How to transform your overwhelming overhead into a practice investment

Aug. 26, 2015
Along with taxes, allergies, and rush-hour traffic, we can all agree that we hate increasing overhead. After all, higher overhead means lower net income.

Along with taxes, allergies, and rush-hour traffic, we can all agree that we hate increasing overhead. After all, higher overhead means lower net income. But what if I told you that there is a way to take a percentage of your overhead-your payroll-and turn it into a strategic investment that will grow your practice and boost your net income?

Here's the deal: Payroll is, hands down, your biggest overhead cost. That means your employees are your biggest investment. If you follow a traditional model, then you are paying each employee a certain amount of money per year just for showing up at the office. Sure, they check off the items on their "job descriptions," complete their daily tasks, and generally seem to do a good job, but they rarely bring any real innovation to the job.

They probably aren't pushing themselves to full potential because they've never been challenged to do so. Not to point fingers, but that's kind of on you since you create the culture for your office. So here's how you can get creative with your payroll and give your team the opportunity to make more money, be more innovative, and live up to the potential that you're inadvertently stifling.

People are much more creative and productive when you reward them based on their results. So what if you took control of your pesky payroll and created a strategic incentive plan that rewarded your team for producing awesome results? It's that simple. Your team will push to achieve more, rather than settling for the status quo. When that happens, your practice will make more money, you will make more money, and your employees will make more money. It's a win-win-win.

I've got the perfect example for you. Here's a basic incentive plan that we implemented in a medium-sized practice in Dallas, Texas, back in 2012. The talented and smart front-desk person, Lisa N., averaged about 21 new patients each month during the previous year. We simply said to her, "For each new patient you book beyond 25, you get an extra $50." During the first month, she scheduled 34 new patients-a new record high for the office. She earned an extra $450 that month, and the doctor got 13 additional new patients.

For this particular practice, the new patient lifetime value was $1,800. That's an added value of $23,400 for the 13 additional new patients, and the only additional investment was that $450 incentive.

In other words, the "payroll overhead" for that practice actually provided a return that was 52 times the amount invested . . . in only one month. That's an incredible return for any business. Seriously, there are people on Wall Street who would kill for that kind of ROI.

Now, before you get ahead of yourself, incentives aren't the "one-and-done" solution to fixing your overhead, increasing your new patients, or building an engaged and focused team. They are just one key element of a more comprehensive new-patient generation strategy that we offer to dental practices. Although we've seen incentives work wonders thousands of times, just know that you need more than just an incentive plan to truly transform your practice.

But by the way, that Dallas practice I was talking about scheduled 119 new patients (with a 97% show rate) last month. That's just some food for thought for anyone who still doubts the power of a strategic new-patient generation plan.

Jay Geier is the founder of the Scheduling Institute and creator of the world-renowned five-star telephone training program that has revolutionized the way dentists attract new patients to their practices. He is finally revealing his secret for record-setting results, 600+ new patients in one week. Visit to discover how he did it.

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