suggests she turns everything she touches into gold. While it is true that she is talented and hardworking enough to do so, she would be the first to tell you her career wasn’t without its challenges.

As leaders, we can help team members fly or clip their wings and hold them down.

 

How to Build an Environment in Which Every Team Member Does Their Best Work

 

Earlier in her career, this amazing team member moved across the country to take a job. When she started, she was told not to say or do anything for the first ninety days. Her bosses told her to be a “fly on the wall” and just observe operations during that time.

Twelve days into her job, however, she was called into the president’s office and fired. She was told that management didn’t think the position was right for her. They complained that she hadn’t made any decisions to help the company during the first twelve days. She had moved across the country and her husband had quit a job he held for a decade to move with her.

After defending herself as having followed directions, she was given one more chance. Needless to say, she completely lost trust in the leadership team. They told her to be a fly on the wall and then tried to fire her for doing so twelve days later. After taking a break to compose herself, she told one of the leaders how disappointed she was. She then decided to go back to the office do her best work, although it was hard to trust leadership after that. Eventually, she left and found new employment where she felt better supported and did incredible work from the start.

While she was able to turn a negative situation into a positive, not every team member is as self-motivated and determined as she is. She only stayed there long enough to be noticed and recruited by her next employer.

Build a positive environment to get the best work out of every team member.

 

How to Build an Environment in Which Every Team Member Does Their Best Work

 

What did her new employer do differently to get her best work? Why did her earlier employer tell her to be a fly on the wall and then fire her twelve days in? Simple. The difference between the two companies is the environment the leadership team built.

The environment at her old employer caused her to feel fearful. She would sit and question her emails multiple times before sending them out. She wouldn’t take risks or reach beyond the direct responsibilities of her position. She would not take any risk. She was miserable.

The environment at her new employer gave her the freedom to take risks and make decisions she felt were best for the company. She did not have the same fear of being fired for minor offenses.

How to build a positive environment that gets the best work out of every team member.

 

How to Build an Environment in Which Every Team Member Does Their Best Work

 

Leadership expert Simon Sinek talks frequently about the impact of environments on productivity. In short, Sinek says if people trust leadership and feel safe and supported, they will do their best work. If not, they will do just enough to not get fired before they can find another job.

Building an environment that gets the best work out of your team is much simpler than many dentists expect. Generally, you only need two things to build a supportive environment.

First, you need consistency in what you measure and the metrics that matter. Let your team know what is most important, and systematize as much of your day-to-day operations as you can. By doing so, each team member will know what they need to do to succeed and will have simple strategies for completing the most common ones. That frees them up to direct their creativity toward helping you build your practice.

Second, you need to manage people. You need to lead people well. With systems in place and clear metrics being measured, your team will understand the goals for their position. But team members work harder for leaders they trust. If you tell them to be a fly on the wall for the first ninety days, do not threaten their jobs twelve days later for not doing more. That is a surefire way to lose trust. Your team will do just enough to not get in trouble.

If you are consistent and trustworthy and show people small failures won’t make them lose their job, they will do whatever they can to help you achieve your practice vision.

Continued improvement in systems and measurements plus your ability to lead people will create an environment in which every team member feels empowered and does their best work.

Are you building a supportive environment in your practice?

The only way to get the best work from every team member is to build an environment built on trust and support. As practice leaders, we all must continue to develop our leadership skills in addition to implanting systems and processes to support our operations.

For more help get started on becoming the best practice leader you can be, join our upcoming Marketing & Practice Growth Challenge — save 20% off with the code CHALLENGE at checkout!

How to Create Teams and Assign Projects to Team Members Using Asana

How to Create Teams and Assign Projects to Team Members Using Asana

Asana is one of my favorite tools to increase productivity in dental practices. It is the best way to collaborate with team members to manage key tasks and projects. You can easily get everyone on the same page and prevent key tasks from falling behind or not happening at all.

Asana keeps everything organized and sends automated email notifications to team members when they have something to do or a task they are working on gets updated. You can also send notifications to team members manually through Asana by tagging them in a post just like you would tag someone on social media.

If you have never used Asana before, you are only four steps away from the peace of mind that comes with knowing your most important tasks are organized, assigned, and on track.

1. Sign up for Asana to manage dental practice projects with ease.

 

How to Create Teams and Assign Projects to Team Members Using Asana

 

If you have never used Asana, you can sign up at Asana.com. Asana is a web-based program so you can access the secure platform from anywhere you have an internet connection. No need to stay late at the office to review progress and keep tasks on target anymore.

Asana offers a free version for small teams that do not need customized privacy settings. The free version lets you either keep information private to you or make it public to everyone on your team. For customized privacy settings, which I recommend, claim a free trial to the premium version. Customized settings allow you to choose exactly who has access to what information, instead of limiting it to nobody or everybody. When your trial expires, you pay a small fee per user. If you use Asana well, increased productivity will more than cover the fee.

2. Create teams for your practice.

The best way to manage projects is to make sure everyone knows exactly what they need to do and by when they need to do it. Asana’s “team” function allows you to do just that. Once you set up your account, you can set different Asana teams for different needs and assign team members only to the teams they need to access.

We suggest starting with five teams. First, create a team for your entire practice. There, you can share practice-wide initiatives, news, and information. Second, create one for training where you manage training activities within your practice. Third, create a team for accounting and finance. There your accounting and finance teams can manage information. Finally, set up a team for marketing where you can keep all your marketing materials and activities organized.

When you set up a team, choose a name, add a description, and then add email addresses for team members who need access. You can choose for the team to be hidden or public to the entire practice. Projects and tasks in a hidden team will only be visible to members of that team. Projects and tasks in a public team will be visible to all practice team members.

3. Create team projects.

 

How to Create Teams and Assign Projects to Team Members Using Asana

 

Once you create your teams, start creating projects for each team. As with teams, you can edit privacy settings for projects to be public or private only to select team members.

We recommend adding projects for the items you want to make sure happen in your practice. For example, you could set a project for your Team Leader Live Agenda, Training, 90-Day Planning, and Systems for your practice-wide team.

Having a Team Leader Live Agenda projects allows you to make sure your agenda is up to date. It also ensures your entire team knows what topics their team leaders are focusing on. Your Training project lets everyone know what training they must complete. The 90-Day Planning makes sure you set your 90-day goals and stay on track with tasks needed to achieve them. Finally, a Systems project organizes key practice systems in one place.

4. Create sections and assign tasks to the right team members.

Within projects you can create multiple “sections.” Sections function as additional ways to organize tasks by timeline or priority. For example, in your 90-day planning project, you could have three sections, one for each month.

Once you set any sections you need, you can easily create and assign specific tasks to team members. Each task is organized in one convenient thread where you can add a description, attach documents, assign a due date, communicate with team members, and even assign the task back and forth. All of your communications will be in one place, so you never have to waste time searching email or papers again. When a team member completes his or her part of a task, they can “assign” it back to you for review similar to volleyball players knocking the ball back and forth over the net. If you need them to adjust their work on a task, you can add a comment and assign it back. If it is complete, you can mark it as complete or assign it to another team member to add their part.

Are you ready to get more organized and productive than ever before?

 

How to Create Teams and Assign Projects to Team Members Using Asana

 

Asana is my favorite productivity tool for your practice. Once it is set up, creating and assigning tasks will be easier than ever. You can keep all tasks organized and on track from wherever you have an internet connection.

To learn more about using Asana to get more organized and productive than ever before, check out the team of expert coaches, training, and resources we offer in our signature Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind Program.

If you want to join hundreds of practices that we've been helping on getting more productive and organized, please check out our upcoming Marketing & Practice Growth Challenge.

Find out more here — plus use the code CHALLENGE at checkout to get 20% off!

How to Improve Consistency in Your Practice

How to Improve Consistency in Your Practice

If there’s one thing that controls the direction of your dental practice, it’s consistency. If you and your team do consistently well, you’ll build an amazing practice. If you do consistently poor or are inconsistent, you’ll never reach your practice’s full potential.

Building more positive consistency into your practice doesn’t need to be difficult either. In fact, it can make life easier for you and your team while improving your results. Here are two ways to improve consistency in your practice.

Get your team to take responsibility for practice tasks.

 

How to Improve Consistency in Your Practice

 

Accountability is one of the best-kept secrets of the most successful people in business and life. Think about how many people set New Year’s resolutions each year only to give up after a month, week, or even a day.

While sometimes the problem with New Years’ resolutions is that people set a goal without a plan, oftentimes, the real problem is a lack of accountability. Say you want to lose weight. You might set a New Year’s resolution to lose 30 pounds next year. Even without a complicated plan, most people know they’re likely going to have to eat better and get more exercise to achieve their goal. In other words, most people who want to lose weight have some vision of a plan.

The reason most weight loss resolutions fail, however, is people lack accountability. They have nobody encouraging them to follow through with their goal. They have nobody supporting them in eating better or exercising more. In fact, the support communities that usually come with organized programs are often the main reason many people have at least short-term success with organized diets. There’s no one perfect diet. There are a bunch of diets that help people lose weight. When people sign up and get held accountable through support networks, they lose weight.

The same is true for your dental practice. One of my favorite productivity tools we use in my practice is a simple whiteboard. We use it to write goals for procedures and hold each other accountable for completing the tasks that allow us to hit our goals. This is important. If we want to place 50 implants one month, we don’t just recommend implants to people. We market to attract implant patients. We follow up with patients who have talked with us about implants. We check in with patients who we think may be interested and invite them in for a consultation.

The act of using a whiteboard this way and checking in with our team to see where we are throughout the month helps hold us accountable and keeps our goals top of mind.

We don’t just list various goals for procedures, new patients, and the like. We also ask each team member to hold everyone accountable for one or two of our goals. We then write who is responsible for each goal next to it on the whiteboard so everyone knows.

For example, one team member might be in charge of holding us accountable for crowns goals. That person would do things such as follow up on crown marketing funnels and marketing. They would remind doctors and hygienists when they’re scheduled to see patients who may need a crown. They would also make follow-up phone calls with potential implant patients.

Having each person take primary responsibility for one or two goals does two things. First, it makes sure no task or goal gets overlooked. It’s sometimes easy for five people to each assume one of the other people is performing a task only to realize nobody was. Second, it spreads out work and allows each person to focus on one or two tasks. Together, this helps you ensure each goal for your practice is being consistently pushed forward.

Give your team a safe place to address patient issues.

 

How to Improve Consistency in Your Practice

 

Another important part of your practice where consistency matters is the way you deliver WOW experiences to your patients. For example, in my practice, we offer headphones and iPads to patients to take away the sounds of our tools. This helps ease people’s anxiety along with some of the other things we do to create a spa-like atmosphere. It’s one of the things that makes us different.

If we don’t consistently provide headphones and iPads, or gourmet coffees and teas, or warm towels, or any of the other things that help us deliver WOW experiences, we’re not us.

One morning, a patient mentioned that they weren’t offered headphones. I didn’t know why they weren’t offered headphones. Maybe the batteries were dead. Maybe a pair or two was broken and we needed to order more. All I knew was a patient wasn’t offered headphones.

With everything going on in a practice, it’s easy for issues like these to be forgotten. But we use our whiteboard to get to the bottom of all these issues while they’re still minor.

Right next to our list of practice goals, we have a box that says “issues.” Whenever an issue comes up, someone writes the issue down to make sure it gets addressed.

We don’t make a big issue out of things, and my team understands that. Our issues section on our whiteboard just acts as a safe place to list things for us to get to the bottom of the next day in our morning huddle. That ensures we address things quickly, get back on track, and move forward together. We all have little things that happen in our practices. If we can address those things in real time, it helps prevent little things from becoming bad habits. And that prevents bad habits from becoming inconsistencies in the experiences our patients receive when they come in.

How do you maintain consistency in your practice?

 

How to Improve Consistency in Your Practice

 

If you aren’t using a whiteboard for practice goals, consistency, and accountability, you could be making life much more difficult for you and your team. You could also be making patient experiences subpar or inconsistent. A simple whiteboard could be all you need to make things run much smoother!

TAKE ACTION TODAY:

If you want step-by-step guidance on how to implement whiteboards in your practice, your next step is to learn more about our Marketing & Practice Growth Challenge. Hundreds of practices have gone through this challenge and experienced renewed purpose and energy in their work, clear tracking of their goals, AND growth in their production and revenue! Save your spot in our upcoming Marketing and Practice Growth Challenge here — use the code CHALLENGE for a 20% discount at checkout!

For more support, check out the team of expert coaches, training, and resources we offer in our signature Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind Program.

7 Strategies for Growing Your Dental Practice

7 Strategies for Growing Your Dental Practice

One of the most satisfying parts of working with dentists is helping them grow. Dentists often come to me overworked, stressed, and overwhelmed. They work too many hours for too little money and feel stuck.

The idea of growing a dental practice when you’re stuck in that situation might seem crazy. But there’s hope. The Delivering WOW process can help you turn chaos into focus and direction. It can get you excited about practice growth, sometimes for the first time ever.

Once dentists get excited about the direction of their practice, they often shift to thinking about dental marketing strategies, such as Facebook for dentists and dental marketing funnels.

Dental marketing using Facebook and funnels can help you attract new patients on autopilot. It’s one of three key parts of building a WOW practice that helps you take control of your future.

Growth involves more than only marketing, however. You also need to have systems, processes, and support to take your business to the next level.

Here are seven strategies you can use to grow your dental practice.

1. Improving Case Presentation

Growing your dental practice can be measured in many ways but ultimately boils down to profits. One of the best ways to boost profits while helping patients get the care they need is to improve case-acceptance percentages. Many times, patients don’t accept treatment plans because of ineffective case presentation. Improve your case presentation, and you’ll dramatically increase your revenue.

2. Decreasing Supply Costs Without Sacrificing Quality

Many dentists unwittingly overspend on supplies. Saving lots of money on quality supplies has never been easier. All that savings can go straight to profit growth.

3. Understanding Insurance and Alternative-Payment Relationships

Navigating the insurance marketplace is an important part of effective practice growth. Dentists can grow by choosing their insurance relationships wisely. Helping patients understand insurance coverage and find other ways to afford care can have an immediate positive impact on your profits.

4. Reducing Patient Cancellations and No-Shows

Every no-show patient costs money that cannot be adequately recouped by charging a cancellation fee. Even if they pay a fee, collecting it can create tension and ill will. It can also cost team member time and energy to collect. Patient cancellation and no-shows are stressful. They are also avoidable.

5. Setting Fees Effectively

7 Strategies for Growing Your Dental Practice

One of my favorite things I help dentists do is how set fees. Too many dentists leave time and money on the table because they don’t set fees well. That leaves them needing to work faster or longer hours just to keep their business going. They can make more money while providing better care to patients by setting fees well. My favorite way to do this by reverse engineering profits. That allows you to set fees in a way that helps you serve patients well while increasing profits.

6. Managing Your Finances Well

There’s a misconception in many businesses that controlling expenses means you need to be cheap. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is you can control expenses by effectively managing finances. Finding the right bookkeeping solution and working with a CPA who understands dental practices can help you take better control of your finances.

7. Streamlining Operations

Practice-management software is more affordable and impactful than ever. It can help you streamline operations by going paperless. It can help you automate appointment scheduling. It can even help you create recurring revenue by implementing in-house membership programs. Imagine not having to spend the time and energy managing insurance relationships while increasing your fees and generating recurring revenue!

What are you doing to grow your practice?

7 Strategies for Growing Your Dental Practice

These seven strategies do a number of things to help practices grow. They automate and systematize operations, freeing up doctors and staff to participate in higher-impact activities. They help improve the return on investment in marketing by getting more patients to accept treatment plans when they come in. They reduce waste by saving money on supplies, reducing cancellations and no-shows, and help you manage your finances well. And they directly increase revenue by helping you create additional revenue streams, improve case acceptance, and increase your fees.

They also have an indirect benefit on your practice growth by freeing you and your team up to focus on getting patients for higher-revenue procedures, such as dental implants, crowns, and Invisalign.

TAKE ACTION TODAY:

If you want more help on implementing the 7 strategies for growing your dental practice mentioned above, check out the team of expert coaches, training, and resources we offer in our signature Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind Program.

You can also check out our upcoming Marketing & Practice Growth Challenge where after 21 days you will walk away with:

  • Your 12-Month Marketing Plan created
  • Your first or next successful Marketing Campaign launched, where you would have grown your practice’s presence and built relationships with small business owners in your community.
  • Whiteboards successfully implemented  in your practice to reverse-engineer your goals for more success and more profit.

Sign up here and save 20% off with the code CHALLENGE at checkout.

The Importance of Making Real Connections With Erin Doffoney RDH

The importance of making real connections

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 Doffoney

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:

How to Start Building the Life You Dreamed of When You Entered Dental School

Dentistry is a high-stress, high-risk profession. As a practicing dentist, I know how stressful our work can be.

Many of us got into this profession because we wanted to help people while earning a good living to support our families and fund a comfortable life.

When we entered dental school, we dreamed of brightening smiles, serving our communities, supporting our families, and enjoying a flexible lifestyle.

When we come out of dental school, however, most of us are hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, and if we build or buy a dental practice, we add hundreds of thousands of dollars more to our debt burden.

In addition to the typical heavy debt burdens, many dentists struggle to balance growing regulatory oversight, overbearing insurance plan regulations, and unhappy patients.

All of a sudden, we can find ourselves close to a million dollars in debt and needing to work long, demanding hours six or seven days a week serving those unhappy patients and navigating those burdensome insurance companies just to stay afloat.

Years later, we’re exhausted, stressed, and often angry.

The idea of helping people, earning a good living, supporting a family, and funding a comfortable, flexible lifestyle is a distant memory.

We work more than we ever wanted to, and by the time the debt burden is paid, there’s hardly any money left. Our dreams are shattered and we feel helpless. By that point, our business plan is to hope someday something will change or that things will get better decades down the road when the student loans and practice debt are gone.

At home, a day when we spend even one hour with our family is rare. We miss milestones, sporting events, celebrations, competitions, award ceremonies, and more. Even during that limited family time, we’re often exhausted and distracted by the stresses of our practice.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

I know. I used to struggle, too, until one day I had a wake-up call. After missing one too many family events, I realized I had sacrificed the most important thing in my life—my family—for my practice.

That pushed me to hire a business coach to help me build my practice to support the reasons I went to dental school in the first place. I decided I would no longer hope that things might get better years or decades later. I decided to take control of my future and make it certain, and sooner.

Over a few short years, I built the practice of my dreams and no longer worry about missing important family milestones or events—and you can, too.

After hiring my first coach, I developed a six-part system that helped me build the practice of my dreams by taking control of the direction of my practice while delivering WOW experiences to everyone who walks through the door.

Since transforming my practice, I’ve trained hundreds of other dentists on how to utilize the six-part system to transform their practices, reignite the passion they once felt for dentistry, and build the lives they dreamed of.

Life is too short to spend the best years of your life overworked, stressed, and separated from the things that matter most.

The six-part Delivering WOW system works because it's designed to help you accomplish your goals and achieve your dreams.

The first step to building a WOW practice is to develop a vision for your practice. This forces you to dream big again and design your ideal dental practice. With your vision in place, you choose your practice culture that everyone in your practice will need to adhere to. From there, you set the rules, or core values for your practice, recruit and develop a WOW practice team, and put systems in place for common tasks so you can delegate tasks to team members. Having systems in place is the only way to build a practice that can run without your needing to be there and do everything yourself to ensure consistency and top quality.

With those things in place, the final step is to build and promote an irresistible brand that attracts the patients you want to serve most and keep them coming back and referring friends and family to you.

You’re not alone.

One thing most struggling dentists have in common is they’re trying to do everything on their own. From dental care to practice management, they have little to no help or support.

The most successful dentists, on the other hand, are surrounded with support and encouragement them from family, friends, coaches, organizations, and peers working on similar transformations.

Because of the transformative experience I had after hiring my coach and developing the Delivering WOW practice-transformation formula, I developed Delivering WOW U, a membership community to get the help and support you need to grow your practice, including Delivering WOW trainings, expert sit-downs, member workshops, live training sessions, and an interactive community of dentists supporting each other while implementing the Delivering WOW system to their practice.

It’s your turn to Deliver WOW.

No matter what your practice looks like today, there’s no reason you can’t transform your practice and start living the life you dreamed of.

If you need guidance, support, encouragement, and accountability to help you take control of your practice, make more money, work less, and start realizing the dreams you had when you entered dental school, our community of like-minded dentists is waiting for you.

The Real Reason Your Dental Practice is Stagnant

After transforming my own practice several years ago, I began helping other dentists do the same, helping them develop six key areas of their practices in order to thrive.

I started out coaching dentists on a one-on-one basis, which I continue to do today, albeit on a very limited basis. To help more dentists than I could help on a one-on-one basis, I later wrote a book, started a podcast, created course content, and launched a membership mastermind community to be able to share best practices and strategies in group settings.

Collectively, I’ve helped dentists in over 80 countries build their practices. From solo practices to groups, urban practices to suburban and rural, I’ve had the privilege of looking behind the scenes to identify the real reasons some practices grow while others struggle.

Many times, the dentists who work with me are struggling to grow. They’re stressed, overworked, overwhelmed, and sometimes already burned out. I’ve talked with you about the real reason dental practices struggle before and for practices that are struggling, it’s easy for dentists to begin implementing my Delivering WOW system to start getting better results.

Other times, dentists who work with me operate highly successful practices and are motivated to get even more intentional and systematized to accelerate their growth. For these dentists, refining, organizing, and systematizing the Delivering WOW practice areas helps them experience even more success.

But what about the practices in the middle? What about dentists who’ve experienced some level of success and then hit a wall, seeing their practices stagnate for months or years?

A large number of practices fall into this category. They deliver great dental care, and they have systems for customer intake, billing, advertising, and operational matters, but they struggle to continuously grow.

Why do some practices experience continued growth while others hit a wall and stagnate for months or years?

For most dental practices that hit a wall, the real reason is they’re just like everyone else.

They’ve built an efficient practice that doesn’t stand out from the competition. Although that’s a great foundation upon which to build a thriving practice, it doesn’t give your patients a reason to go out of their way to make you their dentist.

They won’t leave with a WOW! experience. They won’t tell their friends and family about your practice. And they won’t become raving fans.

It doesn’t matter how efficient your dental practice is, what keeps customers coming in is a WOW! experience that nobody but you delivers.

When I hired a coach and implemented the Delivering WOW system into my practice, I tripled my revenue in the first year. We built a new office with three times the capacity out of those profits the next year. And the year after that, we added another dentist.

We kept growing and continue to grow because we didn’t just build a more efficient practice; we built an efficient practice that was unlike any other dental practice around. We gave patients reasons to be loyal to us and tell their friends and family.

Here are some of the ways we made sure we wouldn’t be like any other practice:

When I did my first start-up in Birmingham, we differentiated ourselves by identifying unique groups of people we wanted to serve. In our case, it was Spanish-speaking immigrants. We made sure we promoted to them and my hygienist, Mayra, who had trained as a dentist in Mexico, was on staff to help serve them well.

Whether it’s patient experience, demographic, insurance, or some other unique part of your practice that matters to your patients, you need to give patients reasons to choose your practice, stay loyal to your practice, and tell their friends and family about your practice in order to keep growing.

These are just some of the things that distinguish us from other practices, but they give our patients an experience they can’t help but rave about to their friends and family and help us connect with groups of patients who are underserved.

We continue to look for ways to distinguish our practice from others. The practices that experience continued growth do so as well.

If your practice is stagnant, kickstart your growth by looking for unique ways to differentiate yourself from others.

What are three ways your practice is different from the competition?

If you can’t answer that question, take some time to develop some in order to promote continued growth!

Mastering the Patient Handoff with Julie Varney

Julie Varney has had a 24-year career in the dental profession has blossomed into many leadership roles including that of Certified Dental Assistant, Practice Manager, Chapter President, and Dental Education Director/Instructor. Beginning in 1992 as a dental assistant, Julie rapidly cultivated a desire to deliver the highest standards in dentistry. After many hours of continued education, she became a DANB Certified Dental Assistant and Licensed New York State Dental Assistant.

 

In this episode we discuss:

  • Where Dentists should start
  • The core problem that dentists face with getting patients to accept treatment
  • Why so many dentists are struggling to grow

We talk a bit about the importance the dental team, and their role in increasing conversions, the exact steps of the patient hand off and how dentists and their teams can structure the sequencing of steps in New Patient and Hygiene appointments to maximize treatment acceptance.

Julie shares why “Case Presentation” often fails as well as the difference between Building Value vs. “Teaching How To Do It”

Contact Julie

 

Three Things Every Dentist Needs from Others to Grow Their Practice

One of the first things you’ll learn after making the decision to grow your dental practice is you’ll never scale your practice if you try to do everything yourself.

If you want to grow, you’ll need help. Internally, this means finding the right team to transform your practice, so you won't have to do everything yourself. Internal team members can take tasks off your hands and help you document and implement systems to help your practice run without you.

It also means looking outside of your practice to hire specialists and coaches. The benefits of engaging outside help include being able to get experienced, independent help without having to commit to a costly, expensive relationship. Engaging a specialist or coach on a part-time or project basis is much easier than committing to a full-time team member.

If you’re only getting help with projects and tasks, however, you’ll miss out on three key things every dentist needs to build a practice that can run without them.

These three things make you more productive, organized, and effective. They keep you focused when times are good. And they prop you up when times are tough. Collectively, they can help you turn a good practice into a thriving one.

1. Accountability.

Building a thriving dental practice requires consistent work in six areas. Without someone helping you stay accountable and pushing you forward, it's easy to try to cut corners, lose focus, or procrastinate.

Having someone in your corner who pushes you to keep moving forward, checks in with you to make sure you’re progressing, and isn’t afraid to call you out if you start to lose focus is critical to maintaining momentum.

Accountability is usually found through a trusted friend or colleague who agrees to be an accountability partner to you or through an independent business coach whom you hire to help guide you.

2. Organized and customized information.

Information is a commodity. It’s everywhere. Organized and customized information is extremely valuable, however.

You can learn anything you want through a simple Google search. I guarantee there’s a how-to guide, YouTube video, blog, article, or white paper on any topic you can think of.

So why is organized and customized information so valuable if free information is everywhere? So many reasons. Here are two very important ones. First, free information is usually very generic. You can find a how-to guide for anything, but it might not work for you. Relevant information helps you avoid the time-consuming and often costly task of weeding through irrelevant information or advice that doesn’t work for you.

Second, most people don’t even know what to search for. For example, you might know you want to learn how to run Facebook ads for your practice. If you just search for how to run a Facebook ad, you’ll find some information. But you might not find information about sophisticated techniques that can get you returns as high as 5000%. Having someone collect and organize customized information removes you from the equation and helps you get better results. In other words, it helps you spend less time and make more money.

Organized and customized information is often provided by experienced specialists or coaches, each of whom needs to be up to date on the latest information in their specialized field to get you the best information for you.

3. Unbiased advice.

You’ll never grow your practice to its full potential if you surround yourself with people who will agree with everything you say.

Whether it’s your team members, outside specialists, or a business coach, make sure everyone knows a vital part of their performance involves telling you the truth. Let them know that’s what you expect.

This is very difficult with internal team members because they rely on your practice for their full-time income and are often conflicted. Also, most people say they want people to tell them the truth, but don’t really want that, so team members are naturally hesitant. Over time, you can gain their trust, however. Also, they’re often too close to the details of the day-to-day operation to identify issues and solutions.

Unless and until you build a team of people who can see things objectively and aren’t afraid to tell you the truth about your practice (and yourself) to help you grow, you’ll need to rely on outside consultants or business coaches, who are removed from the day-to-day operations enough to look at your practice with fresh eyes. They’re hired to be independent eyes and voices. Make sure they know that.

The sky’s the limit with these three things.

Dentists who have accountability, organized and customized information, and unbiased advice are the most focused, have the best information available, and get advice they know isn’t tainted by someone else’s personal fears or desires. This gives them a big advantage when growing their practice.

From where do you get your accountability, information, and advice? How could you be more accountable and get better information and advice?

3 Simple Shifts to Combat the Top Causes of Stress for Dentists

Building a successful dental practice can be stressful. Three of the top causes of stress for most dentists are heavy financial burdens (such as student loans), rising overhead (such as rent, salary commitments, and material costs), and operational stressors (such as needing to do everything yourself).

Those other stressors can cause any dentist to burn out, unless they address them very intentionally. Here are three simple shifts you can make in your practice to combat these burdens, reduce your chances of burnout, and position you to make more money while working less.

1. Get the right help.

One of the most common sources of stress for dentists is trying to do everything themselves while building their practice. Dentists who do this end up working more and making less because they spend too much time doing activities other people can do better and more efficiently than they could, instead of focusing on high-value tasks or other tasks that only they can do.

Many dentists fall into this trap in an effort to pinch pennies or because they don’t trust others to do things well. This is a big mistake because although it can theoretically save time or money in the short term, having to do everything yourself will cost you even more time and money over the long term because you’ll eventually run out of hours in the day.

The right help, whether as full-time team members or qualified outside contractors for highly-specialized activities, can help you reduce the stress of having to do everything yourself and free up your time—your most valuable asset.

Over time, team members will be able to perform activities better and faster than you because they’ll follow the directions you provide in training and identify ways to improve the process as they become more experienced. Outside vendors will come into the relationship with the skills and experience to perform tasks within their specialty better and faster than you.

In short, hiring the right people is one of the best ways to reduce this stressor, while simultaneously making more, working less, maintaining consistency, and achieving better results. Here’s a step-by-step guide to building the right team for your dental practice.

2. Systematize your practice.

One of the hardest parts of building a practice is letting other people handle important activities. Having effective systems in place for as many tasks as possible helps alleviate that stressor.

Documenting how you want tasks to be performed and then sharing those steps with team members or vendors helps you let go of activities that you shouldn’t be doing yourself. It also ensures consistency among team members and vendors, so you can quickly get someone new up to speed if a team member moves on or a vendor goes out of business.

Documenting the steps to perform tasks doesn’t need to be complicated, either. It can be as simple as writing instructions down on a piece of paper, buying software that will record your computer screen as you do a task so you can share a video of you performing the task with others, or anything in between. The important thing is you end up with something others can follow to take tasks off your hands. This can greatly reduce stress because after investing a few extra minutes documenting the steps you want others to take, you can be more confident having others perform those tasks.

Here’s even more information on how to systematize your practice so you can make more money while working less and providing consistently great service to your patients!

3. Turn your patients into raving fans.

Marketing your dental practice is another area of building a dental practice that stresses dentists out. Between social media posting, search engine marketing, and other traditional and online marketing, a dentist can spend hours a day and thousands of dollars a month on marketing, hoping to connect with future patients. Some of these activities can be outsourced to specialists who can help you become more effective and confident in your marketing tactics. I highly recommend you consider budgeting some time and money to do this, as I’ve achieved up to a 5,000% return on my marketing strategies.

But I also know that one of the best ways to market your practice is literally right under your nose every day: your patients. Most people are swayed by good or bad referrals from friends or online review boards. If you make sure your patients have the best experience possible, which I call a WOW experience, you’ll be building a large team of fans ready to sing your praises to their friends and family and post positive reviews online.

The best part about this is it doesn’t cost any significant time or money. In my practice, we give our patients iPads with headphones to drown out noise, hand and arm massages to relax them, and gourmet coffee and teas to make sure they know they’re special to us. We do this as part of the vision and plan for my practice, but it also helps turn our patients into raving fans so we can get the best advertising around—for free!

Here’s how to start turning your patients into raving fans!

The next step is yours.

Building a dental practice can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be if you focus on building it as a business that can operate without you. Getting the right help, systematizing your practice, and turning your patients into raving fans are three of the best ways to reduce your stress while you make more and work less.

What are you doing to reduce stress?

One Simple Change to Scale Your Dental Practice to Run Without You (That Most Dentists Miss)

Would you be willing to make one simple change to your practice if it guaranteed you could regularly meet up to 90% of your daily revenue goal by lunchtime?

Of course you would. Anyone would.

A few years ago, I did. You can, too. Here’s how:

All you need to do is make one simple change to your practice for it to be more efficient, profitable, and controllable.

The change? Systematize everything about your practice.

Systems promote consistency, efficiency, and quality. They ensure everything gets done the same way no matter who’s doing it. That means you can empower any team member to do more work, faster, because they won’t have to figure everything out every time, ask questions, or waste time searching for answers or information.

Better yet, you’ll no longer have to do everything yourself, oversee or review everything other people do, or rely on any one team member to get things right.

You’ll finally be able to let go.

If you systematize your practice.

How to systematize your dental practice to run without you

Systematizing your practice only takes one simple shift in how you do things. That shift is to record your best practices with all common tasks the next time they come up, share those best practices with your team, and empower them to take over those tasks by following the best practices.

Recording your best practices is simple, too. You can record things by writing down the steps yourself, having an assistant write them down as you complete the task, or by creating an audio or video recording of you doing it. It doesn’t matter how you record it, as long as you record it.

Every time you document a best practice, put it in a central location and share it with your team. Let them know they can take over those tasks by following your instructions and ask you if they have any questions.

After recording and sharing your best practices, you’ll no longer have to do or oversee everything because your team can see exactly how you do things every time. Most dentists never systematize their practice. Because of that, they need to work more and do almost everything themselves. With the right systems in place, your systems can run the business side of your practice without you. They can be that impactful.

How one system helped us regularly meet up to 90% of our daily revenue goal by lunchtime

In our practice, one of our most impactful systems was the way we scheduled our patients. Specifically, we moved to a block-scheduling system that split our days into “time blocks” depending on the services needed by our patients. Our block-scheduling process helped us regularly meet up to 90% of our daily revenue goals before lunchtime.

Here’s how it works.

First, we created three-morning blocks on our calendar every day but one. For us, that was 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., and 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Second, we defined what type of work could go in each block. For example, we only fill a block with four or more fillings, a crown, veneers, implants, or a combination of those. We do not do root canals, but they could be placed in a block as well. Patients requiring a longer block can take the two-hour block or the two one-hour blocks.

Cements, follow-ups, consults, and patients who need fewer than four fillings are not to be placed in the blocks. Those are done on the one morning we don’t block out. We also allow them to be booked during a block if we haven’t filled the block by the afternoon before. For example, if lab cases come in and we haven’t filled our blocks for the next day, we’ll call to schedule those patients for those open slots. Otherwise, we schedule them for the next available afternoon or non-blocked morning. Patients love it when they can get back in quickly to cement their cases.

That’s it. Simple, right? We block off time and dedicate it for the time-consuming activities, moving all other activities to non-blocked time. This makes scheduling easier and operations smoother.

After implementing this shift, every patient who had four or more fillings and/or a combination of crowns could have all work done in one day. They loved it. Sometimes that meant we numbed both sides of their mouth, but oral surgeons do that all the time and it was a small tradeoff for only having to come in for one visit.

This system has been a game changer for my practice because it allows us to schedule longer, more detailed procedures in the morning, and complete them in one visit.

It provides convenience to patients because they no longer have to interrupt multiple days for their procedure. It lets me schedule longer procedures in the early part of the day, when my eyes are fresh and my energy is the highest.

It also decreases overhead costs because it reduces the number of setups needed throughout the day because we only need to have one setup for these services instead of two or more, which was required when we broke them up into multiple visits. This reduces the cost of sterilization bags, needles, water, disinfectant, and electricity.

It also lets me work fewer clinical hours. We used to take two and a half hours to fill multiple fillings over multiple 30-minute appointments. Now, we can do it all in a single one-hour appointment because we only have to do one setup.
All told, the greater efficiency helps us regularly earn 80-90 percent of the day’s revenue by lunchtime.

It's your turn

Creating a block scheduling system has allowed us to increase our efficiency, revenue, and client satisfaction.

Creating systems in your practice can do the same for you, and more. Without them, your practice will be inefficient and rely on you. But if you want to scale your dental practice so you don’t have to do everything, you need systems in place.

If you want help implementing systems in your practice, consider joining WOW U, our online community for dentists looking to grow their practices. WOW U is full of high-impact courses, live trainings, and a private forum to get direct feedback on improving your practice.

Make sure to join us on the inside of the Delivering WOW Hangout, the FREE Facebook Group of the Delivering WOW Community!

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.

Why You Need a Vision for Your Dental Practice (and How to Develop One)

Too many dentists work harder and harder with little to show for it. Years go by without a real vacation,  family time becomes a rushed kiss on the way out the door, and even if they make decent money, bills pile up and student loans linger.

It doesn't have to be that way.

For years, I thought if I served my community and made my patients happy, I'd build a successful practice and enjoy my life. The only problem was no matter how well I served my community or how happy my patients became, something was missing in my life. I made decent money, but I didn't feel successful or personally fulfilled. This continued until I took a step back from running my practice to set a clearly-defined vision for both my practice and my personal life.

Everything became clear once I did that. Until I set that vision, I was helping a lot of patients, but I wasn't building a practice that allowed my family to live the life we wanted. If I hadn't stepped back to visualize the future for my business and family, I'd still be working hard and feeling unfulfilled. But by envisioning my ideal personal life and practice, I was able to create a make that vision my reality.

For my family, I pinned photos of places I wanted to travel and experiences I wanted for my family to a board and hung it where I'd see it every day. For my practice, I envisioned becoming the leading dental practice in my community known for Delivering WOW to everyone who walked through the door.

From there, all I needed to do was create and implement a plan to achieve that vision. You can do the same thing for your business and family by following these five steps.

1. Clearly define your vision.

Practice leaders must think strategically and clearly. A vague idea of what you want for your life won't help. It isn't enough to simply say you want to build a profitable practice or be successful. You need to be specific about exactly what you want to build and the life you want to live.

What do you want to achieve in your practice? What do you want your life to look like? Where do you want to live? How much do you want to work? What do you want to drive? Where do you want to travel? How much do you want to travel?

Dream big here. This is the life you'll be building towards. Make it great!

2. Write your vision down.

Once you have a vision for your personal life and practice, write it down and put it somewhere you can see. Writing your vision down puts it in a form you can see and feel. It also gives you something to look back at to remind you of what you're building towards.

3. Put your vision in picture form.

Create a vision board. Pin pictures of what your vision looks like on a board you'll see every day. Want to live on the beach? Cut out pictures of beautiful beaches and put them on the board. Want to win a specific award? Cut out a picture of the trophy. Pictures are powerful. A vision board will help motivate you every day.

4. Create a plan.

In this step, you will determine what you need to do to achieve your vision, who will help you do it, and by when. Then work backwards in time to establish monthly, weekly, or daily tasks.

Be specific. By when do you want to achieve your vision? What do you need to do to achieve your vision in that time frame? Do you need new equipment? What about more targeted marketing to attract a different patient mix? Do you need more space?

What people do you need to help you? Do you need an outside consultant? Do you need a coach to keep you accountable and moving in the right direction?

We needed a new office that would be unique and make us stand out if we wanted to become the leading dental practice in Jamaica.  We also needed systems and practices to help us consistently Deliver WOW to our patients. Those became two big targets for my practice, so we put plans in place to find a new office and develop the necessary systems and processes.

5. Act on the plan.

A vision without action is just a dream. After you've set a specific vision and have a plan to achieve that vision, you need to take action.

Get to work and keep moving forward towards your vision. If you misjudged something or something goes wrong, go back to step four and adjust your plan from wherever you are.

With a vision, plan, and action, you'll be well on your way to turning your vision into your reality!

 

Six Areas a Dental Practice Must Develop to Thrive

Are you tired of working harder than ever without getting ahead?

Ever wonder why some practices seem to always thrive while yours struggles?

It's simple. Practices that thrive developed six areas of their business to build a strong foundation for massive growth. Because of that, they consistently Deliver WOW in every aspect of their practice.

If you develop these six areas, you, too can Deliver WOW and build a practice that allows you to make much more money in less time.

1. Vision

Developing a vision for your practice is the first step in Delivering WOW. Your vision will affect your entire practice, how much you grow, and the speed at which you achieve your personal dreams.

To develop a vision, you need to dream big. If you could wake up tomorrow to the practice of your dreams, what would it look like? Where is your office? What hours do you work? How many employees do you have? What work do you do when you're in the office?

Developing a vision for your practice puts you in control.

2. Culture

Once you have a vision, you need to develop your practice culture. Your practice culture is a list of beliefs and behaviors that guide your employees and tell a story.

Every practice has a culture, whether you create it, or it evolves on its own. If you create it, you take control and can choose one that leads you towards your vision.

3. Core Values

Core values are the rules of your company. They guide everyone in your company when they need to make a decision. And they help you live out your culture and achieve your vision.

By way of example, assume one of your core values is consistent learning. If a team member refuses to attend continuing education courses, they would be operating outside of your core values and would not be a good fit for your practice.

Having core values in place helps everybody get on the same page about what's expected of them so you can all move together towards achieving your practice vision.

4. Team

The most important part of building a team is that everyone is fully aligned with your core values, company culture, and practice vision.

Additionally, each team member needs their own personal visions, that can be achieved through working in your practice.

With a team of people whose personal visions are aligned with the direction of your practice, you'll have the right people on your team to achieve your practice vision.

5. Systems

If you're constantly feeling like you need to do every single thing in your practice, it's because you don't have the right systems in place.

Having systems in place for common tasks ensures they be done by anyone on your team. Systems are essential for scaling your business. Without them, you'll be stuck doing everything, get inconsistent results, or have to explain things over and over again.

Once you have systems in place, you'll be able to confidently delegate activities to other people.

6. Brand

The area of your business you'll need to develop is to build a fascinating brand.

Your brand is what people say about you when you're not around. It's about how people feel when they think about your company. Because of that, developing a fascinating brand will help you attract better patients and separate you from your competition.

Achieving Your Ultimate Goal

By developing these six areas for your practice, you'll begin to Deliver WOW in every area of your practice. This will help you get more done in less time, so you can be well on your way to achieving your practice vision.

You'll know exactly where you're going. You'll have a team to help you get there. And you'll have systems in place for your practice to run without you and a fascinating brand to stand out from the competition.

The Single Reason Why Most Dental Practices Struggle

Dental practices are under more pressure than ever. Between dental plan changes, regulatory issues, online review sites, and countless other external pressures, it's natural for dentists to feel frustrated and stressed. It's also natural for dentists to point to those external pressures when their practices struggle.

Although it's natural to point fingers, you'll continue to struggle (and eventually burn out) if you do because those external pressures are hardly ever the real reason a practice struggles.

 If they were, every practice would struggle because every practice faces those pressures. You’d also have no control over whether your practice succeeds or struggles, since each of those pressures is controlled by the whim of some other person.

Because we know also know there are several key (and controllable) components to building a thriving practice, such as implementing targeted marketing campaigns and delivering WOW customer experiences, we also know that those external pressures, while challenging, can be overcome by activities we can all control.

 

So what's the real reason most practices struggle? Why do some practices struggle while others thrive with the same external pressures?

The answer is simpler than you might expect.

In most cases, practices that struggle have no vision or plan for their practice. Practices that thrive have a vision and plan for their practice. 

A practice without a plan will constantly struggle because it will have no vision or direction and will constantly react to external pressures. If a dental plan reduces its reimbursement rates, a dentist without a practice plan will accept that they either need to work more or make less. If patients post an unfavorable review online because of unreasonable expectations, the dentist without a plan for handling those issues will react emotionally or spend an extraordinary amount of time jumping through hoops to attempt to appease a patient who may never be satisfied.

Every day will follow the same pattern. You and your team will show up in the morning, scramble from emergency to emergency until the last patient leaves, and then go home stressed and exhausted. This same struggle will repeat itself day after day until you burn out or retire.

A practice with a plan, on the other hand, is proactive, prepared, and destined to succeed. This is because a plan for your practice helps you build a business that anticipates common challenges and how to address them, creates a shared vision and direction that you and your team members all buy into, and designs operations so they can operate without you needing to do everything yourself.

By anticipating common challenges before they come up, and developing a plan to address them ahead of time, you and your team will be ready to handle those issues well, without the emotion or panic that can plague a reactive practice without a plan.

Creating a shared vision and direction for your practice that you and your team members all buy into helps your team understand the context within which they need to make decisions. This allows them to then confidently make decisions during the day and avoid the stress that comes with feeling like you’re constantly putting out fires.

Finally, by intentionally planning for the operations of your business to grow so you don’t need to do everything, you will build your business from the beginning with an eye for delegation and scaling.

By developing a strong vision and plan for your practice, you can avoid or reduce the effect of external pressures on your practice and be well on your way to building a successful practice that helps you make more money in less time.

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Why the Success of Your Dental Practice Has Very Little to Do with Teeth

One of the most surprising realizations many dentists learn after going into private practice is how little of a practice’s success has to do with teeth.

It’s true.

Taking care of teeth is the skill every patient assumes you have. It’s the bare minimum expected of you. It’s not anything that sets your practice up for greatness. To achieve that, your dental practice needs to do three other things.

First, your practice needs to run smoothly and efficiently.

All successful dental practices are built on a strong operational foundation. Yes, this requires treating your practice like any other business by having systems, processes, and help in place.

A strong operational foundation helps your practice run efficiently and profitably while benefitting your patients, employees, practice, and you.

It helps your patients (and keeps them happy) because they receive the same great service every time they interact with your practice, no matter who’s helping them. It helps your employees (and keeps them loyal) because they’ll know exactly what’s expected of them and how to succeed in their job. It helps your practice (and keeps it profitable) because it ensures time and money are spent wisely, inefficiencies are reduced, and administrative activities are done right the first time. Finally, it helps you (and makes you more money in less time) because it frees you up to spend time building your practice to operate without you having to personally see more patients and to make more money.

 

Second, your practice needs to deliver WOW experiences to every patient.

In addition to strong operations, successful dental practices must develop strong relationships with their patients by delivering WOW experiences every time a patient interacts with your practice.

Patients walk through the door expecting quality treatment. Simply meeting that low expectation won’t make your practice stand out. By delivering a WOW experience on top of smooth operations and quality care, your practice will leap beyond your patients’ expectations.

Because of that, they’ll be much more likely to keep coming back, even if they have to drive a few minutes farther or even pay a little more for your practice compared to another practice. They’ll also rave about their experience to their friends and family, letting them know your practice is different.  

Here are four simple ways to start delivering WOW experiences to your patients:

          Provide free gourmet coffee, teas, other drinks, and snacks;

          Let your patients use iPads or play video games with headphones to block out the sounds of the dental tools;

          Provide amenities that ease anxiety and help patients relax; and

          Implement an on-time guarantee that treats your patients’ time with as much respect as you’d expect for your own time.

We do each of those in our practice. In addition to providing the finest coffees, teas, and tarts for our patients, we let our patients use iPads during their visit, trained our employees to provide hand and arm massages to help our patients relax, and guarantee that our patients will be seated within fifteen minutes of their appointment time or their next exam is free.  

Since implementing these WOW experiences for our patients, we’ve seen our patient satisfaction and loyalty skyrocket. Additionally, the demands on my personal time reduced because my services became only a small part of our patient experience.

The good news is the bar is pretty low when it comes to delivering better patient experiences at dental practices and you can exceed those low expectations by leaps and bounds pretty easily with a little creativity and a minimal investment.

Third, your practice needs streamlined marketing processes to consistently attract new patients.

If your systems, processes, and help are the operational foundation for growing your practice and delivering WOW experiences to your patients is the relational foundation for growing your practice, streamlined marketing processes that consistently attract new patients is the tactical foundation for growing your practice.

Attracting the right people using tactics that are predictable, repeatable, and profitable is the final ingredient to ensuring your practice will be successful in the long run. Although this used to be a time-consuming and expensive exercise, it’s now much simpler and cost effective thanks to social media

In its most basic form, this requires building a social media following and posting content that shows potential patients why your practice is different and better than the others, such as by highlighting the WOW experiences your practice provides or the great things your employees and patients are doing in the community.

In addition to showing people your practice is different, posting different types of content like this gives you additional opportunities to post interesting content on a regular basis without coming across as over-promotional.

At my practice, we regularly highlight our staff, patients, community events, and news on our social media channels. We also tell stories about our patients, community involvement, and the WOW experiences we deliver. By doing this, we built a following of well over 50,000 people on Facebook alone. More importantly, however, we created a consistent flow of new and profitable patients.

 

Putting it all together

Although teeth matter, you can be the best dentist on the planet and your practice will struggle as long as your operations are inefficient, your patient experience is subpar, and your marketing efforts are ineffective. By streamlining operations, delivering WOW experiences, and implementing predictable and repeatable marketing processes, on the other hand, you can set your practice up to help you make much more money and much less time.

How to Accomplish BIG Goals in LESS time with Dr. Anissa Holmes

This episode is a transformational episode.

In this Episode, I discuss the mindset needed to get ready for BIG things to happen in your practice and your life.

I discuss how I was able to build a mega-profitable dental practice that has raving fans, and at the same time have time to travel the world and spend time with my family.

I spoke about designing my practice's vision and reverse engineering how we would achieve the practice's goals.

I spoke about the slices of life, and the importance of scheduling in time to focus on what matters most.

We then get into the details of how to achieve your practice's goals in record time and the 2 things needed to fast-track your results.

Links In the Episode

This interview is from the upcoming Time Freedom Online Summit Taking Place January 16-27.

Register for the FREE Goal Setting Workshop

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How to Build a Better Team with LIsa Spradley

Lisa Marie Spradley, FAADOM, is the Front Desk Lady. She has worked in the front office for 20 years and understands the struggle to put patient’s needs first while still taking care of the business of the front office.

As a coach and speaker, she trains teams to develop conversational skills that can lead to more production and increase in-office referrals. Lisa is a published author having written articles for industry publications such as Dentistry IQ, The Dental Geek, and AGD Impact. Her ebook “Press 3 to File a Claim,” is available for purchase online at www.press3tofile.com.

An active, lifetime member, and Fellow of the American Association of Dental Office Managers (AADOM), Lisa was honored to be named the 2014 AADOM Office Manager of the Year. Her years of experience as an office manager led her to create in office workshops that offer a common sense approach to help teams strengthen leadership and communications skills, and focus more on individuals.

In this episode we discuss:

-The benefits of investing in team training, and different ways that you can train your team

-Which systematic way team members should be answering the phone

-If someone were to call and ask, how much is a crown, how you should respond

-The role of the front desk in the overall customer experience

-The role of the front desk in creating the practice’s culture

-How to manage conversations with patients when you are out of network

Lisa Marie Spradley

Make sure to join us on the inside of the Delivering WOW Hangout, the free Facebook group of the Delivering WOW Community