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  Sally McKenzie's
 Weekly Management e-Motivator
  9.26.03 Issue #83

The What Matters Marketing Barrier

Sally Mckenzie, CMC
McKenzie Management

   How’s your practice marketing these days? Let me guess, you’re feeling pretty confident. I can see it now, the chest is puffed out, the shoulders are back, and your swaggering response to my question is, “I don’t need to market my practice. I have too many patients as it is.” Congratulations, indeed, many doctors are finding that demand for their services is fast outpacing available hours in the day. With fewer people going into dentistry and an increasing number of dentists reaching retirement age, the problem probably isn’t

attracting the patients. But before you get too comfortable consider this little detail: 80% of dental practices are losing more patients than they are bringing in new. Why? When the phone is ringing, practices often become so caught up in being busy they lose sight of what matters and what matters to the patients is what matters to the practice.

Today’s marketing challenge isn’t attracting warm bodies, it’s attracting quality patients interested in investing in quality dentistry and keeping those patients returning to the practice. The patients you want and the patients you need have high expectations and even higher demands. But what can you do to pick the plum patients? A lot. In fact, dental teams have control over 90% of the reasons why patients leave. That’s a pretty astonishing statistic, here’s the breakdown.

In 9% of the cases, patients begin doing business with another dentist because their practice looks more attractive, 14% leave because they are dissatisfied with a product or service, and nearly 70% walk out of a practice because they are upset with the way they were treated by the staff. Many dentists and their teams forget that they are “marketing” the practice – for better or worse – in every patient interaction. From the patient’s first call, to the appointment confirmation, to the doctor’s follow-up courtesy call to the patient – provided you actually do that – patients are sizing up your practice based on how their wants, needs, and concerns are handled by you and your team. Pay attention to what matters to your patients and you pay attention to what matters to your practice.

Next week, the top 10 “Marketing Matters.”

If you have any questions or comments, please email Sally McKenzie at

Interested in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club?
Click here

Building On The Theory

How An Ailing Business Foundation Can Cause
“Digital Chaos”

Mark Dilatush
VP Professional Relations
McKenzie Management

Technology Tool Box

Clinical Computing - Part 4

Last week, I discussed your first “live” day with computers in your treatment rooms [see article]. See, I told you the team would survive! By now you most likely have found things you like and dislike about your charting/imaging program. In my experience, the initial “dislikes”

center around the exam sequence being different than the one you are used to on paper.

Things you probably like already ....

  1. The system automatically posts to the ledger when you chart completed treatment.
  2. The system automatically builds a treatment plan when you chart work that needs to be done.
  3. The system builds your clinical notes for you so your notes are faster, more complete, and unbelievably legible!
  4. You don’t have as many charts on your desk.

Things you might not like yet ....

  1. You might not like the way the software “flows” from screen to screen.
  2. You might think you have to adapt your exam/treatment sequence to the software rather than the other way around.
  3. Some of the procedures (the one’s you only do every once in a while) don’t have complete clinical notes yet.
  4. There are too many buttons on the chart screen! What do they all mean?
  5. I can’t show a fissure pit graphically on a tooth.
  6. The chart is too small to read so far away.

Mark’s suggestions for the things you might not like yet

  1. Your software was either designed with a forced flow or has a “setup” area (configurable) where you tell the software which screens to bring up first, second, third, and so on. Both forced and configurable software exam sequences can be successful in your office. Find out if your charting system has a “setup” area. Find out how much of that “setup” is controlled by you vs. the software design itself. Chances are you have many more options available to you than you realize.
  2. If there are 115,000 dental offices, there are 115,000 different exam sequences. No two dentists do exactly the same thing in exactly the same order, exactly the same way. Therefore, this might be the perfect time to take another look at who does what (hygienist, assistant, dentist) within the examination/treatment/data entry flow. You’ve had some time to practice. Now refine your clinical data entry by assigning the appropriate exam/treatment sequence to the right people on your clinical team.
  3. Remember how important I said the initial setup was? You’ll find out real quick when you don’t have default clinical notes for some procedures. This is to be expected. In time, they’ll all get in there. Keep plugging away.
  4. The buttons on your charting screen are most likely customizable by you. So, if you don’t know what they are – well, it’s your fault. Remove the ones you know you will never use and add the buttons you will use all the time. You may be able to order, resize, reshape, or add pictures to the buttons. You might even be able to add a “hover window”. The “hover window” is a little note to yourself that pops up when the mouse pointer “hovers” over the button(s). The little window that pops up tells you what procedure (or procedures) the button is used for.
  5. Get over it! Charting systems are not CAD programs! You can’t just draw pictures on teeth and expect them to mean anything to anyone but you. If you really, really need to note something that your software is not capable of graphically drawing – add a tooth note or clinical note.
  6. Chances are your software has an option for viewing segments of the chart in a “quadrant view”. This will greatly enhance the readability of the data for both clinical team and patient.

Patient WOW, you can create with the proper use of your charting/imaging system, I will cover over the next few weeks.

If you have any questions or comments, please email Mark Dilatush at

Interested in having Mark speak to your dental society or study club?
Click here

See Mark's Technology Workshop titled Using Your Practice Management Software to Drive Revenues on Dec. 10th in La Jolla. For more information email or call 1-877-900-5775

Getting The Cold Shoulder


Giving Dentists And Their Staff Different Perspectives On Day To Day Issues

    The question from the dentist below was a post on the Dental Town Web-site. I was planning to discuss the topic of leadership and this question is an excellent one for the

opportunity. The way that the dentist phrases the question covers many of the inaccuracies about leadership and demonstrates the universal shortcomings that are the rule more than the exception regarding the typical dental professional.

“One of the tough things about having a dental practice is leadership. It is one thing to constantly try to improve our patient interaction skills and clinical skills but leadership is a tough nut; at least for me. It is not the forward thinking for a vision or the planning to make it work. It is the day-to-day leadership skills that are a killer. Keeping a team motivated. Working out conflicts. Keeping a pulse on the office to catch problems before they become conflicts. Chocolate will only go so far.
Then there is delegating. Some people are a natural at leadership but not me. It is work. I have an easygoing style. I expect to lead by example. Tell someone once and expect things to be done. Give someone the idea and let him or her run with it. I expect self-motivated staff. Am I delusional?
It takes work to get staff to this level. Do not get me wrong. I have a great staff. I just know I can take the practice to a higher level, if I can get them to the next level. Any ideas ?

The Coach Replies:

The standard and common definition of leadership involves having a vision and communicating that vision successfully to others. One can easily presume from this definition that, if you can communicate clearly, then others will follow you. If this logic appears reasonable to you, then you have no concept of human behavior other than believing that the workers should follow you, because you are right about everything.

Let us begin by being reasonable. Some human beings have the charisma to entice others to follow them. Some leaders have enough charisma to get others to follow them if there is a tangible payoff (typical business executive), and there are leaders with charisma who get people to follow them when the payoff is intangible (typical politician).

There are two elements defining charisma. The first element is a universal appeal. Charisma is simply something that is universally appealing about this person to other human beings. There are many adjectives that can be used to define charisma. For our purposes here, it is something instinctive and natural. It is almost a secret shared between brains and beyond our consciousness. The second component are the followers who decide to follow. Here, there must be some incentive which must be part of the equation. Sometimes it is the incentive to do the right thing and that is sufficient, and other times the incentive is “I get something for me” from following this person.

What is clear is that there are very few people with natural charisma and therefore it is foolish to assume that you, by virtue of your decision to act like a leader, are in fact a leader. The logical next question would be, could good leadership be learned? It is my opinion that leadership can be learned but it will never feel natural to those who have learned it from someone else. Regardless, life is more enjoyable for the professional who can lead than for the person who lives the life of a bewildered King Lear.

Point No. 1: Leadership is a challenge for everyone that is placed in the position of running a business. All the medical and dental practices that I work with are businesses bringing a skill, talent, or product to market; however, there is no requirement for leadership abilities and therefore it should not be assumed to come as an entitlement with the position of owner.

Leadership is a personal attribute. A leader must be personally responsible for the welfare and livelihood of the people who do his or her bidding. In other words, a leader must love their followers. It is this concept of love and recognition of the capacity for love that is at the heart of good leadership. The concept of love is the element which is avoided in all the business books and seminars. Leaders must have the capacity to feel love for the efforts of other human beings. Do you have the capacity to love is a better starting point when deciding whether or not you have leadership skills.

Point No. 2: Having a vision and a plan is essential, but it is still secondary. Vision and a plan provide the followers with something to understand, grasp, and adopt as their own. However, let us be reasonable; if the leader’s plan is to become rich and the follower gets their industry standard wage, then where is the incentive to follow regardless of the great vision and plan. It is naive to believe that a plan and a vision accomplished anything other than structuring the owner’s perspective of the future. The vision and the plan must have something in it that directly benefits the followers. This sentence is not implying that paying monetary bonuses is the solution to being a good leader.

Next week, I will continue with What Makes a Good Leader.

Want your issues answered? Ask the

Don’t miss The Coach’s workshops on Oct. 8th, Office Politics …The Enemy Within, on November 8th, Taking Your Practice Back – Leaderhip Development for Dentistry. For more information email or call 1-877-900-5775

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Are You Keeping Your Patients?

Improve Your Patient Retention
Telephone Effectiveness
by Sally McKenzie, CMC

You simply can't afford not to make EFFECTIVE follow up calls to your hygiene patients

Learn how to:
 - Get hygiene patients to schedule.
 - Turn around those patients who cancel.
 - Overcome patient objections with field-tested techniques.
 - Develop an effective presentation script.
 - Strengthen overall communication skills.

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Sally's Mail Bag

Hi Sally,
I try to have a morning huddle about 5 minutes before the start of the day. But they seem to be unproductive. Do you have any tips on what should be covered and how to make them more productive?
Dr. Glassnow

Dear Dr. Glassnow,
Items to be discussed should include:
Dr. Production for day vs. goal
Yesterday's production vs. goal
Hygiene Production for the day vs. goal
Yesterday's production vs. goal
Today's New Patients
Best Time To Schedule New Patients
Patient's with Financial Concerns
Past due family members of Today's patients (as seen from the computer routing form)
Have copy of and discuss next two day's work schedules (very important to troubleshoot problem areas ahead of time)
Hygiene to identify who needs bite wings, FMX, perio charting

In order to be more productive, have a definitive agenda every day with the items above. We find this works well for our clients.

Hope this helps.

Are you wondering if your hygiene department is producing what it could be?

Dr. Allan Monack's hygienist produces $1231 a day seeing
1 patient an hour with a
prophy fee of $70.

What's your hygienist producing?

Dr. Monack is the Hygiene Clinical Consultant for McKenzie Management. He can help you produce the same results.
To find out more about the Hygiene Clinical Enrichment Program [go here], contact us at or call: 877-777-6151

  Office Managers
  Financial Coordinators
  Scheduling Coordinators
  Treatment Coordinators
  Hygiene Coordinators
For a FREE Educational Video
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This issue is sponsored
in part by:
The Center for Dental Career Development
San Diego Workshop Series
Fall/Winter Schedule
 Date Seminar Instructor(s)  
 Oct. 3
 9:00 - 4:30
How to Become an EXCEPTIONAL Front Office Dental Employee Sally McKenzie, CMC.
Belle DuCharme, RDA CDPMA
 Oct. 8
 9:00 - 4:30
Office Politics ... The Enemy Within    
 Oct. 31
 9:00 - 4:30
How to Recover the Lost $$$$ in Your Practice Sally McKenzie, CMC.
Belle DuCharme, RDA CDPMA
 Nov. 7
 9:00 - 4:30
How to Become an EXCEPTIONAL Front Office Dental Employee Sally McKenzie, CMC.
Belle DuCharme, RDA CDPMA
 Nov. 8
 9:00 - 4:30
Taking Your Practice Back - Leadership Development for Dentistry    
 Nov. 14
 9:00 - 4:30
Unleashing Your Team's Potential & Optimizing Clinical Efficiency Risa Simon, CMC.  
 Nov. 19
 9:30 - 4:30
How to Recover the Lost $$$$ in Your Practice Sally McKenzie, CMC.
Belle DuCharme, RDA CDPMA
 Dec. 5
 9:00 - 4:30
How to Become an EXCEPTIONAL Front Office Dental Employee Sally McKenzie, CMC.
Belle DuCharme, RDA CDPMA
 Dec. 6
 9:00 - 4:30
Office Politics ... The Enemy Within    
 Dec. 10
 9 - 12pm
Boosting Your Hygiene Department Allan Monack, DDS FAGD
Hygiene Clinical Director
McKenzie Management
 Dec. 10
 1 - 4
Using Your Practice Management Software to Drive Revenues Mark Dilatush
VP Professional Relations
McKenzie Management
 Dec. 17
 9:00 - 4:30
How to Recover the Lost $$$$ in Your Practice Sally McKenzie, CMC.
Belle DuCharme, RDA CDPMA
To Register 877-900-5775 or

For more information, email
or call 1-877-777-6151

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