We’re excited to announce the first ever episodes of Double your production podcast. On these pillar episodes you’ll learn from Wendy Briggs, RDH and Dr. John Meis, DDS who have doubled production in practices all over the country. During this episode, you will learn why you don’t have a “new patient problem” and how to double your production when you go back to the office tomorrow morning.
Episode 1 Transcript:
S1 00:02.329 [music] Welcome to the W Production Podcast with the Team Training Institute. The one place designed for dentists and their staff who want to grow their practices by following in the footsteps of those that have done it, who are in the trenches, know exactly what you’re going through. And now your leaders, the stars of the podcast, Dr. John Meis and Wendy Briggs. [music]
S2 00:25.679 Hi. And welcome to the first episode of the Double Your Production Podcast here with The Team Training Institute. If you’re looking for the place to grow your practice, and increase your patient care, and ultimately help your business run you’re at the right place. Here today, my name’s Katie Smith. I’ll be your host for these Team Training Institute podcasts. I’m a registered dental hygienist, a part of this great group, and I love listening to Wendy, and Dr. John, and all of our hygienists and dentists that are involved here, probably just as much as you do. So today Wendy and Dr. John are going to jump on here with us. These dentists and hygienists here at The Team Training Institute are, just like we said in the intro, they’ve been there. They’ve done it. They know exactly what you’re going through. And as we all know there is always something new to learn here in this ever-changing profession of dentistry. So as for Wendy and Dr. John, I’m just going to turn the time over to them for some introductions. Wendy?
S3 01:25.242 Hi, this is Wendy Briggs. It’s a pleasure to be here with you. I have the pleasure of introducing my partner in crime, Dr. John Meis. He’s a fantastic dentist with incredible experience. He’s one of the founders of The Team Training Institute. Dr. John is an innovator and practice management marketing leadership in team development who, at his peak, was producing the top 1% of dentists in the United States. And I have had the opportunity to visit a lot of practices. And I can attest to the fact that this is the true statement. He multiplied his one practice into six and is currently a partner in more than 120 dental practices playing a key role visiting, coaching, and innovating on the ground in these practices. And after exclusively setting the most successful dentists and dental practices and business centers, he developed the Productive Practice Mindset from which the core principles of the Team Training Institute were created. So the Productive Practice Mindset consists of 11 key habits and attitudes that differentiate successful practices from less successful practices. And I’m sure, at some point, we’ll dive into a lot of those Productive Practice Mindset principles. But I can tell you it’s a pleasure to be here with Dr. John Meis. And it’s a pleasure to work with him and The Team Training Institute. You’re really going to enjoy a lot of what he has to say.
S4 02:37.784 Well, thank you so much for that great introduction, Wendy. Wendy is such a star. She doesn’t probably need much of an introduction. But I can tell you a little bit about her history. She started in a practice. And she just had a such of keen business inclination mind. There’s so few people that really can do both well. And Wendy is one of those people. She simply went about figuring out how she could provide excellent care and do it very, very efficiently. And as she honed her skills and honed her skills she did a bit of temping in other offices. And they saw how productive she was. And they wanted to come and learn how to do it. And pretty soon she had a following of people who’d come and learn how they could be more productive, how they could have a better patient experience, and how they could do it without being stressed and rushed. And do it in a very relaxed, methodical, and calm manner. Wendy then started to go out on the road and teach people and– I first heard about Wendy from our fellow friend, Dr. Kelly Bridenstine. And he said “Boy–” he and I were in a group that was sharing business ideas and success ideas in the dental industry. And he said “Boy, you’ve got to have her come to your office”.
S4 03:58.051 When she came to my office we were no slouch. Our hygeine department was doing over a million year at the time. And they immediately went up. And this was the thing that was very different from my experience with any other kind of coach, is they went up and they stayed up. And so Wendy is really a tremendous innovator. She’s a tremendous educator. She’s a tremendous motivator. And when we saw the good things that we were each doing, we decided that we would be even more powerful if we work together. And we’ve really had a lot of fun doing it including writing a couple books, The X-Factor: Building Your Dental Dream Team. And The Ultimate Guide to Doubling or Tripling Your Dental Practice Production. So we have become a fantastic team. And we just really enjoy working with others and helping them to see the things that we’ve seen, the things that we’ve done, so that they can get out of that spot where they are stuck. So Wendy, this is going to be fun.
S3 05:02.181 It’s going to be great.
S2 05:02.667 Awesome. And I’m just here to say, as a registered dental hygienist myself who’s in the trenches and applying all these principles, that Wendy and Dr. John are currently practicing, and preaching, and teaching out there in the field, that everything that they say and do is invaluable in your practice. As soon as you start applying these things it’s really going to help you take off and do wonders. So, we’re going to–
S4 05:28.753 So Katie, are you going to be the referee so if Wendy and I disagree and we start arguing, will you be the referee for us?
S2 05:35.894 That’s what I’m here for. Yes.
S4 05:37.004 Awesome. Very good [laughter].
S2 05:40.663 So, yeah. These first couple episodes of this W Production Podcast we’re just going to give the brief overview of what The Team Training Institute believes, and teaches, and practices today. And so we’re going to get started off today with Dr. John. My first question for you is just to, kind of, give us an overview. What is the state of the economic climate in dentistry today? What can you tell us about that?
S4 06:03.096 Well, the economic climate is very positive in dentistry. All of the economists that follow the dental industry and follow the big dental groups suggest that the dental market is growing at about 5% a year, which is very, very healthy. Now the interesting thing is that while the market is growing at 5% a year there are practices that are going up 20, and 30, and 40% a year. So we really see this thing where dentists can get stuck. And if you’re stuck, if you’re not growing like that, your practice is– really, it’s dying. There is no middle. And the nice thing is this leaves us with a great opportunity. There is so much yet to come for nearly every practice that we come in contact with. And most importantly, there’s so much yet to come for the patients that you serve. There’s really never been a better time, in my opinion, to be involved in the dental profession, because every day there are new discoveries. There’s new studies showing how much of an impact that we can have on our patients. Wendy, is that what you’re seeing too?
S3 07:16.586 I absolutely am seeing that. I was with a dental practice– a dental provider today who has been in the trenches for more than four years and told me just straight up, “I’m burned out. I’m ready to quit. I’m really struggling. I didn’t invest 10 years of my life to not be able to pay my bills every month.” And so we see a lot of great dentists, very good clinical dentists with good hearts, good intentions, really having a struggle. And so we are seeing dentists, in reality, or in some instances in contradiction, to what we are seeing in the economy.
S4 07:53.357 It’s amazing when I hear that burned out term. It’s such a poorly understood concept. I’ve seen dentists that are producing $250,000 a year saying they’re burned out. But I’ve also seen dentists who are producing– or $250,000 a month, I should have said. I also see dentists who are producing $25,000 a month and feeling burned out. So it has nothing to do with workload. It all has to do with your organization.
S2 08:24.141 Absolutely.
S4 08:25.260 So for the brand new dentist who just graduated from dental school, to those that have been practicing for 30 years, there’s always a way to get a better edge. There’s always a way to be more successful. And that’s what really we can help you do. Provide you the resources to master– really providing, not just a world-class experience for your patients, but creating the ideal practice with the ideal team. The practice that really provides you and your family with the lifestyle of your dreams. And more importantly the freedom to enjoy it.
S3 09:00.877 Right. And I would say, too, that we should start with a little bit of a warning. There’s very little profit or success in just learning a new tactic. Maybe this tactic is to drive more new patients or implementing a script that you might learn for case acceptance in and of itself. But there’s enormous profit. Reduce stress, better patient experience, and hope, really, for a lot of new dentists who are struggling, in understanding how these tactics apply in your practice. So learning a tactic in and of itself isn’t the solution. But being able to know how to implement and how to apply these tactics are really what’s critical. And this might shock–
S4 09:33.077 Which tactic at which time.
S3 09:35.544 Exactly. Knowing the strategy, a bigger picture, and having a larger vision for where you want to be. And another thing that’s really common, Dr. John, is we need to let them know that, this might be shocking for many of our listeners, but many practices do not have a new patient problem. There’s never going to be a shortage of new patients. Let me just start by explaining that. Many practices think that they need more new patients. But the problem that we often see is a problem that most practices don’t know how to optimize the patients that they have. And they don’t necessarily address their issues of practice capacities. So this is something that Dr. John and I see time, and time, and time again– that some of the revenue that you’ll get from the patient– a majority revenue you get comes from the first 18 months that they’re in your practice. So my first question would be, do we have a bulletproof system to ensure that we’re the dentist that is receiving that revenue?
S4 10:30.756 And as important, or more important, that the patient is receiving the care that they need for the dental conditions that they suffer from.
S2 10:38.531 Yeah. That’s an excellent point. So many experience that the struggle with the details of a growing practice. You continue to lose money but you have no idea where these losses are coming from. You’re overwhelmed with all these new ideas. Should you be doing the Facebook ads or postcards? There’s so many new things, and ideas, and people vying for your time out there as a provider while you’re trying to focus on what you’re doing there in the practice. So these new patients, how do you get them? You’re struggling to find the right people to help you grow your practice. So Dr. John and Wendy have not only experienced this same problem themselves but they’ve been in countless offices where they’ve addressed these problems and turned them around. As Wendy said, she’s been– she was in a practice yesterday that was struggling with this concept of growing their practice and being able to rely on that team and find those right people to help them grow their practice. So Dr. John and Wendy, my next question for you is, how do you start creating this bulletproof plan?
S4 11:35.345 Now that’s a really good question. And it’s, kind of, a complex question. But we can break it down into some simple things to get started. One of the first things that I really want dentists to have a clear understanding of is what is the style of practice that you aspire to? Are you going to have a single-doctor practice that focuses on just general care? Bread and butter? Are you going to be a single-doctor practice that focuses on a particular niche? Are you going to have multiple doctors? Are you going to have multiple locations? Really, what is the practice style that you aspire to? Because what works for one style is not going to work for another. And having that clarity is a great place to start.
S3 12:26.605 I couldn’t agree with you more. So one of the things that we teach at The Team Training Institute is we really have five steps that can help, really, strategically grow practices very powerfully. And because these steps– really we could do a full episode on each one of these steps. But this first podcast we’ll probably cover step one and step two. And then we’ll cover the other steps in subsequent podcasts recordings. So I think, Katie, we should really start by focusing on step one, which is the foundation. And we’ll also cover step two, which is growth, here on today’s podcast. And then in a future podcasts we’ll cover the other three steps. Step three is retention. Step four is building a connection. And then also, step five is duplication. So if you keep listening to these podcasts we will cover all five of those steps. So today, Dr. John, let’s start with the foundation. And that’s exactly what you were talking about. The doctors’ need to create a road-map for where they want to go. And determine their practice style and what their vision is so that then they know exactly what we’re working towards.
S4 13:28.078 Included in that practice style, also, is having some understanding of what your endgame is. At some point this practice asset will need to be traded or sold for some other asset. And what does that look like? I know people usually don’t start thinking about their retirement or their selling their practice strategy until– most dentists don’t start thinking about that until it’s way, way, way too late. And I’ve seen dentist, after dentist, after dentist leave, literally, millions of dollars on the table, because they didn’t look at this early enough. They didn’t plan for it. They didn’t position their practice in order to sell for the highest value.
S3 14:15.266 Right. And I think also we need to understand that that’s the first step in creating a road-map. So we help practices create a road-maps and help them know how they can go from a practice that owns them to a practice that they own. And that road-map, again, isn’t going to be very effective unless you know what kind of practice you’re wanting to utilize and what your endgame is. And I think, just like you said, Dr. John, we see so many practices that become burned out, because they really don’t have a clearly defined plan. They don’t have a road-map. They don’t know where they’re even trying to go. So they become completely overwhelmed with trying to be the sole driver in their enterprise. And again, sometimes the teams– another challenge is to build a team-driven practice with team members who can help drive the bus. But if nobody knows what the road-map looks like, where we’re going, what the endgame result is, and what the vision is of the practice, even having highly engaged team members really doesn’t help, because we’ve got to have clarity on that road-map.
S4 15:12.467 One of the team members of one of our clients said, “Once we understood where we were going the answer to every question was really pretty simple.” And the team began to carry most of the load for the entire practice, because they knew where they were headed. So making sure that you know where you’re going and the style that you’re going to get there in is really helpful for the team members. And depending on what style of practice you have, your team might look dramatically different in the level of talent and the types of team members could be radically different, couldn’t they?
S3 15:53.186 Absolutely. I think a lot of times we may have started dental school or hygiene school with a very clear ‘why.’ Why do we want to enter this profession? Why do we want to help our patients? Why do we want to practice dentistry? Many of us really went into this profession because we want to serve. And we want to care for people. And then sometimes it can get muddled up. You’re not only a dentist. But you’re a business owner. All of a sudden you’ve got to be looking at profit and loss statements and knowing a lot of those things. And sometimes our ‘why’ can become lost in some of those other areas.
S3 16:24.836 I think part of what I love about building the foundation underneath where you want to go is really getting clarity, once again, on why we’re here. Why are we practicing? Why are we serving our patients? For many of us production is not the goal. Production really is the result of doing the right thing for our patients. And helping our patients achieve their goals and really discuss and formulate in their minds what their goals are. Providing excellent care is really fulfilling and rewarding. So I think part of the road-map is knowing why you’re practicing and communicating that at a very powerful level to your team so that you can have team driven practice, as well as to your patients so you can have patient support and patient retention, which we’ll talk a little bit more about down the road. But that’s part of the value of why we’re practicing. And I think, too, that that helps us build a powerful team culture, doesn’t it, Dr. John?
S4 17:20.211 Absolutely. One of the books that Wendy and I recommend for our members to read is Start With Why written by Simon Sinek. And the book is very, very compelling, because it talks about to all the constituents, to our communities, to our patients, and to our team. They care more about our ‘why’ than about than about how we do things or what exactly that we’re doing. They really are interested in, and attracted to, the why. So knowing what your why is and being able to communicate it powerfully, in a way that resonates with the different constituencies, is really an important part of building the foundation of a great practice.
S2 18:05.178 Absolutely. So one of the other things, too, is knowing– part of the foundation is understanding what are the right numbers that we need to look at to manage our practice, because, again, we are running a business. And we are operating a business. And sometimes dentists can get stuck looking at the wrong numbers. So Dr. John, what are some of the right numbers you think that we need to be looking at on a regular basis to help us manage our practice and fuel our growth?
S4 18:30.943 Well, this is another one that we could spend a whole episode on. I can tell you, kind of, some simple ones that I think are important. Obviously, collection and production and the difference between the two. Making sure that you’re following AR and outstanding insurance claims. Making sure that you’re getting paid for the treatment that you’re doing. If you don’t, you’re going to be less than as successful as you want if you aren’t collecting the money that you’d like to have. We look at patients’ survey results. Are our patients really delighted with the care that we’re giving? If they’re not, everything else is going to go down. It can’t help that, because patients will go elsewhere. And they will tell everybody. And social media has made it very, very efficient for a single person to tell many, many people. Another thing that we look at is what percentage of the revenue of a practice is coming from hygiene. And within that hygiene department, what percentage of the hygiene department’s revenue is coming from perio services? Another number that I like to look at is are we re-appointing our patients? So are we keeping our patients in our practice? So that’s a handful, Wendy. What are some others that you would look at?
S3 19:52.627 Those are all really, really good. And I might just say we have some really great resources. We’ve got some great videos and such on our member website that cover a lot of details on these specific statistics. And I’m sure we’ll also cover some of these in future Podcasts. But if you’re interested to know some of these measurements now, you can actually go visit our website at theteamtraininginstitute.com and find some more information on some of these really important principles. I would say, when we dive a little bit deeper into the hygiene department, obviously, this is my area of focus. We like to look at those statistics. What percentage of the practice is coming from hygiene production? But then we look specifics– specifically at each individual provider. There are certain preventive services that we are going to take a look at. What’s your acceptance of fluoride? What’s your acceptance of sealants? How often are we utilizing sealants? Do we have any type of bond and desensitization agents that we’re utilizing? Are we doing [inaudible] or perio risk assessment on a consistent basis? Because these are specific skill sets that, if we focus on those, we can change them in a powerful way, as Dr. John shared we did with practices, as we’ve done with new practices across the country.
S3 21:01.041 So when we say this is the W-Production Podcast, that’s not just a catchy title. We actually do it. And that’s why these numbers and metrics are so important, because this is the foundation of your practice. If we are really striving to maximize [re-rolls?] of hygiene and maximize our potential as preventative therapist, as a periodontal therapist, as a patient treatment advocate, these numbers are really important. And I also think it’s important for the doctor to really become the quarterback of the practice and not have to play every position on the field. And that’s, I think, what often leads to burnout, is when we’re trying to do more of the management of the practice, that really, by having a clear foundation and a clear road-map the team can take on work for you.
S2 21:45.776 This is awesome. As a provider, and someone who does have access to all of these different tools that Doctor John and Wendy have been explaining here, I can tell you that’s invaluable. As a team member, when I stumble to present cases or things like that to patients that I know is in their best interest, it’s so nice to have these tools and these building blocks of, this is how you say it, this is how you word it, things like that. As I’m in the practice for just the day-to-day, but also for the future, for those numbers. I’d like to see my numbers grow with the team numbers as well. And as I’m focused and looking on that and knowing what my doctor needs, I think it’s important to keep those– that road-map, and your ‘why’, and everything like that in mind as that you’re going. So that’s such a wealth of information. That’s great. So we’re going to move on to step two and keep going with this conversation. So Wendy, why don’t you go ahead and start us off on this. We are going to look at the next step in our training is growth. So what do you have to tell us about the growth of the practice?
S3 22:46.737 Well, we’ve talked a little bit about this already, in that most dentists assume that growing a practice is all about new patients. And when we get in there we often find that there’s some fairly compelling reasons for a practice not adding new patients. Often we find that there may be a capacity blockage, for example. And 90% of you think you need new patients. But sometimes there may be certain circumstances in the practice that adding more new patients will actually make things worse instead of better. Isn’t that right, Dr. John? We see this a lot.
S4 23:19.101 Oh, for sure. I was just in a practice last Thursday. Single doctor. They were getting 120 new patients a month. That doctor was spending so much of her time just processing new patients that it was dramatically affecting her productivity. And she would have been more productive if she was seeing a third of the number of new patients that she is. But yet, when I asked her why she wasn’t doing better she said, “Well, if we just had a few more new patients I think we’d really kick this practice into gear.” And of course, from an outsider it sounded silly. And it may sound silly as I say it you now. But it’s just such a common mentality that we have, that we need more new patients. Far more often we see people that have enough new patients that aren’t developing the cases and the care for their patients in a way that’s going to have the biggest impact for their health, for your team, and for your bottom line.
S3 24:19.569 Absolutely. So I think this is a very common situation that we see. We may have practices that only see 15 new patients a month. And they certainly could use more new patients. So this isn’t always the case. But we often see a much bigger way, better way, to have an impact for patients and the team is to really focus in, as Dr. John said on providing that world-class experience for the patients we have in the chair. And when we look at challenges, when it comes to that, I can tell you that when we look at practices that are trying to increase production they often have two choices. They often have two choices. And they can choose to increase the number of patient encounters, and that’s what lot of dentists have tried to do is, “We need more new patients. We need more encounters,” right? Or we can focus on the production per encounter. And we have seen by far, especially for practices that have capacity blockage, or maybe they have some experience problems, we focus on increasing the production per encounter and really refining our systems so that we can focus in on treating the patients we have in the chair right now. And what we see is when we shift our vision and our focus into the patients we have right now– for example, when we consult with a practice we often start in hygiene, because by maximizing those three roles that I mentioned briefly already– preventive therapy, periodontal therapy, the role of patient treatment advocate.
S3 25:41.483 Often in preventive therapy we can see a powerful impact in potential productivity. And I look at, probably, close to 1,000 practice audits every year while we’re diving into the data on these practices. And I can tell you there are some practices that when we first get the analysis, the doctor’s perception is hygiene is very strong. Hygiene’s doing great. Our perio is strong. Everything is really strong in hygiene. And it’s not uncommon for us to find 5, 6, $700,000 revenue potential just by maximizing those roles of hygiene at a higher level than they currently are. So there’s a lot of opportunity there. And we see this as a very common issue. When we’re looking to increase production per encounter it often begins in hygiene. But there’s also a lot that the doctors can do to increase the production per encounter on the patients they serve.
S4 26:38.086 Well, absolutely. One of the things that we’ve found has really helped doctors improve that production per encounter is really how well are you able to get patients to accept care. What are the secrets to great case acceptance? Because if you’re case acceptance goes up you don’t need a lot of new patients. And I can tell you when your case acceptance goes to the next level it’s so much more satisfying, because generally, you’re doing more complex dentistry. Generally, you’re doing things that are going to have a bigger impact on those patients for their comfort, for their function, for their appearance. And that’s really when dentistry gets really, really fun.
S3 27:19.272 I agree, so much so. And I will tell you one of the things that we notice when we focus in on maximizing that and having production per encounter– when we look at the step two, the strategy for growth, often you know, again, we tend to look at, “We need more new patients.” But it’s amazing how often we’ll go into a practice– I’ve got a great story to share with you. There was a hygienist by the name of Danielle. And the week before one of our coaches got there she had done $1,245 of production on a Monday. The very following week, after one day of spending time focusing in on those three roles, she had a production day of $3,309.
S4 27:55.421 Wow.
S3 27:56.151 And we dove into the difference. You know, what caused the difference? It was the additional services. It was maximizing the role of a preventative therapist. So this is something we see all the time. We have offices all across the country that do our Hygiene Explosion. So this is a virtual program. You can do this training online. And when they do the Hygiene Explosion, it’s a six week course and they get six hours of [CCE?] for that. But we get emails from happy dentists all across the country saying, “Oh my gosh, when do you–” just with the Hygience Explosion. Our hygenists have come close to doubling their production. What else have you got? We get that kind of information all the time, because it’s amazing when they start focusing on providing complete care to the patient, giving patients the opportunity to chose world class level care, and giving them the choice to do more than they may have done in the past. And knowing how to propose those services to patients, and what to say and how to say it. It’s amazing what can happen. Though we see this time and time again– Dr. John and I have seen this countless times over the years. When we focus in on those three roles it can be very powerful.
S3 28:59.092 So again, if you’re interested in information on our Hygiene Explosion you can check that out on the members site. There’s some great stuff to see there. I will tell you that information about that program is also listed in the show notes. But one of the things that we need to talk about real quick, Dr. John, is one of the most common mistakes that other consultants or other providers may do, is they don’t address compensation issues. And so we might have a nice, short-term bop after a new concept or tactic is implemented. But then we see the effort wane. And that’s one of our secrets, isn’t it? That’s why you said your hygiene revenue went up and it stayed up, is because part of the program is we address that production based compensation issue.
S4 29:41.584 Yep. Well, that’s really true. And our compensation model and bonus structure model both, really, are based on the philosophy that if the patients are being served better, that everybody should do better. So the team should do better. The practice should do better. The doctor should do better. It’s just that simple. If something good has happened it should be good for everybody. And so one of the things with hygiene is we build the compensation that’s related to their production. And that is so motivating for hygienists. And it’s financially fantastic for the practice as well. And obviously, the patient’s getting more care. That’s what drives the entire thing.
S3 30:27.088 And I love that. It’s so important. So one of our production based compensation structure that we teach– we’ve got four or five different formulas that– we like to find a transition formula where we don’t mess with the hourly wage so that we provide a level of confidence and security to the hygienists. But we find there’s some fairly simple mathematic equations that we can do to determine what our daily baseline needs to be, our profitability point. And once we establish what that is then that becomes the target for the hygiene team. And if they produce above that point then there’s an additional earning potential for them. So again, this is a very, very critical conversation that we typically need to have figured out, and done well, and done right. Otherwise, it can cause some serious problems. But we’re tremendous advocates for having hygienists who are producers be compensated with production-based compensation. And that’s part of why we see such tremendous increases, is when we help practices establish that and get the culture right. We take these hourly-minded hygienists and turn them into producers that are fairly driven and paying attention to how they can improve patient care. And that’s exactly where we want their mindset to be. So when we look at growth that’s a big part of it. A big part of it is maximizing the production per encounter and making sure that our systems and our structure allows for our team members to give their all.
S4 31:47.586 Yeah. And I’ll tell you what, when a team gets on fire it’s amazing how much the load is now off the dentist and the owner. It just allows that pressure to be relieved, because now you don’t feel like you’re dragging the practice along all the time. You’re feeling like you’re getting a nice tailwind by the effort of the entire team.
S2 32:14.613 All right. Well, thanks so much for tuning in. If you like what you’ve heard today and want to go download the next two episodes that explain the next steps in doubling our production tomorrow, those can be found on www.theteamtraininginstitute.com/podcast. There you can see any show notes and references or anything used in the podcast today. So again, go check it out. Download those next few episodes. And thanks so much for listening. [music]