Find “Acres of Diamonds” In Your Practice
“Every kind of work has enormous opportunity lurking within it. The opportunities are there now, clamoring to be noticed. But they cannot speak or print signs for us to read. Our part of the bargain is to look at our work with “intelligent objectivity”. If we have the wisdom and patience to intelligently, effectively explore the work in which we’re now engaged, to explore ourselves, we would most likely find the riches we seek.”
In the Advanced Business Course, offered at McKenzie Management, we pay close attention to Recall or Continuing Care reports to gauge the health and growth of the practice. We look at the trends for new patients entering the practice and calculate the retention rate of patients who stay with the practice.
Working with a client, I will call Dr. Goodsell (not his/her name); part of our discovery caused her dismay. It was determined that she averaged about six new patients a month and had only four days of hygiene a week, yet had been in practice at that location for ten years. She showed a zero expense for advertising and stated that all of her patients came to her by word of mouth. She had been comparing notes with other dentists in the area and found them all to be busier and growing. She wondered if she should sell and buy somewhere else where opportunity may be better.
We printed an unscheduled treatment report for the last twelve months and found well over three hundred thousand dollars on the report. Patients had not scheduled for various reasons, but they had not been followed up on either. “Do you ask your good patients for referrals?” I asked. “No”, she replied. Sometimes patients think you are not taking new patients if they have been given the impression that you are “too busy”. If you are too busy to thank your patients for referrals they may get the feeling that they are not appreciated. Everyone wants to be appreciated. If patients are reluctant to schedule, it may be because your focus is not on the patient, but on what your neighbor is doing.
There is so much effort concentrated on bringing new patients into the practice that we often ignore the patients who are already there sitting in our reception room.
The hygiene department was not growing and the hygienist, who was very feeling in her temperament type, didn’t want to “pressure” patients into a more aggressive approach to their periodontal concerns. She was also concerned that insurance would pay for only two cleanings per year, so she had given up trying to promote interceptive periodontal therapy. We cannot lose sight of the fact that we are health care providers and have a responsibility to deliver the information, regardless of the reception.
In Earl Nightingale’s Acres of Diamonds, he tells the story of an African farmer who heard tales about the millions that could be made in mining for diamonds. The farmer could hardly wait to sell his farm and go mining for diamonds. He quickly sold his farm and spent the rest of his days in futile search for the valuable gems only to throw himself into the river and drown in a fit of despondency. Meanwhile, the man who bought his farm discovered a large uncut diamond in a stream on the property which turned out to be one of the largest diamonds ever found in the area and further prospecting revealed many more uncut diamonds in the stream. The moral is clear. If the farmer who owned the property free and clear had studied and learned about uncut diamonds and what they looked like and where one may find them, he would have found his wildest dreams right under his nose.
If the other guy’s pasture seems to be greener than yours perhaps it is getting better care. At McKenzie Management, we can help you find your Acres of Diamonds in your practice. Knowing how to measure the success of a practice and bring out the best is our specialty. Advanced Business Training can give you the tools to find the diamonds in your practice. We teach you how to establish systems for success and how to monitor those systems to promote success. Call us today and get prospecting.
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