We recently asked our coaching clients to share the most impactful lesson they learned from us this year, and while their answers covered many topics, there was one in particular that stood out. I call it the “check exercise.”
If you know anything about me or Scheduling Institute, you know I promote an incentive-based culture, which does more to get people to maximize results than anything else I’ve tried. If you’re new to team incentives or have never even thought of them, the check exercise is a great introduction because it lasts only one month and it drives to a specific result. The added benefit to you is that you don’t have to make an investment until you get the results.
This is how the check exercise works. (It might be a good idea to get a pen and paper.)
1. Determine the statistic or number you want to increase
Let’s use new patients as an example. But you can use collections, production, or other stats.
2. Determine the current average
Take your total number of new patients for the past six or 12 months and divide that by six or 12. (Or since it’s December, take the first 11 months total and divide by 11.) This is your average monthly new patient number. Let’s say it’s 50.
3. Set a goal and a timeframe
You want a realistic goal, but you also want something that will make your team stretch to achieve it. So, don’t go from 50 to 150, or from 50 to 55. Pick a number between where you are today and where you ultimately want to be, let’s say 65. This exercise is all about the goal. It should be a number your team has never hit before and not something they can hit by doing things the same way. The goal should force them to make changes and do things they wouldn’t normally do. For example, if your team doesn’t like to ask for referrals from patients, having a new patient goal tied to a reward might get them out of their comfort zones when it comes to asking for referrals.
4. Do the math
Look at the impact 15 extra new patients a month will have on your practice. If each new patient has a lifetime value of $2,000 (that’s a conservative average), then you’re looking at an additional $30,000 for that month. If you didn’t reach that goal of 65, but you hit 62 or 63, you’ve still got an additional $24,000 to $26,000. That’s a pretty exciting number!
5. Determine the check size and payout
What size of a check would motivate your staff to work extra hard to hit the goal—$200, $300, $500? This is an amount for each individual and would be on top of their regular salaries. Remember, this is a win-win exercise. You only pay the incentive if they hit the goal. If the goal is not met, it costs you nothing. Let’s say you choose $300 per person. If you have six employees, your payout would be $1,800. But remember that in step 4 we calculated that 15 extra new patients are worth $30,000, and you only paid $1,800 to reach that. That’s an exchange I’d make every month!
6. Present to the team
Here comes the fun part. On the first of the month, write all of the checks to the employees and sign and date them—yes, sign and date them. Meet with your team and talk about your new patient goal of 65. Then hand them their checks and say, “We’re going to play a game. When we get to our goal of 65 new patients, you can deposit the checks the day we hit that number. If for some reason we don’t hit the number, simply give me back the checks by the end of the month.” This is your opportunity to pump up the team and make it fun and motivational. They need to know you’re their biggest cheerleader, and that you want them to cash their checks at the end of the month.
If they don’t meet the goal and fall just short, do notgive in and let them keep the checks. This will set a bad precedent. Take the time to facilitate a conversation with your team about what they could have done differently to hit the goal, and discuss what they did well also.
We’ve worked with tens of thousands of team members during the last two decades, and there is one thing we know for certain—everyone wants to make more money. Your job is to provide your team with the opportunity, and then they have to do the work and make it happen.
The beginning of the year is a great time for you to introduce this incentive-based culture. Try this check exercise to get a quick bump in your new patient numbers to start 2018 off strong.
Author’s note: Want to know how your front desk is doing? Take the five-star challenge at schedulinginstitute.com/5star. We will conduct a mystery call and analyze how effective your team is at turning new patient calls into appointments using our five-star rating system. We’ll send you the call, your rating, and feedback about what they did well or where they need improvement.
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 schedulinginstitute.com/DE to learn how he did it.