If you want to be a $10K a day dentist you have to jump higher, jump farther, and jump longer.
It’s January first 2016. I’m preparing my first lecture for my first 5M Mastermind session. I want to share the most important lessons I had learned in my 40 years of practicing dentistry. So, I asked myself, “How can dentists and their teams overcome the bottlenecks to becoming more productive and efficient in their daily work so that they can live more fruitful, balanced lives?”
That’s how I came up with an idea worth sharing: becoming a $10,000 a day dentist. How can any dentist learn how to produce $10,000 or more every day? Now we could, in a team oriented setting, just as well be talking about the $3,000 a day hygienist, or the $15,000 or $20,000 a day dental team depending on how many providers are a part of your team. So, whenever I say $10,000 from now on, just think of your position in the practice and your office as a whole. Okay?
As my wife, Sheila, always says, “Money is just a yardstick for service. If you just take care of the patients, the money will come.” We speak of the $10K day as a great way of serving lots of people every day. A $10K team is a high-service team meeting a lot of patients’ needs.
The big question I’m raising is this… Do you live to work or do you work to live? The idea is to become a $10,000 a day dental team so that we all have the time and the resources we need to lead more fruitful and balanced lives.
Imagine yourself being able to schedule and produce $10K per day. Imagine having consecutive best days and best months ever. Imagine your best year ever. Imagine you and your whole team, even your entire family aboard the next Smiles at Sea cruise. It’s all possible when you are a $10K a day dentist!
There were four defining moments that led me to believe and to be able to become a $10,000 a day dentist. I discovered five truths from my mentors. I invite you to come on a journey with me to discover how you, too, can improve your own income and your own bottom line.
It’s 1981, a cool morning at the Camelback Inn in Scottsdale, Arizona at the Quest Management program. I’ve just put down a chunk of money for my first big practice management training for my team because someone I trusted said it would be a great investment to grow the practice. I’m sitting there with my whole team among 550 other dental folks listening to Dr. Ron McConnell. A picture of a grasshopper in a jar comes up on the screen. The grasshopper is rubbing his head because there is a bump on the top of his head. He had been jumping as grasshoppers like to do but he’s banging his head on the lid every time. “The grasshopper is like many dentists,” Ron said, “limited in his thinking because the lid is screwed tight on the jar.” You see the grasshopper learned to not jump so high over time… because of that lid. The grasshopper had the mindset that there were limits to his abilities.
Then along came a friend who unscrewed the lid to the jar. The grasshopper peered up and saw that there was open sky but was afraid to try to jump higher. He probably had trust issues. But eventually, with much coaching and coaxing, the grasshopper jumped up and realized that he would not hit his head again. He leaped higher and higher and finally leaped out of the jar. He was free!
That grasshopper was me. I was, until that day in 1981, of the belief that I had to always do it as it had always been done. My new mentor showed me a better way. I was once a rule follower. I became a rule breaker… and a rule creator. What I discovered in Quest was the value of mentors like Dr. McConnell, setting goals from books like Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, and the importance of being in Masterminds from Ron’s mentor, Dr. Omer Reed. That was a pivotal time in my life because I began to set big, audacious goals. Whether it’s life goals, yearly goals, 90day goals or daily production goals, we need to set and achieve big, audacious goals.
The second defining moment for my career was in 1986 when I decided to set a goal to speak at Omer Reed’s Napili 8, The Million Dollar Roundtable. But first I had to become a million-dollar producer. And of course, I had to get an invitation to speak at that prestigious event. In addition to those two hurdles, I almost decided to not even apply to go to the event because it was, in my opinion, so expensive. I had to weigh the cost-benefit ratio. Omer was known as the most expensive, but also the best. Have you ever experienced that same dilemma? It’s hard to know what the best thing to do is and when is the ideal timing. Here’s the best way to answer that question: Ask yourself, if not now, when? As you guessed, I’m glad now that I decided to go then.
As Omer taught me, a million-dollar dentist is a practice doing $5,000 a day working 200 days a year. Our team set a goal for daily success and within nine months, with hard work, we had reached our goal. My talk at the Million Dollar Roundtable was on having an inspiring vision, a team that is unstoppable, and the stepping stones to success. I can still remember the power of affirmation that came from one particular member of the audience, Dr. Ron McConnell. My mentor was at his mentor’s Million Dollar Roundtable as an alumnus. Ron had spoken there years before. Ron came up to me afterwards and said, and I’ll never forget these words, “That was a world class presentation.” Affirmation by those who you hold in high esteem will propel you higher than any other words. He said, “The way you kept the numbers, charted your results and key performance indicators set you and your practice far above average.” From that day on, I never lost sight of the importance of tracking what matters because what gets measured gets done. I was well on my way to doing $10K a day.
Fast forward to 1996, the year of the Atlanta Olympics. Not all voyages are smooth sailing so when the location of my practice of 23 years turned rough I decided to sell it and move to another city. At age 48, I started over, three employees and I in 1,200 square feet. But, we grew from zero to $5.8 million in ten years. I tell the whole story in my book, Marketing the Million Dollar Practice. We grew from that 1,200 square feet and three ops to 3,000 and 5 ops, to 4,000 and 10 ops and eventually to 9,000 square feet and 15 operatories. Our team grew from 3 to 25, including four dentists. To overcome the great bottlenecks to growth you have to have the right facility and the right number and quality of team members. As it turns out, there was a pattern of success that I had discovered.
My third defining moment was in 2004 when I broke the $10K a day barrier. Our team had become a $10K a day team in 2001. I became a $10K a day dentist in 2004. I can point to a singular reason for that huge upswing in growth: the Masterminds I attended and the marketing training I received. You see, by this time I had mastered about as many of the technical dental skills that one would need to be a highly successful dentist. I was diversified. I was a decathlon dentist. I could do most every procedure a dentist normally does. What I had been lacking was a keen sense of how to market my services. By following additional mentors like J. Conrad Levinson, Bill Glazer and Dan Kennedy, I saw the value of using social proof to build expert status and being seen as the dental authority in my community. I added testimonials to our website long before reputation marketing was all the rage. I had before and after photos and story-telling videos of our Deserving Diva Makeovers on my website and the walls of our office. We told the story of how our mission trips to Kenya changed the lives of those whom we served and also those who went from America to Africa. Once this was done, we immediately began to get increased numbers of higher quality new patients. We began to do more high-end dentistry. If you want to be a $10K a day dentist you have to market well; you have to let the public know your capabilities.
Now we’re back to the beginning. It’s October 2016, as the first Mastermind year together is being completed. When you get to where I am, and I’m now in my 43rd year of practice, the thing that brings me joy is seeing other dentists succeed when I share with them what has worked for me. That feeling is the fourth defining moment that led to my wanting to continue teaching the $10K a day concept. It’s a joy to see your own children do well. Likewise, it’s a joy to see my fellow dentists do well.
My belief is that to be successful, all you have to do is see the pattern, learn the steps, connect the dots and set the wheels in motion. Implementation is the key to everything and, as it turns out, your team is the key to implementation. As we sat around the table at the last session of that Mastermind and I heard each dentist share about their successes from what they learned and successfully implemented in their practices, I knew I had found my final purpose in dentistry. Just as Ron and Omer and J. Conrad have taught me, I was now mentoring others who would, in turn, continue doing the same for other dental teams in the years to come. We all can learn from the best… and pass it on to the rest.
At the beginning of this article I identified five truths to uncover to become a $10K a day dentist. They involve specific aspects of developing the correct mindset, building the ideal team, maximizing your facility, utilizing expert marketing systems, and expanding your capacity to be a top dental producer. My mentors led me to discover 50 ways to become a $10K a day dentist but the five key ones are these:
$10,000 a Day Dentist –
1. Fill the Funnel: You need a wide funnel that captures many new patients. Think of it as fishing with a net instead of using a single fishing line. You must become the most influential dental practice in as many of the seven circles of influence in your community as you can. Have a Marketing Action Plan (MAP). This way, when your marketing is hitting on all cylinders, you’ll have plenty of patients to fill your schedule.
2. Schedule to Goal Every Day: Every day the goal is $10K on my personal doctor schedule before we start the day. Make every day count by focusing on that one goal. Involve the whole team.
Prepare by pre-planning your day. Use excellent sales techniques. Scheduling is a sales skill. Know your scripts. Know your patients’ needs and what moves and motivates them. What are their emotional hot buttons? That is the key to scheduling patients.
Scheduling to goal is the primary weapon against not being busy. My favorite tactic is to schedule 3-in-3: three patients in three operatories at 8:00 a.m. One “A” appointment for big production, one “B” appointment for minor production, and one “C” appointment for no production. Wash, rinse, repeat; make it a system. Become a machine!
3. Have 100% Readiness: To reduce wasted time, have patient and team 100% ready for the procedure. When your patient care systems are run smoothly and efficiently you will be most profitable. If you only have 8 hours a day, make the most of each minute; don’t let one slip by unprofitably. Those who collect dividends and bonuses are those who fill the idle moments with fruitful tasks. 100% Readiness is also a measure of the happiness factor in the office.
Dentists, how do you feel when you walk into the operatory to begin the procedure and the anesthetic syringe is still in the drawer, not fitted with a needle or carpules? How do you feel when the financial arrangements are not yet completed and you are waiting for the front desk to complete that step before you can give the anesthetic? Or, on the other side of the coin, dental assistants, how do you feel when you are ready to begin the procedure, you have 100% Readiness, yet your doctor is still in the bathroom, still sitting at his computer, or talking on the phone to his wife? Or, hygienists how do you feel when you’ve called the doctor to come and it’s been ten minutes and he still won’t come check your patient. Are you happy? No. Imagine having that happen 10, 20, even 30 times a day! No wonder tensions rise and teams lose their focus. A team that serves one another, that is 100% ready when the whistle blows is the most productive, most profitable and happiest team. And they will most likely be the $10K a day team, too!
4. Fix It When It Breaks: Employ “Same Day Dentistry” concepts because even the most ideal schedules do fall apart and need to be fixed. People forget, break appointments, get sick and find their boss not allowing them to take off as planned. The doctor and team go into the “fix it” mode. That is the key to a $10K day. Conversions from hygiene to doctor’s operatory and doctor’s ops to hygiene are keys to consistent $10K days.
“Say Yes” when asked to go the extra mile.
5. Reward Your Team for Outstanding Achievement: Measure important activities. Maintain KPI, Key Performance Indicators for each individual, each department and the practice as a whole. Do the proper follow-ups. Remember, what gets measured gets done. Your team can do all things if you give them the vision and turn them loose to implement.
Do these five things well and you are going to be a $10K a day team! I believe every dentist and dental team can do $10K or more a day. You do it by implementing the 50 ways as they best fit into your practice.
Why not shoot for $10K every day?! All you have to do is jump… jump higher… jump farther, and jump longer. Jump for $10K every day. Creating the perfect $10K day, then repeating it over and over again, creates a great month, creates a great year and over time, a great career. And that’s a goal worth sharing!