Five Resources You Must Own
Howard Farran, DDS
|When it comes to running a dental practice, I’ve never had all the answers. No
one does! They don’t teach you how to run your own business in dental school, and
if your school ever offered business classes, chances are you ditched them so you
could refine your clinical skills. For the first few years that I practiced, I ran my
business on instinct. Being a highly motivated dentist, I went back to school to get
my MBA in hopes that I could learn everything I possibly could about running a
successful business. Even then I still felt like there was more I could do. So I
attended dozens of CE courses and read hundreds of books on dentistry and management – some of them were helpful, and others, well... not so much.
The following five books and DVDs are, in my opinion, the best of the best
take-home resources practicing dentists can get their hands on – and a couple of
them have only been available for a few months! These items will help make you a
better manager and a better practitioner, and in my opinion, they should be in
every dental practice. Here they are in no particular order:
||Everything is Marketing
The first book on my list – Everything is Marketing: The Ultimate
Strategy for Dental Practice Growth by Fred Joyal – is hot off the presses. Fred is the co-founder
of 1-800-DENTIST, and he’s amalgamated all his years of experience in advertising
and marketing with all the data and impressions he’s accumulated in his business
and has presented them in this amazingly straightforward book. His premise
is that, because of the unique nature of a dental office, every aspect of your practice
has some marketing element to it.
He also believes – and I totally agree with this – that most dental advertising
fails not because of the ad itself, but because of what happens after; how your
front desk answers the phone, what your office looks like, how you and your
hygienist present care options, along with dozens of other subtle elements that
affect case acceptance.
He presents some excellent tips on how to create patient loyalty – some of
them are so simple and easy that it would be ridiculous not to adopt them immediately.
Loyalty is the name of the game in dentistry, because the real money is
made with patients not in the first visit but over the 10 to 20 years that they are
with you – as long as you treat them right.
I was also struck by another point Fred makes, which is that many dentists do
not even believe that dentistry is a great investment. Heck, in this economy it
might be the only long-term investment worth making! But you and your team
have to believe it before your patients are going to believe it.
Fred also goes into detail on how to evaluate your own advertising, and get the
most out of outside resources. He emphasizes the importance of repetition, that
most people don’t get your message until the third or fourth time they see or hear
it – and that includes your own patients. People don’t pay attention until they are
interested, and you have to be right there in their faces when that time comes. We’d
like to believe the patient remembers everything we offer them because we told
them once, or had a brochure in the reception area about it, but it’s just not true.
If you are looking for a way to maximize your advertising results and get your
whole team working together with the right marketing mindset, you need to read Fred’s book. I personally can’t imagine any practice not gaining significant insight
from it. You can find it on Amazon.com or at www.goaskfred.com.
||The Complete Website Owner’s Manual for Dentists
How is your Web site doing? Do you even have one? Every dentist should! In
these difficult economic times, it’s never been more important to generate new
patient flow in a cost-effective way. Nobody uses the Yellow Pages anymore – everyone
looks for everything on Google!
I recently finished reading The Complete Website Owner’s Manual for Dentists, by
Dr. Mike Barr. Mike’s been on the Dentaltown message boards for 10 years and he’s
posted on countless threads about Web site marketing. With his book, he has put it
all together in one place.
I knew that having a Web site was an important part of marketing my practice,
but I had no idea what was going on behind the scenes of Web site marketing. I didn’t
know what separated the successful Web sites from the failures. I thought if it just
looked good, it would work! It turns out there is much more to it than that.
One of the most interesting parts of the book is the section about Search Engine
Optimization (SEO). Of course, it’s important to get visitors to your Web site. But
you can increase visitors and your Web site’s appearance in search engine results
many fold by optimizing each page of your Web site as if each page was an individual
Web site. Each Web page must be optimized uniquely!
Searchers are often looking for something very specific, such as “porcelain
veneers Phoenix” or “dental implants Chicago.” If each page of your Web site is not
individually optimized, chances are it will not show up at all for such a specific
search. By optimizing your Web page about “porcelain veneers,” for instance, the
results in Google will take visitors straight to that page. Mike explains this and many
more important concepts on increasing your Web site’s visibility and effectiveness.
Many professionally developed Web sites either have just the home page optimized,
or the other pages are optimized identically to the home page (if at all). Mike
explains why this is a big problem, how to recognize it and how to solve it. And the
best part is you don’t have to know how to write HTML code!
You can find more information about the Complete Website Owner’s Manual for
Dentists at www.revupmymarketing.com.
||Nuts & Bolts of NTI Therapy
I remember back at the very first Townie Meeting sitting in the front
row and listening to Michael “Miguel” Melkers, DDS,
FAGD, share how he treated full mouth rehabilitations. After attending
hundreds of hours of CE and spending tens of thousands of dollars
on tuition, here was Miguel’s little three-hour explanation
of a system that finally made sense for my real-world approach.
A couple of years ago, I had exactly the same experience with Miguel’s Nuts &
Bolts of NTI Therapy DVD. Forget the tuition and the travel. I popped the DVD
into my laptop and didn’t even have to leave the office. If you are doing NTIs or any
orthotics in your office, you are nuts if you have not gotten your hands on his DVD.
I just had a chance to review Miguel’s latest and greatest DVD: The Nuts & Bolts
of Occlusion; The Fundamentals of Recording and Mounting and I can tell you he has
not missed a beat. I knew Mike has taken a lot of occlusion CE but I had no idea
how much. In the Nuts & Bolts Occlusion program, Miguel takes the very best from
each of the most popular programs that he has attended, includes his own twists, and
shows you what works on actual live patients! Impressions, facebows, bite registrations, articulators, pouring models, mounting models... it is all in there. Whether
you are doing rehabs or have a bread-and-butter practice, I cannot imagine a better
take-it-to-your-office-and-put-it-to-use-occlusion-resource for you and your team.
It took me awhile to make it through the four hour set – there was so much information
packed into it. But that is the great thing about the DVD: you watch it, you
put it to use and you move onto the next gem when you are ready. Check out Dr.
Melkers’ DVD and his other programs at www.michaelmelkers.com, or e-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
||The Gifted Boss
Are you constantly babysitting your employees, problem solving for them, or
making sure they are being productive and on task? If so, you might not be a “gifted
boss” and you might not be employing a gifted staff.
The Gifted Boss by Dale Dauten is a must read for everyone in the professional
world. This isn’t just a book for you or your office manager – every single member
of your staff should read it. Dauten shares his enlightened insight into the work
environment and how you can build one that invites gifted and amazing employees
to join your company.
It starts with you – the boss – making your workplace magnetic and extraordinary;
somewhere that people who don’t consider themselves “just employees” want to be.
Dauten’s book forces you to look at your practice, your position as an owner and manager
and your employees in a whole new way. It implores you to attract staff members
who desire change and growth and who desire freedom to make decisions (and be
accountable for the outcome) as well as credited for the success. These are freedoms that
you must give, which means letting go of “supervising” every move, being involved in
every decision and understanding that the employee who puts the most hours in is
probably not the employee who is performing at his/her highest potential or producing
the most work, but instead might be the employee who is the best at following the
traditional “rule” of working the hours the boss expects him/her to work. If you attract
and retain the best staff with the best attitudes your entire life and practice will change
in ways you never thought possible. These are just a few of the freedoms Dauten showcases
that can transform your workplace from ordinary to extraordinary.
Additional suggested reading
for the dentist and/or practice manager:
to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras
- Winning by Jack Welch
- NUTS! by Kevin Freiberg and Jackie Freiberg
- The Google Story by David A. Vise and
- The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwel
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
I read The
Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt back in early 2000 as it was a recommended
read in MBA School. It completely changed the way I thought about the
processes in my practice. This book is directly responsible for the walkie-talkies that
I talk so much about in my lectures. When we started to look at our processes to see
if we had “bottlenecks” in our practice, like what Goldratt experienced in his factories,
we came to realize there were several constraints and inefficiencies that needed
to be fixed.
This book is an easy read because it’s written in novel-like narrative, so you
quickly become drawn into it. Once you translate the theories into your dental practice
it forces you to think in a whole new way. This is definitely a must read if you
have a medium to large practice and more than four operatories. It will get you on
the road to more productivity from you and your staff and it might even help you
see more patients on a daily basis.
At Today’s Dental we have a mandatory full staff meeting bi-monthly and at least
three times per year we choose a book that we feel the entire staff should read and my
office manager hands them out at a staff meeting. We spend a few minutes discussing why we chose this book and we decide on a deadline for everyone to finish the book
as it is mandatory for all to participate. At the next staff meeting after the deadline we
discuss the book in detail. We require each staff member to bring their favorite idea
or message from the book to share with everyone at the meeting. This is an awesome
team-building activity that forces everyone to think about their attitude and contributions
to the office. I highly recommend implementing this in your practice.
Certainly there are a lot of other resources out there for business owners that I
like, but my editor, Ben Lund, won’t give me space for “100 Resources You Must
Own”. In case you’re a voracious information seeker (you must be, after all you’re
reading Dentaltown Magazine), check out the two lists below of additional recommended
resources for you and your staff.
Happy summer reading, friends!
Suggested reading for the entire staff:
is Marketing by Fred Joyal
• FISH! by Stephen Lundin, PhD; et. al.
• The Gifted Boss by Dale Dauten
• How Full is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath and
Donald O. Clifton, PhD
• Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer
Howard Farran, DDS, MBA, MAGD, is an international speaker who has written dozens of published articles. To schedule Howard to speak to your next national, state or local dental meeting, e-mail email@example.com.
Dr. Farran’s next speaking engagement is September 18, 2009, at the AGD Fort Worth in Fort Worth, Texas. For more information, please call Colleen at 480-718-9914.
|September 18 • Fort Worth, TX
AGD Fort Worth
|September 22 • Iselin, NJ
Asteto Dental Lab
|September 23 • New York, NY
Dental Resource Alliance
|September 25 • Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Nova Southeastern University
|October 3 & 4 • Honolulu, HI
ADA Annual Session
|October 22 • Ann Arbor, MI
University of Michigan
|October 24 • Naples, FL
The Dentist’s Wife
|October 31 • Fort Wayne, IN
Mid-west Oral Surgery