We are a group of Dental Consultants who offer, improved practice morale; a happier, more profitable patient base;and improved home life; increased collections. (And yes, our average is 35% in year one.)

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Be the catalyst for change

Change can happen for your organization and you can be the catalyst for it. If you're not sure where to start contact one of our consultants today to get your company started.

For more information please visit us at www.saltdpm.com and follow our blog at http://saltdentalpracticemanagement.blogspot.com/


Monday, February 24, 2014

Self-doubt anyone?

Are you feeling self-doubt? Or questioning every decision you make?

Too much self-doubt will enable you from taking care of you, your staff, your patients and your practice. If you wake up in the morning worried about the results of a decision you made or if it takes you days to determine the appropriate course you might be undermining your leadership power.   

It might be time to turn it around. It can be difficult to make determinations for the organization. Sometimes as leaders we are forced into making a decision without all the facts. It could be a patient who doesn't give you all the information upfront or an employee who misinforms you. No matter the situation when making decisions we need to demonstrate a certain level of confidence to succeed.

Confidence comes from knowing the right questions to ask yourself when you are in the middle of a situation. Here are five questions to help guide you to the right answers:

1.     Are you doing it for the good of the patient and your office?

2.     Do you have a clear vision and plan of action?

3.     Is there a better way that would result in a more positive outcome?

4.     Do you have support?

5.     Have you consulted the research or other professionals on the matter?

You may not need to ask yourself every question in every situation. However, these five questions can help guide you when making more difficult decisions for your practice.  

For more information please visit us at www.saltdpm.com and follow our blog at http://saltdentalpracticemanagement.blogspot.com/


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Are you struggling?

Take your business to the next level by using coaching items from Debra Quarles, Salt Dental Practice Consultant. It will feel like she is in your office side by side with you and your staff.

Does Debra already come to your office, but you need more? Her book is now on Amazon.com.  This book will help you in times when you don't have a meeting scheduled.

Team Strategies, is an amazing addition to your office because it will allow you to look back on lessons. There is information on everything from how to hire, what to say when new patients call or when a patient asks about money and what to do during a morning huddle.

Team Strategies, the Dental Practice Companion


For more information please visit us at www.saltdpm.com and follow our blog at http://saltdentalpracticemanagement.blogspot.com/



Monday, February 17, 2014

Who are you?

We have talked extensively about the principles and values you have to hold in order to be a leader.  We have further explored how and what skills you need to move your business forward. Now it is time to talk about you becoming centered and grounded around those principals you have used to define yourself.

Find that list of principles that we wrote down some time ago. If you have not completed this exercise take the time to write down what principals define who you are.

Some of the principals you reflected on may have been that you are positive or that you are a continual learner.  No matter what they are, you need to continue to maintain balance in each area in order to continue building on your leadership skills.

If you are unbalanced in a particular area take action steps to regain balance.  For example, you said you were patient centered but lately you notice you and your staff has been beginning the day later than you should be.

1.     Define the problem
2.     Write out the steps needed for the solution
3.     Implement the steps right away
4.     Reflect back after a few weeks using some type of data on whether you have regained balance

Everyday life can happen and throw us off. However, in order to maintain our laser focus and fair and equitable office it is important that we as the leader of the office find our stability and keep it. 

For more information please visit us at www.saltdpm.com and follow our blog at http://saltdentalpracticemanagement.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Communication Style

On Monday we discussed communication styles. This article covers examples of communication styles. Let me give you a few examples: 

Here is a personal example: I’m a task person.  My wife is a processor.  Before leaving on a business trip, I notice one tire on her car seems a bit low.  I say, “While I’m gone, get the pressure in your tires checked, okay.”  When I arrive home a week later I ask her if she had someone check her tires.  She says, “No, they looked fine to me.”  I then realize in my rush I had failed to take into consideration her need for details.  I then explain if she drove on those particular tires with low air pressure they could easily roll right off the rims.  She looks shocked and says, “Why didn’t you tell me that?” and immediately leaves to go get her tires checked.   The speaker holds the content and intent of the words, but the listener has the power to interpret the speaker’s intent, or how it is received.  My intent was she get her tires checked; it was interpreted by her as a suggestion.

Here is a dental office example:  Dr. Jan Molar, a TASK person, arrives to work in the morning and says to Sally the PROCESSOR office manager, “I need a collection report.” Instead of simply printing a collection report, Sally is thinking, what does she want it for? Is there a discrepancy?  Is she looking at write offs?  Insurance balances? Patient financial arrangements? Aged balance totals or what?  In order for her to do her job properly she asks, “Why? What do you need it for?”  Dr. Molar now has a choice.  She can understand that Sally is a PROCESSOR and needs details to get it done correctly, or she can become offended and wonder why Sally is questioning her request instead of simply doing it.

Same Scenario: Dr. Molar knows Sally’s style. She says, “Sally, I would like to compare this month’s write offs to last months, to see how insurance is affecting us. Will you run a collection report for me, please?“ If Sally knows her doctor is a TASK person then she can keep her need for details to the bare minimum while still getting the basic information she needs. 
With the first office scenario it is possible for both parties to end up with hurt feelings, or feelings of frustration or a lack of trust.  When one perceives the other as abrupt or wasting time, thinking errors can take over.  The most common error in thinking is personalization.  Personalization means we take whatever is said as being our fault or being directed against us.   A PROCESSOR like Sally may think, “She wants a collection report, doesn’t she trust me?  Does she think I’m not doing my job?”   

This leads to Sally acting differently toward others and pretty soon you have an entire team of people wondering what is going on.  On the other hand the doctor could personalize all the questions being asked as “Why does she always question me?  She seems to hesitate to do what I ask and delays every task by asking for more details. Is she hiding something?”  You can see that not understanding each other’s communication style has the potential to lead to massive misunderstandings.
Understanding the PROCESSORS and TASK persons in your office, including yourself is a key to better communication.  PROCESSORS might be more likely to ask questions, but they may also be likely to come up with alternative ways of thinking, creating easier more efficient ways to complete tasks. The TASK persons may not ask questions but can quickly take on any job and get results. Developing your team’s understanding of the two different styles can increase their ability to accept each other. 

Asking someone to change how they communicate may be asking too much, but to ask yourself is not. As the leader you are setting the example. You can develop a style that works for the office. Knowing the way each of your team members likes to be communicated with will allow you to make repairs in the event that your words were interpreted differently than you originally intended.  In the heat of the moment, even the best communicators make mistakes. Remember with whatever style someone prefers, there is always room for Please and Thank you. One silver bullet can never take care of everything. What you say and how you say it is always left to the listener’s interpretation. With practice, this is an excellent way to improve your quality of life just as the title suggests.

For more information please visit us at www.saltdpm.com and follow our blog at http://saltdentalpracticemanagement.blogspot.com/

By David Milligan, Salt Dental Practice Management
Article was first published by Tri-County Dental Society

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Quality of Your Life Depends on the Quality of Your Communication.

What Is Your Style?
Think about that statement for a moment.  How often do you speak to someone and know for a fact your message was received as you intended it to be?  Do you ever wonder about the facial expression, body language or “vibe” you get after you say something?  You ask them about it and the person says, “Oh, sure. Yes, I’m fine. I get it.” And yet you are still left wondering if that went as well as you thought. Or maybe you simply have the expectation it went exactly as you wanted and you don’t even notice the reaction.   It happens to all of us.  It happens a lot in dental practices.  As a consultant, with over a decade of experience, I can tell you it is one of the most common problems that exist.  It can cause a loss of motivation, productivity, and sadly even the relationship. 
In this article we will explore the impact of communication styles between a doctor and the team. 
Communication: To make known: exchange information or opinions.
If the definition is so simple, why is it there are so many ways for communication to go bad?
There are different styles of communication.  The two most common are TASK-driven, or bottom-line people, and PROCESSORS, or people who require details in order to sort out the information. A person who is a TASK oriented communicator says things with the bottom line intent in mind.  No fluff, no extra words, no warm fuzzies.  To a PROCESSOR it may be perceived as abrupt, to the point, or lacking emotion.  To the TASK person, it is the easiest, more effective way to get something accomplished.  It is a bit like, “I don’t need to tell the whole story, I just need you to do this the way I want it done, no questions required.”  Other TASK communicators find this very appealing and it helps them stay focused and doesn’t cause them any concern or confusion.   The PROCESSOR type needs more – much, much more.  They want to know why.  “Why do you want it done this way? Why is that the best way?  How will it affect things?”  They want the background, the story, and then they can understand and respond appropriately.  To the PROCESSOR, the story or background is critical.  To another PROCESSOR, the fact that someone takes the time to explain it in detail makes them feel valuable.  To a TASK person this communication seems like a waste of time or even shows a lack of confidence. 
So TASK people love working with other TASK people, and PROCESSORS love working with other PROCESSORS. Life would be so easy if it worked that way all the time.  But it doesn’t.   Not all teams are made up of the same type of communicators, and that is a good thing.  Within a team with both types, everyone involved may not be clear about who is a TASK person and who is a PROCESSOR and how to handle the difference. It would also be easy if it were based on sex, job title or we all had it stamped on our foreheads.  Learning to send and receive messages with the opposite type is crucial to your quality of communication. In order to better understand how critical this is.

For more information please visit us at www.saltdpm.com and follow our blog at http://saltdentalpracticemanagement.blogspot.com/
By David Milligan, Salt Dental Practice Management
Article was first published by Tri-County Dental Society

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


We have many different ways we communicate with our staff. We may verbally communicate, we may physically communicate by standing taller or walking with purpose or we may non-verbally communicate by using gestures and facial expressions. However, we communicate with our staff, here are a few items to keep in mind when communicating:

1. Communicate with respect
2. Be aware of the messages we are communicating
3. Be clear and coherent in the message that we deliver
4. Communicate consistent messages throughout
5. Deliver appropriate messages

Good communication can be a difficult skill and it is one that requires us to practice often. It is easy for our nonverbal messages to dictate a conversation in the wrong direction. When you take the time to communicate appropriately and with respect you will deliver a message that is consistent with that message.

Great teams take effort. Take time to work on your practice regularly to build quality communication and strengthen your results. For more information and to read other articles, please visit us at www.saltdpm.com.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Playing the game to win

Playing the game requires a win/lose mentality. Think about sports, someone wins and the other team loses. Most events in life you may approach in this manner. However, is it always beneficial to think in these terms? If you think a win/lose you may find that solutions that offer a win/win solution do not present themself to you because all you see is one side loosing.

Flip the switch. Next, time you are approaching a situation with a patient. Think win-win. Spend the time to ask yourself what would it look like if both sides were to win? What would you have to do? What would you have to give or what would the patient have to give in order for you to be able to win and for them to win?

In order to create an opportunity that wasn't there before you not only have to ask the right questions but you also have to be willing to do what it takes for everyone to walk away feeling like they received something.

For example, a patient comes in and isn't able to pay for services. A win/lose situation is that you complete the procedure but the patient doesn't pay that day and no payment plan is set up. A lose/lose situation would be if you don't complete the procedure at all for the patient.  You don't help the patient and the patient doesn't receive the procedure.

What would be a win/win? It may depend and it may be different in every scenario. However, by simply asking yourself what would have to change right now for both parties to walk away better off then they are right now, you have to not only take the time to ask questions, you have to be willing to not shut down the patient with a no before you even get started. For example, this may mean the patient puts down 5% for the procedure before you get started.

No matter what problem you are faced with you can take the time to look at it from all angles in order to help move your practice forward at every opportunity. I'm not suggesting that every time you will walk away further than you were today, however, you may find the more you walk away with a negotiation the better off you are in the long run.

Great teams take effort. Take time to work on your practice regularly to build quality communication and strengthen your results. For more information and to read other articles, please visit us at www.saltdpm.com.