Rock and Roll Dentists

I meet a lot of Celebrity Dentists. No no, not the lot who feature in the annual Dentistry Top 50 vanity parade, I mean the ones who are ‘celebs’ in their own town or on their own patch. They have often built their practices (or their patient lists) from scratch and they need little in the way of marketing to continue to grow their practices, other than to gently encourage their adoring patients to refer their friends and family, which of course, they willingly do…

They usually have some or all of the following seven characteristics. They are:

  • Very charming or charismatic.
  • Natural networkers
  • Inspiring both to their team and their patients, (they willingly share their life experiences).
  • Passionate about life (and dentistry!) and the lives of their team and patients.
  • Fantastic at putting people at ease in their company.
  • Determined to offer a great service, (running on time is an obsession, as is painless dentistry and making their patients feel very special).
  • Quite good at clinical dentistry…

For they are the Gordon Ramsays or the Jamie Olivers of the dental world. Or at least the analogy works when Gordon and Jamie had just one restaurant. As you know, these days, Gordon and Jamie own many restaurants between them, having pulled a neat trick. Their restaurants are full of satisfied diners who don’t know (or care) whether their dinner is being cooked by the man himself or by someone else. What they do care about is that their dinner is every bit as good, or even better than they were expecting. They understand that they will get a good meal whether Gordon/Jamie is in the kitchen or not.

My celeb dentists have full day lists and often way too many patients to look after, their days being filled with check ups and conversations. So, naturally, they look for help, hiring hygienists, therapists and associates. Unsurprisingly, their patients are reluctant to see anyone but ‘the main man/woman’ and sometimes, only just tolerate their support acts. So, our celeb dentists, having sold all their time and booked their diaries full for weeks ahead, are stuffed. And they perceive that the only strategies available to help them to solve their overwhelm are to put up their fees (thereby thinning out some of their patients) and/or work even longer hours…

At Breathe, we are currently working with several such practice owners and if you are a celebrity dentist (or aspire to be one) I thought you might be interested in some of the strategies we are helping them implement so as they can move through their glass ceilings and grow their businesses, just like Gordon and Jamie.

  1. Analyse and clearly understand what it is you do that patients are really attracted to. What is it that they love about you (and your practice)?
  2. Distil the essence of this into systems that ensure that you and your team always deliver this (like the hotels who put the sweet on the pillow).
  3. Build these behaviours into a personal, recognisable brand.
  4. Hire your team on the basis of their attitude and behaviours, not just their skills. Look for people like you.
  5. Spend a lot of time mentoring your support team, hygienists, therapists and associates in what you do and how you do it.
  6. Set very high standards for behaviour and targets for performance, think Gordon Ramsay, (and get rid of anyone on the team who can’t hack it.)
  7. Make your role to bring on people who will do what you do in their own style. (Accept that they might start their own practices, but know you will always be the ‘daddy’.)
  8. Re- brand the business without your name in the title. That is, separate your personal brand from the practice brand. Now, you can open more practices if you choose under the practice brand.
  9. Pull back so that the practices work without you, that is, create leverage.
  10. Sell the business!

The key to success is to be able to grow people who can do SOME (not all) of what you ~ and inspire, train and motivate them.

If you are a celebrity dentist who would like some help at growing your practice please contact Ernie on 0845 299 7209 or

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