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Welcome to dentistry’s largest dental hygiene practice management resource center! We are the leading dental hygiene consultant/coaching business.

We will increase your TOTAL dental practice profitability without working more hours or days each year.

- Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS, Speaker, Author. Dental Hygiene Coach & Consultant

Dental Practice Solutions - Debbie Bittke

2 Lessons I learned from Bill Rancic

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

October 17, 2011

Recently I attended the ADA meeting in Las Vegas and prior to the annual session for the ADA was our annual meeting for the ADMC. (Academy of Dental Management Consultants) Our keynote speaker this year was Mr. Bill Rancic. He will always be one of the best speakers I have ever heard speak!

Maybe you are asking “Who is Bill Rancic?” In case you missed the first episode of Donald Trump’s Reality Show, The Apprentice. Bill Rancic was the one person that Donald Trump chose to live in New York and mentor for one year. Bill Rancic was Season 1’s first winner of The Apprentice.

Donald Trump chose Bill to be his right-hand man, out of a competitive pool of 250,000 applicants to be crowned the original Apprentice. Bill has worked for and been personally mentored by Donald Trump for years and has traveled with Mr. Trump across the US and internationally.

Bill is a true American entrepreneur. At the age of 23, he founded the internet-based company, Cigars around the World, in a 400 sq. ft. studio apartment.The first positive trait that I noticed was his Authenticity. If you ever have the chance to be in a room with him, you will understand what I am talking about! Bill just “Is who he is”.

In 2004, the first episode of The Apprentice aired and Bill Rancic was chosen to be “The Apprentice” to Mr. Donald Trump. The last runner up, Kwame Jackson, was “fired” by Mr. Trump.

So why did Mr. Trump choose Bill Rancic to be The Apprentice? I will share only a few reasons and there are two specific lessons that I learned. There are two which stand out for me.

LESSON ONE

The first lesson I learned is about “Change”. I think this word really stood out to me because I consistently talk to dentists who are not dealing well with this economic strife we are experiencing in this period of time. I ask my clients: “What ideas or thoughts do you have to improve your current outcome?” And I will ask, “How can I support you?” Many dental practice owners will tell me: “I want to wait it out” and others will say “I will just accept it for what it is.”

But I ask you, “Does this sound like something you really want to hear?” Let me ask you this, “Do you want to just let your dental business BLEED?” I don’t mean your patients’ mouth’s bleed but your cancellations and your decline in New Patients. “Is this what you really want in your dental practice?” And “What can be done to reduce the BLEEDING today?!” Read on, maybe you will understand the lesson I learned and I want to share with you today.

Bill was up against Kwame Jackson, in the finale episode of The Apprentice. Why did Mr. Trump pick Bill Rancic to be The Apprentice? Kwame made his decisions based on his college education. Rancic claimed to win The Apprentice because of his “out-of-the-boxthinking. Rancic told us that when things are not going well or running smoothly, it is important to make a change. He said that it is important to make wise decisions early on and not wait to make a decision. Rancic believes that his ability to “think outside-of-the-box” is what made him a winner.

As dental practice business owners, it is also important to know when to make changes in your day-to-day business strategies, systems and functions when they are not working. I ask you now “Are you willing to just accept the BLOODY MESS?” “Or are you willing to create systems that can make a change and add additional streams of income to your dental practice today?”

LESSON TWO

The second point that really stands out to me is something else I heard Bill say: “When you reach success, never forget what got you there.” I said it in the beginning and I noticed immediately, that no matter how much money Bill earns and no matter how much fame he accomplishes, he is still that boy who had a grandmother that taught him how to cook blueberry pancakes. He is from a middle-class, Chicago, Illinois neighborhood. “He is what he is.”

Bill believes the American Dream begins with an idea. This idea can be one like most kids have. It’s called selling lemonade from your own lemonade stand. You mark the price at 25 cents for a glass of lemonade. Once you have the idea, you need to work hard and never give up. I remember one day last summer when my granddaughters and a young neighbor boy wanted to sell lemonade. We went to the local grocery store and bought everything necessary to make the lemonade. The kids had to add up what it cost to buy the ingredients and then they split the money earned minus the money they borrowed from me to buy the ingredients. They worked hard but their cute smiles and eagerness to earn a dollar made it a lot easier to sell $10.00 in lemonade! Of course they had to split that $10.00 – 3 ways! They were left with just under $3.00 each and their smiles turned a bit sour at the end of the hard work. I am certain they will never forget how much fun they had that day. I know they will sell Lemonade again one day soon!

I believe that little boy down the street will be named “Most likely to become a Millionaire in the next 15 years!” That boy has a fire inside of him and at the young age of 8 he has the will, the drive, to learn what to do, so he can be on the top of his game!

BE EQUIPPED

You have aspirations and you must be equipped with the correct knowledge to make your ideas, and your dreams, work for you. Once your dreams become a reality you will smell that sweet smell of success. Most of my mentors do not know my name, and probably never will, but they have made an impact on my life that will always be a testament to them.

I want to say to you, those who are my followers, that you need to create a plan and you cannot wait any longer to put a working plan into action today! If what you are doing today is not working for you, then you need to make some serious changes. Change the direction of the sail on your sail boat.

Stop the hemorrhaging now. There are many experts who know the shortest path to get you where you want and need to be. Don’t wait another day! Always remember today and tomorrow, the exact path you took, to get you where you want to be.
Knowledge + Power = Success

And I know, speaking for myself, I will never forget where I came from; just a middle-class neighborhood in a suburb of Los Angeles, California, with a dream to one day become a dental hygienist. That dream became a reality about twenty-five years ago. I now have bigger dreams and larger goals in life now! But…I will never forget…

Remember without the first idea, your dreams can not become reality. What is your plan for Success in 2012?

Home Care Products: Only One Piece of the Pie to Increase Profits 

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

October 5, 2011

People want to improve their smiles, and the market for related products is growing exponentially. Every day, television commercials rave about oral hygiene products and cleaner, whiter teeth. Even advertisements not specifically for oral care show people with beautiful, white teeth – and  viewers want what they hear and see daily. That’s good news for your dental practice, but are you doing all you can to capitalize on this opportunity?

You may have experienced frustration when patients return months after a visit, never having purchased the home care product you recommended. Patients leave the dental practice with the good intention of purchasing what you recommend, but lets’ face it – life gets in the way, and many of your patients just never get around to buying the recommended products.

All that said, an often overlooked – yet significant – profit center in a dental practice is selling home care products. These products can contribute at least $30,000 to your practice’s net annual profits, and selling them requires only a small up-front investment. Even better, a quick return on investment is easily accomplished when everyone on the dental team participates and understands the value of offering these products. The point here is not to pressure a sale but to promote optimal oral health and create a simple solution for your patients.

Build Up Your Reputation as the Expert

As you well know, patients get loads of oral care product information on the internet, from commercials, and even from makeover reality shows. Unfortunately, patients won’t even think to ask their dental providers about an oral care product they recently saw. As dental professionals, however, we must remind the public that we are THE experts on oral health and thus on the products that protect our patients’ smiles.

Find ways around your office to remind your patients know just how much you stay abreast of the research, the rapid changes in technology, and all the new products available for consumers. For example, you could include a section on your website that reviews products or simply informs patients about new products on the market. You can do the same with pamphlets or an office e-newsletter.

Bottom line, you want patients asking YOUR opinion so that if they see an ad on TV, internet of a magazine they like, they go to you for the expert opinion. Then, if your dental office has that product or a similar one available, you can sell it right then and there! Not only can you sell it but you can educate them about the best way to use the product. Once patients understand exactly how to use something new they are ten times more likely to begin using the product you recommend.

Let Your Patient Education Do the Selling

As a dental professional or hygienist, you may feel like you are running all day on a treadmill, and the last thing you want to do is add another task to your plate. Building a home care product niche, however, doesn’t have to involve a ton of extra work if you already educate your patients about home care products.

When patients learn from you what the most effective products are, their visit to the dental office will likely exceed their expectations. The icing on the cake (and the easy part) is actually having those products available for the patient to buy. This setup will create a WOW type of dental visit with little extra effort on your part. Tip: Be sure to set aside a few minutes during the patient appointment to demonstrate the proper use of the products. This is a perfect way to ensure the patient understands how to effectively use the recommended product.

Added bonus: These home care talks will improve your patients’ self-efficacy. You have taken time to help patients understand how to use a new product, and they will feel confident and at ease about buying it and then using it. Plus, having oral health care products available is just one more opportunity to add that personal touch – and patients may begin asking for refills when they return.

Get Creative With the Holidays

With the holidays around the corner, your patients will be thinking long and hard about what to buy that special person. So, why not suggest a beautifully wrapped oral health care package? Your oral health care products can be packaged in groups that include power toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouth rinse, tongue cleaners, and floss. Be creative and add other products such as xylitol, etc.

This is not only a wonderful way to keep your patients healthy, but it is also a great way for them to share the good word about your stellar team of professionals. You may just discover that patients who purchase these gifts will passively be referring new patients to your dental practice. The recipients of these gifts will need to buy replacements for their oral health care products, and you may be pleasantly surprised when a new patient calls to schedule an appointment after receiving this creative gift purchased at your dental office.

Do Your Homework First

Although we highly suggest adding this profit center to your dental business model, we also suggest taking an honest look at your practice and making sure you have the resources available to make it work. Here are a few questions to consider before diving into home care sales. Take time to share the questions with your team members, and listen to their suggestions on how this can work best for your business model.

  1. What will your ROI be on the sale of these products?
    -Discuss the cost of the products you will provide and how much to initially stock.
    -Discuss the fees you will charge when you do carry these products.
    -Find out if these products are covered by insurance.
    -Note the billing code for patients who purchase these products.
  2. Do you have a place to store these products?
    -Find a time to clean your cabinets and purge expired and send-back products.
    -Find out if you can send certain products back to the distributor.
  3. How can you increase the odds of patients purchasing the products you recommend?
    -Discuss how you can communicate the importance of optimal oral health.
    -What words will you use to promote home care most effectively?
  4. If patients buy these recommended products, will they understand how and when to use them?
    -Have written home care instructions accompanying the new products.
    -Have the home care and product use instructions on your website, as well.

Staying abreast of the new products and research to support their use is key. The last quarter of the year is a good time to schedule your annual strategic planning session. At this meeting, determine as a team what products you want to provide patients. Discuss the costs and benefits for you and your patients regarding the products you decide to make available for purchase in your dental office.

You will exceed patient expectations when you consider their total health and save them time and money with their everyday shopping needs. Our world today is extremely fast-paced, and offering home care products will become a benefit to your patients that goes a long way!