Scary Things In Your Practice Aren’t Always What They Seem

Well, did you survive fright night?  Did you do anything fun or special or hand out candy or just turn all the lights off?  To each their own.  It does seem to get bigger and bigger every year.

Going along with the craziness of Halloween, what I’ve been writing on it is very important to understand.  ‘Scary things’ are all around you and often hiding under your nose or behind the curtains of your business.  If you aren’t careful, they will blur your vision, make you delusional, or even leave you disenchanted with your goals.

You can’t let them.  The first thing you need to defend yourself is to be aware of what they actually are.

Of course, I can’t cover all the scary things in your practice in one Report.  There is the obvious commoditization of dentistry as a whole or the diminishing reimbursements if you choose to be in the insurance game or the overarching denial of claims by said companies that keeps getting worse and worse. I could go on, but the good news is all of these things can be overcome or avoided altogether.

So listen up, this is your Witches and Wizards Master Class.  Pay attention to the teacher and know this: for every single curse or trick or haunting thing in your life and business – there is an opposing spell to reverse the impact, a potion to protect yourselves, or some magic to conquer the forces of evil.

One of my very first questions to my Doctors on Day 1 is, “What do you not like and what do you want to change, if you could do anything to achieve the perfect practice?”

Working more hours, hiring more people, taking more insurance, heck even seeing more patients for most doctors are all scary things.  It doesn’t have to be that way.

We can do more full arch cases and less composites.

We can attract and create more A Patients and have less of the others.

We can do more with less time, space, people, patients.

Anything is possible as long as you know what “anything” is and then you have to know the spell (plan, path, blueprint) needed to make it happen.

Today, what I really want you to grasp and acknowledge in honor of Halloween is the fact that MOST ‘problems’ or ‘opportunities’ are disguised by something that they are actually not.  If you do not look beneath the surface, if you don’t get to the root cause (just like the problems in a patient’s mouth) then you could very well be making the right decisions about the wrong things or the wrong decisions about the right things.

You have to take the sheet off the ghost or throw the water on the witch to uncover the real challenges you face in your practice that are disguised and often illusions to what they truly are.

Here are some very basic and quick examples… a few treats for you today and a few tricks on how to make the most of them.

When I hear new patient numbers are lower than expected or we see a drop, it is most often disguised as some ineffectiveness on the phone.  Either certain questions are stumping people so we are losing patients on the front end and not getting them into the schedule; phones are being missed altogether; or messages are not followed up on in a timely manner.

It is also common, sadly, for a practice to be paying for leads online or with social media that come through via email and they go hours or even days (or never) before they are handled.

New patients just don’t drop.  There is always something disguising this problem.  If in fact numbers are low then we have to look at reviews, online exposure, other competitors’ marketing, etc.

Then there is the old no-show and cancellation problem.  Again, something in disguise… Most often it is patients either being use to ruling the roost, being able to willy-nilly reschedule, come in when they please, or it can simply be a lack of building enough value into their visit (whether the first one or the last one or hygiene).

This is also the big issue with Case Acceptance.  If it is lower than you think it should be, everyone blames money and insurance.  Claiming that every patient doesn’t want to pay or do it all at once.  Instead, it is most often actually two problems: lack of clarity and understanding clinically (meaning the problem wasn’t made important enough to fix and the value of the outcome wasn’t built enough), or on the flip side, most case acceptance is lost because of how it is presented as steps or options.

Many problems as you think them to be are disguised as something else.

Your schedule, for example, is full but we aren’t hitting daily goals.  This is most likely not (but it could be) a schedule problem.  Actually it goes back to the case acceptance because we can only put in the schedule the size and value of appointments that are first diagnosed, presented, and said yes to.  If we look at our case building and treatment presentation we can often see exactly why our schedule is plateaued.

That’s not to say that there are actual organizational challenges because that is true but a different and more easily fixable challenge.

I could go on and on to talk about how insurance is disguised as a culprit (or better said a monster) in your practice but it doesn’t have to be.  If it is handled honestly and if patient education supersedes insurance conversations then you can completely reshape and shift the paradigm of your patients’ views of insurance in the first place.

I’ll tell you what I would be most scared of in any practice and it wouldn’t be these tactical issues.  Instead, it would be the most wicked of all evil spirits…

That’s complacency, negative attitudes, and overall lack of initiative.  That’s a topic for another time.  Just remember a whole lot of positive results come from positive expectations, attitudes, and energy.

No matter the power of the wizard or the skill of the witch, they first and foremost have to believe they hold the magic before they can cast any of their spells.

You and your team have to do the same.  You have to be committed and execute with conviction to make the magic happen with your patient interactions.

These are the things that make up for all the others and allow you to have your cauldron overflowing with prosperity, appreciative patients, and life-changing dentistry.

Now, that ought to give you a lot to think about, some spells to practice, and some magic to do.  If you fearlessly inspect every aspect of your practice and you aren’t scared of it like a haunted house never knowing what’s around the next corner, your practice will be a whole lot better.

Remember this: if it doesn’t scare you maybe it should and if it does maybe it shouldn’t.

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