By DR SIMON HOCKEN
Together with our clients, we believe one of the biggest issues in UK dentistry is under-treatment of patients, not (as the Daily Mail would have it) over-treatment.
One of the key skills we help our clients acquire is the ability to communicate well and confidently, and we do this by training them to clearly present all the pathology in a patient’s mouth, prioritise treatment needs and offer the patient long term solutions. As you might expect, once they put this into place their patient value and daily gross go up and they often have to zone their diaries and hire a great associate to cope with all the new work!
Very often, the next hurdle they identify is that it feels like it’s all down to them; so they want to know how to get their team to help increase sales. So, we get their associates, hygienists and support teams involved in sales to establish a sales culture within the practice.
This is no easy task and the chances of success are very much tied up with the attitudes, behaviours and values of the team. For example, if some of the team feel the NHS offers perfectly adequate dentistry for all and private dentistry is simply a rip-off, then no amount of training from us will help. It’s a bit like having a dyed in the wool Ford salesman, who believes Ford makes the best cars, working for an Audi dealership… They will simply sabotage their own and, worse, everybody else’s efforts.
Providing team members are all willing to put their collective shoulders to the sales wheel, there are some simple things the principal and the team can do to help create a sales culture.
Here are my top seven:
- The leader takes responsibility for maintaining the energy and positive vibe in the practice (and when they are away, someone else steps into their shoes to do this), so the practice has an upbeat atmosphere. No complaining, no sour faces… The leader is present, visible, focused and energetic.
- The leader sets out the practice values. These might include: Always doing the right thing for patients, always keeping patients informed on choices and fees, running on time, providing painless treatments, always seeing patients who are in pain.
- The team shares clear sales targets. These will include: average daily yield, average treatment plan value and conversion, enquiry conversions, membership plan conversions. The team clearly understands the value of follow-through and follow-up.
- There is a reward structure in place that rewards the whole team for the practice’s success.
- There is a data stream that allows everyone to understand how well the practice is doing in real time and where the roadblocks are. The practice team is always learning from this data.
- The customer service is exemplary and driven by established processes. Team members have permission to go above and beyond process and offer remarkable service, so that patients are truly delighted with their experience.
- There is no sales prevention going on such as: unanswered telephone calls and emails, patients not knowing the cost of the planned treatment, treatment plans posted (!) weeks after the consultation, a radio at reception playing Heart FM, faded blue-tacked messages throughout the practice telling patients off…
And an extra one:
All the team (including the principal) have fantastic, white, straight teeth, having had their periodontal, restorative and cosmetic needs (and wants) fixed for free by the practice clinicians. And the team wears badges such as, “I’m wearing invisible braces, ask me about them!”
If you would like some help building a sales culture in your practice please get in touch for a free chat over Skype with me.