Controlled Responses

Episode 076

This week we discuss our responses negative actions by others…patients, team members, friends. I use a recent Facebook ad as an example. Take a listen and see if you can relate to the conversation on episode 76 of Business of Dentistry.

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Today we are talking about something new we are trying in our office: social media marketing. Traditionally, an oral surgery practice is built on referrals. We work to build relationships and partnerships with other dental offices who then refer patients to us, and we refer patients to them as well. The majority of our practice is still run from this model, and we are grateful for the trust and confidence our referrals have in us and our services.

In terms of other marketing, in the past we’ve done a few different things. I’ve tried radio spots, educational TV spots, and I have been a guest on local radio station programs. But we’ve never done any internet marketing or social media marketing, until now.

I took a look at Dr. Anissa Holmes’ Facebook advertising program, I’m a member of her WOW community so I put together a Facebook ad based on her training. Of course I have a marketing director who can do this, but I wanted to play with Facebook ads because I like the technology and I like building and creating lead capture advertising.

So I built a few Facebook ads and did some testing with one versus another to see if we could get a response and get traction. My ad was aimed at people within a 25 mile radius of my office and it was for people wisdom teeth problems. The ad said: “33% of people are born without wisdom teeth. If you aren’t lucky enough to be one of them and you need your wisdom teeth out go here to learn more.”

When they clicked on the ad it would send them to a page I specifically created to address the most common questions I hear about wisdom teeth. I thought by sending people to this page they could get their questions answered, and contact us if they had more questions or wanted a consult (there are some call to actions, CTAs, on the page where they can connect with us directly).

I created the ads, played with them a bit and then submitted them. Not long after, people I had worked with in the past – people who had had their wisdom teeth out in my office – were liking and sharing these ads. It was nice, and I appreciated their support.

Then a guy posted a negative comment on one of my ads – something I never considered before I submitted the ad and I’m telling you about it here so you can be aware if you do social media ads.

I wondered if I should reply to his comment, I wanted to give a smart ass answer but I tried to be professional and act appropriately.  The bottom line is I can’t control what other people think or say, none of us can. But we can control the way we react or respond to others.

So I replied as professionally as I could by saying: “You make an excellent point (insert his name) – if 100% of people were born without wisdom teeth then I’d definitely have to rethink my choice of profession.” I thought of saying a few other things, but I didn’t!

My point is you’re going to have people who respond to your ad, and you have to be quick and pivot with your answer because social media is what it is. Whatever social media you are using expect to have some blowback, some critics and some people who complain. It’s okay. I get frustrated and I have my own bubble thoughts (like in cartoons), but I filter them and don’t say them or post them online.

Think about it this way: we’re not the most loved profession in the world, folks. People hesitate to come to us, then we do things to them that they don’t like and we charge them money for it. So if we can be successful in our career, something many people hate and talk about negatively, then we should pat ourselves on the back! People are going to be critical, so be ready to respond and be ready for criticism.

Another thing I’d suggest is writing the response you really want to write – be as nasty and as ugly and critical as you want to be – and then delete it. Then take a deep breath, calm yourself and write back in a controlled, professional manner.

I hope that helps! Let me know if you’ve had a similar experience or how you have responded to online critics and criticism, after you listen to episode 76 of Business of Dentistry.

Tweetable: “There will always be the critics and the complainers.”

Episode Resources

Dr. Anissa Holmes’ WOW community for dentists
Dr. Anissa Holmes’ Facebook training program

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Procrastinate On Purpose

Episode 075

In episode 075 we discuss a decision funnel to determine how we should spend our time performing tasks in the practice. Our discussion is based on the book Procrastinate on Purpose by Rory Vaden. Check it out to see if procrastination may be right for you on this edition of Business of Dentistry!

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While this isn’t our usual type of show, I thought it was a good topic to share because so many of us procrastinate or have dealt with some type of procrastination in our lives (both business and personal). I’ve always been a proponent of procrastination so when I saw the title of Rory’s book I was intrigued. The more I listened to the audio version, the more relevance I could see in applying his principles to our businesses.

The easiest way to break this down for you is to explain the funnel imagery Rory uses in Procrastinate on Purpose: first the tasks that need to be done come into the top of the funnel, this is also where the time you need to spend on those same tasks will come in, too.

Next these tasks and time for these tasks go through a series of filters. The first filter through that funnel is whether or not you can completely eliminate that task. In other words, do you actually need to do the task?  If you took a task like surfing the web, Facebook, or other forms of social media then the answer would be no.

It’s something to think about as you go through your day: ask yourself if the task you’re working on is really necessary. Will it change anything today, or tomorrow if you don’t do it? Will it help you save time or be significant down the road? Social media is a great example of something that can be completely eliminated from your funnel.

The second level of the filter is for things you cannot eliminate. Ask yourself if you can automate it – can you put it on autopilot and set it up so you don’t have to manually do it every single time? An example of this is our office cell phone bill. I used to have to manually pay it, and it was frustrating and time-consuming to remember when to pay the bill and then to actually pay it.

So I decided to set up an automatic payment of the bill on the corporate credit card. Now it gets paid every month automatically, and I get a notification of when it is done. It’s completely hands off for me, unless I need to update the credit card information for some reason.

Now if you find you can’t eliminate or automate a task, then the next step in Rory’s funnel is delegation. This is something we have talked about on the show a lot. Some of us are good at delegation and some of us are not. But ultimately delegation will make you a strong leader and a better business person.

To find out if a task can be delegated, ask yourself if you are the only person in your practice who can do this particular task. If not, who else can do it?

For me, I am the only one in my practice who can do surgeries so I cannot delegate that task. But when it comes to things like payroll, bookkeeping or accounting, can I do those? I have in the past, and I can struggle through it. I’m not efficient or effective at it, but I can get it done when necessary. Today I delegate it to the professionals in an accounting firm.

In this book, Rory promotes delegation as another hallmark of a great leader because you are helping the person you delegate to by training them, pushing them outside of their comfort zone and helping them grow. Delegating to others improves you as a leader and improves the person you delegate to.

The final step in this funnel is tasks that only you can do. When you reach this point, you have to ask yourself if the task must be done right away, or if it can wait. In other words, is it something you can procrastinate on? Timing is key to this.

In my practice an example of this would be surgeries. If there was someone waiting in our office for their scheduled surgery, can it wait? Since I’m the only one who can perform this task, do I need to do it now or can it wait? Obviously I would perform the surgery right then at the scheduled time.

What about if you are a solo practice owner and you are thinking of expanding and bringing on another associate? The actual task of making this decision is something you would need to do. You cannot eliminate it, automate it nor delegate it – making this important decision is a task only you can do.

But do you have to do it when you have two patients waiting in your lobby? No, it can and should wait. It’s important to delay the task til you can schedule time to focus solely on that decision.

Those are some ideas Rory covers in Procrastinate on Purpose, and I like the way he brings them together in an easy-to-understand manner. I also like this book because I think it’s a good way to look at your upcoming day and prioritize items on your schedule.

On this episode, I also talk about when Rory encourages us to procrastinate, and when to take action, and why we all have to work every day to achieve our goals. I’d encourage you to read or listen to this book and Rory’s first book, after you listen to episode 75 of Business of Dentistry.

Tweetable: “Every day the rent is due.”

Episode Resources

Procrastinate on Purpose, by Rory Vaden
Take The Stairs, by Rory Vaden
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Team Transitions

Episode 074

Welcome to the Business of Dentistry podcast! Check out this week’s episode as we discuss our options on reacting to team transitions and how I’ve navigated these changes recently in my practice. Listen in to hear that and more on the 74th edition of Business of Dentistry.

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Recently there have been several transitions in my practice and they’ve impacted some business decisions I’ve made. A few of our front office team members have left on their own accord because they found other opportunities.

One of the people who left had been working in an administrative role and found clinical work elsewhere, so she gave her notice and moved on. The other person was a mother with young children in school and sometimes our work schedule conflicted with caring for her kids. To solve that she found an administrative role within the school district.

We also have a team member who went on medical leave, but we don’t know how long that leave will be so we had to figure out everything they do and build a system for it. We had to transition some of these tasks to other people without overloading anyone, all the while still getting the work done.

Even though we’ve had a pretty big shake up on the administrative side lately, we are weathering the storm well.

One of the team members who left, Catherine, did so right about the time I was set to leave for my Navy reserve duty. Of course it wasn’t great timing but we made the necessary adjustments. My office manager Paul and Becca, my front office team leader, asked me what to do. I told them to start the search for finding a replacement while I was gone.

During my 2 weeks service Paul messaged me to say he and Becca thought they found someone. They both interviewed her and thought she would make a great addition to the office. He then asked if I wanted to talk with her when I returned or if they should go ahead and hire her.

Initially I was reluctant to hire this person without meeting her first. But I took a step back, took a few deep breaths and realized I have known Paul and Becca for years. I trust their judgment so this was my chance to show them. I took a big leap of faith and told them to hire this person if they really believed she was a good fit.

My initial hesitation was not because I don’t think they can hire good people on their own, it was about my ego getting in the way. When I realized that I knew I could delegate this to them and they would hire the right person.

When I returned from my two weeks in the reserves, I was walking down the hallway to our team meeting when I met Whitney. This is the first time I had a new person in the office whom I had not personally interviewed and hired. It was refreshing! I will say that it’s early in the game, but I think she has great potential.

And I’m bringing this up because this is the first time I’ve ever delegated the hiring process to my staff. You may already be doing this, but in my 16 years of practicing I’ve never done it before.

This is also timely for me because I was on social media recently and read a Facebook post from a man who had fired his entire staff, in one fell swoop. At first I thought he was kidding, but as I read more I realized he was serious!

I don’t know the entire story but it was interesting to me that someone would do something this extreme. And I’d love to have this person on the show and interview them, if you know this individual or are this person then email me. I’d love to know what prompted this person to wipe the slate clean and shut down their business while they retooled their entire staff.

On this episode, I also share how I had a similar experience in my practice, plus some office hiccups we’ve experienced with various technology. And I wrap up with a few takeaways I want to share including why a good leader often requires you to delegate, and why change is inevitable but how we react to it is so critical.

And before I go, I have to give a quick shout out to Ms. Betty Williams, who has jumped on the dental podcast listening bandwagon. Her husband is Dr. Chad Williams, and I appreciate her feedback and sharing better business practices with me. If you have any questions or anything I can help you with please email me, after you listen to episode 74 of Business of Dentistry.

Tweetable: “Transition in your team is always going to happen. ”

Episode Resources

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A Patient’s Viewpoint With Mr. Nathan Harris

Episode 073

The Business of Dentistry is back this week with a special interview. In this episode I interview a former patient, Mr. Nathan Harris. In our discussion he gives us an unbiased opinion on what potential patients are looking for in a new dentist. Episode 73 of Business of Dentistry is definitely worth a listen.

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You may have noticed I’ve been away for awhile, I’ve had a few weeks with the military and the office has been busy because it’s summer. Now I’m back and bringing on a friend and former patient of mine to talk about dentistry from the patient’s perspective.

Nathan Harris and I met in a leadership group about 10 years ago and we’ve been friends ever since. Because he’s moving to a new area I asked him to share how he’s gone about finding a new dentist.

When looking for a new dentist, Nathan said he would go to Google and search for a phrase like “best dentist in X: (X being his new town or county). He would do a lot of research first, and including things like insurance, but also he’d research finding a place that he feels comfortable. He doesn’t like the going to the dentist but he knows it is necessary, so finding a place he feels good about it is important to him.

To get a feel for the new dentist he’d look at their online reviews, their social media and anything else he can find via Google. From there he would potentially schedule a visit or just drop by their office to see what it looks like.

He’d do so because he wants to know if it’s in a good part of town, if it is a nice-looking professional building and office space. Once he’d narrow it down to a few potential dentists he would ask around about those specific practices. He would ask for other people’s experiences and input on those potential dentists he had found.

Nathan explains word of mouth plays a bigger role than social media, so if a friend or someone else he knows, likes and trusts tells him not to go to one dentist, he’s going to listen to that over online reviews.
The opposite is true, too: a positive referral will reinforce any positive research he has found online.

As far as scheduling and the actual office visit, he wants to call to make an appointment. The first thing he’d want to hear is a smile on the other end. He believes if someone is enjoying their job and has a pleasant attitude about their work it comes across when they answer the phone. Also he wants someone who identifies the office by name, and someone who can answer basic questions or will put him in touch with someone who knows the answers.

In terms of the physical office, he is looking for a space that conveys what the office is about: cleanliness of course, but also the waiting room experience. Do they offer things like wi-fi or music or other distractions if he has to wait? He also looks for a place that doesn’t smell like a doctor’s office!

Initially, he said a tour would be nice and he would like to see the equipment and highlights of the technology available. During his first meeting with the potential new dentist he wants to spend a few minutes talking with that dentist. He also wants to hear credentials, how long they’ve been in business, and what they specialize in.

We wrap up our discussion by talking about the big three: time, money and fear, and why I try to find out what each of my patients are most concerned about from those three. Nathan shares which of those three is his biggest concern, but also why all three are critical for him.

This is a great topic from a unique perspective we don’t often get to hear from directly so let me know what you think after you listen to episode 73 of Business of Dentistry.

Tweetable: “You can hear someone smiling through the phone.”

Episode Resources

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