How to double your sales and profits in just 10 months

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You know, if someone suggested that were possible – or maybe even set that as a goal – even I would have struggled to believe it possible.

Until I saw it happen with one of my own clients.

January 2014 – average monthly revenues for the practice – £40,000.

October 2014 – average monthly revenues for the practice – £80,000.

Profits through the roof.

And an agreement to set a target of £600,000 in sales – for the first 5 months of 2015 – an average of £120,000 a month in sales.

That, my friends, could justify the use of that much over-worked phrase – AWESOME.

What are we looking at here?

A 2-chair practice in South London with two Principals and a part-time therapist.

Aiming at a very profitable £1.2m in sales for next year (and yes – I’m challenging them to hit 50% of target in the first 5 months of the year).

So how have they done it?

20% – changing their management team, bringing in a potentially excellent new business development manager and a treatment co-ordinator with equal potential. Making some small but important changes to their marketing strategy (without any significant increase in marketing spend).

80% – changing their attitude and their communication skills. That’s the two Principals having different/better conversations with the same prospects and patients they were seeing in 2013.

Frank Carson, the late, lamented Belfast comedian used the catch phrase “It’s the way I tell ‘em” and the same is true here.

Over the last 10 months, our regular coaching meetings have dealt with the operational and management issues as quickly as possible and then the two Principals have simply sat there typing furiously into a couple of iPads as they have asked:

“when the prospect/patient says THIS what should we say?”

“when the prospect/patient does THAT what should we do?”

…and I have literally dictated suggested answers and ideas.

We have dissected to the point of obsession, every step of the new patient consult, the treatment plan presentation, overcoming concerns and objections and closing the sale.

We have agreed exactly what verbal response is appropriate at every step of a consult, an options meeting, and after-treatment conversation – even the dental review meeting.

I’m now doing the same with their new treatment co-ordinator, who is sweating the asset (ME) by emailing frequently every week with “someone said THIS – what should I say?” and “here is a letter/text/email – what do you think of the wording?” and their new business development manager, who is busy sending me protocols for reception by email for editing and review.

The practice has doubled in 10 months because they are perfecting their COMMUNICATION.

Dental health reviews – An old, new idea

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I recently went to see a client in Yorkshire and received an email from the practice manager:

“Could you please talk to the team re Dental Health Reviews. I thought maybe a 45 mins talk or thereabouts on the benefits to us and the patients, other practices experiences, what language to use etc. I’m sure you’ll have plenty of your own ideas.”

What interests me about this is that:

• last weekend at BACD I was chatting to a prospective new client who mentioned that his practice learned all about DHR’s from Ken James in the early ’90s
• my first experience of a DHR was as a patient at Meneage Dental in Helston, Cornwall back in the early 2000s

I’m going to assume therefore that you understand the basics:

• existing patient attends review meetings in the hygienist/therapist (H/T) chair
• H/T builds rapport, reviews MHQ, reviews smile evaluation questionnaire, asks patient for update on dental health, can take x-Rays and intra-oral pictures if necessary
• Dentist arrives in H/T surgery after about 10 minutes
• H/T then presents patient to dentist as a para-medic would present to a doctor
• Dentist may take a look at patient’s mouth and supporting evidence, diagnose and ask patient to book in Dentist’s diary for treatment
• while all this is going on, patient in Dentist’s chair is numbing up, taking a rest and chatting with chatty nurse
• in an ideal world Dentist is in H/T surgery for up to 10 minutes maximum and then back in dental surgery to complete treatment
• H/T review meeting is 30-minutes nurse assisted or 45-minutes solo (including DHR time)

In my experience, the majority of patients love the new system. One visit, one chair and a short wait for any treatment by the dentist.

Equally, the practices who persevere with the DHR system, love it because of the resulting efficiencies.

Owners love it because they can focus on their dentistry and not get bogged down in check ups – and because the consequent effect on bottom line profits can be significant.

I suppose that it was the innovators who listened to Ken James, Bobbi Anthony, Cathy Jameson and others in the early 90s.

The early adopters who jumped on board in the late ’90s and early 2000s.

Late adopters now – and the laggards never will:

“That will never work in my town/practice – the people here are different”

The ever-excellent Sheila Scott has written an excellent book that embraces the system and I would commend it to you.

CLICK HERE

What’s not to like?

Letters from a perfect imperfectionist – Roads less travelled

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A stretch of the Trans-Pennine Cycle Path, this between Warrington and Altrincham and following the remains of an old railway line closed down by the infamous Dr Richard Beeching in 1963.

As a result of his independent report, the UK lost 5,000 miles of railway and 2,363 stations due to the then competitive pressure of road transport.

At the time, losses for the rail operators, the end of petrol rationing for cars and lorries and a recovering post-war economy forced the closures.

Ironic now that I have enjoyed well over a year without a motor vehicle and have travelled the length and breadth of the UK by rail, keeping up with my emails, reducing my stress levels and looking with an element of pity at the poor souls condemned to a life of congestion, jams and rising motor expenses.

I’m not at all sure that HS2 is taking us back to an earlier age of rail enthusiasm and convenience but for me personally, the shift away from the road network has been a game-changer.

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Along the way, I’ve benefited (as have many others) from some gorgeous routes to cycle or, as in this case, build up my distances for marathons.

The beauty of rising early to run is the solitude.

What can compare to a forest trail, a beach-side promenade, a river’s meanderings or a reconstituted cycle path – first thing, before anyone else is about?

I’ve been running since 1978 and have never listened to music or e-books whilst out – just the sounds around me – the bustle of a rising city, the percussion of waves breaking on sand, the celebration of a new day in nature, the view from a mountain trail.

Running has been my number 1 “feeling good to be alive” place for 36 years now and I’ll keep going as long as I can.

Thank you Dr Beeching for inadvertently creating some beautiful routes all those years ago.

“These “letters” are the personal observations of me, Chris Barrow and are not intended to reflect the views of 7connections and its team members, they just give me permission to publish here on the basis that they can keep an eye on me, a bit like a mad relative at a wedding reception. I’m likely to upset the sensitive and outrage the sensible – if you fall into either of those camps then read at your peril.”

Is your team driving you mad? KOLBE can explain why…

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It was an absolute pleasure to have our friend Alun Rees as a guest speaker at the last T20 meeting a few weeks ago in Central London.

Alun spoke to the managers on Friday and Principals on Saturday about the background and theory of KOLBE analysis and also “read the palms” of some of the delegates who had submitted their results beforehand.

I first heard about KOLBE 10 years ago and have been a fan ever since, using the simple 20-minute self-assessment as a tool in recruitment and team building for my own businesses and those of our clients.

KOLBE IS NOT A TEST.

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There is no right or wrong, good or bad.

KOLBE is simply an accurate measure of style and can identify the unique abilities of individuals and can show you how to build award-winning teams and allocate tasks to the right players.

Alun carries the distinction of being the only KOLBE certified coach in UK dentistry and combines a wealth of experience in dental practice ownership with a focused application of KOLBE to the business of dentistry.

Check him out at http://www.dentalbusinesscoach.co.uk

Can you grow your practice profits by 4 times?

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If I could show you a way to increase your practice profits by 400% would you give me just 65 minutes of your undivided attention?

At the end of which, you can immediately start making small changes that could make a massive difference to your practice in the future.

How?

We have created a free webinar.

All you will need is:

  • A PC, laptop or tablet
  • A good internet connection
  • Headphones/speakers
  • An open mind

In the free webinar I’m going to introduce you to the most talked-about concept in marketing today:

Lifecycle Marketing

The best way to demonstrate the benefit of lifecycle marketing in relation it to your own dental practice is by looking at the money you are losing in potential sales by NOT embracing this new philosophy.

Money you are losing because:

  • You could increase the number of people attracted to your web site
  • You could increase the number of people who visit your premises both now and in the future
  • You could increase the additional sales you make to your existing patients
  • You could increase the number of patients who refer you to their friends and family

At 7connections we have created a new unique and groundbreaking product:

Artisan

Artisan automates the Lifecycle Marketing process for you – leaving you free to focus on your unique skills and responsibilities as a clinician and/or business owner.
Our free webinar that takes you through the 7 stages of Lifecycle Marketing and shows you how your practice could be adopting it and increasing profits.

Click here to register for our FREE Artisan Opportunity Analyser webinar presented by Chris Barrow.

Building lifetime relationships with patients

The holy grail of a dental business is to always have an influx of new patients, referrals from current patients and further treatment sales from existing patients. And trying to achieve all of this can leave your team and resources drained, especially if there is no clear structure to what you are trying to do. The diagram below outlines the mechanism of building and maintaining a loyal patient base:

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Find out more by clicking here.

5 reasons not to miss TCO training with Nikki Berryman

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See below for Nikki’s Berryman’s 5 reasons not to miss her upcoming TCO training event:

1. Learn how to create all the ‘behind the scenes’ systems to help implement your TCO facility

2. Take away a range of templates to adapt and use at your practice

3. Learn how to create your own, bespoke Patient Journey

4. Learn how to carry out a first class complimentary consultation with confidence!

5. Gain confidence, knowledge and passion for your new role

But don’t just take our word for it – here’s what our previous attendees had to say!

“Fabulous communication and presentation skills by Nikki, I feel so inspired, thank you” – P Preston

“This is the best course I’ve been on, thank you” – E Young

“Very relevant training and easily adaptable templates and documents, thank you” – S Pepperman Hackett

“Really informative, lots of ‘background procedures’ to think about implementing, thank you”  K Fall

“Today was inspirational I cannot wait to get started” – K Hensley

“Brilliant course! I now feel confident to take on my new role” – K McCormack

“Excellent course. The workbook is now my new bible. Fantastic speaker, I would recommend Nikki highly” – A Wilson

Don’t miss out – book your place today!

Ask yourself – Is my 2015 marketing plan written?

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With so few weeks to go to the end of the year, one might almost cry “too late!”.

So let me assume that your marketing plan isn’t written in stone yet (99% of the audience?) and offer some thoughts on how to plan over the next few weeks:

1. Understand what marketing actually is

I could simply say “read back over the 7connections blog posts in the last few months” because we have been commenting on this heavily, partly due to the quality and volume of questions from our clients and contacts, partly due to our own immersion in “the marketing of dentistry”.

Marketing is storytelling – about the people whose lives you change.

Perhaps the title this post could be:

“Is your 2015 storytelling plan written?”

2. Allocate your marketing budget for 2015

I have previously suggested 5% of gross revenues, subject to a minimum of £50,000 (!) but even if you can only allocate £10,000 for the year – read on.

3. Slice the pizza

Once you have decided on an investment level for the year, you need to allocate the spend between 3 main areas:

- Word of Mouth Marketing
– print media
– digital media
– special offers
– open evenings
– referral campaigns
- Digital Marketing
– web development
– social engagement
– internet advertising and re-marketing (Google and Facebook)
– Lifecycle Marketing using automated email systems
- Direct Marketing
– print media
– digital media
– broadcast media
– Business 2 Business
– Networking

4. Decide on your themes and their frequency

You can decide to have 12 themes (one a month) or 4 themes (every quarter) but the secret is to change the themes on a regular basis so as to stimulate interest and demand from your community.

Gone are the days when you can simply say “we do dentistry of all shapes and sizes”.

Remember that those themes will contain 20% information about the products that you offer and 80% STORIES about the people whose lives you have changed using those products.

5. Build a calendar

It is now spreadsheet time.

Across the top – 12 months of your calendar or trading year.

Down the side – all of the tasks associated with deploying your marketing.

And then reading down each month, check boxes or coloured cells to indicate which activities will occur in what month.

A spreadsheet that can be referred back to constantly – a living document shared with your external consultants and internal team so that everyone knows what is expected of them.

6. Pre-book meetings in the calendar

Marketing review meetings:

Daily – what are we doing today (as part of your daily huddle)
Weekly – how was last week and how will next week look (as part of your weekly reflection)
Monthly – review the last month’s activity and results – make course corrections (as part of your monthly management meeting)
Quarterly – a complete marketing analysis, including ROMI (return on marketing investment) from each of your activities – and marketing goals for the next 90 days (as part of your quarterly training day)
Annually – the reveal to the team of next year’s plan (as part of your annual retreat)

7. Build measurement systems

Develop robust questions for all new patients to nail down EXACTLY how they found you – so that you can accurately measure and monitor ROMI on everything that you do.

Ensure that your TCO’s are accurately measuring the progress of every prospective new patient from enquiry to completion and the average treatment plan value

8. Build your marketing team

Decide who exactly is going to be involved in content creation (storytelling), content curation (repurposing external stories) and publishing (making sure that the messages get out there across multiple media channels).

Who will be involved in measuring?

Involved in research to establish what’s new out there?

Involved in liaising with your external suppliers of marketing support and making sure that they fulfil their promises and don’t drop you to the bottom of their priorities because someone else is shouting at them?

9. Decide who your external suppliers are

Digital marketing agencies
Direct marketing suppliers
Marketing consultants and trainers
Printers
Video film makers
Graphic designers

Who will they be?

What terms will you require from them?

What will you want them to do?

How will you keep in communication with them?

How will you know that what they do is working?

10. Or – join The Ultimate Marketing Academy 2015

• 7connections will make sure that all of this gets done

• we will supply the templates mentioned above

• we will train your team

• and

• we will give you your money back if it doesn’t work.

What have you got to gain?

And what to lose?

CLICK HERE to find out more

Letters from a perfect imperfectionist – A letter of complaint

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I’ve been complaining to my clients recently.

Why?

Because they are not asking me to do enough work for them.

Strange isn’t it?

They pay me lots of money to be their dental business coach and then don’t show up – rather like that January gym membership that we sometimes buy – and then realise that we didn’t visit.

Back in the 90’s I called a part of my business The Coaching Gym – not without reason.

Now you would think that selling memberships to non-attendees would be a fabulous business model?

Not if you enjoy your job the way that I do – I just love getting into the thick end of business development work.

So prior to our recent T20 meeting in London I decided to put together a quick slide show of all the ways in which they could “sweat the asset” – the asset being ME.

Admission time – I had quite a bit of fun putting this together and hope you enjoy spending a few moments sharing with me the ways I engage with my clients.

I’m finalising my coaching practice for 2015 and have just 2 vacancies – so if your New Year resolutions list could possibly include some coaching, why not give me a call.

Only if you intend to make me sweat though.

“These “letters” are the personal observations of me, Chris Barrow and are not intended to reflect the views of 7connections and its team members, they just give me permission to publish here on the basis that they can keep an eye on me, a bit like a mad relative at a wedding reception. I’m likely to upset the sensitive and outrage the sensible – if you fall into either of those camps then read at your peril.”

The Launch of The Ultimate Marketing Academy 2015

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We are very excited and proud to officially launch our new Academy today and to make a dramatic promise.

I was with a client just yesterday who have doubled their turnover and profit since they started working with us in January this year – including 3 successive “best ever” months.

We are seeing spectacular growth in the marketing performance of our clients, more enquiries, higher conversion rates, increased average treatment plan value – all of which cascades to the bottom line of profitability.

The objective of The Ultimate Marketing Academy is to bring that knowledge to a wider but selective audience of practices who want to become Champions League marketeers.

Here’s the deal – we revolutionise your marketing results next year or we give you 100% of your investment back – no strings.

I want to ask you a favour (or three):

1. Follow this link to the new page on our web site

http://7connections.com/ultimatemarketingacademy/

2. When you get to the new web page, invest 2 minutes in watching the animation

3. Complete the simple two-step request for more information – then sit back and watch what happens in your email in-box

If you fancy making 2015 your best marketing year yet – do as I ask and do it now.