This is What’s Holding You Back

Last week Matt and I spent a few days in Miami where we were attending a Mindset retreat. It was great to get away together and we are both SO happy to be back home with the kids.

One of the exercises we did at this retreat was to work on finding our BIG purpose. This purpose goes way beyond having a successful business…way beyond just making money. My BIG purpose (other than creating a great life for my family) is still in development. I’ll let you know when it comes together.

The reason I am on stage here with my business coach and fellow attendees of the retreat is because each of us stepped up to a challenge we were given the day before. One of my fellow masterminders co-owns a business planning luxury travel to Africa and her big purpose is about supporting local economies and business owners there. Meredith challenged each of us to make a micro-loan to a business owner in a small village in Africa.

I’d never done this before but I am beyond passionate about lifting up other entrepreneurs, especially those that are striving to grow and improve the lives of their families and communities even in the toughest of situations.

These loans can be as little as $25 and it’s so easy to contribute at www.kiva.org. I encourage you to at least check it out.

Several months ago I asked you to tell me about the negativity you hear in your office. You responded loud and clear and this fall, I’m going to be offering a complementary tele-seminar on Mastering Your Mindset. I haven’t set the exact date, but I’ll let you know when I do.

As I talk with dentists across the country, I ask them what they’ve tried in the past to take their hygiene team to the next level in service and profitability. What I hear is that they’ve been doing the right things but there are obstacles in their practice that are keeping them from really being successful. And guess what? Old beliefs and a negative mindset are some of the most common problems I see.

So one of the very first things I do with every new client is to help them identify and clear the obstacles that have held them back.

On this month’s High Performance Hygiene Mastermind special topic call, I’ll reveal the 5 Most Common Obstacles and how to get them out of your way so you can implement the systems and protocols that will finally get you to your production and service goals. For more information or to join the Mastermind group, go to www.HygieneMastermind.com.

This call is perfect for doctors, office managers and hygienists. I hope you’ll join us!

Stay inspired!

Rachel

Where are all your hygiene patients?

I would be lying if I told you I haven’t heard about the challenges dentistry has been having as a result of ‘today’s economy’. While I do see things improving and my clients’ hygiene departments are growing, some are growing faster than others.

What I know for sure is that when times get tough, it reveals our sore spots. When business is good and patients are knocking your doors down, it’s easy to let things slide with regard to systems, protocols and operating procedures.

Ideally, you would analyze your hygiene department quarterly, looking for trends and changes and then make slight adjustments to stay on track. Reality is that most doctors look at numbers at the end of the year or when they meet with their financial planner. Sometimes once you realize you’ve taken a hit, it takes just as much time to recover.

When challenging times come, it presents a good opportunity for you to look at all your systems and discover where you can improve and uplevel your practice.

I’ve been asked by some of you how to ‘stop the bleeding’ in your hygiene department. While I’ve yet to discover an immediate solution to get every one of your existing patients calling for a hygiene visit or to convert every new patient into high level dentistry, there are a few tips that I’d like to pass along that I’ve seen work in my client offices.

You’ve heard all the reasons in the book for why your patients aren’t scheduling their hygiene care so I’ll spare you that trauma. What you may be looking for are solutions to close the gaps.

So here you go:

1-Don’t stop marketing – While many are pulling back on their marketing dollars when numbers drop, halting all (or most) forms of marketing will only guarantee more of the same. My friends at Productive Dentist Academy teach that 8% of your collections should go toward your marketing budget.

2-Focus on your existing patients – It is just as, if not more, important to take amazing care of your existing patients as it is to attract new ones. When you intentionally work on building relationships with your patients, they will tell their friends about you and say ‘yes’ to more dentistry.

One of my clients has every team member write one personal note to one patient they saw that day. The doctors also make it a point to tell patients how much they appreciate their business and how they’d love to take care of any friends or family that need a dentist. Not pushy, just friendly. They’ve received tons of comments from their patients about how much they appreciate the simple gesture of saying ‘Thank you’. And they’re telling their friends.

3-Stay ‘Top of Mind’ – If your patients only hear from you the day before their hygiene appointment, they’re more likely to cancel and less likely to call you to schedule treatment. Stay in touch with them through newsletters, gifting campaigns, greeting cards and thank you notes.

You can do the same with trusted physicians and specialists that you already have a relationship with. When you are ‘top of mind’ on a regular basis, they’ll be much more likely to refer patients to you and then you can return the favor.

4-Get creative-Start a grassroots internal marketing campaign by doing nice, unexpected things for your patients. I have a friend who sends pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving to her interior design clients. She delivers them to their workplace and just says ‘Thanks for your business, I really appreciate you’.

5-Work your recall list – I know, this is your favorite one, isn’t it? Before you sit down with your recall list, center your mind that you’re calling out of concern for this patient…NOT dialing for dollars. You don’t want to appear desperate, but you do want to appear caring.

Ask the patient what has kept them away. Offer alternatives that might help them get started with their treatment. If they can’t complete the entire quad of care that you’ve recommended, maybe they can get started with 1 or 2 teeth. If they can’t afford the perio maintenance right now, get them in for a prophy and see how they’re doing. Is it ideal? No. But it’s also not ideal to let the patient hang out in the black hole of hygiene recare while their perio disease is making a comeback.

6-Tighten up your systems – I have one client that’s just come on board and open time is a big challenge for them. They have a perio percentage of 5%. Just tightening up their perio diagnosis and treatment protocols will eliminate 40-50% of their open time.

Make sure that the patients you ARE seeing are getting the very best care possible.

This is a time to take a close look at what areas you can improve. Plug the leaks. There’s never been a better time!

Stay Inspired,

Rachel

Happy Birthday, Mimi!

I’ve wrapped up all the details in preparation for a call I’m doing on September 14 with Trisha O’Hehir. I am so excited about this call. This is going to be a f*ree tele-seminar and we’re offering 1 hour live AGD CE credit.

The title is ‘The Secret Culprit in Periodontal Disease’. We’re going to talk about one of the key ingredients in periodontal disease that you don’t hear much about.

This culprit is one of the bad guys that initiate the onset of disease and plays a key role in the success of the perio treatment you deliver-surgical and non-surgical.

You received an email last week inviting you to register. Be sure you register soon and invite your friends and colleagues! Even if you can’t be on the live call, you’ll need to register to get a link to the recording.

Register here www.InspiredHygiene.com/Trisha

Today is my mom’s 69th birthday. Happy Birthday Mimi! I have to tell you, I couldn’t do what I do without my mom. She takes care of our kids full-time and helps things run smoothly around the house. Having her here in Charlotte with us is a dream come true. She doesn’t know it yet but Anna and I have baked a special cake for her.

Stay Inspired,

Rachel

Assume the Best, Find Out the Rest

My personal rule is that no matter how rough a patient looks, no matter how jacked-up their teeth are, I assume the best. This holds true for my clients too. No matter how low their perio percentage or how many ‘perio prophies’ they’re performing, I assume the best.

The fact is, we all do the best we can with the resources we have.

So if a patient hasn’t been to the dentist in 10 yrs, I don’t automatically assume they are intentionally neglecting their health or they just don’t care. I have no idea what’s been going on in their lives over those years. Many times, the stories you hear will break your heart. Or maybe they’ve had a demanding job that keeps them on the road 5 days a week. Regardless, I like them to know they’ve entered a ‘no guilt zone’. I can’t take credit for this term. You know my clever friend Dr. Chris Bowman, right? He’s the one who came up with this term and it works like a charm.

Once the patient knows you’re not there to judge or scold them, they are instantly at ease. And when they’re relaxed, they’re more likely to be receptive to your recommendations.

Here’s an exercise to do at your next team meeting:

Start with a neutral example such as this…

Heather got an F on her report card

Assumptions           Truth

She’s lazy                 She needs a pre-requisite course

She didn’t study         Her note taking skills need improving

Now we’ll use a dental example…

John has decay between all his teeth

Assumptions           Truth

He doesn’t care         He has a hard time flossing and no one has taught
him an alternative

He drinks soda all day   He has low salivary pH and is taking Zoloft

Your task is to:

1- List on the left side all the assumptions you make about each other, your
doctor, your team andyour patients on a daily basis.

2-List on the right side what the truth could be. You’ll be amazed how this will re-frame how we communicate our patients and how receptive they are to your recommendations.

Stay Inspired,

Rachel