EP06: Top 10 Elements of a Successful Bonus System

While listening to this episode of the Double Your Dental Production Podcast, Dr. John and Wendy will fill you in on: 
-Real world bonus systems for dental teams that WORK
-Ways to motivate and incentivize your team
-Ways to create a great environment for your employees while improving your patient experience
-How to INCREASE your production with your bonus systems
Be involved in our discussion and uncover principles for rewarding and incentivizing your team that will make the longest lasting impact with your dental team as well as getting the FREE “Bonus System Checklist” on us! 

Like what you hear? Download our book here on this page!

Episode 6 “Top 10 Elements of a Successful Bonus System” Transcript:


S1 00:02.247 Welcome to the Double Your 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, who know exactly what you’re going through. And now your leaders, the stars of the vodcast, Dr. John Meis and Wendy Briggs.

S2 00:25.414 Hello, everyone. And welcome to our episode number 3 of our Double Your Production Podcast. We are here today. I’m going to discuss the last step in our Double Your Production journey which is Duplication. Previously, we’ve talked about a couple different steps: building the foundation, your roadmap for your practice and where you want to go; as well as growth, learning how to really treat the patients that you have in your chair now; as well as retention, approaching those patients that you have in the chair now and keeping them there with systems for recall and recovery. Fourth, building that connection, training your team to best take care of your patients and give that personal touch in order to better retain those patients in your chair. So today we’re going to be talking about duplication. You as a provider are spending money and time on consulting, or trying to grow and educate your team just to have those team members leave for school or family, reasons and circumstances. So you can put all this time and all this training into your team only to have to start over at  the beginning. Step five. In this episode, we are going to be talking about duplication. How you really can create a way to start the ball rolling and keep that ball rolling. Wendy, do you want to go ahead and start us off on this episode, and we will get going with our step five duplication.

S3 01:45.477 Absolutely. So one of the things that we see is we often see dentists and hygienists who have built up their flagship practice. They’re in one location. They’re doing a lot of things really, really well. And they think, “Well, gosh, you know what? We’ve been so successful in this location, let’s acquire a second location.” And they may acquire a second location that’s already in existence, or they might start to do a de novo, or a startup from scratch. And all a sudden they find that having a second location is a lot more challenging than they thought. And things don’t go as planned. And there’s a couple of really compelling reasons for this. This is something that Dr. John has seen as well. Haven’t you, Dr. John?

S4 02:26.097 That’s for sure. So there’s an old saying that goes something like, “Gosh. It’s so expensive to train my team. They’re just going to leave anyway. The cost is so high.” So one of the things that is important when we’re going to be growing a practice and we’re going to be sustaining that growth and expanding that growth is being able to duplicate your successes. So to be able to do this, you have to have systems. You have to have the way in the way things are done. And so you need to have front office systems, you need back office systems, hygiene systems, treatment systems. You have to have a consistent way of doing things. And once you have those systems mapped out or have use of the maps that people like the Team Training Institute provide. Once you have those systems in place, now, you have a way to train the next person, whether that person is replacing somebody who left in your office, or if it’s moving your systems and your success to another location, an additional location. So it really works the same way, doesn’t it, Wendy?

S3 03:32.816 Absolutely does. It’s fascinating when we study really successful companies and other industries even, there’s something that we teach called the elite few. And for every 10 thousand organizations, 2 thousand will develop goals. Of those 2 thousand, 800 will act upon those goals. Out of those 800, I believe it’s about 80 of them will actually measure how well they’ve implemented these goals, but only 3 to 4 out of those 10 thousand organizations actually create systems for each goal-related task. So if you have systems for each goal-related task in your practice, you really are among the elite few. What we find is very often practices, they may have a goal, but they have not clarified what they want their teams to follow or support to help achieve those goals. So it’s a very rare thing to find a practice that has really solid systems, as you mentioned, Dr. John, in the back, in hygiene, in the front, even things like marketing systems. We may have marketing, but we might just be throwing out a mailer every once in a while or something like that. We really don’t have clearly defined systems for what’s going to happen once those mailers hit. There’s a lot of gaps that we find in practice systems.

S4 04:47.978 For sure. We talked last time about the most important marketing system there is, and that’s the retention of your current patients, and so systems are absolutely critical. And what we find is that when there is a system for doing things, it makes it so much easier to train teams. When trained teams function– when a team is trained, they function with a higher level of confidence. And one of the things that’s so interesting that there’s a lot of research on this, from a consumer or patient standpoint, when you’re dealing with someone with a service provider that has a lot of confidence, it implies in your head that they’re very, very competent. And same goes the other way. If you have someone that’s not very confident, it implies that they’re not very competent. So systems are a way of really changing the patient experience because of how your team views themselves, their capabilities, and their ability to serve the patient.

S3 05:47.441 Absolutely. It’s stunning to me. As a hygiene provider in my early years, and Katie can probably attest to this as a hygienist, but it’s amazing how often you’ll go to a dental practice, and you’re there to provide hygiene for their patients all day
– and this is a really critical position – and they’ll just say something like, “Here’s your room, here’s your instruments, and your first patient is in 10 minutes.” And that’s all you get. There’s no discussion of the roadmap or the vision or how they want our patients to be served. So this is a very common thing, and we see this with new hires at the front desk all the time too. We may be hiring them from another practice so we may feel like they have the fundamental skill sets, but one of the first things they do is they start answering the phone. And they have no clarity. Very rarely have we gone over a systematic process for how we want the phone to be answered. How we’d like patients converted into actual scheduled appointmets. There’s so many gaps and what’s incredible is when we fill those gaps – when we see practices developing systems – how quickly they can duplicate their efforts. And just like you said, Dr. John, this is how we can get new hires up to speed so much faster than without those same key systems.

S4 06:57.292 And it allows you to prevent one of the things that is very destructive to practices and that is when you have one person who knows how to do something. One is a really bad number because I have seen practices and their growth be held hostage by that one employee who, for instance, understands the practice management software very well or understands insurance very well or does the accounting in books. I’ve just seen it happen so many times that the building and training people quickly and easily is such an imprtant way to Tiger-proof your practice. In other words, not be dependent on just one person.

S2 07:37.764 Yeah. What’s that expression we often use, Dr. John, “Your best is your worst,” and we see this all the time. Because what happens is that best employee or superstar assistant who knows how to do everything can often become your worst team member not through any intention to become the worst team member, but just because the situation itself is fraught with danger. And it can become frustrating for the other assistants. They feel like they can never quite measure up or the other team members feel like they can never quite measure up. But that person also is given an unsafe amount of power over the health and nature of your practice because if they’re gone or if they choose to leave, sometimes we see these team members holding dentists hostage, one way or another. And it can be really dangerous to be in that situation. So the answer to that problem or that potential crisis is duplication and establishing systems. So Dr. John, let’s take a minute and define what we consider a system to be, in the dental practice.

S4 08:31.195 All right, very good. So I think systems need to be documented. And in other businesses, there’s a term called process mapping. So really, I’m talking about something really quite similar to that. So you know you have a system when you have a definition of what the system is supposed to do. So what is the main end result that you’re looking for from this system?  We call that the commander’s intent. The next thing that we need to have, you know you have a system when you have this. And that is a very clear flow chart, or process map, that defines the steps and the process. That flow chart often will have communication steps. And so if we have scripts for each communications step, now the person who’s learning the system understands the result, they understand the steps, they understand at least an initial way of how they can communicate it with the patient. If you have those three things, you have a system. Wendy, would there be anything you would add to that?

S3 09:39.916 No, I think that’s great. Commander’s intent, flow chart, sometimes that includes a checklist, but that’s just what you were saying as far as the process map. So one of the things that we often see is sometimes systems can be very simplified. It can be a system for a tray setup for example. So for a crown seat, what do we need to have on the tray? And that can include a checklist, a picture of the setup as the doctor desires it to be. That can be a very simple system. There can be other systems that are far more complex. I’m going to use the example of your new patient process. The new patient process can have a lot of different moving pieces. If the patient says yes here they might go to a separate flow chart. If they say no here, if they’re not interested in staying for dentistry, then the process changes completely. So sometimes systems are very, very simple, but sometimes they are incredibly complex. The easiest place for you to start with establishing systems in your practice is on the simple things [laughter]. The simple but really important things, and if you look at maybe a specific challenge that you’re having, if you are having to leave the room or have the assistant go and get things every time you’re doing a procedure, there’s a definite need for a system. So we often will encourage teams to start simple, but then begin working towards the more complex systems that are really critical in the practice. When we sat down, Dr. John, and listed all of the systems that we feel like a dental practice needs, we came up with 75 of them, 75 systems that we feel are the basic framework for a practice. That’s a lot of systems, and I would say that we have some clients that we work with, some dentists that have two chairs, and some that have more than 120 locations, as you’ve said. So systems vary greatly from practice to practice, from location to location. We have some doctors, for example, that do a lot of sleep apnea and sleep dentistry. We have others that do a lot of implants. And the systems for those two areas of focus may be different. And we have some practices that do some of everything. So the challenge is not to become overwhelmed, to begin with some of the smaller, easier systems to implement.

S4 11:46.648 For sure. Any time you take– if you cut things down into simple steps, and you do the simplest ones first, what happens to the team’s confidence? They have some quick, relatively easy wins. Their confidence level goes up and really, isn’t it true for all of us, we perform better when our confidence level is high than when our confidence level is low. And so it just is kind of a no-brainer, start with the simple things, and work your way to the more complex. And these systems are not static, they do change and evolve because your practice will change and evolve, and your patients will change and evolve. We talked a little bit on the last episode about how patients really are responding and reacting differently to appointments than they did in the past. It’s an example of how we’ve had to change how we do things in order to speak to the kind of societal change of people not honoring appointments in the same way they did in the past.

S3 12:47.156 Exactly, so when you have a systematic process that you’re following, that’s how we have consistency with patient experience. Not everybody is a huge fan of McDonald’s, but McDonald’s has consistency down. You go to a McDonald’s in Europe or McDonald’s in California and you’re going to get the same cheeseburger. And the reason that you do that, the reason that that happens is that they have a systematic process that everyone follows regardless of which location they’re in. As simple as it is to create a cheeseburger, certainly the procedures we do in dentistry are far more complex, but we can learn a lot from simple experience of building a cheeseburger the exact same way. We’ve got to come up  with our ideal process. And when we have those ideal processes in place, it’s amazing what happens to the peace of mind of the dentist as well. “Hey, we’re going to go for a practice that owns you to a practice that you own.” Systematic processes are a huge part of that because all of a sudden you can wake up in the morning and know that things are going to run smoothly today. That even if you have five emergency calls before lunch, you have a systematic process of handling that. And your team understands what your desires are and is following the systems designed to make things run smoothly, so it’s amazing what can happen when we have those systems in place.

S4 14:09.299 That’s absolutely true. When you have that, just that rock confidence that’s going to be moving forward over and over again, you don’t have those times where you’re super frustrated. You feel like you can’t move your practice with it, you can’t get people to do things that needed to be done. Those are kind of gone. They’re already taken over by these systems that when they’re well-thought out, well-documented, and well-trained, they just happen. And they happen because it leads to the best result.

S2 14:40.099 Absolutely. And I love to see that. If you are overwhelmed by how much work there is to be done, for you to be able to get to that place where the practice doesn’t own you and you own the practice. One of the things that I love about what we provide is we have created a lot of really great tools. We’re creating systems that we supply on our membership website. So systems like three-three-three for new hires. That can be really stressful when you have a new team member. What would it take to get that person up to speed? What do they need to know and have accomplished by the first three days? By the first three weeks? By the first three months? We’ve broken that down. That’s just one example of systems we have. A two-two-two follow-up system. If we have a patient that leaves without scheduling their recommended treatment, we’re going to follow up with that patient after two days, after two weeks, after two months. So we have systems like these that we have taught, practices that we’ve worked with for years, and our tools to help you how to create systems are available for you on the membership website. So if that’s something you’re interested in, if that’s something you feel overwhelmed and need some help, make sure that you visit theteamtraininginstitute.com and get some of that information on creating systems. So Dr. John, this has been a great episode as well. This is kind of our– the third of our flagship episodes. We’ve outlined the five steps to double your production. So let’s recap the entire journey for our listeners today. Let’s start with number one, which was building the foundation. You want to give them a tidbit on how important that is?

S4 16:14.834 Sure. I think having a foundation gives everybody a basics that they need to make decisions on how they’re going to go about their daily duties. The two things that I think are so important in the foundation is number one, having a very clear why, making sure everybody understands why the practice exists and have that why talk to what’s best for patients, what’s best for team members, and what’s for the practice itself. The other [peak?] thing is having a roadmap with goals, have a very clear outcome that you want over a period of time. Creating that roadmap is so important because, again, it gives the team members more confidence and more direction and more clarity, and it just allows them to move forward in a more effective way. So the step two was growth. Wendy, do you want to talk about some of the things we talked about for growth?

S3 17:11.263 Yeah. Growth, again more often than not, you really have two choices. When it comes down to it, you have two choices. When you are looking to grow your practice, you can add more patient encounters or you can do more production per encounter, and both work to grow your practice, but we have found that by focusing on increasing production per encounter, it’s far better because what it means is a higher level of service to the patient. So when we’re looking at growth, we’re really focusing on maximizing hygiene potential and treating the patients that we have in the chair. Another big part of growth that we really didn’t get into today– we’ll have a future episode on that in [same day?] dentistry. There’s a few words that can really drive tremendous growth in your practice, and that is, if possible, would you like to get started today? That can have such a profound impact on growth.  So those are my two little nuggets. After that [patient?] retention. And we talked a lot about patient retention and how critical that is?

S4 18:07.123 It is. It’s absolutely critical. And some of the key things that we had there were to have very, very clear systems for recall and recovery, so that we retain our patients. The other thing that we talked about is this really is a team sport and every member has the team carrying the load of retaining patients. And one of the things that is key to retention is really making sure that communication within the office from team member to team member is very critical. And another piece that really adds to retention is step number four, which is building a connection.

S3 18:42.944 Yeah. Training our team to provide world class patient experiences and taking advantage of each one of those 65 test points along the way to build that connection. Make sure we’re listening to these patients and helping them get what they want and helping them feel like someone is listening, and that we really do care for them because that’s how they feel. If we work very hard at building that connection, they will accept the care we present, and we will be helping move that patient [inaudible] and bring them closer to healthy, stable, and attractive which is where they all– hopefully we want to end up. So after that, we talked a lot today about duplication. How important systems are in maximising your success, and in making sure that you can go [from?] practice that owns you to a practice that you own.

S4 19:26.995 It’s such an important step.

S3 19:28.722 Katie, would you like us to share real quick, a quick real-world case study of a practice that has applied all five of these principles?

S2 19:36.587 I think we’d love that, and I think our listeners would. Go right ahead, Wendy.

S3 19:39.686 Okay. Great. There’s quite a few I could think of. But I think we should tell the story of Dr. Layton, Dr. John.

S4 19:47.058 Okay.

S3 19:47.191 Because Dr. Layton and I had the chance– he actually brought his entire team to a workshop we did not too long ago. And so I was able to just get a fairly recent update on where he is. So when he first started with us, he had real vision of where he wanted to go, but his plan was not very clear. And so when he first started with us, he had one location, and they had done roughly $700,000 in revenue the year that he began working with us. And we started right away with helping him–

S4 20:18.990 And that was with two dentists.

S3 20:20.313 That was with two dentists, yes. So the first step that we had with him was helping him create his roadmap and get clarity on where he was going. He did a vision day with Dr. John. He had our hygiene coaches come in. All of that happened within the first year that we began working with him. And as a result, it fueled his growth. He hired us in August of– I believe it was 2011. And by January of 2012, that year they had done 1.2 million. So a tremendous amount of growth in just that short five months that we started working with him. So we moved fairly quickly from foundation to growth. And after that, all of the focus that we had was on retention and building connections. He did a clinical explosion workshop with you, Dr. John. We really focused in on the systems that were retaining patients and improving patient exerience, so not only did he receive the training, but he implemented it at a very high level. And what has happened since then is just amazing. His flagship practice will do over $2-million this year. It started from $700,000. He has since acquired three additional locations and is working on duplicating these core principles in those locations. One of the practices he just acquired in May of last year, so just nine months ago, and he has already tripled that practice’s previous revenue numbers. So it’s just been a real treat to see him apply these five steps and not only double his production in his flagship location, but really have similar success because of the systems he is implementing in these other practices he is acquiring.

S4 22:08.964 Yeah. He has almost tripled in his flagship practice, and if he had just done that, wouldn’t most practices be just delighted that they just did that. But he’s gone beyond that to do so much more. He is an amazing case study.

S3 22:22.726 Yeah, he is. He is a great doctor. And I know we’ll be having him on as a guest on a future podcast as well so he can share his side of the story. But again, I just wanted you to know, all of our listeners to know, that when we say, “Double your production,” it’s not just a catchy title. We work with practices all over the country who, by following these five steps, actually do it. They actually double their production. Not just the hygienist either. The entire practice has incredible potential when you apply these five steps.

S2 22:52.164 Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Dr. John Meis and Wendy Briggs, for creating this stress-free pathway to practice success. We’ll be going into more detail about these principles throughout this season, so go ahead and download this episode and others. You can find them at www.theteamtraininginstitute.com/podcast. There you can review the show notes, download any resources that we’ve talked about, and then go ahead and click subscribe and get even more practice ideas, if you really can believe that, from these wonderful practitioners. And like Wendy said, we’ll have guests and other case studies available for you to continue learning, growing your practice and going from the practice that owns you to the practice that you own. So thanks again for tuning in, and we look forward to a season full of great knowledge. Thanks again.

S4 23:40.545 Thank you.

S3 23:40.891 Thanks for joining us.


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