Can you control world events or the stock market? No. Can you control your own outlook and destiny? Yes. That's where your focus needs to be, says Jay Geier.
by Kevin Henry, Managing Editor
With apologies to Chicken Little, Jay Geier does not believe the sky is falling. In fact, the Georgia-based consultant believes the sky that some see as crumbling has never been more blue.
I spent one September weekend in Philadelphia and New Jersey making a new acquaintance in Geier, the man who oversees his Scheduling Institute out of Atlanta and lectures around the country to doctors on matters of finance, staffing, marketing and new patients. In a packed eight-hour day, Geier and his shotgun-style of speaking hammered home his belief that today is not the time to surrender to negative thinking, particularly when it comes to the economy and the mindset that dentists and their team members should have today.
Geier is a strong believer in what he calls the "two-economy system." Basically, he believes there is an economy dictated by what everyone else does and there is an economy that you and you alone control. While the newspaper and nightly news may be telling people the economy is going south, Geier tells his audience to insulate themselves from those negative economic thoughts and focus only on what they can control.
While dentists may not be able to control what is happening in the Middle East or which direction the stock market is heading, they can certainly control their own expenditures and attitudes. Geier told his group in Cherry Hill, N.J., "The eyes only see and the ears only hear what the brain is looking for." If you're looking for things to be bad or good, they will match your beliefs.
"We started using the two-economy system three years ago, so it's not like we just started telling people about this," Geier smiled. "I can go anywhere in the country and show you someone who is having the best year in the history of his or her practice. Why? Because that dentist is controlling his or her economy and doing things to help the practice succeed rather than just sticking their head in the sand and rising and falling with the ebbs and flows of the world around them."
Geier also believes there are three areas where dentists must continually invest to grow the practice and increase net income - marketing, human capital (employees), and space and equipment. Human capital is the most important since it's the foundation on which all other success is built.
"I believe dentists need to get out there, slay some dragons, and do the thing(s) that will have the greatest impact. It seems simple, but that philosophy can change everything," Geier said.
During his eight hours of lecturing, Geier addressed topics from hiring techniques (see the sidebar) to bonus structures (yes, you should have them in your practice, but the structure is key as it can make or break you), to the importance of having the right people in your "bubble."
"I believe very strongly in surrounding yourself with people who are positive and like-minded in beliefs," Geier said. "I tell dentists all the time that if their team members don't believe like they believe, get them out of the practice. Too often, dentists make letting someone go into a very personal thing. It's not. It's a business decision. Dentists have to do what is in the best interest of their practice."
Changing mindsets was really at the heart of Geier's lecture on this sunny Friday in New Jersey. He began the day by telling attendees about his guarantee - they will leave the lecture happier and better than they walked in. He then proceeded to tell them that this would only happen if they didn't do the exact same thing that they did the day before.
"Dentists don't seem to believe that there is an abundance of money out there," Geier said. "I stress to dentists that they have to remember that everything they have in their practice comes from the patients. If they don't take care of the patients, they're going to have to keep worrying about money. Really, you get what you deserve when it comes to your patients. If you and your team don't put forth any effort and take patients for granted, they're going to look elsewhere for their dental needs."
Geier's simple, no-holds-barred messages seemed to resonate with the crowd, including many who had previously attended his different lectures.
"He seems to make things very simple," said Dr. Som Gupta, who travelled from suburban Pittsburgh to hear Geier speak. "The concept of getting what you deserve is really a powerful message for me. It's always a challenge to implement everything you hear, but I have some ideas on marketing and reaching new patients that I really want to bring back from this."
Geier is furthering his message through an 8,000-square-foot training center that opened in September near Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport.
"The training center will help us coach more dentists, in addition to beginning components for assistants, front desk personnel, and hygienists," Geier said. "The main message I want to get out to all members of the dental team is the message of hope and the potential for success. I constantly see dentists and their employees that are making half the money they could be making, simply because the business isn't being run properly. It's all about training,attitude and focusing on the right things."
Geier's advice to the group was, "The #1 way to increase your practice right now is to increase new patients. When new patients go up everything gets better." Geier's strategy is to leverage your staff and train them how to increase new patients. His 5 Star Challenge offers a free analysis that will tell you exactly how effective your staff is at handling new patients today.
Editor's Note: For more information on Geier and his training programs or to get this free analysis, call (877) 475-0959 or visit www.schedulinginstitute.com and click on "Take the 5 Star Challenge." To find out where Jay is speaking or to sign up for one of his events, go to www.SchedulingInstitute.com/Events.
The Cheeseburger Test
Are you looking to know something about your potential employees before you hire them? Geier believes "the cheeseburger test" can tell you a lot about a person.
The test is simple. Invite the candidate into your office just before lunch. Tell him or her that you're hungry and you'll buy lunch for both of you if he or she will go get it. If the candidate rolls his or her eyes or seems frustrated, Geier says that should be the end of the interview and that person should not be hired.
If the candidate is willing to make a lunch run, Geier says to make sure you order the cheeseburger in a special way so you can see if he or she is listening and can follow your directions. If you order your hamburger with the condiments under the meat and it doesn't come back like you ordered, the interview is over and that person should not be hired.
If the candidate makes the lunch run and gets the order correct, you know you have a potential employee who is a team player, listens, and follows directions.