Dentists Who Invest

Podcast Episode

Full Transcripts

Dr James : 0:41

Fans of the Denyshune Invest podcast. If you feel like there was one particular episode in the back catalog in the anthology of Denyshune Invest podcast episodes that really, really, really was massively valuable to you, feel free to share that with a fellow dental colleague who’s in a similar position, so their understanding of finance can be elevated and they can hit the next level of financial success in their life. Also, as well as that, if you could take two seconds to rate and review this podcast, it would mean the world. To me, what that would mean is that it drives this podcast further in terms of reach so that more dentists across the world can be able to benefit from the knowledge contained therein. Welcome to the Denyshune Invest podcast. Hey everybody, welcome back to the Denyshune Invest podcast with myself. James joined here today by a guest that we are welcoming as a returning guest after flipping ages of you know. I think that was way back when, on episode, maybe it was at least the early tens, the teens back in the Denyshune. Invest podcast was a teenager, nikki Rowland from the Denyshune Dentistry, here today to talk about profitable practices. Nikki, how are you?

Nicki: 1:53

I’m good. Thank you, James. Thank you for inviting me back. It has been a long time.

Dr James : 1:59

It’s been too long. It’s been too long. I haven’t got a bob anymore.

Nicki: 2:02

If you could see me, it’s like grown about six inches.

Dr James : 2:05

Oh wow. Have you had a haircut in all that time?

Nicki: 2:09

Yes, I’m a trim.

Dr James : 2:13

The only reason I ask is you don’t have to forgive my knowledge of women and you know when they get their haircuts and grooming habits and things like that. But sometimes I speak to members of the opposite gender and they say things like oh, I haven’t had a haircut for like three years, so that was where that question came from. I was genuinely curious.

Nicki: 2:31

Okay Well, I’ll tell you what you have missed. I’ll tell you what you have missed my pink face. I’ve had pink hair for a while.

Dr James : 2:40

Oh right, yes, of course you did, yeah, thanks for that.

Nicki: 2:42

Yes, it is.

Dr James : 2:43

Yeah, here’s the thing right my perspective on haircuts. I get my haircut every two weeks If I want to look extra fresh, if I’m if I’m you know, being a little bit slovenly a little bit haphazard, then it’s three at the very max. This if you want to have a nice fade. That’s what it takes, honestly absolutely Hard work. That’s my perspective on the world, which is not everybody’s perspective, and I know some people will be like what, how many weeks? But that’s where. That’s where I was coming from with that question. For me it’s so rapid. But anyway, we’re not here today to talk about haircuts. We’re here today to talk about profitable practices. Nikki, this is, of course, your field of expertise and you know what I really like about these podcasts is buried amongst all the dialogue there will be gems that anyone listening can just pull out and just whack it into their practice tomorrow and go ahead and make more money or save more money, but the point is to be more profitable. Is that gap? It’s an expenditure and turnover.

Nicki: 3:34

I totally agree, james, and sometimes it’s not about reinventing the wheel, it’s about doing little things, little nuances that make a massive difference, and a lot of that sometimes is sort of based on the psychology of the patient as well, and sometimes standing in their shoes and looking at it through their eyes. That help you understand where you can make those little nuances in your business to actually really drive either football, the bottom line or the word of math referrals in your practice.

Dr James : 4:09

I feel for principles sometimes and that’s because they own businesses and I own a business as well and obviously I never really understood this until I stepped into that realm. But basically you just have so many things to think about it’s like bang bang, bang, bang, bang bang that basically you literally don’t even have the flipping capacity or any wavelengths or bandwidth left over to understand these things and comprehend them and implement them. And that’s why, today, part of the power will be simplifying them, making them as concentrated as possible. So within this 45 minutes, 50 minutes, however long we go on, for people can just pull this stuff out and, like I say, implement it tomorrow to make more money. So on that note, nikki, given your experience in background in this field, or what are like the top five I don’t know no particular order, or if you could just wave your magic wand and go to every single practice in the UK and say this is my top five list of no-nos, right, in no particular order Of no-nos, yeah, yeah of no-nos. Things that you could improve, I suppose, is a bit of a problem, okay.

Nicki: 5:12

Okay, so five top tips is.

Dr James : 5:16

It doesn’t have to be five, that, just anything, the first thing that pops in your head.

Nicki: 5:19

Okay If we’re talking about profitable practice there’s some key things that I would recommend that you do. Change your mindset from a push marketing perspective where you’re paying for marketing Big mistake I did. It spent lots of money on marketing in our practice broke, even if we were lucky. The way to market, particularly in this sort of financial environment and the economy that we’re in at the moment, is to generate a pull marketing model in your practice that draws patients to you. They then spread the word about you because you are so amazing, and then the world and his friends want to come and see you. Your marketing costs go down, your footfall skyrockets and that is one of the things that we do in my company is to help practices generate that pull marketing model so they don’t have to pay on marketing. Okay, Next tip oh, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Okay, so you know that one better.

Dr James : 6:24

Okay, no, it’s fine, let’s break it down even further. What would you call push marketing and what would you call pool marketing? Because we’re all we’re marketing novices, are you with me?

Nicki: 6:33

Okay, so, so push marketing is when you pay to do things. So, for example, the kind of things that we did in our practice was paid to be in glossy magazines that went through the door of high end high end, you know residential properties in the area. We advertised on parking tickets in town. So our logo and contact details will be on the back. Petrol pumps Often you see little little advertisements on petrol pumps. We did the whole shebang, you know, letter drops, leaflet drops through doors and, yes, it generated income and interest. But did it make us money? No, it didn’t. We broke even. Like I said, pool marketing is where you are drawing people to you and for me it’s about making and generating that emotional connection with the patient. So I’m a huge advocate of TCOs, treatment care coordinators. Even better, I prefer to call them patient care coordinators. For me, if I put myself in the shoes of a patient, I would feel, if it was a treatment care coordinator, that I was going into the room with that person and they would be helping me decide what treatment I want. It’s about the treatment. If it’s a patient care coordinator, that my perception would be totally repositioned and I would think, oh, it’s about me as a person, about my care and treatment falls within that greater package, and what we do in my company is we do interviews with patients, not interviews interviews. So what we find out from the patient is about them as a person. What are their aspirations, why they come into the practice, how do they want this to look? Have they got any sort of negative perceptions of dentistry, previous experience that might make them anxious? It’s all it’s finding out who that patient is before you even have that conversation about treatment, about any of those things. For me, it’s actually generating that emotional connection with another human being before you can actually then start tapping into dentistry and the requirements and the clinical input in their mouths.

Dr James : 9:03

People buy from people right.

Nicki: 9:05

Absolutely. That’s it In a nutshell. People buy from people. If you can build that rapport to start with and then build on it and treat them as a human being every human being wants to feel needed, wanted and appreciated those three things. If you can make them feel that they will go away until the world and his friend how freaking amazing you are, and then all their friends and family will want to come see you as well, that’s cool. That is pool marketing Okay.

Dr James : 9:35

I actually never heard marketing broken down like that before, so we now understand the premise of pool marketing. Are there any actionable steps in there, like things that you see that dentists could improve on, for example, using the patient’s first name when they’re at the front desk Hello Jane instead of Mrs Smith or instead of Hello Anonymous. Whatever, for me that’s one.

Nicki: 9:57

Yes, that’s definitely one. It’s definitely personalising the service, but it’s also about your team, every team member in the practice, understanding that model in the business and being trained to deliver. So for me, customer service is key to building out that emotional patient journey in the practice. And again, I look at team members like the cogs in the engine of the practice, and every cogs needs to know which way to turn, how quickly to turn, to mesh with everybody else, to drive the business forward and to deliver that emotional patient journey in the practice. It’s all about every team member understanding that model and being trained to deliver within their role in the practice as well.

Dr James : 10:49

Cool, and it’s also treating patients well, so they return. Falls into that too.

Nicki: 10:53

Absolutely. And if we go look, at it.

Dr James : 10:54

it’s a human thing, but let’s look at it from a business perspective as well. Yes, cost to retain a current customer versus cost to acquire a new customer huge difference. The first one is way, way, way, way, way, way cheaper. So I feel like there’s this huge onus to go out and market ourselves and do all of these things when actually, if you just treat it to customers that we do have well, which we do, which we do. However, refining that to be even better than what it currently is, therein lies a huge part of something that can help us.

Nicki: 11:24

Absolutely, and the flip side is as well. We have got huge recruitment issues, don’t we? In the dental world at the moment? We’re losing nurses by the bucket load, and you know, I think the other thing for me is is actually recruitment, and being without a team member is costly, is very costly, and recruitment, as we know, you know it costs practises lots of money. So if we can invest in our teams from a support and training perspective and make them feel valuable so they understand that they’re so key within that engine of the practice, they then take ownership of their role. They feel needed, wanted and appreciated as a team member. Particularly when those cogs start to work, you start to see the results and it drops through to the bottom line and everybody gets the rewards for the hard work, you know. You then start to get a, you know, a very solid, robust staff retention model as well, because they feel valued and don’t want to go anywhere else.

Dr James : 12:26

Cool, love it. Stan’s totally the reason. 100% If there was a number two on that list. You know the way we talked about the five at the start not that we have to speak to them. Yes, what would be the next in the hierarchy? What would be the next thing that you wish you could change?

Nicki: 12:40

Okay, next thing. For me, massive problem and I see this time and time again when I go into practices is they don’t stock take. They don’t run a robust stock taking system and I can go in and help practices with it and there can be thousands of pounds worth of stock sutting cupboards and it’s not rotated. So you get to the back of the cupboard and checking things out and for me that is just so. It is nonsensical because the value of that stock could be released and used to spend on other things in the practice that really need to be addressed. So it’s about the halves and quarters for me as well, and about readjusting the cash flow and injecting the cash where it’s needed most and having those priorities. So if you’re not stock taking, please do it, and then you can see every month what you’ve got to play with extra moving forward to next year. So I would suggest any practice. Who doesn’t? First thing to do in January, stock take. You know where you are, you know your baseline and every month you can then budget what you’re going to need.

Dr James : 13:53

Okay, love it yeah.

Nicki: 13:56

And I was going to say as well there’s so many clinical goods companies out there that you know they all want to be offering you the best deals. They want your business. You know to shop around. Don’t just stick with one, because it’s easy. And there’s some good companies out there that help you compare prices. Now I won’t name any particularly, but there’s a lot of savvy people out there who’ve set up compare websites and things.

Dr James : 14:23

I can think of one. I was going to blur it out, but anyway, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Nicki: 14:30

So you know there’s things out there to help you. So you could always task you know one of your team members to do that groundwork and to do, you know, the cost comparisons. And actually when you look at what you can save every month and then add that up at the end of the year, that can be thousands of pounds. Yeah, yeah. So, that’s tip number two.

Dr James : 14:53

The reason I like these tips is these are literally the two. I’m presuming these are some of the biggest. So what that means is that when we focus our energy in these areas, we’re going to move the needle the most in terms of profitability. Whereas the four, that you might have heard that maybe these things would have been on the to-do list, but now we have a sense, a greater sense, of how much they should be prioritised. Those are for the principles. What about for the associates as well? Anything in there?

Nicki: 15:19

Associates. I think for me, associates are key players in the practice and, as such, need to be part of that mechanism, in the engine of the practice as well. I think sometimes they can be very standalone entities and they need to be part of the engine. They need to be part of the training, all the things that help drive the business forwards as well, and that is not only going to benefit the practice, it’s going to benefit them as an individual as well. And, as you said, james, as a dentist you don’t always get involved in customer service training about the emotional journey of the patient. It’s often other team members that get that training, particularly front of house and the TCOs, but the associates don’t always get that. But they get that customer service training and bang wow, their acceptance rates, conversion rates, go up. It’s amazing because it’s about the psychology of the patient and the customer service training that I do is very much tapping into psychology and how that influences the patient spend as well. So I would always always suggest associates don’t just pop out for lunch when the training is going on. They sit in and really absorb everything that’s been said.

Dr James : 16:48

Real quick guys. I put together a special report for dentists entitled the seven costly and potentially disastrous mistakes that dentists make whenever it comes to their finances. Most of the time, dentists are going through these issues and they don’t even necessarily realize that they’re happening until they have their eyes opened, and that is the purpose of this report. You can go ahead and receive your free report by heading on over to wwwdentistuneinvestcom forward slash podcast report or, alternatively, you can download it using the link in the description. This report details the seven most common issues. However, most importantly, it also shows you how to fix them. Really, looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Top stuff, top stuff. Some gems in there. Absolutely Back to the principles. Anything more that you can think of the most pertinent points.

Nicki: 17:42

Yeah, I think another thing is that everybody sort of runs for the hills when you mention the CQC. But for me, if you get that amazing shiny green star because you’re outstanding, it is your most powerful marketing tool and it’s a framework for best practice as well. So I would again urge people to really embrace the CQC model and it is moving very much towards a very supportive model. And I did an interview with and I’m gonna interview you back on side, james, but I did an interview with John Milner, the CQC, a few months ago and he was saying we’re very much driving towards a supportive model. So that punitive approach is being binned and we’re getting a very supportive model moving forward and they’re going to really help you celebrate the good stuff that you do. So you know, if we can really aspire to have a really outstanding CQC report and go the extra mile, they’re gonna help you ban you drum as well.

Dr James : 18:48

Oh wow, I like that.

Nicki: 18:49

And patients are really savvy and they will be looking at your CQC inspection reports. They want the best of themselves and their family. So why not? Why not really reach for the stars and really get that shiny green star, because we are gonna start being rated as well at some point in the future. So that’s on the agenda.

Dr James : 19:08

No way, no way. Intax and stuff. Speaking of ratings, do you still think Google reviews are pertinent, important? Oh, gosh.

Nicki: 19:17

Yes, absolutely, I do. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s one of the first things I do. You know, when I’m doing, if I’m invited into a practice to do consultancy whether it’s compliance, business growth, whatever it is I do my research and I look at practices, I look at Google reviews. I just try and find it as much as I can about a practice and then have a look and see if it matches what I see when I actually go in-house. Yeah, I think it’s, and patients, you know, they wanna know, they wanna know about other people’s experiences and it’s like the me too effect, isn’t it? Well, if they’ve had an amazing experience and they’ve seen a particular dentist that’s met their needs, I want a bit of the same.

Dr James : 19:59

I like that. Do you think there’s anything wrong with asking for Google reviews after treatment?

Nicki: 20:04

No, oh no, not at all. I think it’s absolutely the way to go, because you know you send a patient satisfaction survey out by email. It just gets pinned. What I love, at the moment I’m seeing a lot of practices doing it. They’re creating QR codes that feed directly into Google reviews, so you can, yeah, when a patient comes out having had their treatment or whatever it is you know they might have just had an exam or, you know, scan and polish, it doesn’t matter what it is you can present them with a QR code. All they have to do is get their phone out, put the camera on, bang. They can then leave a review, but this is the quickest and easiest way to leave feedback.

Dr James : 20:50

I like that. I did see something the other day. A lot of patients sometimes bounce back when you ask them to leave a Google review, that you need a Google account to do that. There’s actually a way of doing it without a Google account. Perhaps you know it, I’m not sure, but even if we don’t, it is out there. So what it means is you can, when you research that, that you can actually deflect that back on them and say, oh, actually, here’s the way that you can do it without necessarily having a Google account. And then you’ve just opened up about 50 million other people who don’t necessarily have Google accounts but are willing to leave review.

Nicki: 21:22

Absolutely, and to use these QR codes, you do not need a Google account that is super savvy, because you know what Super savvy?

Dr James : 21:31

Super savvy indeed. Here’s what I, here’s what. Here’s my major issue with reviews and working in dental practice. People who are unhappy have the loudest voices, but they’re also simultaneously the minority. That’s the really hard part. I actually think that, even if you have 99% customer satisfaction, that your Google reviews may not necessarily reflect that unless you go out of your way to ask for them. So I actually think it’s only fair to request that the people who are happy leave Google reviews so that you can shift you can basically shift that needle back in your favor. Effectively it is. It is actually a really annoying phenomenon that that happens, and it’s quite on fire as well. So to to shift the balance, that is a completely okay thing to do in my book, because otherwise it’s not going to happen Exactly. You’re going to have phenomenal practice and no one’s going to know about it.

Nicki: 22:23

I know exactly Exactly and again, sorry. Going back to the dry stuff, cqc are very much listening to patients and want to know their point of view and their opinion about the service that they’re tapping into. So they will look at Google reviews, they will look at all of that stuff as part of their intelligent monitoring before they go to a practice to to inspect them. So the more you can build yourself up, they’re building a picture of you. So their expectations are, you know, are, actually set before they move, move into the practice and moving forward one of the things that John Milne said to me with the going to be very much focusing on patient feedback as well. They already are, but in greater depth next year.

Dr James : 23:11

You know what I think is a huge untapped resource in terms of marketing your practice. Facebook groups yes, completely a left field curveball for lots of people. Because what do lots of people do when they want social media for their practice? They think, okay, instagram, that is the first place Right. And you can don’t get me wrong you can do well on Instagram. You know, there’s, there’s, there’s practices that have huge Instagram followers and they do really well in terms of inquiries. Right here’s an entirely new model that I honestly think no one is tapping into Facebook group for your local area. Make it about something somewhat related to dentistry, something maybe like healthcare or wellness in the local area.

Nicki: 23:53


Dr James : 23:54

Practice runs it, the people in the area join it. You spread, disseminate information on that group about general wellbeing and also, as well as that, they get to know you as the dentist too. Yes, right, and now we want that part of, as part of that overall holistic approach, and I honestly think that is a massively untapped thing Now.

Nicki: 24:17

I agree.

Dr James : 24:18

There’s so many stuff on the back end to actually pull it off. You have to be consistent with your content, like most social media, when you started up. You’re not going to see results straight away. No one is doing that. No one is doing that. But I’m biased because of dentistry, and fast, and I’m going to read between the lines you, we might be singing from the same hymn sheet, nikki, because you are a group as well, I think underutilized and you know what. I’m actually going to extend that a little and I’m going to say that anybody who’s a dentist, who wants to create a community around something they love, be that for patients and their dental practice or be that for other clinicians, I seriously think there’s huge on a hugely untapped opportunity to do that with Facebook groups, especially if you put content out even somewhat regularly, because the people who own the big groups don’t tend to produce regular content. So if you can even have a somewhat regular schedule of doing that, you’re already had the shoulders above everybody else. I’ve said my bit. Just throw that energy out into the universe. That is seriously an opportunity, guys. Now, of course, I’m just really simple. There’s going to be strategy and skill, which comes into the content itself. However, that’s something you get better at with time.

Nicki: 25:40

Exactly, exactly. So, james, are we up to tip three or four now? I can’t remember.

Dr James : 25:44

I’ve got two more for you anyway but I kind of blended into each other. I don’t know if this is three or four or five, but anyway, let’s have another tip.

Nicki: 25:55

Okay, embrace a corporate social responsibility model in your practice. It backs up the whole pool marketing philosophy in your business and a lot of people are going to say what the heck does that mean? What is corporate social responsibility CSR? You might hear it as CSR, but it’s actually doing something over and above dentistry to potentially support your community. A charity, something that you do that is not necessarily going to directly generate income from the practice, but indirectly will. So, for example, one of the things that we did at our practice was to offer free oral cancer screening in November and free oral cancer screening days, but it was also an opportunity to invite non-patients in for screening, to educate them, to show them how to self screen and invite their families in to be screened. And that helped us build rapport with patients and I can’t tell you a huge proportion of them came back and said that they wanted to become patients because they’d had the opportunity to experience what we were about have something for nothing that brought them great value because we taught them how to self-screen. And you know we had a story to tell then, so we managed to get in the local paper. We got up on the radio the local radio stations talking about oral cancer, find a hot topic, something educational that you can talk about, and it will draw attention to you. And after doing that for a couple of years, I mean the amount of times that the local radio stations rang us and said have you got an opinion on something, or do you want to jump on this interview when it was something related to dentistry and that’s all free marketing as well, isn’t it? That’s all all marketing might mean you’re taking a dentist with you to the radio station for a morning and lost revenue there, but then the exposure is huge, huge.

Dr James : 28:15

I love that. That’s awesome. Actually, that’s really thinking outside the box as well.

Nicki: 28:19

Mm-hmm, and we did a lot of that and you know it wasn’t. Obviously. I did all the push stuff to start with and the penny suddenly dropped. That’s not working. Let’s think laterally here, let’s do something else, and that’s what really worked, okay. So yeah again, if anybody wants any help with that. I’ve got the whole model for running oral cancer screening days and open days and things. So we’ve missed that opportunity because it’s nearly over, is November, but next year we’ve got National Smile Month. That’s not just about little ones teeth and all of that, but that could also be an opportunity to talk about oral cancer and run an oral cancer screening day.

Dr James : 29:07

I really think that, yeah, 100% on what you said. That’s really thinking outside the box. I really think that you just said push and pull marketing there just a minute ago. Once more, I also concede social media fitting in as the pull marketing too, because you’re basically putting this information out into the world. People are seeing you constantly and you’re relevant and they gravitate towards you. That’s like another word for social marketing?

Nicki: 29:31

Yeah, absolutely, I never thought about it like that before. I want to just keep coming back to saying it’s all about building emotional connections. As human beings, you can create that emotional connection. People will come and see you.

Dr James : 29:49

I think that’s massive, yeah, and that’s actually underappreciated in marketing big time, and that’s because you can’t really write a book on that subject. Oh well, you can, but it’s too, you can’t just describe it in words. It’s almost like a knack or an ability, but it’s not something that everybody can improve. That.

Nicki: 30:09

Yeah, yeah, I don’t think there’s any real.

Dr James : 30:12

I think I don’t think there’s any real hack or secret to marketing beyond, probably, what you’ve just said. I think that the biggest secret is there is no secret. You know that sort of, but it is true. I say that slightly flippantly, it is actually true.

Nicki: 30:26

I think the secret is knowing what works and what doesn’t in a healthcare environment is very different to being in retail or some other sector. It’s very. There’s a lot of nuances and very specific things that really work in our world, and I’ve learned that through hard experience.

Dr James : 30:47

Cool cool, cool, cool cool. We talked about staff a little earlier. What about investing in our staff and making them stronger? That surely moves things along.

Nicki: 30:57

Absolutely, and this is one of the things that I’m so passionate about, as we said earlier, about engaging your team, maximizing their potential, maximizing their performance. You don’t build a business, you build a people and they will build your business for you. And one of the things that we help practice is we have a program at the Exceptional Leadership Academy called our Future Dental Practice Program and we work very intensively with practice for six months but work with them for the whole year. But we train their practice manager, or we can actually recruit a practice manager for a practice and we train them to be a practice growth manager, where they tap into the team, they work with the team to drive the whole practice growth formula, the model in the practice to take the practice to success. So there is a system that you can implement in your practice that can be totally personalized to your environment. That drives everything that I’ve said. So if anybody wants any help with it, give me a shout.

Dr James : 32:08

Cool top stuff. Nikki, you’ve been ever so generous with your time today. It’s been a real pleasure to have you as a return of this podcast.

Nicki: 32:15

No, it’s been a pleasure, thank you.

Dr James : 32:17

Let’s not be strangers for over a year. No, exactly.

Nicki: 32:20

I might greet her next time, who knows? Ha, ha ha fair enough.

Dr James : 32:23

Sounds fun, sounds interesting. Anything you’d like to say to conclude things today?

Nicki: 32:30

I just think everybody’s up against it financially. Coffers are very empty in a lot of parts of dentistry, so I think in the new year it’s a perfect opportunity for people to shift their mindset and start doing something different.

Dr James : 32:48

Boom. Very nice, Nikki. Thank you so much once more, and we shall catch up very, very, very soon. I’ll see you later.

Nicki: 32:55

Thank you so much, James.

Dr James : 33:15

Bye. Well being and investing knowledge. I’m looking forward to seeing you on there.