How to Reduce Stress and Meet Your Practice Goals
As much as you love what you do, it can be pretty stressful at times. You’re the CEO of a small business, after all, and that makes you responsible for more than diagnosing and treating patients. As the practice leader, you’re the one team members turn to for guidance. All the business aspects that come with practice ownership fall to you, and it’s fair to say it can all get pretty overwhelming.
If stress has become a large part of your day, there’s a good chance it’s holding your practice back. I want to help you find ways to reduce your stress so you can finally meet your full potential. Here are my tips:
1. Embrace your role as practice CEO. This is difficult for most dentists. Many of my clients would much rather just focus on the dentistry and let the practice run itself, but unfortunately, that isn’t how it works. Take the time to learn how to successfully operate a business, whether that means doing some research on your own, attending CE courses or bringing in an experienced dental consultant for guidance.
Speaking of guidance, it’s also important for you to offer direction and continual feedback to your team members. As nice as it would be, they simply aren’t mind readers. Your team members should be well trained, productive, and happy to come to work each day. Providing them with proper training and direction in the form of detailed job descriptions will help improve their performance while also reducing everyone’s stress levels.
2. Don’t get too involved in the details. Now let’s go to the other extreme. While many dentists don’t want anything to do with the business side of the practice and avoid it as much as they can, there are actually some who get too involved. They feel like they need to be in control of everything, and have difficulty trusting others. The result? They never let their team members take full control of their practice systems, and that leads to stress and frustration for everyone involved.
If this describes you, here is my advice: Make an effort to give up some control and trust your team members to perform the jobs you hired them to do. I know this might be difficult at first, but just think about how much more productive both you and your practice will be. You’ll have fewer tasks on your to-do list, enabling you to focus more on patient care. Your days will be less stressful and your team members will be more satisfied in their jobs – and that will lead to improved performance and enhanced practice efficiencies.
I also suggest you ask team members to give you updates on their systems. That way, you still know what’s going on without being involved in every minute detail.
3. Hire strong team members who excel in their roles. When you have an open position to fill, it’s easy to hire the first person with an impressive resume. The problem? That person probably isn’t the right fit for the role, leading to stress and maybe even staff conflict.
I suggest you establish a hiring process in your practice to help ensure you bring on the best team members possible. This includes creating job descriptions for each role, knowing what red flags to look for in resumes, conducting phone interviews, asking the right questions during face-to-face interviews, and having candidates complete personality and background tests before you extend a job offer.
Going through the proper steps will help ensure you hire the right people from the beginning, which means less turnover, less conflict and less stress.
4. Think of your team members as trusted advisors. Remember, your team members are there to help you improve struggling practice systems, which will ultimately reduce stress levels and grow your bottom line. I suggest you create specific systems of checks and balances, then delegate responsibilities to well-trained employees who are confident in their skills. Encourage employees to take ownership of their systems and start thinking like CEOs. When you do, your practice will thrive.
While practicing dentistry can be stressful, it also can be pretty rewarding. If you reduce the stress you experience each day, you’ll find it’s easier to meet your practice goals and finally achieve success. Need more guidance? Don’t hesitate to reach out.
Next week: 5 Tips to Help You Reduce Stress and Grow Your Practice
For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side
Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
How to Sell the Value of Dentistry
Treatment Acceptance Training Case #TA251
Treatment Coordinator “Janie Fe” (names have been changed) enrolled in the Treatment Acceptance Training Course through McKenzie Management to learn some new strategies for selling patients on treatment to enhance their appearance and create a better wellbeing. Her challenge was that patients became impatient to get to the cost of treatment and weren’t interested in what she had to say.
When asked when she first meets the patients, Janie replied that she did not meet them until the treatment plan was printed and given to her to present. Prior to that, the patient was just a name on the schedule. This is typical for many practices, but not the best approach to build trust and show patients you are interested in them beyond the “money” aspect.
Take the opportunity to meet patients when they arrive. It can be in the reception room where you can introduce yourself, in the treatment room where records are being taken, or it can be in the hygiene room before the teeth cleaning.
With a friendly exchange and interest shown to the patient, it is easier to engage them later into listening to you about treatment options. Introduce yourself as the Treatment Coordinator who is at their service to answer any questions and see that they are comfortable during the visit. If the practice uses a New Patient Call Slip that lists the patient’s “chief concern” or what brought them to your practice, this will give you a “heads up” as to what the patient values and is there to hear about.
Selling on value, not price, involves a fine balance of confidence, personal rapport, and doing your research. It has become more difficult as technology gives consumers greater access to price information and insights into what other dentists can offer. Don’t be derailed by what the dentist down the street is doing – focus on what you and your practice bring to the patient.
Here are five steps that will help patients see the value in your products and services so price is no longer the big issue.
1. Understand your target patient market
Understanding the demographics and psychographics of the neighborhood within an average 11-mile radius will help you to know the buying habits of potential patients. If the dentist or staff live ten miles or more from the practice it is wise to learn about the neighborhood. If you are trying to sell cosmetic services and replacement of missing teeth with implants to a predominately low income, low value of dentistry neighborhood, it could be a real challenge. You must meet the needs of the demographic.
2. Get to know your patients
3. Have conversations that focus on the patient in front of you
4. Don’t throw around discounts like you are desperate
Too often discounts have been the first resort, particularly for patients who say, “Your treatment is very expensive.” Giving a discount without communicating the value and long-term benefits will result in loss of credibility. Unfortunately, discounts eat directly into profits – especially if the practice fees are low anyway. Patients will learn to always expect a discount, despite what you tell them is a “one-time promotion.” Value selling eliminates these problems.
5. Advertise Your Strengths and Experience
What is your Treatment Acceptance challenge? Call McKenzie Management today to enroll in a training course to improve your communication with patients.
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