Roadside Live |17 min read

Roadside Live: Benefits of Being a Member of a Dental Advocacy Group [VIDEO]

We’re always on the lookout for organizations and partners who can support our practices, which is one reason we ❤️ the team from BEST for Dentistry… This text opens a new tab to the company’s website….

BEST is a dental advocacy group, but ultimately, they’re so much more, helping improve efficiency, reduce costs, and drive patient acquisition.

In this video, Kristin Nistler and Sarah Patterson will touch on:

Watch the video above. 👆 Or read the transcript below! 👇

Whitney: Hi, everybody. Welcome to Roadside Live. We’re so excited today. We have two guests from BEST for Dentistry, Kristin and Sarah. Thank you both for joining us today. I would love to give you both the opportunity to introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do for BEST.

Kristin: Sure, I can go first. My name’s Kristin Nistler, and I am the alliance partner program manager at BEST for Dentistry, which is just a fancy name for meaning that I work with all of our vendor partners.

Sarah: And I’m Sarah Patterson. I am the marketing and operations manager with BEST for Dentistry, and I do all the fun stuff, I think. I do all the fun marketing and advertising, and overall operations.

Whitney: I think that’s the fun stuff too, Sarah. I’m with you. Well, welcome, Kristin and Sarah. We’ve been really excited to have you guys join us. We’ve been planning this for a long time. We’ve seen the value that BEST delivers to dental practices, and we’re really excited to share a little bit more with everyone.

Okay. So, you know, the theme today is: What are the benefits of being a part of a dental advocacy group? And so maybe we can start with that.

Kristin, what is a dental advocacy group?

Kristin: Yeah, thanks, Whitney. First off, thank you so much for having us. We’re really excited to be here.

A dental advocacy group is a team of individuals that are dedicated to empowering, in this case, dentists and leveling the playing field for independent dentists within the industry.

And so there are many things that go along with that in how we do that, you know, we have strategic partnerships, which, you know, includes partners like Roadside Dental Marketing, by bringing together like-minded individuals we’re able to negotiate collective bargaining power, and we also offer support through account management and education.

So we can really help practices continue to grow and reach their goals and offer additional revenue opportunities for them and help them focus on what they really want to be doing, which is treating their patients.

Whitney: Wonderful. So can you tell me a little bit of background about BEST for Dentistry and its mission and culture?

Kristin: Yeah, I’d love to, thanks. So BEST is actually – not a lot of people know this – but it’s an acronym. It stands for building everyone’s success together.

And like I mentioned previously:

Our whole goal is to level the playing field for independent dentists and ensure that they are receiving benefits typically reserved for corporate dentistry, without having to sacrifice their clinical autonomy.

So they’re still choosing, you know, what’s being done in their practice and how they run their practice. We’re just there to support them and give them the same type of access that corporate dentistry would have.

Our mission, you know, we believe in communities. We really know that independent dentists are passionate about the communities they serve, extending beyond dentistry, right? They’re usually supporting their baseball team or whatever organization, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts. And we are passionate about serving communities, just like they are. So we want to be able to support them.

And then, you know, in terms of our story, it’s a really fun story to tell. So if I ramble on a little bit, please forgive me.

But it dates back to 2013. So BEST was actually founded by four partners in the business. So I’ll kind of get into each piece they play in that. But back in 2013, one of our partners’ wives, who’s a dentist, Dr. Douglas, purchased her first practice. So she quickly realized, you know, the person she purchased it from was a dentist in his eighties. And she realized a lot of things hadn’t been updated in the time he was running his practice.

So there was a lot of work for her to do – here she was, she got her dream of owning her first practice. And then there’s additional investments she has to make. And, really realized there wasn’t a lot of business classes in dental school. So she didn’t have a lot of support in that area. And having to invest further into her practice after already incurring debt and dental school, you know, it was a lot of work. So she didn’t have anybody in her corner helping her navigate through that; extending beyond her supply rep or maybe her accountant, there wasn’t a lot of direction for her.

So she talked to her husband, Craig, and they said, well, this sounds like an opportunity. Let’s get together some of your dental colleagues from school and see if we can put together a group that can support one another in this area.

And so, after recruiting her dental colleagues, they’ve got 40 or 50 dentists together that said, this is a great idea – we’ve got this mission to kind of create this movement and make some changes. What’s the next step?

So that idea ended up having to get shelved for a couple of years, just because 50 dentists wasn’t enough to move the needle in the grand scheme of things with these larger organizations, these big names in the dental supply and realm.

So fast forward a couple of years, and Dr. Douglas is going to a continuing education seminar, and Dr. Michael Abernathy was speaking. And he was saying dentistry looks like pharmacy and medical did 15 -20 years ago in that we’re starting to see this wave of these corporate dentistry and dental service organizations buying out these smaller practices. And if we don’t do something about it, we might get swallowed up by this big tidal wave. So we need to do something now.

And that sparked something. She said, this is exactly what Craig’s been saying. I need to get you two together to talk. So she organized a lunch for them to have this conversation.

And soon after, BEST for Dentistry was put together.

And so Dr. Abernathy began – he’s a speaker author, he’s helped turn dental practices around, so pretty well known in the dental industry. We were quickly able to grow to over a thousand practices and then start having those meaningful conversations with vendor partners.

And so in that time, so that was back in 2015. So in the past six years, we’ve grown to have over 60 strategic partners that we work with that give our members BEST’s access to pricing and education and support. And yeah, over 1,200 practices now that we’re able to help with BEST for Dentistry.

Whitney: Wow. I love that story and kind of hearing from the very beginning the evolution of BEST. And one of the things that I really love that you mentioned too is community. And that that is such an important part of BEST’s mission and culture. It’s something that we really encourage our doctors too, to really create those strong communities, those strong relationships, because there are benefits all around for everyone involved.

One thing that I forgot to mention to our audience today too, is that if you have any questions for Kristin and Sarah, please put them in the comments, and we’ll make sure to get those answered for you.

So I’d love to hear a little bit more about why BEST, what sets BEST apart, why is it such a beneficial organization for its members, and Sarah, maybe you can speak to that a little bit?

Sarah: Yeah, absolutely. So like what Kristen has said is that we are grassroots – we do come from dentistry. It’s that we’re not just a large corporation trying to come in and do what we’re really trying to do the opposite of with independence and dentistry. We’re trying to kind of preserve that and bring that up to par with everything else.

So with that grassroots feeling behind us, we actually really are truly passionate about what we do. So we deliver that to our membership through our advocacy. We offer time savings and value. The collective bargaining power that we have. And then also that we’re a full-service support system for them.

And really, the advocacy starts with leveling the playing field, you know, giving them the same type of access as corporate, not normally associated with membership.

We like to put them in touch with anything that’s going to help them become successful.

You know, with a background myself and also our founding partners in small business, we really see the value of the small business owner and the challenges they face, then also the potential of growth that they also have, that they may not always have access to.

So, through areas of volume and efficiency, we understand that those dentists, they want to be chairside, they want to be with their patients. They don’t want to have to price, compare, shop around for the things that are going to make them stand out, how to build their brand, you know, every vertical within the practice.

So that’s where they reach out to us. They have dedicated account managers, and those account managers really try to get in there and get to know the practice, know each unique individual situation. So then they can be the ones researching this stuff for them.

You know, we oftentimes have dentists call us and say, “Hey, I need to find XYZ. I don’t have the time to research this.” Our account managers are on top of it. They’re figuring it out, and they’re sending off that information as fast as possible.

Yeah, we want to remain their number one support system.

Whitney: And I love that you mentioned too, that doctors are immersed in clinical care; that’s where they want to be too. They want to be chairside and working with their patients. They don’t necessarily have the time or the desire always to be digging and finding all of those other things that are really crucial to running their business too.

Sarah: Yeah. And that’s something we pride ourselves in, is that’s why we have this large network of strategic alliance partners, that Kristin has helped foster these relationships – that we carefully vet out who we partner with, you know, just like Roadside. We like to find that companies that kind of match our mission and our similarities so that we can deliver top-notch delivery to our members.

We don’t want to put them in the situation of not getting the highest level of service that they deserve.

Whitney: And, you know, I can say just from our perspective, as a partner, one of the things that we really appreciate is that we meet regularly with your team to talk about, you know, what are some of the new things that we’re offering and how can we benefit your members.

And I love that we have that face time with each other on a quarterly basis to be able to talk about what’s new, what do we have that can really benefit your members.

And just a quick story too:

Last February, Angela and I were out in Arizona for an AADOM chapter meeting. And there was a BEST for Dentistry rep there that we got to meet face to face. Before you know it, so many people at that chapter meeting started talking about how much they loved BEST, and how much money it had saved the practice, and how it had made their lives easier. I wish I had recorded it. It was like a bunch of glowing testimonials just popped out of nowhere for BEST.

But I think that really speaks to the value and the benefits that you deliver for your practices.

Sarah: Well, thank you. I’m glad you shared that story. I love hearing that.

Kristin: Yeah, same. I mean, we want to be their trusted advocate, an extension, you know, of their dental team. And we just know that our partners support our philosophy, our culture, and what our mission is, and they want to support our dentists.

And so that’s really good to hear. I mean, for us, it seems like a no-brainer, you know, and we just invite them to get to know us and see if it’s the right fit for their practice. Because I think, you know, with the extensive offerings, something we didn’t really talk about a lot yet, but we also offer education.

So, you know, it’s not all about savings. You can’t save your way to success. We always say that it’s a piece of it. It’s very important, but we have our account management team, we have our education, we have so many layers to how we can support the practice.

Whitney: This wasn’t necessarily planned, so I hope I’m not throwing too much of a curveball, but could the two of you tell us a little bit more about that education, and what you provide for your members?

Sarah: Yeah, so we just launched a platform that Kristin and I have worked hard on called BEST University, and that’s a place where we kind of house everything that we want to get out to our members. Because we understand that our members may be aligned with a certain vendor partner of ours, but they might not always understand all the additional sides vendor partners can offer them as well, even outside of savings or the services.

And so the BEST for Dentistry University is a way in which we can get this information out to our members. So we set up webinars, we put them in alignment with vendor partner educational platforms that they also offer, in addition to, you know, industry-related articles and blogs, CE opportunities, events, anything that we can kind of put in front of our membership we do because we understand again, is that goes back to that time management piece.

There’s so much coming out, a dentist and a small business owner, your hygienists, everybody is really busy, and you can not filter through all that information. So if you could have somebody kind of be that filter for you, and know in the right type of information, we feel that they’re gonna be at their highest success level there.

Whitney: Yeah, that’s beautiful. I couldn’t agree more. We did get a question, and it’s a wonderful question:

What is the biggest challenge that your members are facing right now?

Kristin: I’m trying to think of the biggest challenge. Right now, I know that there are staffing issues – it can be hard finding hygienists.

You know, it’s a tough time coming – I don’t want to say coming off the end of a pandemic cause we’re still very much in it – but trying to find qualified employees… some of them are scared, some of them are going to other industries, some of them are working from home, you know, have completely taken on a new career. We’ve kind of heard it all.

So that’s been certainly a challenge for them. I think it’s one of the most recent ones I’ve been hearing a lot in terms of hot issues that are happening right now.

Whitney: We’ve been hearing that same thing.

Sarah: We have found that the way we’ve been successful in helping our membership with that type of challenge is by bringing them opportunities for recruiting, partners we have in recruitment, and we also have an extensive employee benefits package… This text opens a new tab to BEST’s employee benefits page… that we offer to our membership. It puts them in alignment with retirement benefits, HR benefits or, you know, resources, and then also 401k and health insurance.

So trying to get these things out there, and if a member comes to us with a challenge, like, you know, I have staffing issues, I’m having problems with X, Y, and Z. We really try our best to find the right fit for them. Even if it’s outside of the BEST for Dentistry partnership, we really try to put them in alignment with what’s going to work best for them.

Whitney: That’s really valuable. That’s incredible. I love that. Well, I understand that you have a special offer available for any viewers who might want to test the waters.

Sarah, could you tell me a little bit more about that?

Sarah: Yeah. So, you get to try us for 30 days… This text opens a new tab to the sign up for free trial…. 30 days isn’t very long. So, if you are going to take advantage of that, you know, sign up online on our website at… This text opens a new tab to the company’s website… with the code: ROADSIDELIVE30. It’s also in the chat here, or you can reach out to us at any time.

But as soon as you sign up for that, give us a call. We’d like to do a discovery call with you so that we understand who you are. We put a name and face and voice together. Again, we’d like to make that personal connection; we can get you started right away with your pain points and where we can help point you in the right direction.

Whitney: That is an outstanding offer. You guys, thank you so much for making that available for our viewers. I added the link and the promo code in the comments directly.

So for any of you watching today, please take advantage of this free 30-day membership. It’s a great way to test things out and learn a little bit more about all of the different ways that BEST can bring value to your practice.

And Kristin and Sarah, this has just been so fun. Thank you so much for joining us today and for helping our viewers to learn a little bit more about BEST and how it can benefit their practice.

Kristin: Our pleasure. Thank you so much for having us. Yeah.

Sarah: Yeah, thank you, Whitney. We really enjoyed it.

Whitney: All right. Thanks, everybody. We hope you have a great weekend, and we will see you on our next Roadside Live.

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Meet the guests

Sarah Patterson in red tankSarah Patterson is the marketing manager at BEST for Dentistry and has more than 20 years of experience in graphic design, marketing, and entrepreneurship.

Sarah loves generating strategic ideas through her knowledge of design and marketing. Having been a small business owner, Sarah knows the rewards and struggles of running a business and can relate to the audience of BEST for Dentistry.

With a natural affinity to all things visual, Sarah enjoys the natural beauty of her surroundings in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to work, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, and being a part-time fitness instructor.

Kristin Nistler in blue topKristin Nistler is the alliance partner program manager at BEST for Dentistry and has more than 10 years of experience in healthcare.

She enjoys networking, relationship building, event planning, and providing educational tools and resources to help practices thrive.

Outside of working for BEST, her hobbies include traveling, outdoor adventures, spending time with family and friends, and teaching Jazzercise.

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