The Two Places Within Your Dental Business To Draw Your Marketing And Advertising Dollars From

The Two Places Within Your Dental Business To Draw Your Marketing And Advertising Dollars From

I’ve talked in recent weeks about the mix, or division of collection dollars, in the Dental Office.

And I’ve written on several occasions on the 40:20:20:20 division of the collections, with the emphasis on making sure that the Dental Office Dentist Owner is appropriately remunerated by the Dental Office for the three distinct levels of involvement that he has, in that office.


The Dental Office Dentist Owner needs to make sure that he is paid fairly:

  1. 1. As a dentist. He needs to separate his take home reward, as if he were an associate dentist.This means paying himself, usually a percentage, for the drilling of teeth.This is usually 40% of his collections.
  2. 2. Secondly, the dentist needs to remunerate himself for the bookkeeping and administrative duties he performs.These are duties separate to the role of providing dental services to patients, and are duties that the Dentist Owner could easily be paying someone else to come in to do.This remuneration would come from the twenty percent of collections allocated to salaries within the Dental Practice.
  3. 3. Thirdly, the Dental Office Owner Dentist needs to pay himself a dividend as an owner, or investor, in the business.After all, he has his own capital tied up in setting up or purchasing, the Dental Office, and in reality, if he did not have the obligation to the Dental Office, he would have that money invested elsewhere, earning interest at least, as bonds or term deposits.This reward for funds invested needs to be paid from the twenty percent of collections allocated to capital investment and profits and dividends.

Which brings us now to the age-old question….

From which section, or sections, of the collection mix do I draw my advertising and marketing budget?

My view on this is simple.

Advertising and marketing your Dental Office should be really sourced from two sections of the collection dollars.

Because there’s really two types of advertising to be using.

Firstly, there’s everyday run of the mill brand awareness advertising.

Like weekly newspaper adverts, yellow pages entries, and website design.

These are your bread and butter routine materials that keep your business with a visual presence in the market place.

They are advertisements, or media, that your Dental Office uses regardless, day in day out, to keep your Office’s face in front of the community. So that when it’s time for the community to choose a dentist, your name, you logo, your office, is truly recognizable to Mr. Public as he goes about his due diligence in deciding on a Dental Office.

The cost of this form of marketing should be allocated from within the twenty percent of collections that are used for Operational Costs and Expenses of the Dental Office.

The second type of Advertising spend is target specific Advertising, and the dollars for this form of marketing should be drawn from the twenty percent of collections allocated to capital investment.

Good marketing of this type will bring specific types of clients to your door and will provide you with patients and income dollars that can be easily trackable for calculating ROI, or return on your investment.

For example, a target specific letterbox drop flyer, with a specific treatment suggested and offer involved, is very easy to track ROI from.

Because the offer usually requests the new client to bring or mention the flyer when they book.

Similarly, dollars for Television and Radio advertising, or specific social media campaigns, all with specific time restricted offers, should also be allocated from this Capital expenses section of your collections.

Because, again, we can see how successful, or unsuccessful or un-noticeable these specific forms of marketing are, because we can simply ask each new client or customer whether they had seen, or remembered, any of these *specific* forms of marketing.

If you’re allocating your collection dollars correctly using the 40:20:20:20 separation, the funds are already there available for some forms of marketing and advertising.

Put simply, advertising should be looked at always as an investment, rather than an expense.

Because all dollars spent on advertising should return to the business a profitable return, of some sort, or ROI, on funds spent.

Otherwise why would you do it?

Why would you spend hard earned dollars on poor returning forms of marketing?

When you look at your marketing in this manner, it makes decisions on where to invest your hard earned much much clearer.

And this in turn returns better returns…..and so on….



The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

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Three Cases Where The Inmates Have Attempted To Run The [Dental] Asylum, And Why You Must Never Let This Happen To You

Three Cases Where The Inmates Have Attempted To Run The [Dental] Asylum, And Why You Must Never Let This Happen To You

From time to time I’m reminded of one of the most ludicrous aspects of private dental practice ownership.

And it has reared its ugly head again this week in three separate situations.

For some reason, in dentistry Down Under, and I suspect it occurs across the Pacific as well, for some reason there’s a belief that some Dental Employees have that they can come and work in an established business and operate their style and practice of dentistry as they see fit with total disregard for the principles and operational practices established by the business owner.


That somehow they’re magically entitled to know better and behave differently from what’s expected, and what’s worked well at that Office?

Is that because more Dental Business Owners are weak-kneed and allow this sort of stupid business practice to propagate itself in the first place?

Because it’s a downright stupid business practice that throws the whole principle of Business Structures and Protocols *OUT THE WINDOW* for Dental Practices in general.

And let’s just step away from Dental for a minute and run this same scenario through other industries, because there’s no way in high Hades that this would ever happen outside of Dentistry.

And yet we seem to allow it time and time again within Dentistry.

Could you imagine McDonalds Corporation employing restaurant staff that had worked elsewhere in the fast food industry and allowing those new employees to do what they did at their last place of work with total disregard for the detailed policies and procedures and employment *CULTURE* that McDonalds Corporation has taken so long to establish as its *OWN WAY* of doing business?

Or could you imagine someone coming to work at The Four Seasons Hotel after working previously for say, Marriott, and totally disregarding the way that they do things at Four Seasons because they’re set in their ways and inflexible because “this is the way they always did it at Marriott” and “that’s just how I’m going to do it for you now Mr. Four Seasons whether you like it or not!”

Because at Four Seasons, at McDonalds, at Nordstrom’s, at Starbucks, at Disney…. it would never, ever happen.

Yet day in and day out I hear of Dental Offices where brazen employees turn up with this *set in their ways* attitude and expect to, and often are allowed to get away with bringing that seriously wrong attitude to the Dental Office that has given them employment.

And to the detriment of the established Dental Offices in question….

Case 1.

A client of mine is having a devil of a time finding the “right” Dental Hygienist to come and work in her office.

Which is frustrating, because the instruction and protocols and systems used in her Dental Office are clearly laid out in hard copy for all to see and are explained verbally at a detailed induction.

The systems of the Dental Office are revisited and reviewed on a daily basis so that there’s absolutely no confusion as to what the Owner Dentist and the Team at the Dental Office are requiring and expect from the new employee.

Yet for some unknown reason not one but two hygienists in a row have now tried to slip under my client’s guard and bring their own style and way of practice into what is already a clearly defined delivery system of Dental Service.

And it’s not rocket science!

It’s simple stuff, like:

This is how we hand-over to the dentist
This is how we hand-over to the front desk
This is the time schedule I need you to run to to fit in with the dentist
These are the things I need you to look for for me in each patient’s mouth
This is what we say to greet the patient
This is how we farewell the patient

And so on and so on…

And yet two in a row, despite clear instruction, have chosen to try, and try unsuccessfully, to ignore these established protocols at this Dental Office.

Case 2.

This was interesting. Really interesting.

I visited a Dental Online Forum last night where discussion raged as to what employee Dentists were wanting to do in Offices where they worked where the Owner Dentists were offering lower priced Dental Examinations and cleanings as an entry point to attract more new patients.

Some on the forum felt that the employee Dentist needed to “do what the practice does”, while a few Holier Than Thou employee Dentists felt that if the Dental Office was offering these lower cost entry appointments then the Office should still remunerate the Dentist as if it were a fuller fee appointment.

And while I can see some reason for this narrow minded belief, I can see it to be a short term selfish opinion that totally disregards the long term viability of the Dental Office as well as what has gone on in that Office previously leading up to the patients that the Office has today.

My thought is that if this is where I work then this is what I must do.

If in this office I must offer my diagnostic services at a lower fee in order to secure a new patient, then this is what I must do.

And if I, as an assistant dentist want to be paid more for examining a new patient, then I am welcome to go elsewhere to work to find such an Office to work in.

And while, as an assistant dentist, I have no skin in the game, and not one dollar of my money invested in the equipment, facility and goodwill of the business, while that is the case, I do what I’m asked to do to fit in with that Dental Practice Philosophy and Procedures.

Case 3.

If this story weren’t so true it would be laughable.


A recently employed hygienist at a corporate owned Dental Office I know of was questioned by the Office Manager about some inconsistencies in her performance, as Office Managers need to do.

Not serious inconsistencies, just little things like incomplete treatment notes, rescheduling and cancelling patient appointments that did not suit her lifestyle [without contacting the patients], and booking travel on days where leave had yet to be requested…

Not really behaviours reflecting a respect for that Dental Office Policies and Procedures.

Anyway, that evening, the hygienist SMS’s the Office Manager saying she won’t be in the next day, going on stress leave.

Well heck yeah, it must be very stressful having your deceitful behaviours discovered and pointed out to you!!

But, hello?!?!

Stress leave?

Happy ending. The hygienist subsequently resigned from this office.

Sadly, it’s very difficult to believe that this behaviour in this case is not an ingrained behaviour that has happened at other offices and will occur again at future employers…

I have to take my hat off to the Office Manager in Case 3 and the Dentist Owner in Case 1 for standing up to their principles of what is right and what is best for each of their Dental Offices.

Because where there is direction and culture established and existing already in a Dental Office, it’s so important that those principles of business be maintained.

Otherwise all you’ll end up with is a rabble.

And that’s not World Class…



The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple easy to implement system that I developed that allowed me to build an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb.  If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

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The Secret Way That Smart Dentists  Look At Their Dental Office As A Business

The Secret Way That Smart Dentists Look At Their Dental Office As A Business

One of the joys of owning your own business is deciding what to do with the collections of that business.

Many years ago, while working in a Dental Office as an associate Dentist to the Principal, I had a patient remark to me:

“Dentistry is the last bastion of free enterprise”

And these words are even truer today than I believe they were back then, in 1984 or 1985. [I’m not sure exactly which year it was].

I’ve written previously about the suggested mix or percentage breakdown of what to do with collections, but in reality, as most dentists know, because Dental Offices are primarily owner occupied businesses, the Dentist is really free to do whatever he dang well wants with his collections.

And most of the time, that’s what he dang well does!!

Just this week I was discussing a Profit and Loss sheet [P&L] with a client, and it seems to me, just by the very nature of the layout of a P&L, that its format lends itself to an allocation of collections that is not in the best interests of the Owner Dentist.

Allow me to explain:

A traditional P&L for a business, any business, begins by listing a collections total and then proceeds to list an arrangement of various expenses and expenditure that summarily arrives at an amount at the bottom of the page of money left over.

Yes, the amount of profit that your business has generated.

And usually that’s the number that we as Owner Dentists look *BACK* upon, and wonder, after personal expenditure, where abouts all that profit actually went?

And that’s because, as owner operators, we can, because we can spend every long last penny any way we really want to simply because that’s exactly what we are entitled to do.


After all, it’s our business, and we own that business!!

Right or wrong, this is the way that Dental Offices have traditionally been run.

In my discussions with my client about his own personal P&L, I suggested to him that there was another way he might like to present his Profit and Loss figures that might be more appropriate in looking at the Dental Office as a business, first and foremost.

And my reasons for suggesting this view to him were simple:

While ever a Dental Office considers a traditional P&L a valid means of presenting data, there’ll always be a confusion as to what the true worth of the business is, because of the blending of what should be separated results into one homogenous figure on the bottom line.

Because in a traditional P&L, the bottom line is inclusive of:

  • The dentist’s commission for being a provider of dental services to patients
  • The dentist’s remuneration for his hours spent managing the non-treatment aspects of the Dental Office
  • The outright profit that the Dental Office generates as a stand alone business as a dividend for its owner investors.

And although, in most cases these three components of the bottom line end up in the pockets of the Business Owner Dentist anyway, it’s an interesting exercise to look at the derivative of that healthy bottom line, and exactly where each dollar actually came from.

The major benefit of separating the bottom line is that it allows the Dental Office to remunerate the Dentist Owner firstly for providing the Dental Services.

It’s my suggestion that all Owner Dentists should pay themselves a Market Value percentage of fees collected, just as they would also pay an associate dentist.

In essence, a day’s work for a day’s pay.

There’s no reason an owner dentist should be leaving his own compensation to “what’s left over”.

Rather, the owner dentist should be drawing down on a weekly, or even daily basis, a commission for his work as a dentist, and physically transferring that money out of the business account and into his own private or family account.

With what remains in the bottom line, the Owner Dentist then needs to remunerate himself for his administrative duties of running the Dental Office, in the same way he would have to pay someone else to perform those duties, if he were absent from the Dental Office for any significant period of time.

Finally the bottom line needs to be respectful that it is indeed a dividend or reward to the owners of the Dental Office, because at the end of the day, so to speak, the Owners do have equity in the business and it is their duty to make sure that they are being compensated for tying up their money.

Otherwise they’d be better off investing that capital in another investment.

Because why else would you tie up that sort of capital?

In your right mind, as an investor, wouldn’t you be better with that money in another vehicle, making you a healthy return?

It is so important to look at the Dental Office as an investment and be remunerated as an investor.

But at the end of the day, if we choose to blow our dividends on whatever we feel like it, that’s our own choice too.

Because we can.

Not really wise to do that.

But heck? Who knows really how long we’ve got left?

With knowledge comes clarity. Hopefully….




The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

Email me at

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The Ten Essential Steps You Must Do to Ensure That the Doctor’s Handover to the Dental Assistant Following Treatment is Truly World Class.

The Ten Essential Steps You Must Do to Ensure That the Doctor’s Handover to the Dental Assistant Following Treatment is Truly World Class.

How do you define a World Class Handover?

I guess it’s a handover so different from any other handover performed at any other Dental office.


It’s pleasant in delivery, and pleasurable. For the patient.

It’s also memorable. And clear.


In my Dental Office we like to use the following three words regularly to make sure that our Office does not EVER generate confusion in the minds of our guests and our fellow employees.

It is especially important for our clients, patients and customers to know exactly what they need to do so there are indeed no embarrassing surprises in store in the future for them.

Those three words are very simply:


Everything we do in our Dental Office must leave our valued patients with total one hundred percent *CLARITY* as to what exactly the next step involves for them.

As simple as these three words sound, what we find, when we have a confused or befuddled patient, is that we realise that along that patient’s journey through our Dental Office there has been a stage or step where the patient has not been given, and received, clear and precise instruction or information.

Crucial to this clarity is the stage, or step in our Patient Experience Cycle that involves the Patient Handover to the Dental Assistant by the Dentist at the completion of their Dental Treatment appointment.

This important step often suffers because the Dentist can sometimes be in a hurry to depart the treatment room to go see another patient in another room.

Or the Dental Assistant may be in a hurry to tear the room down and set it back up in readiness for its next use.

And both these reasons, though valid, are unacceptable, if we desire to provide our Customers and Patients with a truly World Class Dental Patient Experience.

Because hurried transfers and changeovers are the norm, unfortunately in Dental Offices across the country and across the globe.

I cringe every time I have an agency provided Dental Assistant in my Office because it’s almost pathological, that at the conclusion of my treatment, they are around over my side loudly dumping their mixing instruments and suction tips onto my bracket and noisily clicking off handpieces and triplex syringe tips, while the confused patient struggles with orientation as the Dental Chair brings them from the horizontal to the vertical.


This serial condition of instrument and equipment organisation following treatment IN FRONT OF THE PATIENT is the dental equivalent of having a server scrape all the food plates and gather all the cutlery together ON TOP OF YOUR TABLE while you’re enjoying an important dinner out at some fancy restaurant!

Because that never happens!

At the restaurant, does it?

The server gracefully and quietly removes the plates from your table and stacks them skillfully up one arm in a well rehearsed and efficient manner.

At the Dental Office the process at the completion of treatment needs to be choreographed and rehearsed so that it is as seamless as it possibly can be for the patient.

So at the completion of treatment the Dentist initiates the Dental Chair’s return to the vertical and he rises to push the bracket table and tray to be well away from the Patient as they orientate themselves after having been reclined.

The Dental Assistant, at this point of time is waiting attentively on the patient assisting them with a warm heated towel and with a filled cup for rinsing and tissues if necessary.

Our first and only priority at this point is the patient and their comfort and well being.

Not the instruments.

Not the tear down.

Not the next set up.

And it’s at this point that the Doctor then clearly hands the patient over to the Dental Assistant in readiness for the patient’s transfer from the Treatment Room to the Front Office.

It is important and imperative that at this stage the Dentist informs the Patient, and the Dental Assistant, the following key pieces of information.

It is also imperative that both the Patient and the Dental Assistant truly grasp and understand fully the Dentist’s clear and thorough instructions and explanations.

Here are the five things that the Dentist must tell the patient when he hands over the patient to the Dental Assistant at the completion of treatment.

  1. Exactly what treatment the patient received today. How many fillings, how many surfaces, how deep those fillings were, and if there was any changes to the expected treatment that was scheduled to be done, such as increase in filling sizes due to the location of additional decay, etc.
  2. Exactly what the patient may experience or feel over the next few days following treatment. The Dentist needs to tell the patient of any possible feelings they could expect following treatment. This way, the patient is prepared for possible any and all post-operative feelings and experiences.
  3. Exactly what treatment the Patient will be having at their next visit to the Dental Office.
  4. The time frame or urgency of the remaining treatment required. It is the Dentist’s duty to inform the Patient when exactly he next wants to see the patient.
    The Dentist’s role here is to create urgency for the treatment as opposed to creating a *Lack of Urgency* in the Patient’s mind. Creating urgency assists the Front Office team members in securing the next appointment for the Patient.
  5. Exactly what will happen if the next treatment is not carried out. The Dentist must inform the patient of the consequences if treatment is not carried out. The patient must understand that taking action is imperative for them.

Along with this, the Dentist must ensure that both the patient and the Dental Assistant have a clear understanding of exactly what he has just said.

The Dentist needs to also:

  1. Look the patient in the eye, and thank them sincerely for their time.
  2. Compliment the patient on being such a great patient for you today. Everybody loves recognition.
  3. Farewell the patient with sincere wishes of best wishes and good health.
  4. Recognise or re-recognise any significant event coming up for the patient that will occur before their next visit. This may be something that the patient has discussed with the Dentist already. Or it may be some information the patient has shared with a team member that has been acquired by the Dentist via Secret Service Systems [information passed to the Dentist with the specific purpose of creating a *WOW* factor for the patient].
  5. Look to create any Above and Beyond Experiences for the patient. If the patient has mentioned something personal, the Dentist may have an opportunity to provide an article or small gift that may be appropriate in that situation.

These last five points are extremely important and crucial in differentiating your Dental Office as being truly different from every other Dental Office around because no other Office around is taking the time to treat every patient as a friend, or as a person and not just as a number or an item on a conveyor belt.

Because most dentists don’t do this!

Most dentists bury their head into their computer or worse still are headed out the treatment room door before the patient has the chance to know which way is truly up.

If the dentist is still at the computer, most will add a cursory glance at the patient and then turn back to their monitor.

Yes really!

These ten simple common courtesies extended each time to every Patient at each and every visit go a long way to setting your Dental Office apart as being truly World Class.

 Performing truly World Class Handovers is one of the many detailed components of The Ultimate Patient Experience, a simple easy to implement system that I developed that allowed me to build an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb.  If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.


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Three Horror Stories Every Dental Employer Could Probably Live Without….

Three Horror Stories Every Dental Employer Could Probably Live Without….

One of the joys of Business Ownership is the management of people.

And with twenty to twenty five percent of our collections going towards salaries and wages of non-dentist employees, that’s a big chunk of overhead right there.

That needs to be managed.

It’s a sad implication of today’s society that there does not seem to be a happy medium in employment.

Who’d be a boss for quids these days?

Everywhere you look there’s people looking at employment as just something to do for a while.

And not as a career.

It’s temporary.

It’s between vacations.

What happened to the days when a career was a career?

When you chose it as a profession or a vocation that you wanted to pursue for a lifetime?

No matter what?


In the old days, working in a Dental Office was considered to be a noble career.

Assisting the doctor, and being part of a respected vocation, had kudos among family and friends.

But not any more.

Nowadays it just seems like dentistry, and Dental Assisting in particular, are just career afterthoughts.

And as a result, we don’t seem to be attracting the “lifers”.

Dentistry does not appear to be attracting those school leavers who want a long term, lifetime career, usually in a local community, working in one of the local Dental Offices, which have been long-term businesses in that community.

It now seems that school leavers have so many more paths or options to choose from that dental assisting is now way down there on the long list of vocational choices.

Almost like a last resort, even?

And maybe it’s down the list because it’s perceived as not being a temporary career alternative?

The result is, across the board, that it’s getting harder and harder to find and locate good numbers of good quality applicants for ancillary team members.

Are you finding this in your community?

How do you source staff and potential staff members?

I’d like to share three recent stories, all true, which have come across my desk in recent times.

The first story I heard was about a school nearby to my home that was teaching pupils there how to file and lodge an Unfair Dismissal Claim through the correct and appropriate channels.

I heard this from one parent who works for a private company in their Human Resources department, and spends most of his days dealing with exaggerated frivolous claims in his organisation.

In fact the parent challenged the purpose of this specific education, and let the teacher know that he thought it would be more appropriate for his daughter to be learning, in the first instance, how to find a job, how to apply for a job, how to present well for an interview, and how to keep a job.

Seems to me to be sadly a case of the world gone mad.

Secondly, in a real live case of the world gone mad, I heard with good authority of a Dental Office where one employee had discovered that another employee had been downloading personal documents and information onto office computers.

Now when that happens, that’s a breach of Office Policy, that’s for sure.

In this case, the documents involved were airline tickets for that staff member to be travelling on a day in the near future that she was meant to be at work, and on a day that she had not applied for as annual leave.

When the Dental Office asked for clarification the employee immediately sought “stress leave” and threatened legal action.

Best part of the story?

The stressed dental employee on stress leave was spotted temping at another Dental Office on her first day of stress leave!!

Can you imagine?

You can’t make this stuff up!!

Finally, I heard of another Dental Office where a recently employed hygienist kept failing to complete essential tasks within her job role in the office.
Simple repeatable tasks, like scheduling her patients’ ongoing visits, were being conveniently forgotten on repeated occasions hourly, and daily. Day in and day out.

And I use the word “forgotten” politely here.

Because the dentist and her other team members truly felt that this hygienist was really just pushing the envelope.

To see how long it would take….for someone else in the office to “accept” that she just wasn’t capable of reliably performing this simple task, and taking it over themselves.

Sadly, when you read these three tales, and when you hear about them first hand, you pray that they are only isolated instances….

But deep down, you know, that it’s probably the start, or the continuation of, something worse to come.

For employers…



Correct hiring is one of the many modules that comprise The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

Email me at

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