Roadside Live |20 min read

Roadside Live: The Two Secrets to Eliminating Your Competition [VIDEO]


It might be the understatement of the year to say that dentistry is competitive. There could be a dozen “Drs. Guy-Down-the-Street” within a 3-block radius of your practice.

So what’s going to make patients choose you over your competition?

In this Roadside Live video, Jennifer, owner of … This text opens a new tab …Empowered Dental Consulting, joins Angela to share:

  • Two secrets to help practices not just set themselves apart, but eliminate their competition (yes, eliminate!)
  • How the patient experience and marketing are intertwined
  • How to attract and retain a committed team and create a culture that patients are drawn to
  • And more!

Angela: Well, hello everybody. And thank you for joining us for another Roadside Live again. Today we have a special guest with us. We love having people come and join our … This text opens a new tab …live events and talking about their expertise. And we know that we’re getting such good feedback from our audience because they love the interaction, the new perspective, and the education that is being provided.

You guys are going to be so excited about today. Today is a subject that is near and dear to Roadside’s hearts and that’s really how practices can do some of their own work, how they can help themselves.

Jennifer’s our special guest today, and I’m going to let her introduce herself and her level of experience; she has real-world experience in helping a team be successful. And we’re going to walk through what that looks like and what our teams and our practices can implement.

So first, thank you for joining us today, Jennifer. Do you want to tell everyone what you do, who you’re with, and how come you love talking about the subject?

Jennifer: Thank you, Angela. I would love to! My name is Jennifer Hengtgen and I am the founder of Empowered Dental Consulting and the creator of … This text opens a new tab …The Purpose Driven Practice.

I work with dentists to increase profitability and to create their all-star team, and this is something that I am incredibly passionate about. I have over 20 years of experience in the dental field. I have been in the shoes of many of these office managers and have been there right in the trenches of helping dentists work through some of the things in their practice to help them move forward towards success. So being able to help dentists in this way is really what fuels me. And I’m so excited to be here today.

Angela: That’s awesome. So you have 20 years of dental experience similar to myself. So did you also start as a kindergartener in the dental office?

Jennifer: Yes, I did. I did. Although, you know, all joking aside, my first job was when I was 12 years old and I don’t count that into my 20 years’ experience. My mom was an office manager in a dental practice and this was in the days of paper charts and film x-rays and all that fun stuff. So I started young.

Angela: Yeah, that is for sure. You almost were an elementary school employee. I always joked that I was, but you really were. That’s like sixth grade. That’s pretty amazing.

So what we’re going to talk about today is really how an office can be more successful using their team, getting everyone involved, making a more cohesive union, and then really using that as a marketing effort.

So let’s start with how they’re going to set themselves apart. So what would you say: How do practices set themselves apart from their competition? Because depending on their area, there may be a lot of dentists in a two-block radius around their practice. So what would you say a practice can do to be a little different?

Jennifer: Yeah, thank you. You know, generally speaking, Angela, every office does things just a little bit differently, right? I mean, you know this, you’ve been in practices, as have myself throughout our careers in dentistry and I know that through my various roles and now even with my clients, there aren’t any two practices that are doing things exactly the same.

So, you might have one office that offers a particular specialty, another one that has all of the latest technology, the bells and the whistles, and maybe another one has extended access. They work evenings and weekends to accommodate those patients. Those are all fine and good.

Any combination of those, however, can be adopted by Dr. Guy-Down-the-Street. Just like you mentioned, there are a lot of practices sometimes in a very small radius.

And so I’ve actually discovered that there are two things that not only set practices apart from their competition, but that can actually eliminate their competition.

And at times I get stares, like “she’s serious right now?” but it’s true. So I’m just curious if there are any guesses of what they might be. And if you have any, go ahead and drop them in the chat, we’d be real curious to hear what you have to say.

Angela: I’d love to see what the guesses are.

Jennifer: Right? So go ahead and just take a second to throw in what you think that these two things might be that would actually eliminate your competition.

All right, so I’ll go ahead and move on. Are you guys ready for this?

Angela: We are. We can’t wait to hear it.

Jennnifer: Okay, fantastic. So there are actually two things and that is your purpose and your team. Plain and simple: purpose and team.

So let’s talk about this for a second. You know, sometimes when I say purpose, it sounds a little bit fluffy and it’s met with either an eye roll or a blank gaze from a doctor who thinks that this is just an exercise in futility and something that’s done by large corporations. I’m not Starbucks; I’m not Harley Davidson, but you know what, it’s just simply not true, you know? It is so important to really identify who it is and how you serve.

The two things that can actually eliminate your competition are purpose and team.

And so I’m a huge advocate of actually becoming intentional about the operations of your practice.

And this means having a plan, having it in place, and knowing the steps that you need to take to get to where you want to be.

So think about this for just a second. We make plans for so many things in our lives, right? Big things like what we want to do after college. Or what we want in a spouse or how we’re going to raise our children. And then there’s the simple things, like what I want to get out of my next vacation, or even where I want to go or what I’m going to have for dinner tonight. Let’s just keep it real simple, right?

And we know that… what’s the saying? “Fail to plan and plan to fail,” right?

So what I have found is that as business owners, so many dentists don’t have a plan for their practice beyond what’s right in front of them. And I’m sure you’ve seen this Angela, and it’s understandable. They don’t teach dentists how to run a business in dental school. We don’t think about the fact that we have to have a plan.

Typically, we’re either inheriting a staff if we’re buying a practice or if it’s a startup, you’re hiring a staff and now you just have to see patients, that’s it. But it’s just not that simple.

And so having processes and systems in place that help you become proactive about your problem solving and what you’re doing to run your business versus being reactive where you’re putting out fires all day.

This is what becomes really important because this is stressful and it becomes really tiresome for practices. So when I say purpose, think about it as defining your why. And if you have not read Start With Why by … This text opens a new tab …Simon Sinek, I highly recommend it. It’s a great place to start. And so I look at purpose as an amalgamation of your core values, your mission, and your vision for the practice.

Let’s just talk about core values for a second. Let’s just say that knowledge is one of your core values. What that might look like in your practice – maybe you have all of the latest technology, anything that you can use to improve upon that patient experience. Maybe you provide continual learning and development opportunities for your staff or your hiring practices might target individuals with additional professional certifications or even specialized trainings. And you might even pride yourself in patient education.

So having clearly defined core values really helps you in that process of not only who you’re going to speak to from a patient perspective, but also from a team member perspective.

So then we have your mission, and that’s all about who do you serve, and why do you serve them?

Oftentimes, we show up and we just think we’ll take any patient in the door and sometimes that can cause a problem in terms of retention. And so finally, is the vision piece, and this is actually really exciting to me because it’s where you can really define and be creative and dream up what it is that you want for your practice and what you want to be known for.

What’s the patient experience going to be like? What is the employee experience going to be like in your practice? We just oftentimes don’t take the time to do that.

Who do you serve, and why do you serve them?

I’d be curious. Have you ever been in a practice where this has been a main focus?

Angela: You know, I’ve been in lots of practices where it needed to become a main focus.

So many of them run on autopilot and they are more reactive. They get through their day and then they, you know, hope to be serving patients to the best of their ability, but without giving it the planning and the thought, it’s easy to get caught up in doing what you do as a routine. It becomes so routine to the providers, I think they forget that it’s not routine to the patients.

Let’s say we’re sitting chairside and we’re doing clinical. We may be doing a million fillings all day in a week or in a day, but for the patient, that might be the first one they’ve had in five years.

So for them, it’s traumatic. It’s a scary thing. It’s not as routine as it is for the providers.

Before we move on with a question about the patient experience – which I want you to talk about – I’ll tell you what some of their guesses were on Facebook:

So the guesses on how they were going to set themselves out were: being yourself, consistency, being authentic, and my favorite – fresh cookies. So pre-COVID, that is the best answer. Fresh cookies – you win! I don’t think you’re allowed to at the moment, but hopefully, it will get back to that. Absolutely bribe your patients!

Jennifer: 100% – and sugar is job security all the way. Right?

You know, the amazing thing about this, Angela, is that we talked about the things that Dr. Guy-Down-the-Street can replicate. They too can have all of the latest technology. They too can extend their hours, but I have yet to come across any office that is able to duplicate what another office has created in terms of their purpose, their mission, their vision, and their values.

The key to this is that once you’ve established these, be sure to communicate it often, whether that’s verbally or through your actions. And not only does that attract your patients and employees, but it fosters loyalty.

According to Quantum Surveys, actually, they had done a survey that produced results that said that not only are purpose-driven organizations over 20% more profitable, they also grow three times faster and they have higher employee and customer satisfaction.

To me, that’s a win. That is an absolute win.

So when you clearly identify and define your purpose, you’re creating this guidepost that now acts as a measure for all of the decisions that you’re making in your practice. And that includes hiring. And so this is actually a perfect segue into the second part of this, which was the team component.

When you clearly identify and define your purpose, you’re creating a guidepost that now acts as a measure for all of the decisions you’re making in your practice.

So we talked about purpose. Now we want to talk about team for a second.

You know as well as I do that, particularly now in the time of COVID, hiring is a challenge these days. And we already have a shortage of dental assistants and dental hygienists. I have doctors who are pulling their hair out because they just can’t find the right team members.

But if we are showing up in that purposeful way, we’re going to be attracting those team members. And instead of hiring out of desperation, we’re now hiring in alignment with who we are. When we hire out of desperation, it leads to problems – there’s lack of engagement, lack of accountability, and ultimately can lead to that employee leaving.

And so when you have a systematic hiring process in place and you incorporate ways to determine if the candidates are in alignment with your purpose or not, that employee becomes more productive and they stay with you, and let’s face it, recruiting is costly and exhausting. It is exhausting!

So we want to retain every one of our incredible team members. And the truth is you guys, that employees, they want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. They really do. You know, I was recently reading an article through Harvard Business Review that stated that nine out of 10 people are willing to take less money if they can do more meaningful work.

Employees want to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

Think about that for a second. When in your own career have you taken a job because – I’ll admit, I have – because it was going to offer what you needed from a financial perspective, but it certainly didn’t fill me up. And so now here I am today. I have found something that aligns with who I am, who I want to serve, and how I want to serve them.

So hiring the right people for your team and nurturing them is so important, and these are the people that are going to help you move your practice forward toward achieving your goals and ultimately realizing the vision that you’ve created.

So I would say that the key takeaway from this is becoming crystal clear on who you are, who you serve, and how you serve them, and then hiring a team in alignment with those principles, because that creates a culture, and it’s that culture that patients are attracted to and want to be a part of.

A key takeaway from this is becoming crystal clear on who you are, who you serve, and how you serve them, and then hiring a team in alignment with those principles.

Angela: Yeah, I absolutely agree. There was a time in my work history where I also accepted a job that was – let’s just say they really threw money at their team – but the ethics of the company didn’t make you feel good at the end of the day. And I didn’t end up staying very long; it was a pretty short tenure because it really wasn’t worth the financial gain.

You’re right – being part of something, standing behind the doctor, standing behind the practice, feeling good at the end of the day about what you accomplished – that culture can do more for your patients and for your team than any technology, or even the money that they’re getting. They want to do something that they enjoy. You’re at work so much of your life, so you need some enjoyment from it.

So I know we don’t have a lot of time left, but I do want to just talk a little bit about how that translates into the patient experience and how that patient experience relates to marketing.

We talk about this a lot in a lot of our education, we have an entire webinar on building teams around the patient experience. Our tagline is “Everything you do is marketing,” so I want to hear your perspective on how you teach and coach your offices on how that patient experience markets them.

Jennifer: You know this is a great question and I actually refer to this as experiential marketing. If you think for a second about your own experience as a customer, you know, what influences your decision to go or buy from a particular place versus somewhere else, right? So this is no different for your patients.

When you think about it you might actually be surprised at the reasons you come up with, because many of the qualifiers are identified by our subconscious, which influences how we feel about an experience. So yeah, as you mentioned, everything is marketing in a practice. In fact, Dr. Fred Joyal, the founder of 1-800-DENTIST, wrote a book about this.

When we think from a perspective of a new patient, the experience literally begins the second that that person comes in contact with your practice.

And I’m not just talking about their first visit in your office. It starts way before that. It’s online. It’s what they see you doing in the community. How you show up on social media, through your website, your online reviews, or even what they’re told about your practice from a friend or family member.

There are other things that may influence their decision to try out, things like the services you offer, accessibility, and location. This is kind of a, in my mind, a “pre-screen” if you will. But if that person likes what they see and hear, they’re actually going to pick up the phone if they think, “gosh, I think my needs could actually be met by this practice. I think I’ll give him a call,” and you guys, this is the golden opportunity right here to convert them into a patient, which means it’s vitally important to provide phone skills training to anyone that might be answering your phone.

So let’s say that a person schedules, and now that they’re there a patient in your practice, from the moment they pull into your parking lot, they start their assessment of you and your practice. Literally the minute they pull into your parking lot. And so now is your opportunity to really impress them.

Patients don’t have a means of evaluating the quality of dentistry that’s being provided. They don’t know if there’s a void in that occlusal composite you just placed or an open margin on the crown you seated on that molar. But what they do know is whether or not you provide painless dentistry, how they’re treated by your team, how you go about fixing your mistakes, and even how clean your facility is. Right? Some of the simplest things that we wouldn’t even think about.

So what it boils down to really, is whether or not the patient’s needs are being met. As I mentioned earlier, I’m a huge advocate of being intentional about running your business, and that applies here as well. Define what you want the patient experience to be like in your practice, and then make a plan on how you’re going to execute that, including having the right systems and processes in place to carry that out – being intentional about not just meeting, but exceeding those patient expectations.

Define what you want the patient experience to be like and then make a plan on how you’re going to execute that, including having the right systems and processes in place to carry it out.

And then by doing this, you’ll create raving fans that can’t stop talking about you. They’re going to tell their friends, they’re going to tell their family. And just as before, internal marketing is still one of the best ways to get new patients in your practice.

Angela: Absolutely. And I think that is such a good point – phone skills training. Reminding the team that every interaction they have with any potential new patient is marketing the practice because it does have to do with your reputation and the way that you’re perceived.

I know there’s a lot of practices out there that would love some more hands-on assistance. And so, I know you said you’d be willing to offer some advice for some practices or consultation as to how you might be able to support them. I would love to put your information here in the chat for these practices that want the hands-on training?

We can help drive traffic to their practice. We can help with their online visibility. We can help their exposure, but the internal part, that’s something that they need someone to be hands-on with their team, providing the phone skills, providing the hands-on training. And that is your world – not ours.

So I would love to refer people to you and see how you might be able to support them. What can we do to have people reach out to you if they need your assistance?

Jennifer: Yeah, thank you so much. I’m so excited to have created an opportunity for anyone who is watching live today or watching the replay. I have created a special invite that will be put into the chat called Roadside45. I am offering a free 45-minute consulting call to anyone who is watching this. It can be on any topic, anything that you might be struggling with, any pain point you might currently be experiencing. No sales, just all about you, your practice, your needs, and how I can help.

That link will expire next Friday, but the good news is that you can schedule out for the next 30 days. So the link will go away next Friday, but there will be a 30-day window in order to actually take advantage of that offer.

… This text opens a new tab …Click here to schedule a FREE 45-Minute Coaching Call

Jennifer is offering this free, 45-minute call for dentists or their office managers to discuss one issue that the practice needs help with. By the end of your time together, you will have a plan for solving the issue with actionable steps that can be taken immediately. These calls are limited and available on a first-come-first-serve basis and must be scheduled by March 12, 2021. Should the doctor find value in the time together and would like to learn more about working with Jennifer, a separate complimentary consultation will be scheduled for a later date.

Angela: That is awesome. I know there’s a lot of people who can take advantage of that.

Thank you again so much for joining us. I’m sure that we’ll be connecting again and bringing you on for other topics. And it was absolutely amazing to have you join us today. So thank you for your time. We will be in touch very soon because we love getting advice from people who are working in the trenches, who are working with the practices and giving us feedback on what is successful and how we make them really get to their goals. So thank you so much for your time today.

Jennifer: Thank you, Angela. It was a pleasure. I’ll talk to you soon.

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