What’s the biggest problem or obstacle that the average dentist faces when looking to become more successful? Insurance companies? Competition? Corporate dentistry? The economy?
Actually…none of the above.
And I’m not saying this from some detached, academic point of view. This is real.
My position at MGE has afforded me a unique, real-world perspective on the dental industry. I started with MGE in 2009 not long out of college (The University of South Florida…go Bulls!). I immediately went into the New Client Services Division, (which I now manage). During these past seven years, I’ve supervised the delivery of close to 500 MGE introductory seminars across the United States and Canada. These seminars are for non-MGE clients and address any number of subjects (you can find out more here).
In the course of my travels, I’ve met and spoken with tens of thousands of dentists, with practices in just about any condition you could think of: incredibly successful, average, “plateaued” (i.e. growth had stopped) and of course practices that were actively shrinking.
Many of these dentists were at a “crossroads” type of a moment – either take the first step to making real changes in their practice or maintain the status quo.
With a lot of these folks eventually becoming clients, I’ve had a “front row seat” to their progress and growth. It’s also happened where I’ve seen doctors attending more than one of our seminars in their area. It’s given me a real “before and after” look so to speak. It’s also given me profound insight into what makes the average dentist successful or unsuccessful; along with what it actually takes to make tangible changes in office production and profitability.
Which leads me to the answer to the question I posed earlier:
What’s the biggest barrier to a successful practice: The doctor themselves!
More specifically, the doctor’s viewpoint or mindset about their practice, staff, patients, and what they can or cannot control.
You could say this is more of a “human” thing than just a “dentist” thing. We all tend to build the walls to our own cage.
When I’m speaking to a lot of these doctors the first time, what do I see and hear? Many are convinced that the issues plaguing their practice are due to outside forces, i.e. the economy, patients not having enough money to afford treatment, or “low dental IQ,”…the list goes on.
And here’s where this becomes a problem: because they believe it, it becomes, to one degree or another, reality.
Example: Let’s say you’re presenting a large case. Prior to presenting, you’ve made up your mind, for whatever reason, that the patient can’t afford the treatment plan. Well, what happens? At the first objection or question the patient raises you cave and settle for a compromised treatment plan. You already knew they weren’t going to do it. This simply plays out and validates the viewpoint you began with!
I’ve spoken with many doctors who, prior to one of our seminars, didn’t even present an entire treatment plan in the first place because they’ve already got it worked out in their heads that the patient won’t be able to afford it and/or will be scared away if they were told everything they needed!
Following up, I’ve seen these same doctors (after doing a seminar), go back to their office and confidently begin presenting patients with their complete treatment plan – and lo and behold, the patient accepts, pays for and does the treatment!
What changed? Not the economy and not the patient’s “Dental IQ.”
The doctor changed.
With all of this in mind, no matter what condition your practice is in, the first that thing needs to change for any growth to occur is you.
Don’t assume beforehand that a patient won’t accept treatment.
Don’t assume that your staff aren’t going to comply or implement that new system you introduced.
Don’t settle for a bunch of cancellations and no-shows because “that’s just the way things are.”
At MGE, we have solutions for case acceptance, scheduling, staff management, organization, etc. They work. They’ve worked for thousands of dentists. But I tell you what, nothing will work for you until you decide that things can and will go better and start doing something about it.
So my advice it: be the change you wish to see in your practice. Don’t expect things to go poorly, because then guess what – they will.
Assume that things will go well.
Assume that your patients are smart and will make the right decision once they really understand their treatment plan and have had it explained properly.
Assume that your staff wants what’s best for your practice and will work hard and comply if properly motivated.
Assume that the schedule will go off without a hitch, because you and the staff have planned well and will follow through with it.
And then do what it takes to make it happen.
And of course, if you need help, you can always come talk to me at one of our free seminars around the US and Canada. See the upcoming seminar calendar here.