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Team embraces profit

March 2, 2020
Create an opportunity for the best to work with you.

A leader creates a team, either intentionally or by default. An awesome team can make a real difference in your bottom line, as they can create profits for you and the team.

Achieving a strong team is always a moving target. Things happen in team members’ lives and they move on. Building a team is always a work in progress and training is continuous. As your team changes naturally, who and what are you looking to create?

Bonus plans

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of a team bonus plan. For a team to be concerned about the a practice’s numbers, team members need to have a stake in the game. You want an easy plan where everyone has access to the numbers and can know where the team stands on a daily basis. Money is an excellent motivator for most people.

We find it curious that in many dental forums, dentists are concerned about their high overhead and get in a twit over rent or dental supplies. Yet in many cases, they are carrying staff at 32% to 36% of overhead. We like to see staff costs at 20%. You can achieve this several ways:

  • Evaluate your staff. Identify who the players are and who is barely playing. Make some leadership decisions.
  • Increase your daily goal and organize your time to make it happen.
  • Make your percentage for team compensation more in-line with profitability.

Our bonus kicks in at 20%, and the team (they become a team when working together for a common goal) shares in 20% of the collections. By having a bonus plan in which the team knows the numbers, the team does the following:

  • becomes very interested in what it takes to have patients accept better treatment;
  • learns how to schedule so the maximum scheduling is achieved for each patient;
  • has systems in place to make the schedule work well;
  • commits to outstanding phone skills;
  • wants to know about the results of the practice’s marketing decisions;
  • looks for efficiencies and inefficiencies;
  • does things right the first time; 
  • avoids screw-ups in treatment planning.

Indeed, the team becomes interested in every aspect of the practice. The more curious team members ask questions and give suggestions for improvement.

As the leader of the practice, you still define what ideal dentistry is for your team. For us, it’s the same quality of dentistry you would do for your mother, father, and other family members.

Once you have built a team, you will find that the team knows the players. In other words, the team members know who on staff is playing the game and who is just along for the ride. They know they need high quality players to make a solid bonus happen. They will want to speak with you and make suggestions. Listen and take action.

Great team players constantly practice sales conversations. They read sales books and know everyone who works in the practice is accountable for successful sales. That is how our staff members earn their bonuses and have so much time away. We need more than one person to sell. Everyone has to be ready for a conversation, because you never know when the opportunity will arise. Everyone is a salesperson for your patients. They have to look good, be good at what they do, and create value.

Same-day dentistry

Patients are busy and not fans of taking too much time to visit the dentist. But same-day dentistry changes the game. Consider this example: Say we had a call from a patient of record who already had a total treatment plan. She shares with us that “a tooth in the back just broke.” When we look at her patient record, we see there are three possible crowns in that quadrant that were diagnosed and discussed with her. The team member talking to the patient lets her know of the findings and invites her to come in today to do all three. The team member adds that the practice can make financial arrangements for this. With same-day dentistry in the office, you can imagine how team members can take charge of these types of situations and think on their feet.

Let’s say our patient agrees to the treatment. This avoids a wasted half hour for a “look-and-see” appointment. It saves the patient even more time. Maybe the team manages to make it work with a pretty full schedule already. Can they finish this case by 4:00 p.m. and add $4,500 to the day’s goal? Maybe they can or maybe they can’t, but they will try to make it happen with a 100% commitment, lots of communication, and teamwork. Everyone has to pitch in to make this happen, and the team feels joyful when they do. They were ready.

Same-day dentistry takes a flexible dentist, cross-training team members, and forward thinking. The team needs to have trays ready, rooms clean, and composure. But they also need positive attitudes, accountability, a solid bonus structure, the ability to communicate, training, more training, and even more training. All have to agree and say, “We are on board.”

Block booking

Block booking was actually started 39 years ago by Blatchford Solutions and many versions have come thereafter. We are pleased to have brought success to so many dentists and their teams. The idea with block booking is to be fresh and prepared for your larger cases. Hence, patient confidence in your abilities continues to grow. Block booking allows your team to focus on the larger cases with a daily monetary goal for the blocks. 

Teams like to know where the goal line is. So, once you have declared a goal for blocks (usually 80% of the daily doctor goal), don’t mess with it. If something less than a large case is scheduled in a block, you have sentenced yourself to not meeting your goal that day.

Teams who are receiving bonuses bring the best ideas for scheduling. Some of our doctors have teams earning more in bonuses than their regular guaranteed pay per pay period. These are motivated teams, cross-trained and accountable.

To arrive and leave on time with no overtime, you need your team to be cross-trained. Everyone must be able to turn a room, collect a payment, enthusiastically and correctly answer the phone, and so much more. This makes work a team effort and it becomes fund like a game.

Communication is essential and should include an awesome 10-minute morning meeting prior to your first patient’s arrival. In this meeting, discuss important points of the day, identify who to ask for a referral, know what you’ll be collecting in hygiene, etc. Led by the doctor, this morning meeting is inspiring and gracious.

Team dynamics

Continuous training is critical to maintaining a great team. Team members should be cross-trained in everything they are legally permitted to do. When this happens, they come to you with their ideas for efficiency. Have written systems for them to rely upon, so everything is clear and they can reference them when questions arise..

We have heard doctors say things such as, “My front desk person left, and my collection really dropped. She knew everything, and when she left, we were stranded.” What does this show? To increase profits, we all need to know the procedures. Systems must be written down and followed. As things change, note it in your systems.

In most dental offices, vacations are taken at the team members’ discretion. In a well-run office, vacation times are planned 18 months out. Team members are off when the doctor takes time away, with the exception of a rotating team member who is at the office during this time. This person handles phone calls and payments.

When a great team is working together, everyone has more time off. When you work, everyone works. When you have time off, so does the team. An energized team would never allow the dentist to play games on the internet between patients or spend aimless time on phone during a dental day.

When a team is hitting its goals, it is more amenable to give back to the community. It will even invent opportunities to do so. Free dental days can be several times a year and always scheduled in advance. A happy team is willing to share its talents.

Summary

Without a bonus plan and team involvement, staff members will keep busy. But they will do so by cleaning a desk drawer, auditing a chart, and creating wasted lists. With a bonus, however, they know the direction their efforts are needed. Team members are focused and will help you deliver.

With a bonus plan that creates more time away, your office will gain the reputation of a desirable place to work. With full employment at this time, you can still attract the best team. The best want to work with the best. They want things to happen. Create an opportunity for the best to work with you.

Authors’ note: We invite you to read our latest free book, Seven Principles of Highly Profitable Dentists, at blatchford.com. Here you will also find doctor and team testimonials. For more information on business consulting services, call (888) 977-4600.

Bill Blatchford, DDS, and Christina Blatchford, DMD, are two strong voices in dentistry for profitability, placing special emphasis on mastering sales conversations. They are advocates for more net return, more time away from the office, and more enjoyment of life. Dr. Bill Blatchford practiced dentistry for 20 years in Corvalis, Oregon. Dr. Christina Blatchford graduated from Oregon Health & Science University Dental School in 2009 and practices in Milwaukee, Oregon. They are both a part of Blatchford Solutions, which for more than 39 years has helped thousands of doctors achieve practice success.

About the Author

Bill Blatchford, DDS

BILL BLATCHFORD, DDS, is a strong voice in dentistry for profitability and he places a special emphasis on mastering sales conversations. He and his daughter, Christina Blatchford, DDS, are dentists’ advocates for more net return, more time away from the office, and increased enjoyment of life. Dr. Bill Blatchford practiced dentistry for 20 years in Corvallis, Oregon. For more than 35 years, Blatchford Solutions has helped thousands of doctors achieve practice success. In their custom coaching program, Drs. Blatchford work personally with the dentist, spouse, and team to achieve their dream practice. Blatchford Solutions offers books, podcasts, and “Mornings with Blatchford.” For more information visit blatchford.com or call (888) 977-4600. 

About the Author

Christina Blatchford, DMD

CHRISTINA BLATCHFORD, DMD, is a strong voice in dentistry for profitability and she places a special emphasis on mastering sales conversations. She and her father, Bill Blatchford, DDS, are dentists’ advocates for more net return, more time away from the office, and increased enjoyment of life. She graduated from Oregon Health & Science University Dental School in 2009 and practices in Milwaukee, Oregon. For more than 35 years, Blatchford Solutions has helped thousands of doctors achieve practice success. In their custom coaching program, Drs. Blatchford work personally with the dentist, spouse, and team to achieve their dream practice. Blatchford Solutions offers books, podcasts, and “Mornings with Blatchford.” For more information visit blatchford.com or call (888) 977-4600. 

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