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Acceptance

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At some point, you will no longer be a dentist.

  • Most of you will encounter this when you eventually retire.
  • Some will decide to leave the career early probably to pursue other avenues
  • Some of you will be forced out of the profession, either through health or the regulator

When that moment arrives, some of you will be glad you are no longer a dentist.  Some of you who leave voluntarily will feel the draw to be dragged back in.  Others will be consumed by a feeling of injustice, maybe depression.

Everyone’s reaction will be different.  When I sold my practice in 2017, I decided to take a year out and reassess.  I felt the draw pulling me back in, only to quickly realise that chair side dentistry was no longer for me.  So I went into teaching, but my health has deteriorated to the extent I can’t even do that effectively.  Which is a shame because I had a lot to offer.

For those of you who descend into a dark place at this time, remember it usually sorts itself out.  I’m speaking from experience here.  The key is to develop another interest that can consume you just as dentistry could so often consume your time.  For me, it was writing.  And it can be anything, just so long as you are still able to grow and improve yourself.

This might take the form of something that needs to generate an income, but many of you, by the time you are done, won’t have much in the way of concerns in that regard.  I’ve said before, for those who need the income from dentistry to finance their lifestyle and pay their bills, they need a plan B to fall back on so they can continue putting food on the table.

The problem is, every dentist I meet tells me they are broke, even the ones who earn vast sums in private practice.  The income the average dentist makes has the potential to give them the financial security they need so they never have to work a day past the age of 55.

For those of you who stop being a dentist, it can be a bit of a shock.  It was a big part of your life, and now that has gone.  Your mind will start to churn as it adjusts, and I’ve heard of people “finding” problems with their lives to replace the issues that come with treating members of the public.  The last thing you want to do is put your feet up and stagnate.  The human mind isn’t designed for that.  It needs challenges and inspiration.  It’s the same with the body, which needs to be tested to stop it atrophying.

So when you finally hand up your handpiece, what are you going to do?  You need to be able to accept that the dentistry is done, that it was a part of your life that is now over.

Or do you want to be one of those practising into their 70’s?  There are some people who love the job so much that they relish the prospect of this, but I wouldn’t recommend it ;)

 

That’s the way it looks from here

SH

 

Testimonials

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I was on Chris Barrows podcast a few weeks back discussing, above other things, how I was able to retire from dentistry at the age of 47.

One of the topics that came up was the question of how to get new patients.

When I was in practice we had a simple method…

  • Firstly you got rid of all the people who caused you the problems (and I’m not talking about those who were awkward to treat, I’m referring to those who were rude, aggressive, late payers, that ilk of person).  There is a reason these people don’t gel with your practice, and they are often better served by seeking their dental care elsewhere.  I’ve said this countless times and I’ll keep on saying it, because I just KNOW that most dentists don’t filter their patients like this.
  • The second part to this was to pull all the stops out for the remaining patients.  Turn them into raving fans who will sing your praises and forgive you when the inevitable treatment failure occurs.
  • The third part is to ask your patients (and ask often) if they know of any CLOSE friend or CLOSE relative who is or might be looking for a dentist.  If they say yes, which they invariably do, I then gave them a time-limited card with our details on.
  • The fourth part might seem counter-intuitive, but we made it difficult for new patients to join.  We had already established social proof with these potential new patients by being recommended by people they respect and care about.  We then made it clear that the practice was for members only, and having referral cards was just one of the steps to entry.

I ran my practice for 10 years like this, and in that time we had 1 complaint.  We kept them healthy, we saw them when they needed seeing and we made sure they knew their responsibilities.  The problems from the patient personality side dried up and made working a pleasure rather than a chore.

The other thing I did was to ask for testimonials.  It didn’t matter what the treatment was, I would ask, explaining that by sharing their experiences with us they could reassure others who had received “old-style dentistry”.  At one point we had the most NHS Choices five-star reviews in the whole of the North East.

My yearly marketing budget was about £20.  Now we could have gone further with a fancy website and facebook advertising, but we didn’t need to so why bother?  Hell, we didn’t even have a website lol

Now how many of you can honestly say you can’t do this with your patients?  Just ask, that’s all you have to do.

 

Is it hard to ask for referrals or testimonials?  It might be at first, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.  Some patients were delighted to be asked because it perhaps showed that we trusted them.

So let’s try the same thing here.

Some of you have been reading my blog now for a while.  Some of you have even been unfortunate enough to have read some of my books :)

So I’m asking for testimonials.  I want to know if my website and the product on it have helped you at all.  Is my message one that is worth continuing with?

Also, if you have read any of my books (either dental or zombie) please could you go on Amazon and leave me an honest review.  It’s one of the only things that helps independents authors like myself get the word out.

I hate dentists!

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Have you ever wondered why people say that?  Sometimes it’s their brain going all mushy from the fear they are experiencing.  Sometimes, it’s a reflection of your perceived earning capacity based on an individual’s political leaning.  Other times it’s the patient just being deliberately rude.

Ask yourself now, which of those three types of people do you want to keep.  Ever since the new contract, I have never let that comment go without addressing it.  And as far as I can remember, I haven’t heard it said to me in the last 10 years.

The bulk of those who are afraid can be treated with compassion and caring, given dentistry that no way matches the experiences they had previously.

The bulk of those who object to the fact you want to earn a decent living can be invited to seek their care elsewhere.  The same goes for those who think they can be abusive and get away with it.

There should be a revolution happening in dentistry, but I don’t see it.  Oh, there are select practices that are beacons on how dentistry should be delivered, but many are far away from where they should be.  Which type of practice do you work in/own?  The fact you are reading this suggests to me that you aren’t the ones we need to worry about.

Worry?

Yes, that’s the word I would use.  Through the Dentinal Tubules network, I’ve met a lot of dentists who are right at the top of their game.  They are skilled clinicians with excellent communications skills.  The practice owners amongst them gather quality staff and quality patients.  Underperforming staff are rooted out.  Shoddy business practices are banned.  Dubious sales techniques are eradicated.  All to build an environment where trust can blossom, where patients feel safe, valued and respected.  And where clinicians and support staff can thrive.

And then you hear about the utter sh*t that still goes on and you realise how far we have to go.  Associates not being paid.  Associates entering into agreements and then reneging on that so they can work somewhere more “lucrative”.  Treatment done for the £££ rather than for the wellbeing of the patient.  Staff taking the piss.  Bosses abusing their staff.  Supervised neglect and shoddy record-keeping.  Abusive patients and people who constantly fail to arrive.

THERE IS NO REASON FOR ANY OF THAT.

Sooner or later, this sort of stuff gets smoked out.  It’s the hidden hand of the market, backed up by regulators, lawyers and social media.  More and more, the only way to survive will be:

  • Working ethically
  • Having good clinical skills
  • Having good communication skills
  • Having good systems in place
  • Respecting dentists and support staff, whilst knowing when to remove those who don’t make the grade
  • Knowing what you want as a dentist.
  • Working towards financial freedom rather than the next flash car payment
  • Keeping up to date with the laws and regulations.
  • Being selective in who you treat and using your patient base as your primary referral tool (for none referral-based practices)

If you aren’t able to do that, then I would question why you aren’t making the change.  With commitment and maybe a bit of help, I would say we could transform dentistry in this country.  It’s already started, like the Beacons of Gondor, the example and the message spreading across the country.  So if you aren’t working in/owning one of these stupendous practices, what’s stopping you.

  • You don’t need marble floors and blue mood lighting … you just need well kept and clean premises.
  • You don’t need to have the composite skills of Newton Fahl … you just need to be competent at the treatments you choose to do
  • You don’t need to have the hypnotic powers of Paul McKenna … you just need to be able to talk to people openly and honestly about what you can do for them.
  • You don’t need to be a doormat or a dictator … you just need to know the tolerances in patient behaviour of you and your practice and then avoid treating those that you have no rapport with.

I’ve been involved in dentistry since 1990 when I first stepped through my dental school’s hallowed doors.  If you want to know what those decades taught me, well it’s all in this book:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secret-World-Dentists-successful-business-ebook/dp/B07L3Y4XR9/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=stephen+hudson&qid=1576524087&sr=8-1

How I wish this book had been available 30 years ago” – NA

An insightful and interesting collection of hints and tips suitable for anyone working in dentistry” – SS

The true reality of what being a dentist is really like and what they have to face” – AS

Oh and it’s not for everyone, let’s be clear about that.

Contradictory waffle” – M   ;)

Why not have a read and decide for yourself.  It’s now even available on Amazon kindle unlimited.

 

TTFN

SH

 

What 22 years on the NHS front line taught me

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  • It taught me that this country is full of decent people doing the best they can with the resources available to them
  • It taught me that people will often put their health second to that of career and the raising of their children
  • It taught me that the government (of whatever persuasion) cares nothing for the people it governs
  • It taught me that regulation and litigation are used to make the conducting of business more and more difficult.
  • It taught me that dentistry is no longer a career for those who are only in it for the money.  Whilst it is still possible to make an exceptional income from this job, that is now only the case for the top 10%.  Some of my students were a little shocked when I told them that.
  • It taught me that the country is bankrupt, and this fact is being hidden by a veneer of complicity from the central banks and the City of London.

It taught me a lot of things actually, which is why I’m no longer part of it.  I couldn’t carry on as my health and the work environment I had struggled help create was gradually (and in some cases rapidly) eroded.  The whole country is presently being held together by rubber bands and sellotape.  The promises being made by ALL the political parties as we hurtle towards the election are a combination of lies, half-truths and false assumptions.

Whoever gets in will continue to feck things up royally.  Your job is to try and navigate your way through the rocks that are being hurled in your path.  That’s why this website is here even though I am near the end of my time fettling in people’s mouths.  I’m hoping that the resources here can help as many people as possible.

And speaking to dentists, I know they have to a degree.

To me its all about having a plan.  You do that with teeth when you build up the treatment plan for a patient who’s being chucking the mints down their gob.  Why not have a plan for your life?

The books that I write (the dental ones at least) are there to try and make your life easier.  Trust me, they aren’t going to see me on the New York Times bestseller list ;) It’s my bit to try and help a profession that is in dire need of assistance.

I was asked recently if I had any advice for the newly qualified:

  • Find out which aspect of dentistry you are good at and get REALLY good at it.
  • If you want to own a practice, you have to excel at business and the management of people.  The days of just sticking a plaque outside your practice and expecting people to turn up are long gone
  • Vastly exceed the GDC’s CPD requirements
  • If you insist on owning flash cars, learn how to do it from an investment perspective
  • Remember that the government does not care about the NHS dental service.  You should vacate to the private sector at your earliest convenience.  For that, YOU HAVE TO BE GOOD ENOUGH clinically and in your communication style.
  • Just be f*cking honest.  I’m sick and tired of hearing about dentists doing dodgy stuff.  The patient comes first, not your bank balance.
  • Get a mentor who you can trust
  • Don’t believe the Instagram hype.  Tyler Durden was right, the things you own end up owning you.

If you want to know where to get my books (most of which are available on Kindle Unlimited) follow the link below.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stephen-Hudson/e/B06XTSQXLZ?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1575483233&sr=8-1

That’s enough from em

SH

 

Is your lifestyle worth it?

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I took my car in to have new tyres the other day.  The garage is owned by an ex-patient, so I’m known there, and it wasn’t long before I heard the comment “you never see a poor dentist”.

HMRC and most dental accountants might disagree.  The days when dentists could easily make large sums of money are over.  It’s still possible, but it’s a lot harder to make the income that was prevalent in the 80’s and early 90’s.  You know have to be very good at what you do, be well-liked by your patient base and be a good business person to make the kind of money the public perception insists dentists earn.

What’s the average income now?  £60-£80K.  It’s still not bad, but its not what the public think we earn.

So why is this?  Why has our perceived earning potential dropped?  Well, I have some ideas…

  • The cost of running a practice is so much more
  • The NHS income is capped
  • The materials are more expensive
  • The decent labs are more expensive,.  So even if you do the high emnd crown and bridge work, you have high end lab bills to pay for.
  • There is much more “opportunity” to buy stuff (dental equipment) you don’t actually need

The thing is, regardless of what we earn as individuals, dentists seem particularly adept at getting trapped by Parkinson’s law:

“Expenses rise to meet earnings.”

Time and again, I encounter dentists who have the illusion of wealth (nice car, nice watch, nice clothes, swanky practice, nice house etc etc) who then go on to complain that they are “skint”.  I look at their earning potential and find it difficult why they are so strapped for cash.

Parkinson’s law.  No matter what they earn, they end up spending it…and more besides.

Now some of the people reading this will have broken Parkinson’s law.  They will drive an average car, live in an average house and act with frugality when it comes to money.  Often this will depend on where they live (it is harder to do this in London compared to Newcastle for example) as well as the number of children they have.  But most of the time it’s about their approach to life and money.

Your lifestyle often determines how much money you have left at the end of the month.

And yes there will be those who spend big, but who also earn big to the extent that the money coming in is greater than their ability to spend.  These are the earning superstars of our profession…but even some of these people are navigating the fine line of bankruptcy.  If you want to get the true picture on this, just chat to your accountant.  The number of their clients who don’t have enough money to pay their tax year on year is often staggering.

If you have this money stress in your life, how do you think it affects you psychologically.  It wears on you, chaffing your mind and perhaps leading you into unwise decisions.

If you read the book “the millionaire next door”, the average American millionaire had one thing in common. They invariably broke Parkinson’s law.  Many of them weren’t particularly high earners, they just knew how NOT to spend money, and they knew how to invest wisely.

And what is the benefit of this?  Why does having money in the bank matter?

  1. Without a fighting fund of cash, you are constantly having to run on the hamster wheel to keep the bills paid
  2. Without a fighting fund of cash, you can’t invest.  Most of the wealthy became so via their investments, not their main income
  3.  If you are not financially independent you are working because you HAVE to not because you WANT to.  There is more to life than fettling with teeth
  4. What happens if you have a health crisis?
  5. What happens if you have a marital crisis?
  6. What happens if the country drops into the recession we are well overdue for
  7. If you are living off debt, do you think interest rates will stay this low forever?  Sooner rather than later they are going back up

I can’t tell you what to do with your money.  All I know is I would rather have money in a bank than to own an overpriced status symbol.

Just a thought

 

SH

 

 

Health

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You will notice I haven’t been blogging much the past month or so.  This is due to a recurrence of an illness that is basically forcing me out of dentistry.

I think it was time anyway.  I’m spending most of my time writing, and I really don’t see the point in forging ahead and battling my own body in a career where there are so many potholes, mine shafts and unexploded ordinance lying in my path.  I know that doesn’t sound very optimistic, but it is a reflection of how many of us feel.  When you talk to dentists these days, there is a general malaise, even amongst those at the top of their field.

This is reflected throughout society.  Ironically, we have never had it better in many aspects of our day to day lives.  Life for so many of us is easy, and yet mental health problems are skyrocketing.

In my opinion, health is more important than anything else.  It doesn’t matter how much you earn, how good your composites are, how great a parent you are.  If your health is in the toilet, all that will be compromised.

I mean obviously there will be incidences where you will sacrifice your health for a child or a loved one, but on the whole, your health should come first.  It certainly comes before the 00000 in your bank account, before Mr’s Snoggin’s ill-fitting lower partial and the fancy new car you so desperately think you need.

I hate to say it, and there is no way to avoid the fact that at some point, you will be faced with a health crisis.  For some of you, this will stop you being able to work, and the state will not be there to help you.  Yes, you might be able to get free treatment on the NHS, but only after long waits and battling through the smog of deliberate bureaucracy.

Are you ready for that?  If you own a practice, can it run effectively without you?  Do you have enough in your bank account to cover your bills whilst you recover?  Do you have the network of true friends and loved ones who can help you through whatever you are facing?

If you want peace, prepare for war.

If you want health, prepare for illness.

Make your plans now before the fan is even plugged in.  What comes first?  The new flash watch, or the security of having money in the bank.  Can you safely take 6 months off or are you 3 months from homelessness if the money isn’t rolling in?

Are you looking after yourself, or are you relying on alcohol (and worse) to get you through your days?  Are you overweight and accepting it?  Are you living off fast food and letting your blood chemistry get nuked?

You need to look after yourself because nobody else is going to.  And you most likely have people who depend on you.  What happens to them if you get hit for six?

I know my blogs aren’t always a cheery affair, and there is a reason for that.  Life is hard.  It will beat you to your knees and keep you there if you let it.  To quote the great philosopher Rocky Balboa, nothing hits as hard as life.  You just have to learn to be ready so that you can take the hits and get back up.

That way the good times will be even sweeter when they arrive.

 

Just a thought

What type of dentist are you?

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From what I can see there are  types of dentist personality

  1. The charmer – they are smooth, slick, can run rings around people verbally. When it comes to sales patter they can sell freezers to Inuit’s.
  2. The plodder – they go to work, do dentistry, go home, they go to work, do dentistry, go home, they go to work, do dentistry, go home…repeat. They do the bare minimum in CPD etc to keep the regulator happy.
  3. The genius – they are good at everything, always have done. Their dentistry is so good, it makes you want to quit and become a plumber because you can never hope to be anywhere close to their level
  4. The letch – they are still out there, unfortunately, but they seem to be a dying breed.
  5. The Instagram – they are flash, not shy about displaying wealth (even if its rented) and social media savvy.  They think they are giving what their patients want, but they have tapped into a relatively limited niche that does not survive well in economic downturns
  6. The spender – they just have to spend money, be it on fancy cars or equipment. Their inability to save money means they have to work to service all the debts they accumulate.
  7. The innovator – they are the first to utilise the new technology and may even create there own techniques for procedures
  8. The boaster – they seem to be involved in a constant game of “look at me and look at how good I am”, especially on social media.
  9. The bus thrower – they will take any opportunity to be critical of another dentists work. They are part of the reason nearly 10% of all GDC referrals are now by other registrants
  10. The despondent – they have low morale, little or no enjoyment in the job which is grinding them up day in and day out
  11. The Newbee – 2 years out of dental school and they are mad on composite, STO and want to be doing implants sharpish. This all despite the fact they haven’t learnt or mastered the basics of dentistry.  They are overconfident in their abilities and are trying to before they can even crawl
  12. The politician – they get involved in dental politics
  13. The hero – they “believe” in the NHS and battle on through their own moral reasons even as the NHS becomes more and more onerous
  14. The fraudster – they will do whatever they can to maximise the money coming in. They will push the boundaries of what can be claimed on the NHS, pay labs late, shaft other dentists etc.  Their lives are run by the pursuit of the all-mighty pound.  Sometimes they even do work that is unnecessary.
  15. The champion – they do what is in the best interests of the patient through good rapport and good clinical skills which they develop over time. They develop practices that are patient-centred.  Whilst not necessarily being the cheapest, the patients generally have a high level of trust with these dentists.
  16. The resigned – they want out of dentistry as soon as possible

A dentist can be one or all of these in any working day.  Some are obviously not compatible with others, and several of these traits holds the profession in an unfavourable glow.  What type of dentist were you today, and would you be held in a favourable light by your “non bus throwing” peers?

Probably one of the best dental events this year

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It’s 41 days to the annual Dentinal Tubules Congress.  Two days, one of workshops, one of speakers, with some quality evening entertainment on top of that.

The venue? – Heythrop Park in Oxfordshire

The date? – Thursday the 3rd October and Friday 4th October

The speakers on the Friday?

  • Dr Markus Blatz

  • Dr Michael Melkers

  • Dr Robert Oretti

  • Dr Finlay Sutton and Dr John Besford

  • Dr Gurvinder Bhirth

  • Serpil Djemal, Beth Burns, James Darcey

Why not check it out?

https://www.dentinaltubules.com/congress

They best way to get new patients?

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This will be controversial.  Remember, at no time am I trying to tell you what to do, I am merely relaying an alternate way of doing things that MIGHT be relevant to your practice.  So it’s important to never believe a word I say.

In this blog, I’m going to talk about the majority of practice.  Although some of what I say will be applicable, I’m not really aiming it at specialist and cosmetic practice.  This is about your bog standard family practice that is struggling and wondering why the wrong patients keep walking through the door.

So if you are 100% happy with the types of patients you are attracting, you can stop reading now and put your feet up.  For those of you still with me…

It amazes me the way many practices are run.  If you want the proof of this, just talk to any dental accountant to get an idea of how many of their clients are in trouble financially.  Better still, just go on the tired old websites, websites that are promising the earth whilst forgetting what the majority of patients are looking for.  You will see:

  • Some will be poorly designed to the extent it would likely be better that the website didn’t exist
  • Great claims about the cosmetic treatments that can be provided
  • A promise of implants and adult orthodontics
  • Some sort of offer regarding tooth whitening

Try it now.  Go on google and type “family dental practice” and see what the first 10 hits give you.  Some will be great, others not so.  Yeah, so what’s your point, Steve?

Where is the USP?  How is your average New Patient supposed to distinguish between practices based on a website?  Now I have no doubt that some of these are bringing in customers, but that right there reflects part of the potential problem.  The problem is that the banners draped over practice exteriors, the thousands spent on search engine optimisation and the radio adverts that nobody listens too are a poor way to FILTER new patients.

In my opinion, websites et al are an overused way to attract patients, and I never used one in my 16 years of practice ownership.  I preferred to make things easier for myself.

The system I used was very simple.

  • Take a patient base and build trust and rapport. For those that this can’t be achieved, you invite them to seek their dental care elsewhere (these patients WILL be better served by seeking their care elsewhere).  This is why it can be difficult to apply this to a squat or a referral practice, although not impossible.
  • Deliver the four key components to successful practice. Health, competence, customer service and cleanliness.  Help keep your patients healthy (so no supervised neglect) using a high level of skill (ask your lab technician for honest feedback on the impression you send) in a clean environment with a clinical team that CARE for the patients and show it.
  • Repeat that until the trust is established in your locality.
  • Use your existing patients as your unpaid referral force.

How many of you, reading this, are actively asking your existing patients to refer new ones?  How many of you have a system to do this so that it is effective and unobtrusive?  And how many of you are seeing patients you don’t like and who don’t like you?

Now what normally happens here is either I get a load of abuse (so spare me, I’ve heard most of it) or I get excuses.  Some of the excuses are valid, others not so much.

So why is this so powerful.  Mr’s Miggins, who thinks you are fabulous is rarely going to jeopardise that relationship with your practice that she has established by sending someone she knows is going to cause problems.  People associate with people they like.  So instantly that acts as a filter.

Your website or your banner with your phone number on it doesn’t have that filter.  I’m not saying don’t use those techniques, what I’m saying is the patient referral system is a qualifying technique that removes a lot of the risks associated with new patients.

I went one step further in my practice, by making it DIFFICULT to join the practice.  Let me share with you the system:

  • Existing patient X is asked if they know of anyone close to them who needs a dentist
  • If they say yes, patient X is given a TIME LIMITED referral card for them to give to this individual. The card, which you write patient’s X name on, states that there is a limited availability for appointments and that patient X has persuaded the practice to give the new patient the chance of coming on board.  At no time does it promise an appointment
  • The card gives the new patient the instructions of what is required of them as well as the practice terms and conditions.
  • The new patient brings the card to the practice which allows them to pick up a welcome pack. We never mailed them.
  • Once the welcome pack is returned in full (MH, Diet diary, etc) then, and only then, is a new patient consultation booked.

Phew, sounds like a lot of work.  And what’s the point of it all?

Well, in my diseased brain, I need rapport with my patients.  By getting a personal recommendation from someone the New Patient trusts, that rapport and trust are easier to obtain.  By increasing the difficulty of gaining MEMBERSHIP, we also introduced filters to sift out the time wasters and trouble makers.  I don’t have the time to go into that here, but check out the research by Robert Cialdini.

Did I ever end up with white space in my day book? – Yes

Did I ever not meet my financial targets or meet my UDA targets – No

By recruiting patients in this way, you save a bucket load on marketing.  You are giving the new patient the choice of choosing you based on the recommendation of someone they trust (with the perception of exclusivity), or another practice based on what their website and marketing promises.

Which do you think is more powerful?  What do you think happens when you fulfil the four promises of health, cleanliness, competence and customer service on this patient?  Do you think they might also be willing to recommend someone?  And when you build trust and something goes wrong, you are more likely to experience a patient who will let you fix the problem instead of jumping for the lawyers or the GDC.

You can still do all the usual Instagram, Facebook and website testimonial malarkey, but if you aren’t doing this, then I would argue that you are losing out.

Oh and I never saw new patient emergencies.  That was my own personal decision based on with the almost impossible task of getting rapport, trust and CONSENT on people who are in pain when you are time limited.

I discuss this more in my latest book.  For those who are interested, there is still a chance for one person to win a free copy.  Just follow the link in the picture (the contest ends today)

https://kingsumo.com/g/668nmd/win-a-free-copy-of-my-latest-dental-business-book/m840njr?

Am I right, or am I just blowing hot air?

Why not let me know on my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GdpResources/.  Just look for the post with this blog in it and comment below.

The wisdom of grumpy old wo/men

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Have you ever found yourself chuntering at things that, in the great scheme of things, don’t really matter?  I have, and I still find myself doing it even now.

And much of my pointless ire is aimed at unnecessarily bad customer service, or situations where a system or automated process is completely dysfunctional.  You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?

 

  • The sales assistant who feels the contents of his/her navel are the most important thing on the planet
  • The dental manufacturer that quotes you a price, only to then send you an invoice with an extra 20% lobbed on (VAT)
  • The automated telephone system that makes you press an endless array of buttons only to then cut you off
  • The computer that demands you jump through hoops of fire to prove you actually exist
  • The salesman (and yes, it’s invariably a man who engages in this) who thinks 1980’s sales techniques are still applicable in today’s world
  • The social media company that has no human point of contact
  • The [LARGE GLOBAL GENERIC ONLINE WAREHOUSE] delivery person whose personality was shat out by a rabid goat
  • The hand dryer in the gents toilets that is about as effective as an asthmatic badger exhaling through a hessian sack.

 

All little things, but they strive to promote stress and indignation in you.  So common now is this, that when we encounter it, it’s almost not a surprise anymore.  When the opposite happens, when the expected shite experience turns into an example of glorious competence, you just feel the need to tell people.  Take for example my recent passport renewal.  Expensive, but all done in a week.  No stress, no hassle.  What the hell were they playing at?  Same with the DVLA as well.  I thought her majesties government was supposed to send you mad with their incompetence.

Now transfer this to the field of dentistry.  I’ve seen good and bad practices.  It’s now getting to the stage where I reckon I can walk in and tell you within an hour if the practice is a success or of it’s facing a whole heap of problems.  The good practices, the ones that are thriving, the ones that keep the complaints away and the bank manager happy are the ones who focus on being the exception to the norm we see in this country.

  • The patients are made to feel welcome
  • The patients feel they can trust the dentist and the staff
  • The patients recommend the practice to their friends and relatives
  • The patients come to the practice if there is a problem, not the lawyers and not the GDC
  • The practice is based on honesty, service and good competent dentistry, rather than gimmicks, ego and how much money can be extracted
  • The practice builds relationships with the patients rather than sheep dipping them in and out of the dental chair.

Stand out in the right way, and the right people will flock to your door.  Ignore the “look at me, look at mine, look at how much better I am” social media presence of some in our profession.  It is an illusion, a whisper of what ethics could be and is also high risk.  You make a mistake in THAT kind of practice and you are rarely forgiven.

There are some who say I am wrong.  There are some who say Instagram and Facebook et al are the way to go in promoting yourself and your practice.  There are some who say you have to make a name for yourself, be seen to be a “key opinion leader” (whatever the hell that is).

I say you just have to do good dentistry, with an ethical foundation based around prevention and health, to patients who you like and who trust you.  Then the referrals of new patients just flow in without you having to spend thousands on a fancy website with all the bells and whistles.  I know this because it is what I did for 10 years.  I appreciate there is probably room for both flash gimmicks and practices that rely on word of mouth, and I know which one I’d rather work in with today’s litigious society.

Maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe I’m old fashioned.

What do you think?

 

SH

 

Will you pass the TEST?

By Uncategorized

Financial freedom is being in a position to never HAVE to work another day to pay for your living expenses whilst having a fair degree of enjoyment in their life.  This isn’t to say you stop working, it is to say you have the OPPORTUNITY to do so should you wish.  They have enough money and investments to cover any foreseeable expenses on a day to day basis.

Imagine being in that situation.  Imagine being able to work because you WANT to not because you HAVE to.  Seriously, take a moment.  What does that mean to you?  The problem is that most of you reading this are not in this position, despite the income you can generate.

Why?  Because you spend it all.

Parkinsons Law:  “Expenses rise to meet earnings”

I’m going to tell you about two different people.  Their names, locations and jobs have been randomised, but they do exist.

Person 1:  He takes home £500,000 a year easily.  He lives in a big house and drives several flash cars.  His children go to the best schools and he wears only designer clothing.   Recently he decided to add an extension onto his house and had to take out a bank loan to pay for it.  Why?  Because he spends more than he earns and is cash poor.  He probably has less than £10,000 in his bank account and has massive amounts of debt.  He has more month at the end of his money and needs to work hard, long hours to pay for his lifestyle.

Person 2: He does not work for a living and retired from his profession at the age of 45.  He lives in a modest house and drives a car that is seven years old.  He never earned more than £100K a year, and yet his investments bring in enough to cover all his weekly outgoings.  He has no debt and if he decided to do nothing but sit in front of a TV for a month it would have absolutely no detrimental impact on his income.  Last year he decided to spend two months travelling around the far east with his wife.

Who is in the better position?  Who is the richer person?  Person 2 escaped the Wealth Trap and passed the test.  S/he spent less than he earnt and saved and invested the difference.   Yes, s/he never drove the Ferrari, but that’s because s/he realised, early on, that the rush from the expensive nick nack quickly wears off and often, the things you buy end up owning you (Thanks TD).

Western society is now specifically designed to keep you in debt and keep you running your little feet on the treadmill… and it’s all part of the test.  If you are a low earner it does this through high fees for the basics (like travel and mortgages) as well as sucking you in to buy things you don’t need, with money you don’t have to impress people you don’t even know.  For the high earner, western society does the same, only more so.   The more you earn, the more you are enticed to “treat yourself”, to buy things at great expense that will rapidly become worthless.

Remember I’m not talking about billionaires here.  Those are rare individuals that have a craving to succeed.  But the average person, starting at the age of 18 can get to a point where they retire a millionaire at age fifty-five.

“But you might get hit by a bus tomorrow”

Yes, you might.  You might also suffer countless sleepless nights because of your debt situation.  You might lose your job and rapidly become homeless because you have no buffer to fend off your expenses.  You might send yourself ill working a treadmill of your own creation.  You actually have more chance of winning the lottery than being hit by a bus tomorrow.

You as a dentist have another consideration.  The GDC.  They have the ability to strip you of your ability to make a living as a dentist.  So when you think about it, living the “High life” actually caries increased risk.  Don’ think it can happen?  It only takes one complaint, especially if it’s to the ICO.

If only life was easier some say.  Life is exactly how it needs to be to create excellence, because only the most tenacious, the most committed can succeed.  Yes, some people get lucky….but some people also get hit by a bus ;)

That’s why I write my dental books, to try and get this message across.  If you want to check them out, visit my author’s page on Amazon.  There’s even a dodgy photo of me on there so you can actually see what this ranting madman looks like

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stephen-Hudson/e/B06XTSQXLZ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1546086142&sr=8-1

Have a great and prosperous new year.

SH

Life is actually pretty damned good

By Members, Uncategorized

Humans often have a tendency to see the bad in everything.  Sometimes that strategy works.  A lot of the time though it can send you down a negative spiral.

Personally, I think the trick is to be able to see the weaknesses in the society around her whilst revelling in its strengths.  You don’t live in denial but you appreciate the heights of human civilisation.  You have to remember we as a species have never had it this good.  Despite what the GDC and the politicians come up with, we have a quality of life that the Kings and Pharos of the past would have killed for.  The toil of a thousand slaves can be replaced by the flick of a light switch..  So let’s have a look at the best humanity has to offer.

  • How’s about the 18-year-old kid who discovered he could use his 3d printer to make replacement limbs for less than a $1000.  This has revolutionised the provision for amputees and those where were born without said limbs.
  • Stem cell therapy allows us to cure 3rd-degree burns without scarring or pain
  • The deadliest viruses known to humanity are being used to cure cancer by the Mayo Clinic
  • The level of excellence our entertainment has reached is astonishing.  Remember the stale acting in those old black and white movies.  Look at the films and the TV series that are being created now, where people can be swallowed up in a thousand realities.
  • You have access to the totality of human knowledge and understanding at your fingertips.
  • Yes, we go on about SJW’s and political correctness, but that is because we have raised a generation who have never had to suffer the trauma of war.  In the West, we don’t have to wake up to the fear that our cities will be bombed from the skies or that our sons will have to die in the fields of Europe for our freedoms
  • I can buy food from over 100 countries.  I can also visit those countries for a reasonable price
  • We still have the fear of war, but the technology of warfare invariable always finds its way into commercial hands.
  • Technology seems to evolve to solve any problem we face.
  • The science of human excellence had never been so advanced.  From business to success to the Olympics, humanity keeps defeating the odds set against it.
  • The greatest minds of our civilisation can now share their ideas with the world
  • The technology available for you to do your job improves every year

Forget the cretins in Whitehall and the letter from m’leanred friends…just for a few days.  Maybe now isn’t the time to feel down, and I’m not stupid enough to forget that some people struggle at this time of year.  For most people though, if we figure out what you are grateful for and ask yourself if things really are as bad as we keep telling ourselves.  Remember, for some people to get clean water for their children, they have to make a five-mile round trip.  Some people live in fear of genocide and true poverty.  Even that will be solved as humanity makes its strides forward.

We just figured out how to create oxygen from chlorophyll without the need for plants.  Think what that means for space travel.

Just some thoughts to keep Santa happy

“The world is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down, around and around, it has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly coloured, and it’s very loud, and it’s fun for a while. Many people have been on the ride a long time, and they begin to wonder, “Hey, is this real, or is this just a ride?” And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and say, “Hey, don’t worry; don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.” And we … kill those people. “Shut him up! I’ve got a lot invested in this ride, shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry, look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real.” It’s just a ride. But we always kill the good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok … But it doesn’t matter, because it’s just a ride. And we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money. Just a simple choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one. Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defences each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.” – Bill Hicks RIP

 P.S:  The price rise for my new book “The Secret World of Dentists” has been postponed till after Xmas.  Buy it on Amazon – https://amzn.to/2SeaHyZ

SH