James: Welcome everybody to this impromptu life between myself and No one face on the group. Barry Oulton. We are here to talk today about how to make your dental practice more profitable, because this is something we haven’t yet covered in as much detail as I would like. And who better to speak to than the man who does it regularly?
On a regular basis for other dentists, he is a profitable practice coach. Maybe that is your title, maybe it isn’t. But I known you today, Barry, officially profitable practice coach, and you’re here to tell us all by all of the things that I have just mentioned just a minute ago. How are you today, my friend?
Barry: I’m awesome. I’ve never been called a profitable practice coach before.
James: That’s good. I think that works
Barry: How I like that mate. I’ll have. I’ll have that.
James: It’s all yours.
Barry: I’m really good. I’m really good. Today is a coaching day for my profitable practices. And my principles. It’s actually something I’m quite happy to talk about. I’ve got a number of strategies that we help our clients with, to be honest. And I guess that I cherry picked them from when I owned my practice. So inputting those systems really helps people a lot and there’s, I think there’s a lot going on in dentistry at the moment.
I think there’s a lot of, a lot of people struggling in many ways, to be perfectly honest. I don’t know what you’ve seen. But certainly people that reach out to me, there’s a lot of people struggle.
James: Well, am I right in saying there’s, actually, there’s two things I’d just like to mention quickly, but am I right in saying that that post Covid private boom is now weaning somewhat?
Is that fair? Is that what you’ve observed?
Barry: I would say that, partly I would say yes. I think people are being patients are beginning to become more cautious. We know that there’s a massive recession. About to hit us in the next, I don’t know, 12 months or so. It’s gonna be big, isn’t it?
And actually our mastermind for our mastermind clients, we’ve got our mastermind next week to this, which is how, because the strategies that you can do now that will impact and actually how you can be successful as a dental practice through a session. You know, I’ve done two of those myself, and I’ve learned from them. I’ve learned what not to do, but I’ve also learned what to do. So yes, I think that massive boom that we went through has definitely started to reduce. I’m seeing a lot of practices struggle right now to achieve their UDAs. I think there’s quite a struggle and a stretch for a lot of NHS practices.
They didn’t have to achieve a hundred percent, did they? And now they’re in that situation, there’s a lot of them struggling. But realistically, I think the biggest thing I’m seeing quite honestly, James, is I’m seeing a lot of practitioners who are super, super busy and they’re struggling actually to make decent money.
So it’s almost like they’re, they’re so busy that they’re not making money. And we’re doing is helping some clients to implement some really simple changes that have an immediate, massive impact on their income. That then makes it stronger for everybody, then the team, the patients, everybody.
Because at the end of the day, we’re running a business. Right? And if, if we don’t have a successful practice, We don’t have a practice, and the aim of the game is to serve our patients at a deep level. We’ve gotta be there in order to do that. So I genuinely believe that by helping principles, I’m actually helping patients because if I help the principal be more successful, then they’re able to serve their patients better.
So I’m seeing busy, busy people not really achieving what it is that they’d like to.
James: On that. Just hearkening back to the thing that I alluded to about a minute and a half ago. I said there was two things that I wanted to briefly cover. The first is what we’ve just said, and then the second thing was pre-framing or contextualize everything we’re about to say afterwards with this is the quickest way that you can put money in your hands is if you get the glistening asset that you have in your hand.
Correct. You can run it correctly, you can run it efficiently, which is your dental practice. People think investing is where you make the quick bucks. Actually investing is what you do with your money once you already have it. What are the things, there’s a saying that I absolutely love and I’m, I’ve probably, I’m gonna sign like a broken, broken record because I’m sure I’ve said this on so many podcasts before, but it’s just an absolute gem and it reframes how I look at, how I look at knowledge and how I look at information or certainly really reframe things for me going forward from the day that I heard it. And that saying is wisdom is not sold by the hour. Wisdom is sold on value and what that means, it’s cool, and it just, I’m like, whoa.
Cause you, we can literally get on a podcast and somebody might have been struggling with something for. Weeks, months, years. That one little unlock, that one piece of wisdom that you hear on a podcast and it’s solved in five minutes and you could spend 70 hours with someone who’s never heard this before and not really get anywhere.
There’s no nothing that you can glean from that conversation. But that is the really exciting stuff that can literally put money in your hands that doesn’t actually come from invest. That comes from creating wealth, the methods that you use to do your job or your business, and that’s what we’re here to talk about today.
Barry: For me it is the business and it’s, it’s actually, it’s actually quite, it’s simple, really. It’s not easy, but it’s simple. To occupation, socks off, deliver an incredible patient journey and have a very financially viable business that throws off. Enough money for you to do what you want, with whom you want, when you want.
And it’s not, it’s actually not that difficult. I think very often and clearly things that I’ve posted have been quite polarizing. Some people have not liked some of the things that I’ve said, and other people have liked some of the things that have said. So that’ll be the same with anything I say to you really.
Right. For me, it is quite simple. It’s not easy, but it’s simple. And when you input the systems and you, you run the systems, they just damn well work. And so I think it’s, the problem is you don’t know what you don’t know. And most, most principles are accidental business owners. We didn’t go, most of us didn’t go to university to be a business owner.
We went to be a dentist, a bloody good dentist. We went to go to dentistry because we wanted to serve people and help them and make them smile and make a good income. But most dental business owners become accidental business owners. And so they’ve never been taught how to run a business or what are p and l is.
And most of the clients that I speak to are a year and a bit behind on knowing what their cash flow is. And they don’t have monthly management accounts. They’re not understanding the essence of how to really run that business. They are brilliant at doing dentistry. They might be good at talking to patients.
My original training course was about communication. And again, people. They hear the word NLP neurolinguistic programming and some people are like, Oh, I’m really intrigued by that. And other people are like, Ooh, that’s manipulative. But in natural fact, It’s not, it’s about being able to talk to patients in their model of the world to help them make better choices.
So for me, my thing is helping principles A, with the simple systems of running a business, and B, understanding how to help their patients make better choices. And so that is holding the hand of the. Talking to them in a way that they understand, and I don’t mean simple English, I mean how they process information in their model of the world and stepping into their model of the world so that you can communicate more clearly and opening up the possibility that patients might choose to do more once based dentistry, if that makes sense.
So actually there’s some simple, simple steps. So I’m seeing. Two different types of dentists. At the moment, I’m seeing those dentists that are really busy and they’re very happy with what they’ve got. They’re very happy with their lot, and they’re not worried about what’s ahead of us in the next 12 to 24 months.
And then I’m seeing a lot more other dentists who are working their backsides off, not realizing that. They’re spending a lot of time and not generating what it is that they want. They’re not getting the income that they want even though they’re working so flipping hard and that they are worried about what’s gonna happen in the next 24, 48 months and, and they’re not gonna affect of that.
And those are the people that I can help. Those people that are happy with their law, happy days. Crack on. Keep doing what you’re doing. Rinse and repeat. And just know that, just double check in with yourself that what you are doing will work in 24 months when the proverbials hit the fan.
Everybody else is systemizing. Understanding how you can generate a much higher income and turnover from your existing patient base. You don’t really need new patients. That’s just simple ways of helping patients make better choices. And so, it’s an exciting time for what we do. And I think we’ll be even busier in the next 12, 24 months, because not least can we help people become bulletproof for that period of time, but actually help people get out of trouble when they start to slide a bit, which I think is inevitable for some businesses.
James: From experience having been to many practices that are doing well, doing not so well. If you had a tick list of the things that you. put up, you could display and you could say, This is your 1 0 1 list of common areas where I see issues in dental practices. These are the low hanging fruits, these are the things that I can improve almost straight away from working with you.
What would that tick list be? What are the recurring themes across dental practice?
Barry: That is a great question, and it’s a question that we asked ourselves. I wanna say we ‘ve got a team of four of us. There’s. There’s my business partner Zachary, who is an outstanding coach, and he’s all about outcomes.
It’s interesting that you said earlier on, about wisdom and it’s about value is that he wants to get clients the quickest the best result in the quickest amount of time. And then there’s Sally, my PA, who you’ve met, and then there’s Tom who does our tech and the funnels for our clients and so on and so forth.
And We actually sat down and said, Right, how can we help people? So week number two of our, we, we run a mastermind where we have lives, three lives in person a year. We have weekly coaching calls and we have content that we drip feed and we have for each individual client, we have a personalized portal for their practice, for their whole team where they can track that.
Their team, each team member is running through the training course. Week number two is called quick wins, and it’s how do we support you and help you in immediately increasing your income right now that will make an impact and help you over the next few months whilst you then implement the things that may take a bit more time.
So the quick wins are resurrecting treatment plans is going through the database and reigniting that, which haven’t done it typically on average. We notice that principles are around about 68,000 pounds worth of diagnosed treatment plan treatment that hasn’t been done. Quick wins are price increases.
Now, I work at the moment as an associate, so for those that. Don’t know me. I’m a dentist for 29 hours of the week. I work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday in what used to be my practice. I sold it into a corporate so that I could do more coaching and help more people and take what I learned into out into other people’s practice because I’m not special, we just set out to really knock the socks off our patients. We set out my wife and I, Chloe, who is my tco. We set out to create the best patient journey we possibly could, and I truly believe that we did and the systemized approach that we have to it. We accidentally made a lot of money. We accidentally created a practice where it was me and a hygienist.
I worked three and a half days a week and we gross just under 1.1 million. No implants, no ortho it’s easy nowadays to get a practice up to a million turnover when you’re doing Invisalign and things like that, but that doesn’t give you the, necessarily the profit. But that was a 1.1 million turnover with no ortho, no implants, and it was that made me realize that I’ve got something to share to help people. And by the way, there was no marketing for 18 years. We had 30 new patients a month without any marketing.
Barry: And so that’s now what I share with people is how do you generate an amazing patient journey and accidentally. Make more money and that’s it.
You focus on service. So one of the quick wins is increase your fees, but the fees that aren’t obvious. So I work in this corporate and they’ve put all the fees up, and literally yesterday my receptionist came up, she’s been with me, Claire’s been with me 90, nearly 20 years, and she said, Alright, everybody’s complaining about the fees and that’s because the mothership.
Has basically hiked the fees up that are very obvious. So hygiene fees, exam fees, all the things that actually are, not as productive, but they could easily increase things like crayons, bridges, dentures, implant restorations, extractions, all of these things that you could put your prices up on.
And so the first thing I get my clients to do is to cherry pick certain things to increase their prices today. Immediately. That are not gonna be blocked at by the patient because they’re part of a treatment plan. When you add value and you talking to a patient and it’s all about value, then the cost becomes irrelevant.
You said it. If somebody is questioning the price of something, that’s because they’re not seeing the value of it. Price is very rarely the problem. It’s the perception of value. And if you’re not talking value about yourself, if you’re not feeling your worth. We spoke off camera earlier on, that people you work with as well is the case of, you got people that have been qualified for 30 years charging.
The fees of somebody that did their FDA a year ago, and it’s about their own self worth, their belief in what they can provide, and it’s about what they believe they should be paid for, their experience, their time, their consideration, and the journey that they’re providing. So put your fees up as one.
A big one that will, that will take a little bit of time to filter through, but the way that we teach our clients to zone their diaries, no word of a lie, typically doubles turnover. The, and it’s crazy. The majority of dentists are super busy. Doing recall exams and little bits of dentistry, single tooth dentistry.
And then I spoke to a client the other day who is struggling. He is booked up until January for anybody that wants anything other than a simple filling. And the problem with that is that he’s so busy, it’s strangling his product. And so zoning. We have seven zones in our diary that ensures that as an associate, my aim is to gross turnover, is to bring between three and 6,000 pounds into the business before lunchtime, and that’s what I do.
If you were to, and I have no qualms in sharing figures as an associate, I grossed last month, 68 and a half thousand pounds on three days, three days a week, no implants. And a couple of cases a month of short term, or though I use Smile line by S four s. Little plug. But I’m a general dentist.
I’m a general dentist. I do general dentistry. I’m in a family based practice and a family based town. I’m not special in any way. I’ve just got special processes and systems and the way that we zone our diary to ensure that we are maximizing our production and our turnover, which means that we are robust and we are successful and we keep our team members for 20 years and nobody wants to leave, which means our patients get the best service and our patients then see the value in what we’re doing and are happy to pay our fees.
And by the way, our fees are normal. We are 790 for a crown that in the south of England is more than reasonable.
James: That could be higher within reason 7 95 is.
Barry: That’s really good value I’m really sharing this to say that by systemizing, by really putting in some solid systems and some very simple rules, you can generate a really good.
Income based upon a fabulous patient journey. It’s all about service. It just happens that when you deliver the dentistry in this way, it generates the income. So I would want people to zone their diaries, seven areas of zoning. I want them to begin to focus on production, not collection. There’s a slight difference. Production is what you’re generating. So I can’t go into this too much. It would take. A couple of hours to do it, but zoning diary is super important. It will have an impact. As of today. I’ve got a client that ultimately, I told him he needs to cancel two hours a day every day. Now for the next three months of the nitty gritty bits, we call it sand.
Sand is anything that is generating a production of a hundred pounds or less. Rebook. Two hours a day, free that two hours a day up for rocks, which is anything that is producing a thousand pounds and above. And that way he is guaranteed with even one patient, one new patient a day that slot in as well.
He is guaranteed to be grossing 2000 pounds minimum in those two hours that. These sidebars, the stuff that generally is generating in three, 350 quid. So it’s, it’s knowing how to zone that correctly. It’s putting the fees up, it’s knocking the socks off the patient, it’s asking some really good questions and communicating clearly.
And then it’s asking more questions than it. Giving solutions.
James: Even from just listening to you talk there, it seems so flipping obvious, but I would never have thought of that. But there you go.
Barry: It is simple though, mate.
We make it more complicated because no one’s really given us these tools. We go in and we do, we do our best and we work our best. And I believe that every principal is doing their best. I’ve gotta practice principal who approach me. They are, They have a practice, 1.5 million pound turnover.
That sounds fantastic, 3% profit. Now, There are people out there that will be, might listen to this and go, Well, whoever that is is clearly very silly because, your overheads are higher, but it’s when you are doing your best and you are working clinically. If you’ve got a principal that’s working five days a week and they’re operating, run their business in the, in the evenings, in the weekends, but maybe they’re a parent and maybe they’ve got other responsibilities. It’s sometimes very difficult for them to see the wood for the trees and that, I think there’s an element of that when it comes to simplicity of coaching, is helping people to see and recognize some of the things that they’re not aware of. One of my favorite phrases is you don’t know what you don’t know, and like you said, you become aware of something simple and it makes a huge impact.
These are the quick wins. The other next quick win is quadrant dentistry, Not single tooth’s. Having the right conversations.
James: Which is how we should be doing dentistry anyway. From the point of view of the patient’s comfort, of course, you get them numb on the lower right hand side. Do all the teeth in the lower right hand side, some people use.
James: Have I got the right end of the stick there?
Barry: I’ve gotta prey this by saying for me, again, it’s all about service. I almost don’t care what my patient chooses. What I care about is that they’ve been given the choice.
So let me give you an example. Let me paint a picture. Imagine that you’ve got Doris, she comes into your practice. She’s like 65. She’s got Walter Wall, Elgas, and as. Quite typical. She’s had typical British dentistry, which is firefighting. Doris, how are you? Any problems? No. Great. Oh, I’m gonna watch this.
Watch that. I’ll keep an eye because dentists don’t want to be seen as salesy or pushy or recommending something that isn’t necessary. But here’s the thing. Doris comes in, she’s got a large do in the five. She’s got an mod amalgam in the six and a large mo lingually extended in the seven. If you can pitch it out, it’s quite typical, of a 65 year old in the uk.
She’s fractured the distolingual cusp from the six, and there’s some secondary carries underneath it. Now you know that that tooth therefore needs to be treated. If we’ve asked, I, I designed this 20 year question, which future paces people about how would you like your teeth to be in, let’s say 20 years?
If she’s told me she wants to keep her teeth for the next 20 years, then my advice is we’ve gotta treat that with care. Most dentists would feel quite successful if Doris chose the composite over the Amal. Most dentist feel really great if she chose the crown over anything direct, and she went for an indirect cause.
If 40% of the tooth is missing, we know that an indirect restoration is gonna be the best result. Whether it’s an inlay, onlay, or a crown or whatever, that’s gonna preserve the tooth for the longest period of time. So on our traffic light system of treatment planning, the six is. That means it’s immediate for health reasons, for oral health reasons that has to be treated.
But once we have a conversation with Doris and explain about the five and the seven, and we color code those orange because they appear to be decay free, they’re not essential to be done for oral health. But when we explain to her that. That amalgam in the five and the seven that was placed 25 years ago with an equivalent or top of my matrix band, gave her a contact point at the Marginal Ridge.
And that ideally this new, beautiful piece of jewelry that we’re gonna have many handcrafted for her on the six, really wants to have the contact point a third of the way down so that it’s easier to clean and it’s almost self cleansing and she’s not gonna. Food trapping and so on and so forth to give her the opportunity to choose whether she would like to do the five and the seven at the same time, I believe is service.
And I believe wholeheartedly that if you don’t present the five and the seven, Then that actually is not serving your patient. Now, whether she chooses to do the five and the seven is irrelevant. It’s the fact that she’s had the choice and the understanding, because otherwise what happens, and I’ve seen it and I’ve done it myself, I’ve made a beautiful crown, and the technician has put the contact point where it is on the five and the seven on the marginal rich.
It ends up food trapping the patient’s pissed off and it looks like I’ve done bad dentistry and it causes more decay further down the line. I didn’t serve the patient because I didn’t. I was embarrassed to talk to them about the five and the seven thinking I might come across pushy. Well now we talk to every patient about this with color code it red you must do to be healthy oranges worth considering.
68% of our patients choose the orange. So they do the quadrant and actually when you sit down and crunch the numbers, because our fixed costs remain the same and it’s just our variable costs that change. And because I’ll prep one tooth and 40 minutes, I can do the three teeth in 50 minutes because it’s not the prepping that takes time.
It 10 Xs your profit. So that as a quick win by having that conversation opening up the possibility that Doris might want to do the five and the seven, and if she doesn’t, that’s okay. There’s another benefit is that she knows what’s around the corner. She knows what’s coming further down the line, and I will be able to refer back to that.
Doris have done that crown. It’s absolutely stunning. It’s lasted well. And when I saw you 12 months ago and we chatted about the other two teeth, She already remembers that actually the five and seven are gonna need doing, because anything that’s orange will eventually one day become red because everything breaks down and wears out.
James: It totally makes sense. And when you said quadrant dentistry, I’m actually glad you clarified that because I’m sure when you said quadrant dentistry, our university definition of that is not just quite aligned with what you just said.
You actually built on it a little bit. So No, that’s true. That’s true. And like you say, we’re almost so scared to have these conversations. We actually kind of sabotage ourselves further down the line.
Barry: We absolutely do. And it’s good to enjoy the fact that I get to clarify what it is and ultimately it’s about giving patients the choice
because when I first spoke to a client recently, he was like, Look, I really don’t want to be that dentist that is telling patients they have to do something that they don’t need to do? And I’m like, If you’re the sort of guy I can work with, I’m not gonna be working with somebody that says, Doris, you need to do the five and the six and the seven, because that’s not aligned with my integrity and how I present things to my patients, and I’m very clear to my patients, You do not have to do this, and here’s why you might consider it.
68% of them go, Do you know what? That makes perfect sense for all the benefits of it’s done in one visit. It’s all done at the same time. The technical work on the six and the seven is the same. The composite on the five, the technical work is made to fit the compet on the five. It just makes bloody good sense.
And if it’s not right for them, for whatever reason, maybe financially right now, at least they’ve had the option and the choice. It isn’t about doing quadrants per se. It’s about opening up the possibility that the patient might want you to, and invariably, lots of them do.
James: Awesome. You touched upon something a minute ago.
That was super relevant and every business owner can relate to, and it’s you, you’re so focused on what’s right in front of you that you’re almost plugging away doing the same old things, hoping they’re gonna get your results. Whereas if you could just tweak a few of the levers behind the scenes, you’ll find that those same actions with the same amount of effort.
It gets so much more returns for you, but because you’re so focused on just blindly working as hard as you can in order to get yourself out of this problem, you’re not leveraging that to nearly the same degree as you could be. And it’s almost happened to, it has happened to me a few times. But then what I’ve had, what I’ve been fortunate enough to do is either have someone who will come along from the outside and say, James, you actually have to do it this way.
And then what it means is instead of an hour’s effort to get that level of results, it literally takes five minutes.
Barry: That’s the beauty pouching, isn’t it?
James: It’s happened to me so many times that now when I feel that happening to myself, I actually think, Okay, James. Stop what it is that you’re doing and just at least have like 10 minutes thought about, is this the best way? because it’s so easy to blindly keep doing the same thing. That’s the thing about business, it’s more about leverage. It’s maximizing the output and minimizing the input and figuring out ways to do that.
And if you do that successfully enough times, that’s where the success is. Business is a little different than. Anything like than our normal mindset or mindset outside of business, which is just 10 hours input, 20 is a hundred hours, or is 10 hours output or whatever it is.
Barry: It’s crazy in a way to think that I gross more in, so I gross more in three days.
I’ve got a couple of clients that’ve got five surgery practices and I gross more in three days than their entire practice does. Working the whole week, and it’s purely because we accidentally fell upon all of these systems that we developed, so People don’t know what they don’t know. I’ll give you an example.
When I used to play tennis well, I still play tennis, but I played county tennis and I’m short. But when I had a really good serve, my server was outstanding, but it was more accidental than it was on purpose. And I couldn’t figure out, I kept smacking the ball into the. And I’d now, and again, I get it right, and I’d be like, I need to repeat that.
But you get so stuck in it that you can’t see the solution. And so I had a coach come along and he went, It’s really simple. You need to throw the ball two centimeter further back. And I was like, What? ? And so having that guy look from the outside in going, I just course correct. Tiny, tiny change in a lever.
Took my first survey up to 82%. Ridiculous and it is having somebody that kind of understands the process has been there, done that, worn the t-shirt and goes, it’s two centimeters that way, and you’re sorted. Somebody that. So leverage, like you said, is that’s what we’re doing is we, you help people to leverage and you can pick that, You might pick something up, just this, this one, this one podcast.
You go bloody else. Never thought of it doing it that way.
James: Well, that’s the thing that I noticed that it’s almost like a mindset in itself. It’s like a mindset shift and moving away from. Is what allows you to be successful in that, that other realm. That’s what I’ve noticed anyway.
And like I say, because I’ve had that happen to me so many times. Like when I almost have the sixth sense that I’m doing it now at this point, and if you’ve never been through that, it’s quite an enlightening experience and I firmly believe that everybody needs a coach or someone to help them.
At least it’d help me massively. Anyway. So the things that we’ve covered there are more the clinical things inside the business. Let’s talk about the man management stuff and let’s talk about the other things that you can notice in a dental practice or where you can get quick results or people are tripping up.
Barry: Culture is key. It would take too long to talk about how we train that and how we do that, but ultimately having a team that supports you having a shared vision and understanding how to communicate with each of those people. Principal dentists tend to be, most principles tend to enjoy change and embrace change.
Because they’re self-employed and they’re in a business and they don’t mind doing some change when they recognize it. Most employees don’t like change. They like sameness. It’s a personality preference, people like sameness, they like to know where they’re going and what they’re doing. So change management is key, I think in any business is reminding people of what’s good, reminding people of what’s gonna remain the same, and then talking to them about what is gonna change and why, and what’s ultimately what’s in it for them. What’s the benefit of us doing this? When I originally, so one of the reasons my, I’m high growth. And I joke when I did the practice plant tour, I say, Look, I’m the laziest dentist in this room. My aim is to do as little as possible, and I pause for a dramatic effect and go of the things that I don’t have, I don’t need to do. So I will, I don’t do, I don’t talk to patients anymore really. I have my TCO do that, trained her in how I wanted to do that.
I don’t take radiographs, I don’t scan, I don’t take photographs. I don’t do pre-op or post-op instructions. Every, all of that is done so that I am as. Wet finger to forgive the phrase, wet fingered as possible, doing the higher production treatment that I am uniquely qualified to do, and then I will have other people do as much as possible that’s within their GC framework and they’re able to do, bringing your team on that journey has a massive positive impact because everybody is doing more than just the normal role.
It’s enabled our business to be more profitable, which meant that they’re getting paid more than they really would doing that normal role in another practice. So the HR stuff I never got involved with the legalities of hr. I outsourced that, but the team training I did. And the caring for and the nurturing of somebody’s personal and professional development.
I wanted to be part of that. I would take people away with me to on training courses. We went to Las Vegas, we went to Romania for the DSD training. I think culture within your business is absolutely key, and it is, if you start from service, it’s all about serving the patient. They can all jump on board with.
Those people that chase the money, don’t get the money. Those people that chase the service get both the service and the money.
James: That change management thing is really clever because actually the majority of people are quite resistant to it. And if you’re like this high energy entrepreneur slash principle coming in saying, Oh, we’re gonna do it this way this week.
We’re gonna change this, this, this, and this, then that notion, or the fact that you’re habitualize to doing. Might mean that you’re doing it again a week after and then a week after, and then a week after, and some people are. So that actually is one of the ways that you can lose. A lot of your staff won’t buy into you anymore.
They’ll just lose interest.
Barry: If you’re not consistent. If you don’t follow through, then absolutely. But also if you don’t handle things carefully, You can have some saboteurs and they might not consciously want to be sabotaging what you’re trying to do, but oftentimes their fear of change because you haven’t managed.
The expectations of that change, Sometimes their fears of change will cause them to sc your plans. Oftentimes I find with clients it is the embedded receptionist or maybe PM that’s been there for years that the patients love and adore and cause it’s not been managed or explained well enough. This particular person.
Is truly believing that they are putting the patient’s needs first by protecting the patient, by not allowing these changes to be implemented. That may be price. Increase. It may be our changes, it may be change of personnel, but oftentimes you can find that you’ve got a saboteur who ultimately has positive intent, and I remind my principles that it is their responsibility.
They haven’t managed that change for the PM or the, or the head receptionist well enough for the PM to be absolutely on board with these changes and what it means for them and for their patients. Because I think ultimately, many of my. Team that I’ve worked with have loved me, but they’ve loved the patients more.
And my wife is a prime example. She would do everything to ensure the patient journey was phenomenal, even at our own cost at times. And. To put the patients first, and that was, that was a hugely beneficial thing for us as a business, but also our relationships with our patients. And you’ve gotta manage that change.
You’ve gotta manage these people and treat them as they need to be treated and understand. Really good book is Who Move My Cheese by Blanchard. Is it Ken Blanchard?
James: I’ve never heard of that book. Is it good?
Barry: It’s good. Who moved? My Cheese? It’s an old one. It’s a really thin, easy read If you need help in understanding how people respond to change in different ways.
Who moved My Cheese?
James: Interesting. I’m gonna keep a note for that. And I’ve just about got Ryan to reading How to Win Friends and Influence People, which
Barry: El Carnegie.
James: I’m sure you’ve probably read that right.
Barry: I’ve done a load of Carnegie courses actually many years ago when he read Short Travel and Sunshine.
James: Cause he’s a huge NLP advocate as well, isn’t he?
Barry: So he was really way before nlp, so his book way before, and I think that he accidentally was, it was about being more like the other person. It was showing genuine interest. It was pre nlp. But there’s lots of similarities. And the reason I say that is NLP is an understanding of how our brain works.
And I think Dale Carnegie in the forties, which is when he wrote his books I think Dale Carnegie was really just talking about human behavior and human nature as he saw it, and some of the things that work beautifully well because we are ultimately, were human. He didn’t really understand the psychology or why it worked.
He just knew it would work. So when you show genuine interest, well NLP comes along in the seventies from Gringer and Bangla and begins to help us understand why that works. And so you understand if I do this, this happens, and this is because I was in rapport. And rapport creates a sense of likeness, and that increases the level of trust.
So on and so forth. So there’s lots of little things that NLP allowed us to understand how it is that these things work. And then beyond nlp, the neuroscience, there’s the latest research that comes out almost weekly now is adding even more value to that. And the understanding of language came from Milton Erickson.
So when you say certain things, does it have this, Then since then we’ve had Robert Chaldini. Robert Chaldini, and his principles of influence is phenomenal. And I’ve done my whole training on getting recommendations, referrals, and reviews, five star reviews is all based on Houdini’s principles.
I trained. With his academy in the States and one of his trainers happens to be a dentist. And so utilizing what I learned, I put it into my dental practice and that’s why no marketing for 18 years and 30 new patients, we tap into the human principles of influence. Genuinely and with integrity in order to have constant recommendations, referrals, and five star reviews.
And up until I sold the practice, I don’t know where we’re at right now, but we had over a hundred Google reviews, all genuine, all five star, Not single one, less than five star. And that’s because we ask for it, but we tap into things like reciprocity and it’s brilliant fun to learn it. So we share that as well.
So you can get this constant. Never ending recommendations without having to place an advert. We like new patients from adverts or marketing as well, but you don’t, it doesn’t need to be done.
James: Fair enough. The thing about that book was about halfway through it, So the thing about it is through reading that book, it’s all kind of stuff that maybe 90, 80, 90% of it but then there’s that little 10% in there that just reframes things and slightly different angle.
Barry: What’s the best thing you’ve got out of it so far?
James: I think here’s the best thing, and this is kind of what I was building up too. Basically it was saying that if you incentives work way better than reprimands basically, or criticisms, so he was saying that every single time.
you go into any sort of arrangement or deal or transaction with anybody. If you frame it as a mutual positive sum game rather than you’re winning and there losing. Or you’re losing and there winning. If you make it look like it’s a symbiotic thing that you’re both winning on or not, well not even make it look like that.
Just explain to them why it is because it always should be. And make that clear. Then at that point, they understand it’s an incentive for you. And it’s a way more effective transaction. And I knew that already, but I usually do that, but it just made me think to myself, How can I do that every single time?
How can I explain it in that sense, not just most of the time or just when I feel it’s necessary, but literally every single time. And then from,
Barry: Have you figured that out? How can you do that every single time?
James: I feel like it’s just a perspective, isn’t it, or a vantage point, isn’t it? Where every single thing that you do, we should always try to play positive. Some games rather. So we both win rather than winners or losers. I suppose it’s just actively looking for the reason why the other person’s also a winner and making that clear to them rather than, Basing it on some sort of assumption that they understand that already, because otherwise it might appear that way to them unless we spell it out to them and make it clear.
Does that make sense?
Barry: It made perfect sense. It just so happens I posted, I think it was yesterday or the day before yesterday about this very thing packaged in a slightly different way. And let me tell you, you can tell me whether it’s, whether you think it’s aligned and that is I talk about a UFC with every new patient I meet. And it’s not a fight McGregor, it’s an upfront contract.
Barry: And I’m very, I’m very purposeful and my intent is there, which is I’ll say, James, my job today is to make sure that this is without a shadow of a doubt, the best experience you’ve ever had in a dental practice.
I’m gonna make sure that everything I do for you is comfortable. I’m gonna make sure that you are in control and in charge. If you wanna stop me, you stop me straight away. And my aim is to knock your socks off so that when you walk out of here you’re like, Oh my God, that’s the best experience I’ve ever had.
And they’re responsive to that. They’re like, Okay, some are a little skeptical. And then I say, And when I do it’s a presupposition. It’s, presupposing that I’m doing it not if, If I do. That gives doubt. When I do, I’m gonna ask that because I’ve knocked your socks off. I’m gonna ask that you tell your family, your friends, your colleagues, and your friends, only the nice ones, but that you tell them how good I am and how well I looked after you so that I still be here for you in the next 20 years and look after your family and friends in the same way that I’m gonna look after you. So when I do that, would it be okay that you go and tell people and their answer is yes. So then I’ll give them their new patient experience, which knocks their socks off. No one’s ever spoken to me like that before and I’m like, Great.
And now you’re gonna tell people or I’ll use my injection technique where they have no idea they’ve had an injection. And I’ll go, Good, aren’t I? And I’ll play with it. And the aim of the game’s for me to knock their socks off and have this level with you, where it’s a win-win for both of us. I genuinely want them to have the best experience ever, and I’m genuinely gonna ask them to tap into that, to then recommend family and friends because they want their family and friends to have the best experience as well.
So I think to me, that kind of is that positive sum for everybody. So everybody’s winning.
James: I like that a lot. And you frame it from the start and there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t ask for a Google review because it is a positive. And if you frame it from the point of view, that is a positive sum game, which is what you’re saying, which I like a lot.
I like it. Not zero sum games. Zero sum games are where there’s a winner and a loser, and the exact proportion at which you win, the other person is also lost, if that makes sense. So you basically take their money, you gain, they lose that exact amount of money.
It’s a zero sum overall. It’s kind of a mindset almost that if you look for
Barry: And that’s the same in, That’s beautiful because that’s the same in dentistry, if people are chasing the money in their dental practice, that’s the zero sum game because they’re not adding enough value to the patient.
For me it’s about adding that value. It’s about showing that value and ultimately then my patients are prepared to pay more money for that value because they value. So that’s a zero sum game is it’s probably in every area of life probably in relationships as well. Significant relationships.
James: It’s a mindset and basically if you can just go through any time that you are entering into any sort of transaction, if you have the mindset where you think, no matter what this person gives me in return money, whatever it is, some sort an item where there’s physical or. Not whatever, whatever that, that they give you in return.
If you can think to them yourself, How can I give this person at least as much or more back so that they’re always a winner. You’ll always have happy customers, happy spices, happy friends, everything. Because people know it’s a no brainer. Why would I not be friends? Why would I not work with this guy?
And whatever I give him, he gives me more back every time or at least the same. Beautiful. But for some reason, it’s a great question. It’s hard to come by that, that mindset. I don’t know why.
Barry: I think once you know the question, you’ve done my course and a question is the most powerful language pattern.
There is a statement can either be accepted or rejected in a heartbeat. So if I said we are on Facebook, you either go, Yes, we are, or no, we’re. If I say to you, what kind of platform are we on right now? You might go, Well, it’s Facebook, or it’s Facebook Live, or It’s this, or it’s, you come up with different answers.
One of the biggest problems with human beings is we ask ourselves really crap questions like, Why did that happen to me? Or, or what, what, You know, Why did she do that? Your subconscious mind has to serve, has to service that with an answer. And if you ask a crap question, you generally will get a crap answer.
The quality of your questions determines the quality of life, and when you ask that question, what is it that I can do to ensure that I’m giving as much value to this person as possible, that I’m giving more than they could possibly give me? Then you come up with the. Does that make sense? So the fact that people don’t come across the mindset, actually all they need to do is write that question down or remember that question and then ask themselves that question, and you come up with the right.
James: Love it. And that’s a huge part of, I honestly think that the people who do the best in business, it’s about your technical ability and whatever field that you’ve chosen, but it’s about having insane levels of emotional intelligence and being able to put yourself in other person’s shoes.
It’s a massive, massive, massive part that is linked to your success in business, and it’s still underrated. The soft skills are the hard skills. Not the other way around. The soft skills are the actual hard skills. Seriously. Barry, we’re coming up.
Barry: They’re not taught one, are they?
James: No, they’re not. They need to be. It can be taught to a good degree. I do believe there’s an innate ability there, but we can all improve 100% and it’s not really spoken about. In fact. What is the top two I think from memory. I was reading a poll or a survey once, and it was like the two top things that ensure people have a good time or have an enjoyable visit to the dentist.
Number one, the fact that the dentist was paying free. And number two, the dentist’s persona and soft skills, whether or not they clicked. It’s actually the technical quality of the work is way down the list, So if we wanna retain our patients, there’s the two place that we should look right there.
And as well as that work very hard to get. At the actual technical side, the hard skills as well. But all I’m saying is that even if you are extremely talented at whatever procedures, you prefer to do whatever your clinical dentistry you’ll still struggle to retain patients unless you look at those two things, So again, we’re almost sabotaging yourself because in order to actually practice that dentistry, We have to be able to talk to patients as well.
That’s the point of it.
Barry: There’s a phrase by I think it was Brianna Brown said people don’t care what you know until they know that you care. And I think many offers in our profession spend hours and thousands on developing our skills, but then don’t spend time and energy on developing the skills.
In order to be able to communicate to the patient clearly so that we get to play with our skills and practice our skills. So they, the two have to go hand in hand without a doubt, Mike.
James: There we go. Barry, you’ve been very generous with your time today. We’re coming up to the 50 minutes mark.
It’s been fun. It always is fun, man. We’ll have you back on the group in no time. Wisdom is sold. Not sold by the hour. Wisdom is so own value. There’ll be some gems in there today that someone can instantly make more money and go into work tomorrow and literally make more money or turn their S on should they be struggling.
Barry: There’s so much more. So if anybody has a question, they can happily answer.
James: Top stuff. Barry Oulton, you’ll be able to find them in the group members. Barry, as I say, thanks so much for your time today. We’ll catch up again super soon.
Barry: You’re alleging my good to see you. Take care,
James: See you soon.