My Dentist Is Still Old Fashion Is He Any Good What Dentists Can Learn From The Cadillac Man

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What Dentists Can Learn From The Cadillac Man

On a recent night, I was sitting in my hotel room in Seattle, spending a day studying. As I was flipping through the channels, looking for something to listen to back while I worked most of the night, I came across Robin Williams’ “Cadillac Man”. I saw the movie many years ago and never really thought about it since. As I watched (fortunately caught it in the first few minutes) I was amazed that I never realized how many real business lessons were right in front of my eyes. Naturally, I was watching more TV than working when I sat down, but I found myself thinking about how the operations of a car dealership and the operations of a dentist’s office are remarkably similar.

I have never thought, nor dared, to compare a professional dental office to what most people mistakenly refer to as “car salesmen.” There are a few bad apples, of course. But there are also bad apple teeth. For the most part, people in any business whether it’s medicine, car sales, restaurants or even professional airlines are honest people whose one true goal is to help people and give them a great experience.

Our goal at our dental office is to provide our patients with superior care and a wonderful experience while providing them with the treatment they so desperately need. It’s the same in a car dealership. Salesmen (and women) want to provide a great car buying experience that we really need. Just as I don’t expect a dentist to tell a patient they need a crown when they really need a 1st row filling, I don’t expect a professional salesperson to send someone looking for a minivan in 2nd lane. chair sports car. Are there any sellers to try it out? Scuba diving. But there are also dentists who try it! Remember that one bad apple doesn’t spoil the bunch. Also, note that I am in no way suggesting that we become “Hardfrosh” offices and literally shove teeth down people’s throats. There is a way for a dental business and a dental practice to work together.

So when I sat down and watched this movie, I started wondering what we could learn from it. I’m amazed that the most important thing in a car dealership is the target. We always talk about goals, write down your goals, share your goals and all the advice we give and receive all the time. But what are we doing in the dental office to actually follow those goals and put them in front of our eyes every day in simple language so they stay top of mind? In car dealerships they have “The Board”. It’s actually something I’ve been doing with clients for years and never understood where I got the idea from.

So your goals are defined in a way. Maybe it’s production, maybe it’s collection and maybe even patients are seen in a day, week or month. There is a lot of important information that we create and evaluate EXPECTED every day. End of day reports, production reports, new patient numbers, collections, etc. So how do we REALLY use that information to compare actual numbers against target numbers and identify areas for improvement to help us consistently achieve those goals? Use the “Board”. There should be a “Board” in the dental office/office managers. A large and compact subtraction table is divided in such a way that target numbers and actual numbers can be combined in one go. We use one in our office and I can tell you it takes 5 minutes a day, but the information provided is absolutely priceless. People come and go all day, look at the numbers, and it makes for a good discussion about what we can do to improve, what happened on the days we didn’t hit our goals, and what we can do to make sure those things do. not again. I love my Board. Employees also like it, because they can easily and quickly see which days they hit the target and which days they didn’t.

Please remember, if you don’t have goals, ACHIEVE THEM. If you have goals in your head, get them out and write them down. A goal that is not written down is just a dream. Don’t waste your time chasing dreams, spend that time and effort on achieving your goals. I watched poor Robin Williams walk in and out of that manager’s office looking at the board, checking what everyone else was doing, using that as motivation for his own behavior. True, he had an inner spark and was a great salesman, but that added motivation of seeing others perform before his eyes was enough to make sure he used EVERY tool in his arsenal to close deals and help people. Say yes to the new car.

Just as he used every tool at his disposal to close the covenants, so should we. Are you really using every tool you have in your arsenal to help patients see how important medicine really is? You owe it to your patients to provide them with the care they need and deserve. Whether they realize it or not, you are helping them. How many times have you told a patient that a crown will help extend the life of that tooth, but they don’t listen? Then, a week, a month or a year later that tooth breaks and now needs to be extracted. Saving $1,000 now could cost thousands in the future. Then they get upset with you because you “never told them” this could happen. Of course you did. You know, I know and they know. But isn’t it easier to blame yourself? Of course it is. So you really owe it to your patients to help them understand and get the treatment they really need!

Do you use your intra-oral camera regularly, and by that I mean daily? Are you showing your patients that crack, chip or gap up close and personal? Put it on the TV screen and expand it to 27 inches. It will wake someone up! Are you presenting cases regularly and to the best of your ability? Do you give multiple options or just the best option? I am NEVER a fan of good, better, best dentistry. Why would anyone want to be good when they can be the best? Present it properly and make sure the patient knows that this is definitely the best choice and that you are the best dentist to do it. Help that patient make the right decision by using all the tools you properly train them to use. Use the camera. Use creative financing options (like Care-Loan). Use pre-approval tools to get started with your treatment plan and say not only can we provide you with the best dental care, but we also make it easy to pay with convenient payments.

These are the tools at your disposal. We are lucky. Car dealers are at the mercy of manufacturers and banks who decide when to run ZERO PERCENT financing deals. We ALWAYS have access. How lucky we are! Do you know what happens when GM runs a special 0% financing for 60 months? Car sales are increasing. So what if you offered that option to your patients? I guarantee you that your closing rate will go up.

Finally, and perhaps the most important thing your office can do is follow up with your patients. Follow up with them when you offer treatment and the patient doesn’t follow their schedule right away. Try getting pre-approved for financing if you haven’t already. Have your aide or hygienist call them and ask if they have any questions about the treatment plan. It is clear that if they understood how important this treatment really is they would not be late. We must have done something wrong. We lost something somewhere. Find out what it was, fix it and plan it.

Many dentists feel that they seem too “salesy” if the office calls for follow-ups and treatments. I’ll tell you, this is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard and if you’re not doing it, you REALLY need to start. Yes, you are a dental practice and your primary goal is to treat patients. So GET THEM OUT, but remember you are also a dental business whose primary goal is to stay in business so the practice can continue to help patients! One can never exist without the other and it is very important to remember this. Don’t be afraid to close deals. That agreement will help your patients have a healthier mouth, a healthier lifestyle and a better smile. This is truly a WIN WIN situation for everyone involved and should always be seen as one.

It’s easy to get your business and your practice on the same page. Create, monitor, share and achieve your goals. Use all the tools at your disposal to create amazing treatment plan presentations. Perhaps most importantly, follow up with patients who don’t take it “ON THE SPOT.” They need this treatment to stay healthy and happy and you owe it to them to do everything you can to help them!

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