THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

The Australia Diary – day 4 – marketing restrictions and the 35% associate

There’s something very humbling about feeling nervous before a new workshop begins.

I know the material inside out but, no matter how many times you deliver a presentation and in how many places, there’s a slight attack of imposter syndrome before you go on stage.

“What will I do if they don’t like me, if they don’t get the jokes, if the material isn’t transferable into this culture/economy?”

I remember feeling that way in Tanzania before a team training session at Hope Dental Centre, in Pune, India before the first Dental Business Masters Conference, at Pride Park in Dublin opening an IDA conference.

I’ve been lucky so far in that over 20 years, there have been very few delegates who have found me unpalatable and requested a refund (it does happen to us all eventually – just like that 1-star Google or Facebook review).

As I mentioned to my conference host Lawrence Neville just before we opened yesterday’s workshop at the beautiful Sheraton on the Park, a little nervousness is a good thing because the alternative would be easily interpreted as arrogance – we have all suffered that speaker, who comes on stage thinking that he/she is a master of the universe – yuk.

So I opened the Extreme Business Australia Workshop at 09:00 and off we went, starting another voyage of discovery into my material and the individual circumstances of the practice owners and managers present.

Familiar territory to those of you who follow me already:

Day One

The Marketing Session

A complete overview of what’s working NOW in independent practice marketing: • Understanding the difference between advertising and marketing – and why that’s important; • How to reduce your investment in paid-for advertising, whether print media or digital; • How to increase the engagement of your team and your patients in internal word of mouth and digital marketing; • Creating a comprehensive marketing plan for 2018/19 embracing o your patient recall system o social media engagement; o making your web site attractive; o creating your practice blog; o creating your email patient newsletter; o engaging the whole team by using your morning huddle as a marketing focal point; o creating an end of treatment protocol that never fails; o external marketing through advertising, publishing and networking. • Building your marketing action plan and budget The marketing session will appeal to all owners, managers and TCOs.

The Money Session

A complete overview of how to measure and monitor every aspect of your practice finances to achieve maximum profitability: • Understanding your profit & loss statement; • Identifying how to measure your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs); • Benchmarks for performance; • Creating budgets and cash flow forecasts; • Measuring clinician productivity and profitability; • Understanding the significance of OCPSPD (operating cost per surgery per day) • Accurate pricing; • Tips and tricks to ethically maximise profit.

What was different in Australia?

Primarily the regulatory rules around marketing which completely prohibit the use of patient testimonials to represent the practice as a centre of excellence.

It seems madness in a world in which dental practices are using social media so effectively to promote themselves via patient engagement that, here in Sydney, the delegates were telling me that anyone who breaks ranks (and some do) are immediately whistle-blown by their competitors.

There are even by some sad dentists who seem to have part-time job, scouring the web for other practices about whom they can complain.

We discussed in detail how one could legitimately engage with patients via social media to promote the practice without infringing the rules.

No big surprise that if a patient chooses to check in to, review or photograph themselves in your practice with their own smartphone and then post onto their own social channels, there’s nothing the regulators can do about that.

We also reviewed some of the videography created by the DSD movement which, although emotional marketing at it’s finest, doesn’t reference specific patients.

There are solutions but they have to be considered carefully and dental teams trained effectively in their communication.

We had some fun reviewing the individual delegate’s web sites and there is clearly a lot of work here for the Dental Focus team, who are simultaneously launching their Australian division down in Melbourne this week. Krish – you are going to be busy!

Our marketing conversation ran two hours over the time allocated and so I found myself starting the afternoon session around 15:00 local time.

Ultimately, we finished about 90-minutes later than scheduled, having dissected how to conduct a financial analysis from a P&L right through to associate profitability.

Oh – by the way – almost all associates here in Australia are on 35% – that’s the norm and, as we know, makes practices here much more profitable than many of their international colleagues.

After a quick post-conference beer with a few of the delegates, I arrived back at my apartment around 20:30 and, I have to admit, completely exhausted.

One take-away Singapore Street Noodles later and a glass of wine, I woke up on my sofa having fallen asleep in front of the TV and staggered of to bed.

Day 1 – mission accomplished.

Imposter syndrome banished once more.

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