What Dentists Can Learn From The Cadillac Man

On one recent night, I was sitting in my hotel room in Seattle having just spent the day lecturing. As I flipped through the channels, looking for something to listen to in the background as I continued to work through most of the night, I came upon the "Cadillac Man" with Robin Williams. I had seen the movie many years ago and really had not given it a second thought since then. As I watched (luckily having done it in the first few minutes) I was amazed that I never realized how many true business lessons were right before my eyes. Naturally, as I sat, I was watching TV more than I was working, but I found myself thinking about how the operations of a car dealership and the operations of a dental office are amazingly similar.

I never thought, nor even DARED to compare a professional dental office to what most people incorrectly label as "sleazy car salesmen". Are there some bad apples, sure. But there are bad apple dentists too. For the most part, people in any business whether dentistry, car sales, restaurants or even airlines are professional, courteous individuals who's one true goal is to help people and give them an enjoyable experience.

Our goal in the dental office is to provide a high standard of care and an awesome experience to our patients while we provide them with the treatment that they unfortunately need. The same is true in a car dealership. The salesmen (and women) want to provide us with an excellent experience purchasing a car that we really need. Just as I would not expect a dentist to tell a patient that they need a crown when they actually need a 1 surface filling, I would expect that a professional sales person would not send a person looking for a minivan in the direction of a 2- seater sports car. Are there salespeople who will try it? Of course. But there are also dentists who would try it as well! Remember one bad apple DOES NOT spoil the bunch. Also, take note that I am NOT in any way suggesting that we become "Hard sell" offices and jam dentistry literally down peoples' throats. There is a way the business of dentistry and the practice of dentistry can work together.

So as I sat and watched this movie I began to think what we could learn from this. I was amazed that the most important thing in the car dealership is the goal. We talk all the time about having goals, writing down your goals, sharing your goals and all of the advice that we give and receive all the time. But what are we, in the dental office doing, to actually track those goals and put them in front of our eyes in simple language every day so that they remain top of mind? In car dealerships they have "The Board". It is actually something I have been doing with clients for years and never realized where I got the idea from.

So your goals are defined somehow. Maybe it is production, maybe collections and maybe even patients seen in a day, week or month. There is a lot of important information that we generate and HOPEFULLY review each day. End of day reports, production reports, new patient numbers, collections, etc. So how do we REALLY use that information to compare actual numbers versus goal numbers and identify areas of improvements to help us hit those goals consistently? Use "The Board". In the scholars / office managers office should be "The Board". A large, dry erase board divided in such a way that goal numbers and actual numbers can be compared in an instant. We use one in my office and I can tell you it takes about 5 minutes a day to update, but the information provided is absolutely priceless. People come in and out all day, looking at numbers, and it generates a good amount of discussion about what we can do to improve, what happened on days when we did not reach our goals and what we can to make sure those things don 't happen again. I love my Board. The staff loves it too, as they can easily and very quickly see what days they hit goal and what days they did not.

Please remember, if you do not have goals, GET THEM. If you have goals in your head, get them out and written down. A goal that is not written out is simply a dream. Do not spend time chasing dreams, spend that time and effort attaining your goals. I watched poor Robin Williams run in and out of that manager's office looking at the board, checking what everyone else had done, using it as motivation for his own behavior. True, he had a certain inner spark and was a magnificent sales person, but that added motivation of seeing others' performance right in front of his eyes was enough to make sure that he used EVERY tool in his arsenal to close deals and help people get out of their own way to say yes to that new car.

Just as he used every tool at his disposal to close deals, so should we. Are you really using every tool that you have in your arsenal to help patients see how important the treatment truly is? You owe it to your patients to provide them with the care that they NEED AND DESERVE. Whether they realize it or not, you are helping them. How many times have you told a patient that a crown will help extend the life of that tooth, but they refuse to listen? Then, a week, a month or a year later that tooth breaks and now needs to be extracted. Saving $ 1000 now can cost thousands in the future. Then they get mad at you because you "never told them" that this could happen. Of course you did. You know it, I know it and they know it. But is not it easier to blame you rather than themselves? Of course it is. So you truly owe it to your patients to help them understand and receive the treatment that they really need!

Do you use your intra-oral camera regularly, and by that I mean daily? Are you showing your patients that crack, that chip or that cavity up close and personal? Put it on the TV screen and make it 27 inches wide. That will wake anyone up! Are you presenting cases properly and to the best of your ability? Are you giving lots of options or just the best option? I am NEVER a fan of good, better, best dentistry. Why would anyone want to be good when they could be the best? Present properly and make sure the patient knows that this is absolutely the best option and you are the best dentist to do it. Help that patient make the right decision by using all of the tools you have to educate them properly. Use the camera. Use creative financing options (like Care-Credit). Use preapproval tools so that you can walk in with the treatment plan and say not only can we give you the best dental care, but we also make it easy to pay for with convenient payments.

These are the tools that you have at your disposal. We are lucky. Car dealers are at the mercy of the manufacturers and banks who decide when to run ZERO PERCENT financing specials. We have access to that ALL THE TIME. How lucky are we! Do you know what happens when GM runs a 0% financing for 60 month special? Car sales go up. So what if you offered your patients with that option? I guarantee you that your closing ratio will go up.

Finally, and quite possibly the most important thing that your office can do is FOLLOW UP with your patients. When you present treatment and the patient does not schedule right away, follow up with them. Try preapproval for financing if you have not already. Have your assistant or hygienist call them and ask if there were questions regarding the treatment plan. Obviously if they understand how truly important this treatment is they would not be delaying it. We must have done something wrong. We missed something somewhere. Find out what it was, correct it and get them scheduled.

Many dentists feel that they seem too "salesy" if the office calls to follow up and schedule treatment. I will tell you, this is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard and if you are not doing it you should start IMMEDIATELY. Yes, you are a dental practice and your primary goal is treatment of patients. So TREAT THEM, but remember you are also a dental business whose primary goal is to stay in business so the practice can continue to help patients! One can never exist without the other and it is so important to remember that. Do not be afraid to close deals. That deal will help your patients have a healthy mouth, a healthier life and a better smile. This is truly a WIN WIN situation for everyone involved and should be viewed as one every time.

Getting your business and practice on the same page is easy. Create, monitor, share and achieve your goals. Use all the tools that you have at your disposal to create amazing treatment plan presentations. Probably most importantly, follow up with patients who do not close "ON THE SPOT". They need this treatment to stay healthy and happy and you owe it to them to do everything that you can to help them get it!

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What Does Avian Flu, 7 Eleven, and Sauerkraut Have in Common?

Have you been reading those alarming headlines laTely:

"The avian flu will be in the United States in a few months because of migrating birds"?

Well, consider this evolving story about a possible preventative: sauerkraut.

This story started last November as scientists at Seoul National University in South Korea fed an extract of kimchi, a spicy Korean variant of sauerkraut, to 13 chickens infected with avian flu, and a week later, 11 of the birds started to recover, according to a report by the BBC Network.

Well guess what? A company that makes sauerkraut in Wisconsin made these claims: "We've got the preventive, and 115,000 tons of it in Wisconsin alone," said Ryan Downs, owner and general manager of Great Lakes Kraut Co., which has sauerkraut factories in Bear Creek and Shiocton, Wis., And in Shortsville, NY

Downs said more intensive scientific research is needed to prove any curative link to avian flu, but he's more than happy to tout kraut as a healthy part of any diet.

"People are starting to realize kraut is a pretty doggone good food," Downs said when contacted about the South Korean study. "We're ready to help keep the world healthy."

After a Minneapolis CBS affiliate did its own story on sauerkraut's potential in the battle against avian flu, Frank's checked 54 Twin City area stores it supplies, and found an 850 percent spike in overall sauerkraut sales, Lundin said.

Now the story gets better. Headlines in January started touting the benefits of sauerkraut (unrelated to the avian flu story) as being a low carb food, and named sauerkraut as one of the hottest foods of 2006.

Believe It or Not: Sauerkraut was named as one of the Hottest Foods of 2006. Additionally the National Restaurant Association cites sauerkraut as an older dish making a comeback. And lo and behold now Arby's introduced a new Reuben sandwich as part of their new "market fresh sandwich" program and they use Frank's Sauerkraut, considered to be the highest quality sauerkraut in the United States.

A Georgetown University study (February 2006) was cited, in the latest issue of the British Journal of Cancer, and expands upon many other cancer studies by identifying and describing the cellular process which gives cruciferous foods, like cage and sauerkraut, a strong cancer- fighting response in the human body.

The study found that a chemical called indol-3-carbonol (I3C) which occurs naturally in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and sauerkraut, boosts the activity of two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, which then work to detect and repair damaged DNA. Because damaged DNA can lead cells to become cancerous, eating foods that repair DNA, like sauerkraut, may lower the risk of cancer development.

Now the 7Eleven connection.

I started noting that 7Eleven stores carry as part of their condiment arsenal, sauerkraut. And when combined with their big bite array of dogs it actually becomes a low carb alternative. According to Charles Stuart Platkin, a syndicated health, nutrition, and fitness columnist, author of the best-selling book, Breaking the Pattern (Red Mill Press, 2002), the 7 Eleven Biggest Bite can be broken down to the following goodies:

7 Eleven 1/3 Pound Big Biggest Bite (no bun): 480 calories, 45g fat, 3g carbs

Mr. Platkin further elaborates:

"All I can say is a pack on the sauerkraut – it's your best bet. It has very few calories and no fat. habit of turning up on almost everything we eat. Also, try to avoid cheese and chili whenever possible; they can add more than 250 calories and 15g fat to your frank.

— Sauerkraut (1 cup): 27 calories, 0g fat, 6g carbs

Now you know the connection between the avian flu, 7 Eleven and sauerkraut.

Also, have you noticed that no South Koreans have died from the Avian Flu, even though there have been multiple infections?

Now this is Real-Food-For-Thought!

Stay healthy,

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Steps in the Website Development and Promotion Process

Web development is a website or a web application creating process. The main steps of the process are web design, HTML coding, programming on the client and on the server side and a web server configuration.

Stages of website development:

– design the site (technical specification development, design an interface);

– create the site concept;

– create page layouts;

– create multimedia elements;

– HTML coding;

– programming;

– optimization;

– testing;

– release;

– marketing (promotion);

– maintenance.

Some of this steps might be omitted or can be closely linked with each other.

Creation of technical specifications

The project manager is drafting the terms of reference for specialists. Work with the customer begins from filling the brief in which the customer expresses his wishes regarding the visual presentation and structure of the site, points out errors in the old version of the site, provides competitors’ sites examples.

The design of main pages of the site and model

The work begins with the creation of the design in the graphical editor. Designer creates one or more design options according to the terms of reference.

HTML coding

The approved design is transmitted to HTML-coder, which “cuts” the graphic images into separate images. As a result, he creates a code that can be viewed by your browser. A typical page will be used as a template.

Programming

Then HTML-files are transferred to the programmer. The site can be programmed from scratch or just based on some CMS (Content management system).

SEO-optimization

SEO-optimization is associated with some modifications of the site. SEO-optimization starts with defining the semantic core. Here you can define such keywords that attract the most interested visitors.

Testing

Testing is the final stage of development. Detecting errors will be on correction as long as they will not be eliminated.

Marketing

The Internet marketing is the practice of using all traditional marketing aspects on the Internet. It is affecting the basic elements of marketing mix: a price, a product, a place and some promotion sales. The main goal is to provide the maximum benefits from potential website audience.

Key elements of the Internet marketing:

– a product. Products that you are selling on the Internet must have a decent quality. It competes not only with other sites, but also with traditional shops;

– a price. Prices considered to be lower on the Internet than in stores due to cost savings. Control prices and compare them with competitors regularly;

– a promotion. It is a set of measures to promote a website or product in the whole network. It includes a huge arsenal of tools (search engine optimization, contextual advertising, banner ads, e-mail marketing, affiliative marketing, viral marketing, hidden marketing, interactive advertising, working with blogs and so on);

– a sales location. A point of sale is your website. The graphic design, the site usability and quality of the processing of applications from the website are playing a vital role. Also pay attention to the speed of loading, work with payment systems, delivery, customer service before, during and after the sale.

After all this stages the website is placing on the provider’s server and a customer viewing the finished project.

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Top 5 Mistakes Financial Advisors Make

Below are the Top 5 deadly mistakes Financial Advisors tend to make unknowingly.

1. Relying solely on external motivations

Most financial advisors, regardless of the number of years in the industries, lean towards external stimuli such as videos, seminars, success stories to maintain motivation. It is true that motivation plays an important part of an advisor’s momentum in developing his business and increasing his insurance sales, especially when it comes to prospecting. Don’t we all hate prospecting new clients through endless cold calling, road shows, surveys, etc?

For new financial advisors, the reliance on external motivation is even the more exaggerating. I personally know of some financial advisors who actually paid over S$3,000 for a 5 days ‘intensive’ course which is so commercialized that as if anyone who went through it will come out the other end as a producer. The actual results can be rather depressing and mainly due to the rationales below.

  • Firstly, by taking away 5 precious days from a month is going to be a major setback in momentum. Some courses even insist that an advisor will not be able to perform unless they find their meaning in co-existing with the Universe. Aftermath? That advisor will spend the next few weeks or even months trying to find out his meaning in life, while his sales and income goes downhill even faster than a runaway train in for a wreck.
  • Secondly, such courses are so commercialized that their proposed solutions are usually those few, despite the variety of problems, challenges, fears and mental barriers different advisors are having. It’s like a doctor prescribing cough syrup for every single patient who walks into his clinic!
  • Thirdly, these courses will usually soak the participants in a high energy atmosphere, which than invite them to take part in some activities which when one is sober and sane, one would never do such a thing. The argument? Yes, by getting you out of your ‘comfort zone’, literally! And as we all seen more than often, the effect varies on different individuals and the duration seldom last. Sooner or later, often sooner, the advisor will go back to his old self, looking forward to the next motivation boost.

2. Trying to sell before being adequately trained

Here is the familiar story of an advisor, so eager to perform in his new career, with an organization which promise ‘unlimited income potential’, ‘work as and when you like’ and ‘be your own boss’, with an even eager manager who expect competent insurance sales in less than the required time for that particular advisor to develop. Some managers will even ask their advisors to shamelessly approach their friends and relatives, without understanding the background their advisors are from and if selling to friends and relatives is an alternative, ending up souring friendships and even kinships, which might take years to salvage, if that is even possible.

Financial products should never be sold in the first place by selling supports and end up straining relationships, putting them on the line. Financial products are vehicles to help a client to move from one phase of their life to the next, avoiding financial pitfalls and attaining financial goals. Should there be no other alternative but to sell only to friends and relatives, there are subtler ways of having it tastefully and professionally done.

Definitely there is a need to balance the pace of learning and income necessary to sustain through the developing stage, but faking it till you make it is a dangerous way to close sales.

3. Moonlighting financial advisory career

A big bulk of managers still believes that a career in financial advisory can be done as a part-time job. Yes, it can be done 20 years back in time, where insurance sales need not uphold as high a standard as financial advisory have to deliver now, especially true when compliance is cramming down hard on poor sales process, mis-selling, non-disclosure, etc. Supply will always follow demand, and the demand had evolved over the last few decades.

For agencies which rely on part-timers to maintain their positions usually have difficulties threading water. Majority of these agencies are at the bottom 20% of any organizations they are in.

  • Taking in part-timers in the hope of them turning full time when they see the money is like gambling. And in gambling, the player always loses. Part time advisors, especially those who have other focus outside the financial advisory career, usually underperform. And agencies which take in part time advisors often are not confident that their support, training and culture will enable these advisors to make a decent living.
  • Moonlighting of the financial advisory career on top of their day job also means that the objectives of the advisor are usually self-centered. And how would one expect the service level of an advisor whose purpose of joining this industry is incorrect. The mentality and attitude is simply wrong, and the production is minimal.
  • Of course, there is also the time factor. An advisor with sufficient time on hand is able to prospect more clients and build more meaningful relationships than another advisor who can only sell insurance on a ‘by the way’ basis for people around him.

4. Seeking business before earning trust

The primary problem with this approach is putting the selling emphasis on asking for business when it should be on building rapport. It simply is an impatient approach to selling that puts the chance of success on an advisor’s ability to close rather than the ability to connect.

When advisors make this fatal mistake, they spend very little time on the initial trust building steps of the selling process, which are approaching and fact-finding their prospects. They usually induce meaningless small talk that does not ascertain any needs that would fulfill the reason for their prospect to buy. These advisors end up spending most of the time during an appointment handling objections and trying to close the sales. This is also one sure way to disinterest an advisor into leaving the financial advisory industry.

5. Losing sales edge by neglecting personal development

Being successful in insurance sales takes more than courtesy and mere professionalism. It takes a lot more than merely meeting client’s need, yet many advisors are still selling with a simple arsenal of service, value and products. While these things are parts of being a successful advisor, they are not enough to set an advisor apart from the competition in the long run. Adequate service, value and products can earn the trust of the clients, but far from enough to keep them loyal in the long run.

Everything changes, all the time. Therefore to overcome the fatal mistake of stagnating, so must an advisor. A competent advisor who is looking at career longevity in the financial advisory will always find ways to improve his knowledge and skills to outside the career context, so as to put more things on the table as compared to an average advisor.

Let us take a quick glance on the 5 fatal pitfalls to avoid.

  1. Relying solely on external motivation
  2. Trying to sell before being adequately trained
  3. Moonlighting financial advisory career
  4. Seeking business before earning trust
  5. Losing sales edge by neglecting personal development

If you create selling habits that allow you to consistently sidestep these fatal mistakes, you will succeed on a regular basis. And it’s not just talking about making more money, if you know what I mean.

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Arsenal and Acronis


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