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Surprising Advice for Dentists from Sgt. Pepper

Surprising Advice for Dentists from Sgt. Pepper

It was 50 years ago today that Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play. What can the Beatles’ classic album released five decades ago teach us about practice management? You’re probably thinking not much. After all, there are no songs about dentists on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. But as with every Beatles album, there’s a lot of great music and plenty of good advice. And some of it applies to dentistry. Let’s take a look…

With a Little Help from My Friends

It can be lonely at the top, but it doesn’t have to be. Even with the growth of DSOs, the majority of dentists still operate solo practices. That means you wear a lot of hats… you’re the main producer, the team leader, the CEO, the CFO and the CMO. Some days, it can seem overwhelming.

Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone. Study clubs represents one of the greatest resources for practice owners. You can learn a lot from your colleagues, many of whom have experienced similar issues and challenges. You’ll get pertinent advice, learn about new clinical procedures and develop a support network that can get you through the tough times.

Good Morning, Good Morning

Morning meetings matter. Never underestimate the power of this brief gathering. Sharing information about the day’s schedule, patients, treatments, and emergences keeps everybody on the same page. Start your day the right way with a morning meeting!

Getting Better

That should be the goal of every practice. How can we improve? What’s not working and what could be working better? What are the solutions? What are the costs? What can we accomplish with the budget and manpower we have? As the practice leader, you don’t want to settle for the status quo. Because when you stop improving, you eventually start declining.

Fixing a Hole

A full schedule drives practice growth. Gaps in the schedule are missed opportunities. To combat last-minute cancellations, keep a list of patients who are looking to move up their appointments. Contact them as soon as you have an opening. Also, use social media to get the word out. If patients have a break in their schedule, they often come in to catch up on their dental care.

When I’m Sixty Four

Are you saving enough for retirement? When was the last time you looked at your retirement plan? Are you currently working with a dental-knowledgeable advisor? Even if you’re a younger dentist and believe retirement is decades away, you need to start planning for it now.

A Day in the Life

Like any job, dentistry can become a grind… if you let it. As the practice owner, you have the power to create a fun, productive work environment. Don’t just put in your time. Create the practice you want. Sure, it takes time and effort. But the sooner you start working on it, the sooner it will happen.

Conclusion

It’s been called everything from the greatest album ever made to the most overrated record in the history of popular music. Wherever your opinion falls on that spectrum, there are still some surprising lessons Sgt. Pepper can teach us 50 years after its release.


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Case Presentation: 4 Easy Fixes

Case Presentation: 4 Easy Fixes

You’re the expert on oral health, yet you have trouble persuading patients to accept beneficial treatment. They feign interest in your recommendations, but most of the time they  don’t follow through, especially for larger cases and cosmetic treatment. It’s frustrating.

That lack of success can quickly turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. You don’t want to come into the presentation with a negative mindset that patients will automatically turn down your treatment. Break the cycle of rejection with these four simple but effective “powers of persuasion” to win over patients:

  1. Be Enthusiastic
    Enthusiasm engages patients. Many dentists are simply too professorial in their presentations. You’re not pontificating on a research paper at a symposium––you’re beautifying smiles, saving teeth and improving lives. All good things, right? Your attitude, demeanor and manner should reflect that critical mission.
  2. Stay Focused
    During the case presentation, there’s nothing more important than the patient in the chair.Don’t get distracted. Tell your team you’re not to be interrupted, except for a major emergency. Make eye contact, use the patient’s name, and periodically ask if there are any questions. Act as if the only thing you have to do that day is talk to that patient about treatment. Rushing, interruptions, and bad body language will guarantee that the answer is NO.
  3. Be Compelling
    We’ve all seen TV shows and movies where lawyers make a powerful case in court. The operatory is your courtroom and the patient is the judge and jury. If you think through every element of the case––the type of treatment, benefits, points to emphasize, financial issues, potential patient concerns, etc.––you can anticipate patient objections. Never react defensively when a patient asks a tough question. Treat it simply as a normal part of the discussion. Throughout the presentation, make sure patients know you have their best interests in mind.
  4. Ask For The Close
    In any type of sales situation, and case presentation is a professional level of sales, you have to ask for the close. If you simply present a case without asking for the close, you’ve made it easy for patients to say “no.” In fact, they don’t have to say anything. By asking for the close, patients are compelled to respond.  If you’ve done an excellent job at making the case treatment, more patients will say “yes.”An excellent script to ask for the close is “Mrs. Jones, would you like to have this treatment performed?” Give the patient time to think and respond and then be ready to answer questions or objections.

Conclusion

Everything matters during case presentation. Even the seemingly small stuff. Make these “little” adjustments to your case presentations and you’ll reap big rewards.


Additional Resource

Read a free excerpt from 43 Rules to Increase Practice Production by clicking here

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Consistent Behavior Gets Consistent Results

Consistent Behavior Gets Consistent Results

Inconsistency is the watchword for me in 2016 when it comes to practice management.

Last year, Levin Group analysts crisscrossed the country to perform hundreds of business analyses of general and specialty dental practices. As they look for what’s inhibiting growth, they have often discovered inconsistency in daily operations.

Specifically, most struggling offices lack documented management systems and scripts to guide team members in how to use such systems. As a result, their owners experience plateaued growth, declines in production and profit, and losses to the competition.

In many cases, doctors who were doing well until the past couple of years now feel confused and frustrated… and typically don’t understand that inconsistent performance of administrative and marketing tasks, due to a lack of proper systems and scripting, is the root cause of their troubles.

Creating smart new systems, writing step-by-step documentation, translating the documentation into scripts that are then used to train staff—this is the process Levin Group consultants rely on for turning practices around.

It works so well because it not only establishes the correct protocols for reaching the practice’s performance goals but also ensures that those steps are carried out consistently, patient after patient, day after day.


Additional Resource

To find out how you can benefit from an expert analysis of your practice as a business, click here for your free download of Dr. Levin’s whitepaper, How to Increase the Income from Your Practice.

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Honest Mistake

Honest Mistake

One of the biggest mistakes dentists make as practice leaders is not being honest with their team members. I’m not suggesting that they say things that aren’t true. The problem is that they don’t say things that are true.

We’ve all been there. A member of your staff falls short of your expectations and, to avoid confrontation or discomfort, you say nothing. Hoping the problem will go away (which rarely happens), you tolerate her poor performance, negative attitude, or personal issue that’s disrupting office efficiency. As she spirals downward, your displeasure grows.

Eventually, you feel you have no choice but to terminate her. In short, your compassion has the opposite effect of what you intended. The team member in question—who may have had excellent potential—must move on, leaving behind a stressed and demoralized staff and a well-meaning team leader (you) who is learning to hate this part of practice ownership.

Rather than saying nothing about questionable staff behavior, speak up. Discuss the issue calmly and constructively in private with the team member. Help team members improve. Catch and help correct bad habits early and everyone will benefit… honest!

Additional Resource

For more about other honest mistakes practice owners make, read a free excerpt from Dr. Levin’s book, The 31 Biggest Mistakes Dentists Make, go here and click on the “Read an Excerpt” button.

Attitude is Everything

Attitude is Everything

In the introduction to my book, Get a Life and Keep It!, I discuss how important it is to have the right attitude. For those of you who haven’t yet read the book, here’s an excerpt:


Leaders lead by example, and a dental team is always watching the doctor. If your outlook is not positive, you will find it difficult to motivate others and many won’t find you believable or persuasive.

Enthusiasm and great attitudes equal credibility in the minds of others.

If you want people to trust you, you will need to display an astonishing level of enthusiasm through an extremely positive attitude.

Do you want to have a great attitude? If the answer is yes, and I certainly hope it is, then all you have to do is make up your mind that a great attitude is what you want.You decide that from now on complaining, excuses or whining will not characterize your life. You will not react to circumstances with a “why did this happen to me?” mentality.


I wrote this a number of years ago, but it resonates more now. There will always be setbacks, challenges, bad days and long nights, but overcoming these obstacles usually starts by having a positive attitude.

Additional Resource

Dr. Levin’s book Get a Life and Keep It!, which focuses on the Levin Group mission of “improving the lives of dentists,” is available here. Click the “Read an Excerpt” button to read a sample.

Worth Repeating

Worth Repeating

Everything seems to be getting more complicated these days. I’m reminded of some of the advice I gave dentists in my book, 43 New Rules for Increasing Practice Production. Here’s an excerpt:

Rule #32 – Simplicity is Key

One of the key principles taught by Chris Zook, author and leading business strategist, is that businesses get in trouble because they gradually become more complicated and bureaucratic. Zook talks extensively about the importance of simplicity and repeatability. I have observed thousands of dental practices that ran well when they were smaller but became chaotic and stressful as they grew.

One of the major reasons for this is that they did not have the right step-by-step systems in place. As I have often said, systems must be up-to-date and documented. In addition, systems must be simple, so they can easily be used correctly. Dentistry keeps getting more and more complicated, with new materials, procedures and technologies emerging continuously—all the more reason to implement systems that simplify practice management.

As you work to grow your practice in 2016, keep your systems in mind. Are they helping or hurting you? If they’re impeding rather than supporting growth, it’s time to replace them.

 

Additional Resource

Read a free excerpt from the 43 Rules for Increasing Practice Production by going here and clicking on the “Read an Excerpt” button.

Go and get grab your copy now!