The Business Success Factory Podcast (Shorter Version)

business success


Did you listen to The Business Success Factory podcast with Nicola Cairncross that we posted last month?

We have a shorter version of the original podcast interview!

Nicola has edited it for her separate podcast, Triple-M Blueprint, to feature the success highlights to help listeners with their business Mind, Money and Marketing.


The Triple-M Blueprint episode can be found on:-

- The blog

- iTunes


(Duration : 36:47)

The Performance/Behaviour Matrix


Leading people is one of the hardest responsibilities for owners and managers and the “appraisal” system has a lot of negative press attached to it.

The presentation below gives you a rapid solution to the problem.

Click here to view the presentation!

Hold a conversation with every team member at least once a quarter.

Follow the sequence of questions on the third slide and listen carefully to the feedback you get and the response to the feedback that you give.

Use the matrix on slide 2.

Deliver one of the 4 outcomes:

Promotion – let’s talk about how you can contribute more and what’s in it for you;

Training –  let’s show you how to do the job better

Coaching –  let’s work on your attitude and move you up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Deletion – goodbye, its time for you to go


Content Curation – A New Role In Dentistry


We have seen a number of new roles arise in the business of dentistry over recent years.

The most notable are:

- Marketing Manager
- Social Media Manager
- Treatment Co-ordinator (TCO)
- Customer Relationship Manager (CRM)

At a glance, you can see that these positions embrace two important disciplines:

- Lead generation
- Lead conversion

Clearly, depending on the size of the practice, the responsibilities above can be covered by one or more persons.

One thing is for sure – if nobody is covering these bases then the practice is going to be at a serious commercial disadvantage going forward.

So let me know make matters worse.

If you are going to:

- Entice new visitors to your web site and social media channels and have them stick around, download a white paper, join your mailing list, tell their friends;

- Nurture the relationship you have with your existing patients and prospects who haven’t yet bought.

Then you are going to have to deliver good CONTENT across your channels.

And that CONTENT requires not just CREATION but CURATION.

Creation is what you do when you originate features, stories and testimonials from your own experience.

Curation is what you do when you repurpose material that you have read elsewhere and you think would be good for your audience to read.

They are equally important and the good news is that “internet of things” provides us with seemingly endless curation resources.

In recent months I have been using two excellent web sites in this respect: - measures your influence and gives you a “score” to show how much reach you have (especially important now that SEO is based on influence and engagement, rather than key words). On their site you can also receive a digest of popular posts on subjects that interest you and/or your audience; – allows you to specify subjects in which you have an interest and then repost interesting articles across your own channels.

The objective here is to entertain your audience so that, when they are in the market for your products and services (see previous posts on trigger events) they will contact you because they regard you as experts in the field.

Content curation in dental business is a part-time role – I would suggest perhaps no more than an hour a day. But if you have someone good at it, the difference in your conversion rates of enquiries into leads and on to treatment will be higher.

Ask Yourself: Do you really understand the difference between advertising and marketing your dental practice?


First – a couple of definitions from Wikipedia:

Marketing is the process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers, for the purpose of selling that product or service.

Advertising is a form of marketing communication used to encourage, persuade, or manipulate an audience (viewers, readers or listeners; sometimes a specific group) to take or continue to take some action.

So both are forms of communication but the way I read it (from the above) is that:

- Marketing has as its end goal the proof of value.

- Advertising has as its end goal an action.

Now I don’t want to tie myself in knots here – or labour a point but…

When you place an a-board on the pavement outside your practice:

- If it shows a photograph of a patient with a beautiful smile and quotes her as saying “ABC Dental helped me to attend my daughter’s wedding with confidence” then by rights I suggest that is marketing – explaining the value of the difference you have made to that lady’s life. Its interesting to note that you don’t have to say what dental product or service you delivered – the value is in the difference.

- If your a-board says “10% off orthodontics for one month only” then you are clearly advertising – discount with a deadline so apply now!

I’m thinking that marketing changes the way people think about dentistry, whilst advertising is just another sound bite to add to the thousands we see and hear every day, screaming ineffectively at us from every billboard, hoarding, media channel and web page.

Advertising is lost in the noise and becomes a competition for an ever bigger poster (think about those giant screens on the way into London from the West), an X-Factor commercial or a stupidly expensive Google campaign.

For me, the value (and the fun) is in marketing – in telling stories. We recently published a storygraphic with a blog post entitled “marketing is storytelling” that has been very well received. Click here to view storygraphic.

Bottom line – you have to do both – and when you do, the resulting increase in influence and activity is algorithmic, not linear.

MagicBox is advertising – very good advertising at that – but it will not bring all the prospects in that you deserve if you don’t combine it with storytelling – and that means an endless supply of patient testimonials – one a month forever and a system to get those testimonials out to your audience.

Having built MagicBox to provide “done for you” advertising…

We are now building Artisan – a “done for you” solution to marketing – an exciting project that is just beginning.

Keep your eyes on us – and the clients who are using these services – in future posts we will report back on the numbers. And I’ll prove my point.

Building A Better Recall System


I recently received a text message from a dental practice that basically said:

“It’s time for your 6-monthly hygiene visit, please call us on …”

Ok – it’s text – I don’t expect much and I don’t get it.

But it did get me thinking (as these things always do) as to whether we live in an age where technology and the connected economy give us the ability to do something better?

First of all, I know that you will tell me that, whichever practice management software you are using, there is more functionality available – and more promised by the main players.

The problem, as I see it, is that the conversation is about functionality and not creating a remarkable experience for the patient.

At the time a recall is necessary, whether for a dental check up, a hygiene visit or a combined “Healthy Mouth Assessment” or “Dental Health Review” (in other words a pop-in system), there are a number of opportunities that most current systems miss:

- Whether or not there has been a change in the patient’s circumstances that may have ‘triggered’ a desire to discuss some form of smile design;

- Whether or not this patient has family, friends or colleagues that may be looking for a new dentist;

- Whether this patient is in the market to join your membership scheme, having previously declined;

- Whether the patient is comfortable about giving a video, audio or written testimonial for your clinic.

I can almost hear you say “you must be joking – the team haven’t got the time to cope with existing demand any way.”

Understood – I rarely meet dental teams sat around whittling until the next patient appears.

So it begs the question “can that process be automated and at the same time deliver a personal experience to the recipient – not just spam?”

Answer – yes – but you have to be prepared to take a leap of faith – and consider taking your recall system OUT of your practice management software and dropping it into a more sophisticated CRM system (Customer Relationship Management).

The reality is that there is PLENTY of such software around, ranging from the simple and FREE stalwarts like Mail-chimp, Constant Contact, Silverpop et al – to the more sophisticated like Sales-Force CRM, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Infusionsoft (our strategic alliance partner).

The beauty of all of these systems is that, to varying degrees, they can PERSONALISE an email and include AESTHETIC AND ENTERTAINING CONTENT.

Imagine, if you will, a personalised recall email that can include:

- Your branding

- Photographs of the team clinician you are due to visit

- Embedded video from the practice that can highlight the benefits of regular attendance (and the risks of failed attendance)

- Include testimonials from patients

- Develop a series of “stories” that can absorb the reader

- Highlight popular treatments that may be “all the rage”

- Include free downloadable reports – ‘top tips’ that will be relevant and topical

- Ask for feedback

- Include a link to on-line booking

- Allow the facility to ‘share’ via social media and email, thus engaging with the readers own connected

- Reminders on consumable sales from toothbrushes to whitening gels

- A personalised signature from you

Has everyone got email? No, of course not – but a growing majority do.

Will everyone open and read your material? They don’t – but some do.

Will patients share? Not all – but some.

This isn’t just about lowering your FTA rate.

CRM software allows you to create a completely engaged communication that will achieve so much more than a blunt text, a letter or a call.

It is about nurturing your long term patients into a constant source of attendance, up-selling and referral.

We believe there are huge untapped resources in your existing databases – and we know how to release that potential.

12 Predictions For The Future Of Dentistry Event


Are you fascinated, bewildered or anxious about what’s going on in the world of UK dentistry?

Spend an evening with dental business coach (and Bear Grylls Islander) Chris Barrow, taking a look into the future and making some predictions about “what’s next” in the clinical and business side of dentistry.

Whether you are at the beginning, the middle or the end of your practicing and/or business career, this provocative evening will make you think, delivered by a man with the nickname “Mr Marmite”, we can guarantee that you will not agree with everything he says and they you will not be bored!

For more information, click here to see the full event flyer.



Customer Service is no different from theatre.

The cast are there to create an illusion – to suspend disbelief – to create moments of truth that will have a disproportionate effect on the recipient.

Remember a piece of vintage Chris Barrow from the 90’s – that the sign on the staff room door should read “back stage”.

How many of you went ahead and did that?

If the giraffe from The Lion King has a genuinely bad day – then an understudy will step in for the performance.

If the giraffe just wants to stand on stage, head in hand, and moan about the job, the audience, the band, the weather, the tax man, the government or the other cast members – then they are best asked to bugger off and find another theatre to moan in – not yours.

Actually they shouldn’t even be in show business – tell them to go and get a job with the Government.

If the audience misbehave – talking on their phones during the performance, writing unfair reviews on Google, treating the theatre staff rudely, asking for cheap tickets and then complaining that they are sat too far away from the stage – then chuck them out – you don’t need their business.

As practice owner you are the star of the cast – you had better be good and not fluff your lines, sing out of tune or miss a cue.

As practice manager you are the theatre manager as well as The Dresser for the star sometimes.

Sell the tickets, keep the props working, tune the musicians and make sure the crew and the audience are happy.

Everyone else – you had better sing for your supper.

Interesting that a night at a West End show costs about the same as a Healthy Mouth Assessment in a good private practice.

Do the audience get an award-winning performance every day?

How to Market Your Dental Practice with Les Jones


Join Les Jones for a highly visual and thought-provoking full-day workshop dedicated solely to developing the marketing skills of dental practice teams.

Les has banished unattainable blue-sky theories to room 101 and will instead focus on practical and affordable marketing tips that you can implement immediately for relatively little cost.


Event Information

Les will take you through everything a dental practice team needs to know about marketing. From understanding your target market and setting marketing KPIs, to creating your marketing proposition, exploring routes to market, and understanding the dos and don’ts when creating marketing collateral.

Les will show you how to track the success of your marketing – he’ll not only tell you how to gather your data, but also what decisions you should be making based on the results!

By attending this information-packed workshop you will:

• Get to grips with the basics of marketing and setting marketing goals
• Identify your target market and create your marketing proposition accordingly
• Understand how you can develop and implement a successful marketing strategy
• Learn how to monitor your marketing success and refine your strategy
• Get innovative marketing ideas that you can implement immediately for relatively little cost
• Earn 5.5 hours of verifiable CPD


Time and Place


Village Hotel, Cardiff – 25/09/2014


Hallmark Hotels Manchester, Wilmslow, Cheshire – 12/09/2014


Best Western PLUS Manor Hotel, Birmingham – 10/09/2014


Holiday Inn Southampton – 30/09/2014


Practice Plan and Medenta members

£120 per person

Registered users and non-members

£160 per person

For more information visit


or call 01691 684135

White Paper Marketing


The term “white paper marketing” has been coined by industry to describe what happens when a curious prospect downloads a resource, usually free of charge, from your web site in return for depositing their email (sometimes more) and permission to keep them alerted to future events and offers.

The rationale comes from the “Lifecycle Marketing” movement, who suggest that

- The initial sales process will be more successful if a prospect receives multiple (but not pushy) contacts during their initial enquiry process

- Prospects and patients who are nurtured by email over long periods of time are more likely to return to buy more and refer to family and friends

When the actual numbers are researched, the argument is very persuasive, with increases of up to 400% in sales reported in professional services.

At 7connections we have invested over a year in research and anybody who follows our adventures cannot fail to have noticed that we are busy developing our own “Lifecycle Marketing” solution for dentistry, about to lift off the runway with some loyal innovators who are allowing us to build live systems in their dental business as we speak.

Early on we took a view that, if a white paper was to be effective in securing downloads, it would have to attract the curiosity of a visitor to your site.

So a simple “all about crowns”, “all about ortho”, “all about implants” approach was unlikely to be successful, particularly taking into account the dubious sales writing skills of the experienced clinician.

With that in mind, we searched for and secured the services of a professional business sales writer from a BBC trained background, whose job it is to take “dental speak” and turn it into something compelling whilst compliant (we are checking every document to make sure that the regulators will be happy).

The first drafts are beginning to appear and I have to say that I’m excited to see some ground-breaking copy.

The proof will be in the pudding of course and we will be keeping you updated on the metrics as soon as we can – after what is likely to be a period of trial and error to figure out which words and phrases stimulate the best responses.

Keep watching.