Friday, October 28, 2011


One of my mentors is Scott Gross, author of Positively Outrageous Service and a library of other great books. Scott and I were neighbors (kind of) during the ten years that I lived in the Texas Hill Country. I lived in Hunt, Texas and he lived in Center Point!

I was reminded of Scott this week as I sat down at a Chili’s in Goshen, IN the night before doing a presentation to the local dental society. I was with Stuart from the Crown Council and as our server, Stephanie approached with a welcoming smile, I told her that Stuart had come all the way across the country especially for some of Chili’s delicious chips and salsa. She grinned and said she would make sure to take care of his request. In a few minutes she came back with not one, but two baskets of chips and salsa; a regular size basket for me and a JUMBO size basket with two cups of salsa for Stuart!

Later as she brought our check at the end of the meal, she included two large bags of chips to take with us with two containers of salsa and thanked us for coming in. Naturally, we left a BIG tip.

Stephanie exemplified the three ingredients that my mentor Scott Gross likes to call Positively Outrageous Service:

1. Random,

2. Unexpected,

3. Out of proportion to the circumstance.

Just by listening and responding in an “extra mile” fashion, Stephanie gave us an “Outrageous” experience that put a smile on our faces and had us talking for days…in fact, I am still talking about it!

So, find something “outrageous” to do today…Positively Outrageous. It will put a smile on your client, customer or patient’s face and have them talking about you for days!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Feed The Fire

On the wall of my office is a large frame that contains my Eagle Scout Award and my picture as a high school student. One of our suppliers was in my office recently and spotted the frame and commented about the benefits of Scouting and then added, “That’s great you helped your SON get his Eagle.” Wow! I did not realize I looked that old!

Even though my experience in Scouting took place almost 3 decades ago, the lessons learned are as fresh as if they happened yesterday. They are lessons that serve me well today.

For example…

One of the keys to building, starting and maintaining a campfire is having and continually providing the right fuel. The fuel that it takes to start a fire is different than the fuel that it takes to keep the fire burning.


Regularly I get asked what it takes to stay motivated; what it takes to keep the “fire” burning. There are a few basics that are required to start the fire of motivation and to keep it burning brightly:

1. A personal vision of what you are working to accomplish that excites you.

2. The right people that surround you who support and work with you to carry out that vision.

3. Continually adding knowledge to your brain bank of things that will move you closer to your vision.

4. Regularly feeding your mind with positive, uplifting literature and material that puts you and keeps you in the right frame of mind.

5. Regular physical exercise to keep your energy high. There is a direct correlation between your physical health and fitness and overall motivation.

So what are you doing to fuel the “fire?” Motivation is not something that happens to you any more than staring a fire is something that happens spontaneously. You make it happen by following simple rules.

So get on track with building and fueling your fire, whatever your fire is for. Find the fire, build it and let it burn bright. Just like I learned in Scouting, camping (life) is a lot more fun and enjoyable around a warm fire that burns bright than it is in the cold darkness of the wilderness.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Be Different

Psychologists tell us that there is a natural pull to want to be like those around us. At our ToPS seminars, that is something we have taught for years. It is important that your patients and clients see you as someone they can relate to; someone like them.

But when it comes to business, it can get you in trouble. Take the airlines for example. It seems like they all follow each other. One established a fee for baggage, they all follow suit. One quits serving snacks, they all jump on board.

Banks seem to do the same thing. Bank of America recently started charging a fee for using their debit card. Other banks are starting to follow right behind.

Wouldn’t it make more sense for a bank to start running ads that say, “Convenience shouldn’t cost, it should pay.” A bank could really capitalize by running in the opposite direction.

Take Southwest Airlines for example. While all the other airlines charge for checking bags, Southwest doesn’t. They are different. So different that they are just about the only airline that makes money!

So don’t be a follower when it comes to marketing your practice. Take a look around and go in the opposite direction. You’ll be noticed, recognized and appreciated by new patients who can tell you apart from all the rest.

Friday, October 7, 2011

It's not the money, it's the Perception of it.

I was at City Hall yesterday filling out the necessary paperwork for a sign permit. I struck up a conversation with the gentlemen next to me who was also filing paperwork for a sign permit. He mentioned he needed to see a dentist because he was interested in veneers on his six upper front teeth. Always eager to give one of our clients some business, I told him I happened to know a great dentist just down the street.

He went on to tell me about how he’d been to see this doctor before, but the cost they quoted him for a smile makeover was too expensive and how “back in the day” he remembers going to the dentist and it was “never that expensive.” At that moment I smiled to myself because I realized, it wasn’t about the money, it was about his perception of what he thought dental work should cost.

So really, your fees are not the problem. Perception is! You’ll gain far more ground by working on your patients’ perceptions than you will fretting over your fees.

But before you start looking for the magic phrase that will resolve someone’s questions about what you charge, remember that we often move too fast to solve patient problems that we really don’t understand. Maybe it is the scientist in us that looks for the perfect material, procedure, or instrument to treat the clinical problem. We have been trained for the “quick fix.”

People are not problems to be fixed. Just consider if someone says you are expense, is it could be because:

1. They have not been to the dentist for some time and are comparing today's fees to outdated fees? (Like our friend at City Hall).

2. They have never had a lot of dental work done, so they don't know what it costs.

3. They are having some financial stress so everything sounds expensive?

4. They are surprised because they thought they were just going to have to pay for a routine cleaning and then discovered that there is more work to be done?

5. They have never placed that much value on their mouth or their health and have not considered what it was really going to cost to stay in good shape?

6. It is the first time someone has had a conversation with them from a
“comprehensive care” point of view instead of just trying to maintain the status quo?

7. They just say that about everything to try and get a better deal!

The list could go on. The point is that it’s impossible to answer the question without first getting additional information. The same way you couldn’t tell a patient over the phone how to treat their toothache without first having done an exam to see the real condition.

Every patient has a unique situation…a story. Until you really understand them, their story, and their reason for asking, there's no quick fix verbal skill that will answer their question. It's about the relationship first, not the case or your fees.

So the next time you get the “Why are you so expensive?” question or one similar to it, just stop. Take a deep breath. And listen as you ask…"Tell me more about that.” You might be surprised to hear what comes next. The reason behind the question will most likely be something you had not anticipated.