Saturday, December 29, 2007

Welcome Home!

As you look forward to the New Year, here’s a thought-provoking question:  Do you live to work or do you work to live?  How’s your balance in life?  I was reminded of that in a big way this week as we welcomed yet another little girl into our family.  Avery Elizabeth arrived early on December 26th to be the 6th girl in the Anderson Sorority House!  We’ve never figured out how to do the boy thing in our family, but we do have the girl thing down! 

So from our family to yours, Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Farewell to a Mentor

We bid farewell this week to Dr. Ron Wickum who has been a great mentor and example to me over the last dozen plus years.  Ron's contagious smile and enthusiasm always made you feel better when you were around him.  
I will always remember Ron as a friend to everyone.  As a dentist, I think patients went to see him as much for the "feel good" as the "look good"!  He always made you feel like a better person for having come in contact with him.

I'll miss Ron, but I will always be inspired by his great example of Love of Life, People, and Profession.

Thanks Ron for making our lives better.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Little Lagniappe!

One of the rights of passage if you live in Texas is having a truck.  After nearly 18 years in Texas I broke down a bought a truck last year.  Now I feel like a real Texan!

Just last week I had the truck in the shop for some routine work.  When I returned to pick it up, I was surprised to see the decorative metal hitch cover on the back of the truck wrapped in Styrofoam and plastic.   A few months earlier, someone had slightly rear-ended my truck at a traffic signal and bent the hitch cover.  It was nothing major, but was one of those things that bothered me every time I looked at it.

When I inquired about the specially wrapped hitch cover, Paul, my mechanic, ceremoniously unwrapped it to reveal a hitch cover that looked like new.  Paul had taken it upon himself to repair it at no charge as a nice added bonus.  I left the garage with a smile on my face.  I was satisfied about the work I had asked him to do, but I was ecstatic about the small added bonus I had not asked for!  Now where do you think I will go next time my truck needs work?

In French Louisiana they have a word for what Paul did.  The word is “Lagniappe” – something given as an extra gift or bonus.  It is not expected, but creates just that much more loyalty. 

So what is your lagniappe?  It may not be something you do for every patient every time, but when the situation is right and the opportunity arises, a little lagniappe can carry your patient all the way home with an even bigger, brighter smile on his or her face.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Happy Holidays?

December is upon us and “The Holidays” are here. I love this time of the year. But beware these “Holiday Hang ups” that can creep into the team mentality:
  • “Everyone’s too busy during the holidays to keep their dental appointment.”
  • “They can’t afford dental work right now with all the shopping they have to do.”
  • “Their insurance benefits are probably maxed out for the year.”
  • December is a short production month because of the holidays. We’ll never reach our goal.”
  • “We can’t find any patients to fill in these available appointments. It’s the holidays!” (Don’t you know.”)

If you are looking for an excuse this holiday season for poor practice performance, the “reasons” are easy to find. But consider for a moment the “reasons” why December should be the best practice month of the year:
  • “People are in a buying mood.”
  • “People are more happy and cheerful this time of year.”
  • “And so people are more willing to cooperate.”
  • “Many still have benefits remaining for the year.”
  • “Those who have flex spending and medical savings accounts sill have money for the year.”
  • “The more people have to do, the more they tend to get done.”

So check your attitude this holiday season. Do you have the attitude of a ToP performer or the mentality of excuse maker. The attitude you choose may very well determine how merry your holiday season will be – inside and outside of the practice.

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Power of "WHY"

“Don’t tell me to floss!” That was a common comment from patients surveyed in our most recent “Patient Perceptions of Dentistry” national public opinion survey.* That, along with other responses, let us know that you can’t tell patients WHAT to do any more – unless you first tell them WHY!

“So, Mrs. Jones, am I safe in assuming that you want to keep your teeth, have fresh breath, and avoid having unnecessary, avoidable health problems? Would you be interested in a couple of things you CAN do to make that happen?” Leading with an emotionally compelling WHY opens the door to the WHAT. But, until you have identified the WHY that your patients really WANT, no WHAT is going to interest them.

So, make sure to lead with the WHY. Your patients WANT to know. And they will be much more willing to DO when they know…WHY!

For a complimentary copy of the 21 page special report “What Patients Really Want” - the results of that national survey on public perceptions of dentistry, call us at 1-877-399-8677or e-mail your request to

Friday, November 16, 2007

What's Your Hook?

While eating in San Diego’s Gas Lamp District recently with two friends who are both in the restaurant industry, the conversation naturally turned to the secrets of success in food service. (Between them, they own over 400 restaurant locations.) “It’s simple,” one of them said. “You have to have a hook.”

A “hook” is something for which you are known, that your customers love, that keeps them coming back for more. Without it, you are just another place to eat. With a hook, you are one of the most talked about places in town. In my one friend’s case, his restaurant’s hook is “all the peanuts and hot bread you can eat served the moment you sit down.” In the other’s case it is “full plate service” at a high-end steak house chain instead of a la cart like most steak houses.

what’s your “hook?” What are you known for that your patients love that keeps them coming back for more? What do you do that separates you from every other dentist? Without a hook, you’re just another dentist. But with a hook, you are “The Dentist.”