Transcript of Sandy Pardue on The Dental Marketing Guy Show:
Justin: Welcome to the Dental Marketing Guy Show. I’m Justin, the dental marketing guy and today I have a legendary guest. She really requires no introduction but if you have been on the Dental Town forums, you’ve probably heard of Sandy Pardue. if you’ve ever asked for advice about how to run your practice, we’re talking about practice management, we’re talking about creating systems that work in your practice, we’re talking about all the ins and outs from the insurance issues to how to get more money out of hygiene and how to really just run a practice that leaves you stress free and happy and based on your goals. You know I probably couldn’t even attempt to talk about all your credentials, Mrs. Pardue, so let me just, let me just ask you, how are you?
Sandy: I’m doing great today, I’ve been in meetings all day so I was really looking forward to this time to relax and talk about dental practices.
Justin: That’s excellent, yeah, and I know you’re a busy woman because very, very high demand for your services and what I’d like to do is, you know, I just kind of like to take it back a step and see, you know, how did you get into the dental industry? What’s your background? And what do you do to help dentists?
Sandy: Okay, well it started a long time ago actually about 32 years ago. I never thought I would be working really as an adult, I would tell (inaudible 1:35) and then my goal was to get married and have kids and be a housewife and so I did that. I got married and I had a daughter and I hated being at home and I’d always heard about this dentist in (inaudible 1:51) you back then I’ll tell you it’s 1985, that was doing 1.2 million a year, people were traveling from all over the world to see this dentist. Of course this was pre-computer, he didn’t get computers & till 1988 which was still very early by the way. So they were like 17, 18 staff members and we, I’ll just tell you they had a great reputation, I thought if I could work there, I think I’d like to go back to work. So I applied and I got the job and I was his office manager for eight years and it was so much fun. I knew I needed to expand and become a consultant because people were already, like I said, traveling around the world just to see this practice that was so efficient highly productive and very organized but I loved that job and I eventually, in 1993, I left the building, I went down about three doors down into our own office where we started classic practice resources and I’ll tell you, the rest is history. People have traveled literally from around the world, we just had a group here and we had people from Canada and Alaska and we’ve had people come from japan and Hawaii and Australia as well so it’s been a lot of fun.
Justin: That’s excellent and you know, I love hearing that story because I know a lot of dentists hop on dental town and they asked questions about their practice and you’re on there and you give a lot of good advice. So that’s interesting to hear, kind of the back story of how you got into it, I like that. could you maybe tell us a couple stories about, you know, just one or two stories of how you’ve helped dentists and, you know, what that process was like.
Sandy: Okay, well first off you have to know that people do not contact us just because they have a floundering practice. people contact us for many reasons, they could be stressed out and some could be doing two million a year, solo, making all the money that they could ever want but maybe they just feel like there’s too many bumps and they dread going to work and they know they could be more organized and things could be more Predictable and then we’ve also had a lot of new dentist. They get out of school and they want to be organized and they want to save time, they don’t want to take five years to ramp up their practice, they understand a consultant can get them going very quickly and so we have worked with all of these types of practices. All the way from 400,000 a year to $6 million dollars a year practices. So, you know, like I said they’re different areas that they need help in but I will tell you there’s, I’ve never seen a perfect practice. no matter what the production level is or how wonderful the doctor is, their leadership abilities are fantastic and their technical skills are great, there’s always something that needs to be done and typically the thing that we see the most is that the back door is wide open in practices. so when I say that I mean that patients find the practice, maybe they saw an advertisement, maybe a friend told him over the backyard fence and they called the practice they came in and then the systems were so broken down within the practice that the patient’s never returned and this is very common. The average patient retention and practices was running 40 to 50%. so after a consulting program and its staff are trained, especially on the front end with the telephones and recall systems and verbal skills, then we can see that retention increased to 80- 85%.
Justin: Wow. Alright, alright. you know, and it’s, I like that you’re taking the approach of, you know, it’s not just about money and I always talk in my videos and my blog, the Dental Marketing Guy blog. I’m like, you know, you know a lot of people think that people become dentists to make money and when you have certain systems, I’ve been critical and I don’t think that, there’s a different approach for every practice but I’ve been critical of a lot of coupon mailers and of, you know, the gift cards “Hey, send someone to us, anyone and we’ll give you $25 gift card.” I’ve been somewhat critical of those programs but I know there’s custom solutions for every practice, you know, and I think that ultimately what every dentist is looking for in their practice it differs from one dentist to another. Sure you’ve got a really holistic approach towards that sort of thing so maybe what’s one example of, let’s do not money related. let’s talk about, you know, maybe a doctor who’s have had too much stress, he feels like he doesn’t have control of his staff and his patients like you said the back doors wide open and he just wants to solve some of these non-money issues.
Sandy: Well if I were to ask 10 doctors whether their stress, where is the stress come from, what keeps you up at night. 8 of those 10 doctors are going to tell me staff. That’s going to be their answer so whether they’re doing 2 million a year solo and everything is going great, are they are floundering staff is always going to be an issue. So this is where we get into good hiring protocols and then, my goodness, the most important thing is the training protocols. Its like how can you expect someone just to come into the practice and know exactly how you want to run your business and that happens a lot. Dentists hire staff that worked in a dental practice and they walk into their office as a new employee and then they bring all the bad habits from where they used to work so there are no exact protocols to follow, there’s no real recipe, no practice management recipe and that’s a huge problem. We see that consistently so we go in and we know what needs to take place in a practice. we have 42 systems and then we work on each one of those and that doesn’t mean that when we go into a practice every one of those systems needs to be redone, no, practices are doing a lot of really good things right now, all the time and we see it but we go in and tweak it and find out where the missed opportunities are and get them staff trained so they can support the doctor and the doctor can stay in the treatment room and that’s huge so, I mean right now, patient retention that we just talked about and now staff, hiring the right staff and staff training is very key.
Justin: Excellent, excellent. and you know I think the examples of you helping dentists it’s just, there’s hundreds, I don’t even know there might be thousands it’s very, very amazing. Your reputation, I know Howard Farran is a huge fan you, he says nothing but great things. I mean your reputation is incredible on those forums and you’re not sales, you’re not like “Hey, buy my systems, buy my systems.” you’re actually on their offering great advice and I’ve seen it time and time again where just a quick question doctor comes in, you just answer it. you don’t plug your service in, you’re not like hire me, hire me, people are coming to you because you’re a thought leader in your industry and, yeah, what I’m hoping to do is, you know, before we go I’d like to get into some like quick tips or maybe some, a quick strategy that you could put forth for some of our listeners, some of our viewers to say “Oh, okay, yeah. That’s something I could do.”
Sandy: Okay, absolutely. So what every listener should do, right away, is go to their computer software and if they don’t know how to do this they need to contact their software company and they need to get this figured out, it’s easy. The first thing they should do is find out how many people need to come in right now that haven’t been in, in six months or longer. So they’ll go back and they’re looking for last visit dates. So, for example, let’s just say they would pull a report for every patient whose last visit fall between January of 2012 and January 1 of 2016. so I’d say go back that far and they’re going to be shocked, there’s gonna be thousands of people, ok, well maybe hundreds but I guarantee your practices been, that’s been in practice for maybe five or more years are going to have 1,000 people that are due, right now, to come in and if they have been in practice for 15-20 years they’re going to have about 2,000 patients that need to get it immediately. Of course you can’t get a man all at one time and that’s where a lot of practices look and say my goodness we’ve got all these patients that need to come in, we
Can’t communicate with them, what we will do to handle it. No, they need to start communicating with all of them, right away. Now the next thing they do, because you see this a lot on Dental Town, doctors will come on and say “I have no one on my schedule, what am I going to do? I’m just sitting here on Dental Town.” Okay, go to your software, pull a report of incomplete treatment. Go back 12-months, all the patients that you have diagnosed needing treatment over the last 12 months. You are going to be shocked we see this at 500,000, we see this at $1 million of treatment that was presented and not accepted and by the way keep those, keep your computer, the treatment plans in the computer updated, all the time. So if you offer two different options to patients and they take one, take the other one out so that you’re reporting is going (inaudible 12:23-12:25). So you’ve got patients that haven’t been in and you’ve got in complete treatment and that is huge, so many missed opportunities.
Justin: What’s the action they can take? So that’s obviously really good data, they can take so they get that data, now what do with it?
Sandy: Well, great question. so what they’re going to do is with the first one whenever they find out “Oh my goodness we’ve got 1,500 people that need to come in.” they’re going to start communicating, see most practices inactivate patients after 12 months and my message here is never (inaudible 13:04-13:05) if they have blood flowing through their veins and they didn’t call and say I’m never coming back or I moved out of town, guess what, there our patients in that practice so that message has to be spread around to the dental industry and all staff. Stop inactivating patients just because they didn’t come in, you need to start communicating to these people. If they have been in 18 months, if they haven’t been in two years, guess who needs the work? Not the easy patient that was there six months ago, it’s the patients that haven’t been in a long time. Those are the people so you can send cards, you can send emails, we’ve done a lot of studies and even though I believe, firmly believe, that every practice should be communicating via email. I also believe they need to incorporate in their system postcards, postcards are much more effective than email because only 28% of emails are opened and that’s the statistic. Now, so that’s, so you’re going to communicate with them, you’re going to do reactivation with them and let them know they’re welcome back in your practice, you see, that’s what has, because people you gotta really look at it the whole aspect of this is like patients their become embarrassed that they haven’t made back so they end up going somewhere else. have you ever thought like these new patients this month “Oh, we got 50 new patients” but we’ll have you ever thought like where do those 50 new patients go like three years ago? Well I’ll tell you they were in another dental practice and something caused them to not stay, you see. so that’s what you want to change, you want to change that, you want to keep them in your practice so maybe they went and tried another office and now you’re going to communicate with them, be a postcard and welcome them back to the practice and you’re going to get back a lot of them. A lot of them are going to come, I’m going to say 10% are going to come back if you followed our reactivation project that’s available on our website you’re going to get 9 to 19% of those patients back without a phone call. Now, then you’ve got the people with incomplete treatment, now here’s these people a lot of times practices are overwhelming patients. I’ve never seen a practice with people lined up outside the door waiting to come into the chair I have never seen it and if you know one, call me, I want to go and take pictures. it’s not the case when you look at the statistics at right now that like 48% of patients even go to the dentist, we have a lot of work to do, we have a full heart of work to do in dentistry in educating their patients. the American Dental Association is doing nothing to do it so patients get diagnosed, they don’t understand that their condition will only get worse, it’s not going to get better, it’s only gonna cost more. so we have to educate and tell them what will happen if they don’t get the work and we’ve done a lot of phone recording for many years on this topic and it’s really important so what I suggest, if you just have your staff call and call and call on the phone it’s going to be a turn-off. So what you have to do, in this case, is communicate via incomplete treatment letter, a short letter, not something really long. You want to communicate with a short letter just letting them know that you would like to see them back in the office. They have incomplete treatment, yes.
Justin: Excellent, you know, that’s so great because, you know, I actually implemented a similar thing in my business where I just tell people “Hey, yeah” I just get them permission to contact me in the future cause sometimes if it’s not the right time for you a lot of dentists contact me about SEO, about content marketing, web design and stuff like that but whatever reason it’s not the right time for them and that’s okay and giving them permission “Hey listen, I’m happy to answer any questions you ever have” you know, just, I think a lot of people just assume this goes for dental patients and dentists and everyone is just assume that if you reject someone services at that time that they’re going to help their feeling hurt and that, you know, you might want to avoid them in order to circumvent any kind of conflict or awkwardness or whatever and so I think that’s really key is what you’re saying is just giving, letting people know “Hey, there are no hard feelings I understand that wasn’t the right time for you, you know, the ADA says you need your teeth clean but you didn’t think you did and that’s okay.” Right. So, you know, and then major, major work, obviously, that’s even more, that applies even more than cleaning because if someone is looking for an all on four and I’m sure you know this, you know they’re going to shop around, they’re going to want a lot of education and content, right, to make that educated decision. So yeah I think, you know, just giving people permission to contact you that’s really huge, I like that.
Sandy: Well here’s the thing, a lot of them have actually gone to another dentist and tried it and you see. So you kind of just making it okay to come back and that’s what happens.
Justin: Yeah, yeah. Definitely, well hey this has been really, really a great interview. I know that the listeners, they, many of them think very highly of you already but I’m happy to hear that story of how you got into dentistry. If I can even talk and yeah I’d love to put the viewers in touch with you, where can they find you?
Sandy: classicpractice.com or they can email me at email@example.com.
Justin: Excellent, that’s great, you know, it’s an Internet age and I’m always harping on the, you got to have your website out there, people gotta know it, that’s the hub of your online marketing.
Justin: Yeah, so it’s been so educational. let’s talk soon, sandy, I am definitely interested in, some of my clients are, they’ve been asking me who can I trust, Justin, who can I trust for practice solutions, for practice management solutions and, man, it’s such an honor to interview you. Thank you, Sandy.
Sandy: I’m very happy to do it.
Justin: Excellent and guys if you have any questions feel free to reach out to Sandy. Wherever you find this, on the Dental Marketing blog, the Dental Marketing Guy blog. Go ahead and reach out in the comments below on Dental Town, social media, wherever you find this I’m sure in 18, 19 minutes we weren’t able to cover all your questions but please reach out if you have any. I know Sandy is more than happy to answer those.
Justin: Excellent and thank you for watching the Dental Marketing Guy show.