Written by Todd Snyder, DDS, FAACD
You are a dentist, but just as importantly, you are a businessman or businesswoman. Given the “new normal” due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more critical than ever for you to be performing at your best. Only by resolving to enhance the performance of both yourself and your team will you be able to deliver the best possible care for your patients and the best possible results for your practice.
I know your questions: “Must I do this now?” Yes! “How?” Here’s how:
As the CEO of your business, or as an associate dentist, you are a leader who sets the tone for others to follow. How you show up for work, how quickly and efficiently you get things done, how you give praise and reward people, and how you discipline people are all particularly important to how your team shows up.
As a leader, your mindset is key to moving the team forward and steering the business to where you want it to go. If you are a weak leader, then more problems tend to arise, and teams are less productive. Vision, drive, and direction come from the leader. You set the tone for your entire team!
Do you show up to work expecting success, or do you drag in with lackluster excitement wondering what the day will hold for you? How you show up often determines the type of day you will have! You need to be the one who instills the excitement, enthusiasm, and drive in not only your team, but your patients. You set the tone for a patient to enthusiastically accept treatment and move forward, rather than to have them feel like they are being sold a bill of goods. You need to walk in to see a new or existing patient with a proactive, upbeat, organized mindset so that you can accomplish more. Most people show up in reactionary mode and have no idea what will happen or how to present themselves or what to say to a patient or client. In other words, they wing it as opposed to planning and preparing before showing up to work. What is your approach? Do you think that planning what you are going to say, do and accomplish with each patient and team member before you get to work could increase your odds of having a more successful day? And if you do this every day, do you think it will increase your odds of having a more successful month? A more successful year? (Hint: IT WILL!)
Do you prepare yourself and your team for the Daily Battle and the Weekly War? Research has shown that 97% of offices do not train properly, and I suspect that this is true of most dental practices as well. If your team is not training for success and you are not leading them daily, weekly, monthly and yearly, then how do they know what to do, what is expected of them, or how your practice will become successful? Team members who cause drama or perform poorly require a conversation followed by a decision, and this takes time and effort you cannot afford to waste. But if your day starts with you setting an expectation of how the day will proceed before ever getting to work and then holding a team meeting or individualized meetings to get everyone ready for optimal performance and goals for the day, you will have fewer problems and more success. Training your team and holding them – and yourself – accountable will pay big dividends.
How is your marketing? Do you do any marketing? Or did you do some in the past but then stop? Marketing is not simply having a website or a social media account. Marketing is knowing who your ideal clients are and creating custom messages that speak to them directly, rather than taking a “throw it against the wall and hope it sticks” approach that leaves you hoping and praying for a phone call or email response. Technology allows you to strategically determine precisely who we want as a client and to market to them specifically. It allows you to do creative marketing and actually measure engagement and response rates, as opposed to traditional marketing that gives you little or no idea as to who received it or looked at it. When someone goes to your website, you have no idea who they were, and you typically do not have the ability to follow up with them. If you have 1,000 website visitors in a month but you have no way to continue to talk to them you, should see that as 1,000 missed opportunities! Targeted automated marketing of specific customers is something you should be investigating if you want more business, but to do so you must know who your ideal clients are. If you believe everyone is a potential customer because everyone needs a dentist, you are missing out on the rewards that effective marketing can deliver to you.
Patients – like all people – want to feel safe, comfortable, and cared for. How do you do this? In a variety of ways: personal conversations, email blasts, phone calls, text messages, handwritten letters and videos explaining how you are going to help them. Patients need to be motivated to maintain optimal health and to understand the crucial role oral health plays in their systemic health. They need to realize that neglecting treatment may cost more than going ahead with treatment today, both financially and in terms of their long-term health. Having financial options as well as treatment options is important so that people can get care they need and not risk their health. One way is for patients who need a crown or bridge but cannot afford one is to utilize LuxaCrown (DMG), a semi-permanent crown and bridge material that bridges the gap between simple temporary provisionals and permanent dental prostheses with its remarkable properties of strength, durability, and aesthetics. The LuxaCrown crown or bridge restoration can be worn by a patient for up to 5 years.
If your patients need an affordable alternative to a permanent restoration, this could be a product to offer them.
A strong will and a determined mindset to lead your team will allow you to deliver the best possible experience for your patients and the best possible results for your practice. Through focused planning and leadership, you can be the singular force that creates the momentum that generates huge potential for change, growth, and happiness.