Maybe Practice Does Make Perfect
Four areas you need to treat with intention to ensure success in your practice
If you know or recognize the name, Odell Beckham Jr., you know what propelled him to instant fame. If you don’t know his name, he put his stamp on the National Football League through what arguably has been considered the “greatest catch of all time” last fall. In the end zone, he made an incredible, over-the-back, one-handed (actually three-fingered) catch for the New York Giants. It was so unbelievable, he instantaneously went from a relatively unknown wide receiver to someone people couldn’t stop talking about. As the footage was replayed over and over, commentators scratched their heads in amazement—“how did he do that?”
Later in the game, producers revealed footage from a training camp earlier in the year that showed him spending hours and hours catching the ball with one hand. He had been practicing one-handed catches every day for years. He was prepared for that catch.
This is a great illustration of the fact that intention is all about preparation. Odell spent years preparing for that one catch and when it came to him in a game, he intended to catch it. There is no question that success follows intention.
How intentional have you been so far this year with your time, energy, and money to ensure success? What did you do in 2015 to prepare for 2016? Are you focusing on the correct priorities and do you have the results to prove it?
I’d be willing to bet that in every area where you underperformed, didn’t find success, or missed your goal, it was due to a lack of preparation. You’ve got 6 months left in 2016, but if you don’t prepare now for the remainder of the year, you will make the exact same mistakes. You will end this year with the exact same regrets. You may never make that brilliant one-handed catch that you could have been prepared to make. So, instead of waiting for it to happen, I want to encourage you to actively do something about it.
Here are four areas that, when treated with intention, can make a huge impact on your practice’s success:
1. Calendar Planning
If you want to see changes in certain areas this year, you need to print out your calendar and spend some time making intentional priority adjustments. I do it all the time. In fact, I thoroughly analyze and tweak my calendar every 90 days. I go through and take a look at every single one of my processes. When you put your pen to paper, you need to schedule according to the outcome or result you want.
For instance, if you want to have an incredible leadership team, you need to put time on your calendar to meet with your team leaders. If you want to become a master of money, you need to block off time to learn about money. You have to pay attention to your money, monitoring and learning about cash flows, etc. If you want to develop a huge inflow of new patients, you have to set aside time to market to them.
Calendar planning doesn’t have to be limited to your professional endeavors—you can use it to increase your personal and relational successes as well. Want to become more intentional about improving a hobby? Put it on your calendar. Again, schedule to the outcome.
2. Patient Appreciation
Maybe patient appreciation events are something you’ve always wanted to do, but you just never got around to it. You know it’s important, as it’s a great way to let your patients know how much you value their loyalty and business, but somehow it always falls dead last on your priority list.
Now is the time to change that! Become intentional about budgeting, planning, and gearing up for at least one big patient appreciation event in the second half of 2016! Organize a fun event that everyone can get excited about, such as a barbecue, renting out a movie theatre and giving out free concessions, or hosting a black tie casino night. Not feeling creative? Tap into your staff and ask one of them to own it and see it through to completion.
Every dentist knows that referrals are desirable new patients. They come to your practice because they expect to like you—in fact, they’ve heard from a friend or family member that you and your team are wonderful.
First, what are you actually doing to get more referrals? If you want to dramatically increase your referrals, you need to be intentional about your referral processes. Plan and promote referral contests and rewards for patients, and offer incentives to your team to get them excited about it. Again, let a team member own it.
Second, are you asking your loyal patients for referrals? One of the biggest and most dangerous mistakes I see is when dentists assume that their patients know they want referrals. Be intentional with your conversations. Plan to ask your patients for referrals every time. If you give your patients consistent, high-quality care, they will be happy to return the favor by taking care of you, but you must communicate. Chances are that your patients don’t even realize how valuable their referrals are to you and your practice.
Try saying something like, “Mr./Mrs. X, I’ve truly enjoyed having you as a patient. Thank you so much for your loyalty and your business. Please refer me to your friends and family because I would love to have more excellent patients like you.”
Only you can pull out the potential in your staff through training, incentives, and clear communication. In fact, when you do hire someone, set them up for success and clarity. Schedule a 1-hour block of time (there’s that calendar thing again) for an expectations meeting. Ask your current team leaders to join you to establish job specific guidance for your new hires.
As I mentioned earlier, delegate to your staff, be intentional about it, and reward them for jobs well done. You will be surprised at how excited your team members are to take on different responsibilities and be given autonomy and your trust to succeed. Lastly, put employee meetings, promotions, and special recognition events on your calendar now.
Truthfully, you get what you give. If you are getting mediocre results, you are probably only putting in mediocre effort. Stop making excuses and start being intentional. Take on at least one or two of these areas with intention and maybe that preparation will set you up for some unbelievable success.
About the Author
Jay Geier is the president and founder of the Scheduling Institute and the creator of the world-renowned, five-star, new-patient-generation training program that has revolutionized the way dentists attract new patients to their practices. He reveals his secret strategy (the same one he used to obtain his world record for “most new patients generated in one week”—600+) on a single CD that you can request by visiting www.SchedulingInstitute.com/ID.