Welcome to the Dentist's Office

Welcome to the Dental Office blog. On this site we will share information on how we conquer the real-world challenges that we each face in our pursuit of running high-quality, successful, profitable and harmonious dental offices.

The Dental Blog invites you to share your knowledge, successes, failures and crazy stories with fellow dental professionals. Sharing our combined knowledge, we can each create our own unique dream practices.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Is Your Office Google Friendly?

Where do you look for items you want to purchase or services you need? Well, the answer for most people is that they look on the internet!

We are an internet crazy, iPad loving nation and that trend will not be reversing.

Knowing the internet is the place you need to be seen, the question you need to ask is, “how easy is it for LOCAL area people to find me on the internet”?

When someone types ‘dental office my city name’ into their Google or Bing search engine – do you pop up near the top? Is your dental office on the first page for your city search? If not – YOU LOSE!

Although the internet is worldwide, you are really only working on marketing to the area local to your office. You need to focus your marketing of your website to target the people who are looking for your services.

It is NOT expensive to tune your website to draw viewers from local area, both in organic (free) traffic and in paid traffic (Google AdWords & Bing/Microsoft Search). Paid traffic is very inexpensive because you will be targeting a very small demographic area.

In future posts – we will talk about how to accomplish these vital marketing steps. You MUST be near the top in web search for your area – any less is a huge financial loss for your office.

Dr. Corey Gold
President – Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Looking for New Patients - Door-to-Door

When I first started my own private practice, I was short on two important things: cash & patients. I knew I had to do networking to help develop relationships in the community but that was going to be a long-term project. In the short-term I needed to do some form of advertising to get patients in the door.

Short on money, I used the one resource I had plenty of – time. I decided to print a free check-up and X-ray coupon and walk door to door in the area near my office. My marketing plan was not to just leave the flyer on the door but rather to knock on the door and personally deliver each flyer to the occupant.

Every day after work I would walk for about an hour and knock on doors. I would tell the people that I was a new dentist in the community and if they did not currently have a dentist that I would be happy to give them a free exam and X-rays for their entire family.

I figured I could knock on lots of doors each day but I found that I wound up talking to a lot of the people and only got a couple of dozen out each day. I had moms & dads ask me all kinds of questions and about dentistry for their kids. I had seniors ask about dentures and implants. I got all kind of questions. I started to hand out tooth brushes (with my name and office number on them) at the houses I visited.

The door-to-door marketing was working great and I was getting a lot of new patients. I even had a few dentists call me and ask me to stop soliciting their patients. I politely told them what I was saying as I went to each door and that I was truly not trying to take patients away from other dentists rather reach the 50% of people who did not have dentists. I also pointed out that other dentist flyers and other advertising went to my patient’s homes and that they did not seem to be bothered by that. I was marketing my practice – they were free to walk the streets too.

Although no other marketing project ever brought me more solid, long-standing patients than my walking campaign, I only did it that one year. Although many years have passed since my street-walking marketing campaign – the marketing would still work today. People WANT TO KNOW their dentist and people love to ask questions. If you are short on patients you might want to consider going door-to-door looking for them.

Dr. Corey Gold
President – Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Take CPR and Emergency Response Courses as a Team

One of the best ways to build a friendly, professional and competent team is to build trust within the group. Trust and respect within the group is a key element of building a dental team that will work well together over a long stretch of time.

A key to building team spirit and a tight bond is doing things outside the office a group. Learning proper CPR technique and how to handle medical emergencies as a team is an important safety component for your practice as well as a requirement for licensure in most states. Use this opportunity to grow your team unity.

CPR and hands-on medical emergency response courses give an opportunity for each team member to learn the same materials and to each assume an important role within the team unit in the case of a crisis.

I believe that these type courses should be attended as a team in a classroom setting (not via correspondence course) and the team should practice as a unit. It is fun to go through the materials together, to laugh at each other and to master the material together. Taking the material separately or online does not provide for this important interaction.

On a safety note, it is important that one team member be responsible for checking the emergency response equipment on a regular schedule and report back to the team the condition of the materials and remind everyone where the equipment is stored. All materials should be up-to-date.

One last thought – Some offices pay for their team’s continuing education and others do not, regardless of your office policy on paying for dental continuing education, I would suggest that the office pay for the CPR and emergency response course fees.
Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems
The largest provider of Live, Dental Continuing Education Webcasts in the world

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Does My Practice Need a Website?

Probably the most common question I get asked by dentist is “do I need a website for my dental practice”? In 2012, the answer is an emphatic “YES”!

Today, people go to the internet for almost everything. Whether we are surfing the net on our computer, iPad or phone – we are all internet crazy. If you are still paying for a Yellow Pages ad and you don’t have a practice website then you have it backwards. People look for a local dentist much more often online than in the local phone books.

In future posts I will discuss what features that you should have on your website and what features actually are liabilities for your website. For now, the important concept is that you must have a website.

Another quick tip – unless you are a legitimate website designer, DO NOT try to build your own practice website.  Nothing will send a prospective patient running to another dental office faster than a practice website that looks amateurish. The prospective patient will think if your website looks crummy then your technical skills might be as well. Your website does not need to look all tricked out it only has to look professional and clean.

In future posts, I will also discuss the benefits of hiring a local website designer to build your site versus hiring a company that specializes in creating dental office websites. Both options have advantages but I do prefer one option over the other. Your website does not need to be expensive to be effective for your practice.

There will be many dozens of future posts about how to make the internet your practice’s best friend. Don’t worry – you don’t need to be an internet wizard to make the web work for you.

Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Make Sure Your Back Door is Closed

Most dentists, when pressed, can tell you how many new patients their practices attract each month. In fact, many dentists judge the success of their marketing efforts by this number.

While it is terrific to attract new families to our offices, the success of your practice is even more dependent on the number of patients you retain each month. Most offices do not keep track of the number of patients they lose each month. It is more fun to watch the inflow than to score the outflow.

I know offices that spend a great deal of money on marketing for new patients and spend no time or money on retaining the patients they already have. I have found that a lot of practices that attract a large number of new patients are actually operating at a net monthly loss of patients – they lose more than they attract. In fact – they are paying good money to have fewer patients each month.

The most effective, fun and natural form of practice marketing is patient retention. Quality patient follow up and appreciation can not only help you retain the patients you have but your current patients are your best and least expensive source for getting new patients. YES – the best way to get new patients is to keep your current patients happy.

In future posts we will discuss effective patient follow up and appreciation strategies that your practice can incorporate into your regular operating procedures. Good patient retention is an entire staff process that does not happen by accident – it is a carefully executed plan. Your entire staff should understand your patient retention plan and know their responsibilities in this critical business activity.

If you want to improve the number of patients your office sees each year, start with closing your back door first. Patient retention is the least expensive and simplest form of practice building you can do.

Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

If you want to develop a loyal, respectful  and compitent staff, make sure that you take time to praise their accomplishments publically. Just as important, make sure that when you need to speak to a staff member about correcting behaviors or mistakes – that you do this discretely and privately.

As dentists and CEOs of our businesses, we are all very busy. We often just expect our staff to do things right. We don’t stop to think about praising them for correctly “doing their job”. We only notice our staffs when they make mistakes or act out of step with our practice philosophy.

Try to catch your staff doing things right and publicly praising them for doing their job as you expect. Your staff will feel very positive about being praised in front of patients and other staff members. It might feel foreign to praise people for simply doing things as expected but it will start to feel good to do. Your staff will love you for noticing them and for telling others that they are good at what they do.

On the other hand, try with all your might not to criticize your staff in front of patients and other staff members. Keep your cool when things go wrong and make note to talk to the staff member privately later about the mistake or issue that needs to be corrected. Never talk down to your staff, never make your staff feel incompetent – rather reinforce that you like them as a person and just want to work on one area of their performance to help bring it up to the expected level.

After advising a staff member on how to correct an area of problem, look for reason to praise them in their performance in the next few days. Especially look to see if they are working to improve the area you spoke to them about. Make sure you mention you notice the improvement and appreciate the effort.

Staff members are people with feelings. We all want to feel we are doing a good job and appreciated. We all want to avoid being publically embarrassed. As dentist/CEO it is up to you to set the tone for your practice. Look for things your staff are doing right and let them know you notice and appreciate their competence and professionalism.
Dr. Corey Gold
President  - Advanced Continuing Education Systems