As an independent dentist, given the weakened economy and shrinking middle class, you must act like a business owner and learn to market and sell your clinical skills.
I spent 4 hours at the DMV last week changing my drivers license……
Sitting with the average citizens makes you realize that the really big ship of society is being pulled by a small minority of the population. Most just go with the flow, follow the leader, and never fight for anything they really want in life.
The next couple of posts are courtesy of the experience…….
MIAMI DMV…….no incentives = glacial pace.
Fighting for What You Want in Your Practice Part I as an independent dentist
Most dentists are afraid to compete for the business they really want. If I had a dollar for every time I heard a peer say, “I wish….or…if only….or…..but that won’t work in my location or my practice” at a meeting…..
After being told for years at school and “professional” meetings that we are all colleagues and that “there’s plenty out there for everyone,” we are afraid to step out and fight for what we want as independent dentists in the profession.
In an age of plenty, the irony is that few will reap anything close to what they “wish.” Yes, admittedly, I have a purely American perspective on all this choosing to get what you really want BY helping others get what they really want. In the case of the independent dentist with advanced training, it is delivering your expertise to the patient/customer so they can get back minor things like eating, comfort, and smiling. Yes, regular dentists do very good things (and the world needs ‘em) BUT dentists with advanced training can and do incredible things when they ‘man-up’ to seek out the most dentally crippled patients who really need those skills the most. [Yes, I’m not P.C. and let’s face it those missing teeth are crippled.]
BIG SECRET: Lots of little action steps add up with end result being and end to all the “wishing” and repetitive getting.
A recent example in the sports world of someone choosing their next step consciously to get more of what they wanted is LeBron James, right here in Miami. Love him or hate him, LeBron CHOSE what he wanted and took a lot of action steps—that’s how life operates on a daily basis whether you are an NBA giant, owner of a grocery store, or dentist with advanced skills. [Many of my fellow Miamians are looking forward to getting what they want which is a new “dream team” that brings home the bacon.]
Unfortunately, instead of actions steps, most take more and more clinical training in an effort to outshine their professional brethren and develop a wider scope of procedures hoping the public will beat a path to our door. Shamefully, the advanced CE providers turn a blind eye and take payments for all those clinical courses (knowing most students will never apply what’s learned) and never revealing the honest truth on all this. Ultimately, it means thousands of highly trained independent dentists refusing to fight for business while sitting by waiting and hoping AND patient needs go unmet. Yes, consumers choose and buy all kinds of other goods and services less worthy of their financial outlays and for even greater expenditures.
In most European countries, the hand of government controls ALL when it comes to the dental practice. It controls fees and in a number of cases even approves (or not) of all marketing for licensed professionals before it can be shown to the public. It’s taking some of the worse ass-backwards dental boards in America (think Alabama, Texas, Colorado, and Washington to name a few) and giving them 100% control. Talk about having the deck stacked in the wrong direction! In those locations, there is very little room for individual initiative. BTW: We have members from these more controlled countries that do battle and win even under such ridiculous conditions. Very few US dentists could handle what’s required to step outside the box and get what they want from the profession under those types of conditions.
In the U.S., it’s still different – professionals are still very lucky (this even includes thousands of perpetually whining physicians who refuse to step outside of their boxes…once again by personal choice). As dentists in the US and Canada, you CAN fight for the very specific types of business and clients you want and give those patients what they want and need – legally.
The real rub is that this opportunity for U.S. dentists is wasted on most due to fear or outright laziness. The majority fail to exercise their right to compete in the marketplace or take advantage of those golden clinical opportunities sitting right in their laps. An unintended consequence is that many dentists, by default, revert to a cowering position hiding behind self-righteousness where many sit, heckle, complain and/or poke fun at the few who step out and step up. The most extreme cowardice in the profession is where one dentist can and will complain anonymously about the marketing of another, marketing that helps more patients get treatment needed, to a state board and the ridiculousness that boards entertain anonymous peer-to-peer complaints. Attorneys laugh at this since no bar allows anonymous peer-to-peer complaints.
The same cowering crowd then turns with open arms to the insurance company and bows in subservience while gladly taking a 20-40% hair-cut on the fee for the generosity of the insurance company. Ironically, many of the dental societies leadership is filled with those taking up the very same positions, cowering, complaining and sucking up to the biggest evil of all (Delta Dental)…..and that’s another story….
Next time, Part II of Fighting for What You Want in Your Practice.
In the meantime, if you’re ready to move on and stay an independent dentist, and get a LOT more of what you want, you are welcome to join us here!
Or check out my #1 top selling book on Amazon.