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Posts tagged ‘Brooke Mott’

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5 Reasons you MUST have a Team Leader

As long as people are breathing there are going to be issues!

1. Eyes and ears
This person IS the eyes and ears for you and the practice while you are producing dentistry. You NEED someone on your side. What I mean is you may think (or hope) that your whole team is on your side, but it’s not until someone really steps up and takes control of things that you realize all the things that were happening that you had no idea about. It could be as simple as a team member surfing the web during down time or something that you think is minimal but you are to busy to notice. Once I started addressing those small things that add up, everything started to flow much better. For example, I always explain it to my team as if you are surfing the web while on the clock, you are stealing from Dr. Mohan. I also found that once this was addressed everyone was leaving the office on time and not 20-30 minutes late because they were trying to get all of their end of the day stuff done. It just really helps keep the whole team on track and moving towards the same goal.

2. Team issues
This is one of the biggest problems I face on a day- to- day basis. This is also the number one headache cited by dentists in their practice. If only we could be a
“One man” (or woman) show! Hmm, there’s an idea! Don’t get me wrong I have a great team but there is always something going on. In other words, as long as people are breathing there are going to be issues. It could be as simple as someone wanting to take a vacation day sometime in the near future. Or, it could be someone arriving late to work consistently. The most important part of this is that someone addresses it immediately if not sooner. These issues become bigger when they drag on longer than necessary. I tell our team members that if I have to babysit them, they don’t work here anymore. Which translates into: if I have to address things with you more than once or twice, you just ain’t gettin’ it!

3. Delegating
Delegating is one of the single most important things that a dentist can do. A team leader can instantly make a practice WAY more profitable. She (or he) takes the day-to- day tasks off of your plate so you can produce more dentistry, resulting in a better, less stressful practice for everyone. A lot of dentists do not trust someone enough to delegate much of anything, which is fine, if you want to be stagnant and stressed. The other question is “What do I delegate?” Truly everything in our practice that does not include producing dentistry or rapport-building with patients is delegated to the team leader or passed on to another team member by me. Realize here, too, that increased productivity does NOT only involve seeing more patients. This is just not the way it works. You can try it, but it is the quickest recipe for burnout available.

4. Training

Ideally, you already have someone on your team that can train anyone who walks through the door. If you don’t have a system set up to train your new team members, they will largely train themselves and that’s just scary! Training is easily one of the MOST overlooked revenue-enhancing opportunities in a practice. I often get the question “What should I do when a team member doesn’t do what I want them to do?” The answer normally lies with a failure to train properly and systematically. I hear a lot of excuses from dentists, such as no time to train, etc. The truth is that you can not afford NOT to take the time to train to completion. There needs to be time appropriated to training every week until the job is done, no matter what. Don’t let anything get in the way! If you don’t get the training done, the new team member is not a failure, but the system for training has failed. It’s very important to keep expanding your existing teams’ training as well as that of new team members.

5. Intercepting and diffusing patient objections

A patient may have a small grievance or a huge complaint. Either way it needs to be addressed, and you (the doctor) don’t need to be getting interrupted 10 times during a procedure or to have 20 sticky notes waiting for you at the end of the day. This is also key for your financial arrangement system. You need a team leader that can close cases for you. In other words, for a long, long time, we were not getting FIRM financial arrangements done in our practice and our accounts receivable was totally out of control. Please do yourself a favor and if this is the way your practice operates, STOP IT today or sooner! Someone in your practice is not getting paid, and I guarantee that person is you. You owe it to yourself, your team and your patients. Patients are much less happy if they owe you money. If you don’t have a financial coordinator or team leader that can overcome patient financial objections, you are in big trouble.

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Which Employee Benefits Should You Be Offering?

This has been a big topic and question asked recently, so I thought I would share with you what we do.
We use a PEO which stands for Professional Employee Organization. It’s definition: an outsourced HR department. We are are able to offer a wide variety of benefits to our employees because we use a PEO. Before going with the PEO, we were only able to offer 401K along with our vacation & personal time. They are a one stop shop for all your HR and employee benefit needs.

They offer the following benefits at a group rate for our employees: health insurance, vision insurance, life insurance, short/long term disability as well as flexible spending accounts. Our PEO takes care of our payroll, worker’s comp, 401K, vacation time, sick time, personal time, unemployment claims management and maintains our employee personnel files. All I do is report hourly numbers to the PEO office bi-weekly. We don’t pay for the benefits for our employees but you could pay a % or a dollar amount towards their benefits if you wish. A great service provided by the PEO is keeping track of all of the vacation, personal time, etc. and logging it on the employees pay stub each pay period. We have also opted to go completely paperless, so there is a direct deposit and employees are given a login to review and print their pay stub if needed. The employee can go online and print off the whole year if needed. I don’t have to go back and find all the pay stubs and recreate them like I used to do if an employee was buying a house and needed three months of pay stubs they lost. Does that sound familiar?

A real benefit of working with a PEO company is that they make sure you are always compliant and up to date with labor laws. If anything changes, they let you know and send out a new labor law poster to be posted. I have to confess, I was always hesitant to delegate this type of task because I didn’t think it took me very much time. However, 15 minutes here and there really does add up and I didn’t realize how much time I was spending on these tasks until I turned them over to the PEO. They have made handling any HR matter so much more efficient and we are able to offer many of the benefits of a large company. For that, I am forever grateful. The PEO we use is Merit Resources. Google them or contact me and I would love to help!

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The 7 Year Dental Itch

The Seven-Year Dental Itch

Seven long, but extremely fast, years ago, my husband and I built and moved into a new home with our children. While it doesn’t seem possible that seven years have gone by (and I’m not any older), there has been an interesting phenomenon recently that seems significant enough to report. Our seventh year in the house, we have developed what can only be described as a seven-year itch. Not in the traditional sense, but in an “electronics versus us” type of situation. It seems as if, it can possibly break, it has done so in the last year. A dishwasher that needed a new motor, a washer that mysteriously stopped working, an ice-maker that needed to be replaced, and on and on, literally. I can’t even blame the kids, for the most part. The funny thing is that once the repairs were completed, the light bulbs started to serially burn out – and I’m talking massive amounts of light bulbs, indoors, outdoors, you name it. It has been a two month stretch of light bulb replacement. Honestly, this has not been, by any means the most horrible year I can remember, but just a feeling over and over of “AGAIN?”

So, why am I telling you this anyway? It’s because many times when we are working really hard to get our practices all fully functional and “humming” along, it seems as if SOMETHING always seems to happen to give us a set back. The team member that quits, the piece of equipment that breaks or needs to be replaced, the day of patients that all seem to need twice as much time as normal or they are all complaining about something! Honestly, getting ready for the “battle” every day can threaten to put us into a tailspin. So, what’s the solution?

I have a wonderful coach in my life, David Greenwalt. He is a wellness coach, but he is much, much more. He is more like a mentor, life coach, business confidante, you name it, he’s just a great guy! He has a saying that I love. It is “Pursue a Worthy Endeavor and Persist Without Exception” or “PWE squared”. Some days when quitting seems like a great option or entertaining my personal fantasy of selling everything we own and living on a sailboat in the Caribbean, this phrase can seem absurd. But, this mantra has brought me through a lot tougher times than the annoying seventh-year electronic nuisance.

I honestly believe that being a full time, practicing dentist AND a business owner is a worthy endeavor that is worth pursuing, but it is also a BIG challenge for most of us. Yes, I know the few dentists that make it seem extremely effortless (don’t those people just drive you crazy?), but, for the rest of us mere mortals, it is tough. All of the hats that we wear: clinical dentist striving for excellence, manager, marketing director, human resources manager, payroll specialist, equipment repair technician, trouble shooting specialist, IT problem solver, leader, comic relief, shoulder to cry on, risk management, accountant, party planner, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker and the list goes on.

The choice to delegate and outsource many of these tasks is up to us. We are the philosopher of our own practices. It is a choice which of these to pursue to excellence. A team that is built around supporting us, as dentists, in pursuing clinical excellence, is the most worthy endeavor that we have. Caring for patients is our highest call, so it’s imperative that it remains our primary focus. Dentists are amazing clinicians and rise to excellence in so many ways. But we also oversee the practice and all of its’ moving parts as the owner of the business.
Since it is early in the year, let’s break worthy goals into 12 monthly ideas that you can take and run with all year long:

Month 1 – Determine Goals and Unique Talking Points for YOUR Practice for Marketability and Ultimate Patient Care
Month 2 – Optimize website or get a new one that can be well-optimized
Month 3 – Social Media Strategy and Implementation
Month 4 – Team Training for Internal Marketing/Patient Service and Promoting YOUR Practice
Month 5 – Implement a Internal Marketing/Referral Program
Month 6 – Public Relations Strategy and Implementation including Community Service
Month 7 – keep going 😉

Only with persistence for the worthy cause can we get up every day and take up the challenge to succeed. Lead your team and trust them to learn along with you in your quest. Find the team members who also share your passion in helping patients to get the very best dental care that we can offer. The help that you need is available to solve any problem that you face in your practice. Avoid the dental seven-year itch in your practice, don’t wait!!

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3 Ways to Boost Your Practice in the Slow Economy

So, not big news, this slow economy thing, it’s been almost 4 years now. The big thing is not when will it end, but what can we do NOW to ward off it’s effects? Here are our top 3 ways to keep your dental practice busy while the economy does whatever it is going to do.

1. Evening patient phone calls from the doctor. I don’t actually know of a better practice builder or practice booster than this. Patients will never feel more cared for than when this call is made the night after their dental appointment. The wow factor here is extremely high and you just don’t get any better than this for patient happiness, satisfaction and ultimately, loyalty. It only takes a few minutes, but they are possibly the best minutes you can spend all week long.

2. Reactivation and recare calls made consistently every single week. No excuses, no exceptions, this has got to be the main priority, other than taking care of the patient that is physically right in front of you. Many of you know that we work with a LOT of dental practices and we speak with many more every single week, all year long. The percentage of practices that can honestly report that this is being done in their practice every single week with precision is so low, it scares me a bit, and I consider myself to be pretty tough! If this is not possible to do within the practice, there are many reputable companies that will make the calls for your practice. I hate to steal from Nike, as it’s been done so many times, but this is one that you need to “just do it!”.

3. Asking for referrals and developing a referral system. For whatever reason, when we were in dental school, we must have been brainwashed to think that it was not OK to promote ourselves or our practice in any way, shape or form. We are uncomfortable with it, so we just skip this idea of asking our happy patients to send their friends and family to us. The truth of the matter is they WANT to help us, especially if they are really loyal to the practice (see point #1 about creating loyalty). The referral system can be extremely simple, but it needs to be consistent and has to be 100% participation from every team member. No exceptions!

The fourth and final thing that I want to leave you with is that there are about 100 more things that you can do to boost your practice in the slow economy and if you are already doing the 3 things above, then give yourself a pat on the back. The truth of the matter is that very few practices are doing this consistently, so they are not experiencing the growth that they are seeking. Here’s to getting these things done and loving YOUR practice!!

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What’s YOUR Sign?

I know the phrase, “what’s your sign?”, has been around a while, but I like to give old things a new twist. SO, here goes. What is the sign that fatigue, overwhelm and just plain burn-out is happening in your life or in your practice? Have you checked in a while? If you haven’t checked, are you too afraid to look? We spend WAY too much time at the office to not LOVE it!
My sign is that I haven’t had a night out with my husband in WAY too long, or my office is a disaster, or I just feel like I need to sit down – permanently. Not life or death stuff, but definitely signs that I am not prioritizing well.

Here’s the deal – if you don’t love what you’re doing, it’s time to change something. A friend of mine put it best – I LOVE hiring people that are smarter than me to “fix” something that I am not doing as well as I could or maybe even should. Put another way, I really like to find shortcuts. I have hired a long, long list of professionals that have helped me in almost all aspects of my life. A professional organizer, a personal trainer, a business coach, a marketing coach, you name it, I’ve hired them. Some I even use still today if I continue to struggle with areas of my life, personal and business. Even Tiger Woods still has a coach, because it’s necessary to maintain momentum and to gain effective change and growth.

Step 1 is to take a good long, honest look at your life and your practice. Step 2 is up to you.