All posts by dasomsen

Dental Practice Management: Hiring Your Support Staff

One of the most exciting, and intimidating, aspects of opening your own dental practice is hiring your support staff. You will spend more time with your staff than you do with just about anyone else in your life, so taking the time to find the best fit for all parties involved is worth the effort.
In addition to hygienists and dental assistants, you’ll also need at least one Dental Concierge (receptionist) who make also be responsible for Accounts Payables/Accounts Receivables, supply orders and other duties. It may seem overwhelming when resumes and applications start rolling in, so here are a few tips to get you started with the process.

Five Things to Keep in Mind When Hiring Your Support Staff

  1. Have clearly written job expectations. While responsibilities might shift as your practice grows, do your best to have as clear of expectations as possible when hiring your support staff. You want them to begin their new job with a firm idea of what their position entails. Having everyone on the same page from the get-go will make for an easier transition.
  2. Think about the office dynamics. An office dynamic is always improved when the people working there get along, or at least have complementary personalities. With each new person you hire, ask yourself: can I see this person contributing positively to the office dynamic? Make sure you conduct thorough interviews to get a feel for how your new employees will function within your new dental practice.
  3. Weigh experience with cost. While you want to hire the best candidates for your position, keep in mind the financial responsibility of taking on an employee. You might find that a younger, less seasoned individual may have lower salary expectations, but their experience may not be what YOUR practice needs. Do your best to strike a balance to find the right fit for your office and budget.
  4. Conduct phone interviews. Your front-of-office Dental Concierge (receptionist) will be the first contact for all of your patients, whether calling on the phone or coming through the front door. In addition to meeting these candidates in person, conduct a phone interview to hear what your patients’ will hear. Ensuring that your future Dental Concierge (receptionist) has a dynamic phone personality is important for your patients’ overall experience and WILL directly the conversion of callers to patients.  In addition to being a pleasant conversationalist, you also want to make sure he or she uses proper grammar and has great manners to best represent your practice.
  5. Be patient. Start the hiring process with enough time prior to your Grand Opening that you won’t feel rushed to make a quick decision. Finding the right support staff can take time and—while you don’t want to be too picky—you also don’t want to feel forced into choosing the wrong person due to a time crunch. Opening your own dental practice is stressful in and of itself, but the hiring process can also take a toll. Be patient and keep an open mind when it comes to finding your support staff.

Bonus Tip.  Not everyone you employ will be as enthusiastic as you about your new practice – but keep a keen eye out for those whom share your passion.  You may not be filling a “career” position, but you don’t want a team member who only looks at employment with your practice as a “job”.
Those of you who have hired support staff before: we’d love to see your best tips in the comments section below! Or, if you’ve just recently decided to open your own dental practice, download our free eBook “The Profitability of Dentistry” for more great tips.

#jointherevo, #practicemanagement, #dentalpracticestaff

Assuming the Sale: Increasing Patients in Your Dental Practice

Dentists should take a lesson from restaurants.  When a person enters a restaurant it can be assumed they are hungry and want to be fed.  They selected a specific restaurant due to menu options, entertainment, atmosphere and location.  Many of these factors are related to marketing and advertising, but once a patron is in the door – they want to be fed.
The waiter or waitress can take one of two approaches in how they serve the guest – take an order, or assume the sale.
Take an order:

“What can I get you?  A plain burger?  Can I bring you a glass of water?”

Assume the sale:

“Hi, I’m Angie!  Welcome to Sam & Ella’s.  Have you been in before?  Well, you’re in for a great meal.  My favorite is our Double Bacon Cheese Burger.  It’s a 6oz of ground sirloin and the kitchen cooks it to perfection.  I recommend a side of our Sweet Potato Fries.  They’re a little more, but go great with the burger.  Great!  We prepare them fresh, so it’ll take about ten minutes.  If you’re hungry, I recommend starting with our Jalapeño Cheddar Potato Poppers as an appetizer.  I can have them right out.  Can I start you out with a tall draft?  Excellent!  Give me just a minute and I’ll be right back.”

Angie could have simply brought the customer a burger and a glass of water, but instead, she recognized it was her sale to lose.  By making recommendations she doubled the sale and made the guest feel welcome.

What Does a Restaurant Have to Do With My Practice?

When a prospective patient calls your practice your staff needs to assume the sale.  People do not “browse” dental practices like a gift shop, they call because they need service.  Your staff needs to understand the caller WILL select a practice to perform a procedure.  Their job is to insure the caller selects YOUR practice.
Too often, dental practice team members get locked into their “title”.  “I’m just the receptionist.”  Or, “I’m just the hygienist.”  Neither comment is true.  As we discussed in our previous article, all members of the team need to “Pitch the Practice”.  The first person who “meets” the prospective patient will determine if they purchase from you – your receptionist, or “Practice Concierge”.

Why Practice Concierge?

Your receptionist is who the prospective patient perceives gets things done.  They provide answers regarding pricing, insurance and availability.  They are the person who can “get them in” when the patient is in pain.  So you need to empower them to actually make things happen instead of saying, “Let me check.”  Every second a prospect is on hold is an opportunity for them to hang-up and call another practice.
The telephone (and walk-in) greeting will set the tone for the remainder of the conversation.  Instead of, “Doctor’s Office”, the greeting should be:

“Hello.  Thank you for calling Dr. Smith’s office.  This is Angie.  How can I help you?”

This short greeting welcomes the prospect, thanks them for selecting your practice, identifies with whom they are speaking, and asks how your staff can be of assistance.  Patients will appreciate the greeting, and prospects will be made to feel they selected the right dental practice.
A prospect will ask one of three questions:  “Is the doctor taking new patients?”  “Do you have any appointments available right away?”  And, “How much does [procedure] cost?”  How much is important,

“Wisdom teeth cost $XXX per tooth.  I have a consultation appointment available with the doctor tomorrow at 10:30 in the morning.  He’ll take x-rays and perform an exam.  Can I schedule you for tomorrow?”

Instead of simply answering the question and allowing the prospect to call back, Angie understood if they are calling for a specific procedure they want it resolved.  She assumed the sale and booked the appointment.  Once a prospect is in the exam chair, they just became YOUR patient.  You now have the opportunity to cement the relationship.
An empowered “Practice Concierge” can assume the sale.  They have the flexibility to answer questions and work a prospect into the schedule.  They can “make it happen” for the prospect.  This lets the caller know the entire team wants to help them feel better.  
It tell them you are a doctor who cares.

For more information on how you can own YOUR own dental practice, visit

Pitching the Practice

In 1997, Orange Glo International introduced a sodium percarbonate cleaning product to the public. Initial sales were made through independent distributors on the “County Fair and Home Show” circuit. Sales were modest, yet not over-whelming. Company executives felt they had a product that was a winner, but needed to find a broader audience to truly launch sales. Orange Glo found their success in 2000 with a former boardwalk pitchman – Billy Mays. From sales of just over $22 million in 2000, Billy drove annual sales to $300 million in just six years. This drew the attention of Church & Dwight, who purchased Orange Glo International for $325 million in cash.

The product: OxiClean.

How Did He Do It?

Billy Mays took a powered form of hydrogen peroxide combined with soda ash and turned it into the #2 brand in the laundry additives market. What originated as a home stain-fighter became the must-have in the laundry room of most homes. But how?

Billy Mays was the loud, likeable, gregarious next door neighbor who tells you about a great new place for pizza, the best auto mechanic, or his favorite team – and you believed him. He was the consummate pitchman.

What Does This Have to do With My Practice?

Every phone call, every walk-in, and every passerby is an opportunity for you and your staff to pitch your practice. It’s not enough to deliver the facts, you have to deliver the enthusiasm.

I heard a call answered just a few days ago like this:

“Thank you for calling [Dr. Smith’s] office.”

That was it. No name, no “how can I help you?”, no enthusiasm. It reminded me of the receptionist in Ghostbusters.

“Ghostbusters! Wadda want?!”

The receptionist gave the caller no reason to stay on the line, let alone call back. Every penny of marketing and advertising was wasted by a team member who didn’t make the caller want to schedule an appointment.

It Begins With a Smile

It is well-documented we can hear a smile over the telephone. This warmth draws callers in and diffuses distraught patients. Someone just price-shopping will remember the friendly manner in which they were treated. This will give your practice an edge over one with similar prices – but whose call was answered by someone entirely disinterested.

The smile leads into “the pitch”. Not only does the person answering the telephone need to answer the callers question, they need to “sell” the doctor/practice with their tone and response.

“I’ve got to tell you, not only are [Dr. Jones] prices for implants really good, but he is just a great doctor! Every year he attends classes on the most recent techniques to make sure every tooth is perfect. I don’t let my family go to anyone else.”

Even as the caller recognizes the pitch, they hear the enthusiasm. They want to believe you are the right choice for their procedure.

When everything else is equal, your staff’s enthusiasm is the difference between a call and an appointment.

For more information about your successful practice, visit

New Dental Practice: The Question of Location

One of your main items in the “pro” column for opening your own dental practice might be the flexibility to live where you want. Rather than moving yourself to fit into an existing practice, you can make the decision as to where you’d like to live and work. Now, that’s not to say you should just plop down a dental practice at the first location you stumble across—on the contrary, the question of where to build your new dental practice is one that requires careful consideration. Maybe you’d like to open a practice in the town where you grew up. Maybe you’re looking to move somewhere new and exciting. With either option, you need to carefully consider the choices available to you and how they might affect the success of your new business.
First Thing First: Who Are You Marketing To?

Identifying the who of your dental practice is the first step is figuring out the where.  For instance, if you plan to market to families with a specialty in pediatric dentistry, you probably don’t want to open your practice in the middle of a city—in the suburbs and near neighborhoods might be more your style. On the other hand, if you’re looking to build a client base of business professionals, a city office would make perfect sense. Ask yourself these three questions to establish just who your dental practice is marketed toward:
ü  What style of practice am I interested in owning?
ü  What subset of people is most likely to choose this type of practice?
ü  Where does my practice need to be to reach that certain subset of people?
Once you answer those three questions, you’ll have a better idea of how to answer the broader aspect to the question of location. Now that you have a general idea of where you’d like to open your dental practice (for example, city versus suburb), it’s time to narrow down a specific location.
Three Aspects to Consider When Choosing a Specific Location

While there are certainly more than three aspects to consider when deciding what type of space you should lease for your dental practice, we’ve compiled a short list of qualities that will be important to your patients—and are often easy to overlook.
Can you see the building and/or sign from the road? Visibility is huge when you’re starting out as a new practice. You need prospective patients to notice your information as they pass by, particularly if your building is “on their way” to somewhere they go every day, such as work or to pick their child up from school. Proximity is a large consideration for patients when choosing a dental practice, so make sure they know you’re there.
Does the building have easy access? Your patients are likely to be busy people and the last thing they’ll want to do after a dental visit is sit and wait at a busy intersection to turn out of your office. Ease of entrance and exit are both aspects of your patients having an overall good experience. To really ensure that traffic won’t be an issue, try turning in and out of your building during several different times of day when traffic could potentially be heavy.
Is there ample parking? No one wants to drive circles around your building looking for a parking spot when they’re trying to make their appointment time. Make sure you have enough parking for the daily patient influx you’re planning to accommodate.
Now that you have carefully considered the location of your building, we’ll be back later this week with dental office design tips for your practice.
For more on choosing a location and The Profitability of Dentistry, download our free eBook!

#jointherevo #dentalpractice #practiceownership

The 5 Key Components of a Strong Dental Marketing Plan

Since all dental practices are different, all dental practice marketing plans are also different. The specific details of your marketing plan will depend on the specific goals you hope to achieve with your marketing.
However, while we can’t give you a “one-size-fits-all” solution, we can help you build the basic framework to a strong marketing plan. Even though all marketing plans have distinctive features, they also all tend to share several of the same features as well. To get you started on creating a plan that will help increase your patient count and profitability, we’ve identified five key components you should include.

5 Dental Marketing Plan Components  

1.        Goals. We touched on goals briefly in our last post about where to start, but they’re also important to include in your marketing plan. Without including your goals, you’ll have a tough time figuring out the steps you need to take for your marketing to work to your advantage.
2.        Venues. There are lots of different ways you can choose to market your dental practice. Between old standards like television, radio, and newspaper, you can now also consider online content and social media. Determine early on which venues you think would have the most success with reaching your target audience. While you can certainly always switch it up down the line if something isn’t working, it’s best to have a plan of attack from the start.
3.        Leaders. Knowing who is going to be responsible for creating and maintaining your marketing campaigns helps avoid confusion down the line. Perhaps you’ve hired a specific person to be in charge of your marketing. Perhaps you’re planning on taking it on entirely on your own. Maybe you’re even considering outsourcing your marketing. Regardless, your dental marketing plan should identify a breakdown for the division of labor so there’s no question who is in charge.
4.        Timing. Depending on your budget and the venues you choose, your dental marketing plan can also establish the timing of your marketing. Let’s say you choose online marketing and want to post one blog post per week. Establishing that goal from the beginning can help keep your marketing team accountable. Or, maybe you want to run a television commercial for a certain period of time each season. Once you get the timing down, you can be prepared for the work that comes along with creating your marketing campaigns.
5.        Metrics. Marketing your dental practice isn’t worth doing if it isn’t succeeding in bringing patients through your door and increasing your profitability margins. You’ve already established your goals, so next you need to determine metrics for tracking them. How will you know if your marketing campaigns are working? Since marketing can be expensive—particularly those older methods of television and radio—you want to make sure you’re getting the best return on your investment. Having a clear idea of where your money is going and how well it’s working can help you know if you need to adjust your plan.
Your dental marketing plan will almost certainly have more than five components, but these key features can get your strategy started off in the right direction. There’s a lot to consider when creating the marketing for a new business, but having a strong foundation to your plan can go a long way toward creating your own success.  

Is marketing not your thing? Want to focus more on dentistry? Half Dental Franchise has you covered. Click here to request more information and you’ll never have to worry about marketing again.  

#jointherevo #dentalpractice #practiceownership