Squeezed for free time?

Sept. 1, 2010
The pressure of time, being a professional business owner, wanting balance in life, and knowing there must be a better way to live ...

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The pressure of time, being a professional business owner, wanting balance in life, and knowing there must be a better way to live is creating a frantic mindset for men and women in the dental profession. Dentistry is the best kept secret in America, and yet the use of technology doesn’t seem to be creating efficiency, but rather is a wicked user of our precious time.

Time and how we choose to use it is the key to our choices. Remembering the basic premise that we really do have choices is actually very freeing. You choose your behavior at any given moment, unless you have a gun to your head. We all choose to answer to too many signals. We have chosen to have little or no control over our lives. How frustrating is that?

The path to creating a balanced life and having more free time for you and your family is a choice. In today’s fast-paced world, you must create real FREE time and be strong about it.

Plan your FREE time. End at 5 p.m. by scheduling a 5:15 massage or an appointment with your personal trainer. Plan your Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to be business-free by choosing to be away from the office. Develop some hobbies, plan local excursions, become involved with kids’ activities, attend community events, play sports ... you name it. Sometimes doctors use the office as an excuse because they do not have other things from which to choose. Are you one who is tied to the office, yet complains of having no time?

Establish strong systems at work. Establish concrete patient contact days, rather than saying, "If a big case comes in, I will work on Friday." Instead, do your big cases on a regular day by strictly holding to your schedule in the mornings leading up to that day. Take Friday off. Being weak on this is where the timeless Pac-Man works.

Your team needs to know your vision and what you stand for. If they keep coming to you for the answers, there is a leadership problem. Create more time for yourself by being a strong leader who communicates your vision clearly.

It is imperative to cross-train and team train on telephone skills, new-patient entry, sales conversations, and asking for referrals as you all work together in the same direction. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of continual training in no-pressure sales conversations.

If you are not taking a sales course and reading books about sales/marketing, you are "winging it," which results in small case acceptance that gobbles up your time.

You should go home when patient contact ends, just like the rest of the team. Have your hygienist and assistant enter treatment in the charts, schedule appointments, produce routing slips or insurance forms, and collect the money during the appointment. This allows the office administrator to have results-producing sales conversations on the phone.

There is no need for you to stay and enter notes in charts or work up treatment plans for patients who have not agreed to treatment. Work more like an architect who asks questions and has a general idea of what he or she wants up-front.

With preliminary drawings, the customer pays a down payment and then – and only then – the real time-consuming work for the architect begins. Retrieve that wasted time by learning how to have sales conversations that work.

Plan your administrative time. The doctor and team need several hours a week to prepare for work. Do not schedule patients during this time. This is staff meeting time – formal team training time for sales, marketing, answering the phone, etc. I cannot emphasize sales training enough. The offices that produce several million and take home half that make time to practice sales in various situations.

Make some rules for yourself about technology. FREE time is truly free from business. If you check your e-mail several times a day, are a slave to forums and social networking and say, "Oh, it just takes a few minutes," you are not really free emotionally and mentally. You are allowing yourself to be continually plugged in. Unless you have a very sick relative or are expecting a baby, give yourself the gift of time by setting some parameters of freedom that work for you.

Free time is a choice. You can make it happen or be dragged through life at the mercy of every request. Choose to have a real life and some balance.

Dr. Bill Blatchford, America’s premier dental business coach, has produced a new comprehensive business course called Blatchford in a Box – the Classic. Requiring no travel and no contact, Dr. Blatchford is offering his coaching lessons on leadership, profitability, bonus, strong systems, an accountable team, marketing, and sales. See www.blatchfordinabox.com. Amazing results can be yours for $1,995. Dr. Blatchford is also author of two books, "Playing Your ‘A’ Game" and "Blatchford BLUEPRINTS." Contact him at [email protected] and www.blatchford.com.

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