Friday, October 30, 2009

Looking for new patients?

Here is one of the most overlooked new patient opportunities that costs nothing and is just sitting there. Here are the exact things you need to do:

1. Track on a daily basis the number of potential new patient calls that come into your office each day. Anyone who answers the phone in your office just keeps a tally of how many calls they answer from anyone who makes and inquiry about the practice.

2. Track how many new patient appointments are scheduled each day. These two numbers should be recorded daily so that the team can see how successful they are at converting “inquiries” into scheduled patients.

In the past, we always thought that if we could convert about 80% of the prospective patients, we were doing OK. After all, you are not everyone’s dentist and you won’t be a good fit for everyone.

That 80% target changed not too long ago, thanks to a very perceptive team member who understands that the purpose of the practice is to always be creating happy, paying patients.

In looking at the statistics of one particular office at the end of a month, I noticed that the calls to scheduled new patients ratio was over 130%. I thought there was a mistake and that the two lines had been switched. Upon further investigation, I discovered that everything was totally correct. Not only was the new patient being scheduled, but each one was being asked, “Who else do we need to get scheduled today who needs to come in and see us?” or something similar. In other words, JUST ASK! If a new patient is calling your office, chances are that someone else in their life needs a dentist as well. So, just ASK who that person is.

So, the next step is:
3. Ask every new patient after he or she schedules a new patient appointment, “Who else do we need to get scheduled today?”

While we used to just shoot for 80% in the past, today we compete to see how many new patients can be scheduled in one call! The record so far…7! 7 new patients scheduled from one phone call. Just because someone asked!

It is a simple idea. But a very powerful and profitable idea to leverage your marketing dollar.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Creativity Unleached!

Several yeas ago, a mentor of mine suggested one of to keys to creativity and inspiration…NOTHING! That’s right…NOTHING.

Sometimes our minds get so cluttered with the long lists of daily to do’s and stress of just keeping up with those things crowds out the creative process. We are so busy thinking, we can’t think. So the best thing to clear the brain is to give the brain a break so it can recover and think about more important things.

Imagine if I were to hand you a five pound brick and tell you to hold it straight out to your side. How long could you do it? 5 minutes? 6 minutes? The muscle fatigue would be unbearable to the point that your arm would collapse from exhaustion.

But what if you were to hold the brick straight out for 30 seconds and then set it down for 30 seconds repeatedly? How long could you do that? Perhaps indefinitely. Recovery time,” not strength, is the key to endurance.

If you had suggested to me just five years ago that my favorite “nothing” or recovery time activity would become motorcycle riding, I would have referred you to a local psychiatrist! But that is exactly what has happened. (Not the psychiatrist part!)

A little over five years ago, Dr. Roy Hammond invited me to join the faculty of Learning Curves, dental C.E. on motorcycle adventure tours. ( He agreed to donate the proceeds of the ride on which I would be the dental C.E. presenter to our Smiles for Life Foundation ( . I could not say “no” even though I had never ridden before.

Five years and four Miles for Life rides later, the ‘Miles for Life” ride has raised well over $300,000 and is now on its way to the half a million dollar mark. Each year, 20 Harleys are reserved by 230 riders and their co-riders if they choose for the annual Miles for Life ride which includes 4 days of spectacular riding through some of the best scenery in America: Yellowstone, Colorado Rockies, National Parks of Southern Utah etc. It has become a Smiles for Life tradition and major benefit for a great cause.

But those four days a year have not been quite enough for me and Cheryl. Week before last we escaped for four days of our own for a Harley ride through the Ozarks. The scenery was spectacular. The recovery time was invaluable. The togetherness time divine! We’ve decided that there is no other place we have found to have uninterrupted time together where we can relax, talk, and “recover.” We always return refreshed, highly creative, and ready to take on the world with new enthusiasm.

So what is your favorite “recovery” activity? If you don’t have one you love, get busy and find one. If you don’t think you could ever jump on a Harley, just do it. It will get you out of your comfort zone and open up a whole new world to you.

The next Miles for Life benefit ride will be held May 19-22, 2010. We will depart from Las Vegas, NV and ride to the Grand Canyon and onto Zion’s National Park and back. I’m excited to announce there are only 5 bikes left to be spoken for and we’re full! In past, most of the riders have signed up at the Crown Council Annual Event in February. It looks as if all the bikes will be spoken for long before then.

So before the bikes are all spoken for, I wanted to give you the chance to join me and Cheryl on what has become our favorite “recovery” activity. From the perspective of parents of 6 daughters, it is the best thing we do for our marriage, our family and our lives. You’ve got to have recovery time or “NOTHING” time to re-energize your brain, inspire your soul, and stimulate your creativity. So…Let’s RIDE!

To reserve one of the last bikes available on the Miles for Life 2010 ride, e-mail us today at or call 1-877-399-8677. We look forward to riding with you.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

What Patients Really Want

We are going to take an hour this week on Tuesday, October 20 to discuss “What Patients Really Want” during a webinar hosted by Sesame Communications. To register, go to:

This is essential information for every team in dentistry that will give direction for the future of your practice. For example, during this hour, you’ll discover:

  • The 2 things, that if you even mention one of them, that will immediately turn your patients off.
  • The most overlooked opportunity in dentistry that over 50% of dentists are missing.
  • How dentists are killing themselves by despising one of the things that patients love the most.
  • The one aspect of case presentation that most practices totally overlook that patients are looking for the most.
  • How the most powerful form of marketing in dentistry has expanded exponentially to 10 times the level of effectiveness…if you know how to harness it.

And much, much more.

Join us at 1 PM Eastern, Noon Central and 10 Pacific on Tuesday, October 20 for an hour that will change the way you look at your patients, your practice and your future.

Register for the one hour webinar by going to:

Friday, October 9, 2009

Are you a Booster?

Who is your “booster?” Our local high school has a booster club for everything. My favorite is the A.P Booster Club that supports and encourages students who are in the Advanced Placement Program.

But how about you, your practice, and your patients? Who is the booster? Let me give you 4 examples from my week of great boosters:

  1. While in a new office this week, I had the opportunity to work with Tanya Brown, an appointment coordinator who has worked in dentistry for 16 years. She is loyal, professional and a great “booster.” I could not help but smile with a long lost patient walked in the door of the office, took one look at Tanya and exclaimed, “You’re here!” Tanya is such a great “booster: to patients, that they love her and look forward to seeing her every time they come it. She makes them feel good. She “boosts” them up.
  2. I was in Atlanta, Georgia today speaking to the Georgia Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry thanks to the invitation of Dr. Hugh Flax, in-coming President of the AACD. I’ve known Hugh for many years. He has given a lot to dentistry and a lot to me. He always tells the truth, and is always encouraging. A big thanks to Hugh for being a “boost” to me today and throughout the years.
  3. As I walked out the door of the seminar today, I was approached by Dolly Gainis, a local dental consultant, who had some of the nicest words of encouragement and gratitude that I have ever received after a seminar. She gave me a big “boost.”
  4. I love having great boosters on the front row of my seminar. Today I had the best boosters of all; the team of Dr. Debra King at the Atlanta Center for Cosmetic Dentistry. They get it! On the front row all day, eager to learn, attentive, and energetic. They gave me a huge boost all day. I’ll bet they do the same for their patients all day, every day.

So what you have you done to “boost” others today? How do you give your team members a boost? Your patients? Your family?

Everybody needs a boost. Even me!

Thanks for the boost!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Leading with Weakness

This one might seem little counter intuitive at first, but keep reading.

We typically are told to lead from strength, not from weakness. But here is a new perspective on weakness that was illustrated today during our Leading a ToP Team* seminar where dentists and key team members worked together from all over the country.

Here’s the case study…

The two partner doctors in question discovered after taking the Dental Team Assessment profile that they were naturally low in trust. Because of that natural tendency, they constantly check up on team members to whom they have delegated tasks. Team members follow their example by checking on each other. The result is a low trust work environment. Because of the tendency toward low trust, we worked on a new system to naturally build trust into the culture AND satisfy their need for verification and assurance.

We started with a new delegation system where ONE person would accept accountability for a task or outcome. The moment they accept that accountability, they also agree on a date by which they will report back to the team or “account” for their results. A chart that records tasks, the person accountable, and the date by which that person will report back, is hung on the lunch room wall as a reminder to all.

Now, the leaders can let go with the assurance that there is a date in the future when the accountable party will return with an update on the progress of the assigned task. No need to check up, verify, or micro-manage. The person who accepted the task now OWNS it and OWNS the result. The leader’s job is now to help and support the accountable party in anyway needed. But it is the accountable party’s job to ASK for the help when needed. It changes the culture of the office from low trust to high trust because the system is in place to give everyone the assurance that nothing will fall through the cracks. Hence, a weakness -- low trust, has been turned into a strength – a high trust culture.

Weaknesses can naturally be turned into strengths by simply coming up with a system to manage the weakness. The system takes care of the problem.

Can every weakness be turned into a strength with a system? Probably not. But more can be changed than not if you lead with your weaknesses, quit hiding, and start confronting them.

So start taking a look at your weaknesses and come up with the system to turn your weaknesses into a strength and you will be well on your way to Leading a ToP Team!

*Leading a ToP Team is a one-day course designed for ToPS dentists and key team members to provide tools and systems to lead the practice to the ToP. For dates and more information, call 1-877-399-8677.