The Business Event for Forward-Thinking Practices

Inspiration and practical advice at the inaugural Good to Great Event

SOE Good To Great Event 2018

The first ever Good to Great Event was held in London in June 2018 and certainly lived up to its name and purpose, when over 50 practice teams gathered for a day packed full of inspirational sessions from some of the country’s leading dental business advisors, all ready to share their tips and tricks on running a successful business.

This unique forum was designed specifically to provide individualised support and advice to help dentists and their teams boost their profits, run more efficiently and, as a result, fill their practice with happier patients.

SOE Good To Great Event 2018

The day started with delegates being greeted by a member of the Concierge Team, who acted as their personal guide for the day. The idea of the concierge was to present each practice with their bespoke Growth Plan that was ready and waiting for them – based on questions answered in a survey prior to the event. This ‘concierge’ type welcome really made guests feel valued and pointed them towards those people able to offer the best advice, depending on their own personal circumstances, ensuring delegates really got the most out of the event.

The event was aimed at the whole practice team and amongst the delegates was Tina Mohindra, owner and manager at the Whitebridge Clinic and Diamond House Dental Practice. She attended the event with her head nurse and practice manager and was impressed with the content of the day, saying,

“We are progressive practices but wanted to see how we can improve further. The concierge service in the morning was an excellent idea and gave us a great overview of the areas that would be of most value for us. The business zones have been really useful and David Taylor’s presentation was absolutely brilliant!”

SOE Good To Great Event 2018

The day’s first speaker was the inspirational David Taylor, the ‘Naked Leader’, who provided an upbeat start as he shared ‘The Formula For Guaranteed Success’ with an emphasis on not giving up! David was followed by Ben Flewett, MD at Software of Excellence, who shared his insights on how to ensure the patient’s journey through a practice is a smooth, streamlined experience, with the outcome that patients are more likely to uptake treatment and to recommend a practice to friends and family.

Paul Green, founder of Growth UK, then gave his unique take on the work life balance, coaching delegates about different ways of thinking about their practice and patients, with some excellent, practical tips on how to create more profit in a business and give you more time to spend on the things that matter to you most. The keynote lectures were concluded with a very personal recitation from Dr Dev Patel, who has transformed his practice over the last four years from being 60% NHS to now being 90% private. Dev shared his experiences about the part digital dentistry has played in the transformation and the key role fulfilled by his team.

SOE Good To Great Event 2018

Throughout the day the keynote lectures were interwoven with additional short, sharp 15-minute Bite-Sized Best Practice sessions with something different for each member of the team. Covering topics such as marketing, business growth through introducing new treatments, the role of digital, empowering the team, business planning and the practice sales journey; delegates had a wide variety of topics to choose from in an information-packed day.

Between the busy cycle of lectures and networking, attendees were free to explore the seven Business Zones, in which dental experts offered workshops and advice in specific areas of practice growth, patient communication, the digital pathway and more.

Sue McVey and Marzena Zak attended the event at the request of the Operations Manager at Sussex Dental Group. Both felt the day was very worthwhile and were excited to share what they had learned with the rest of their team. They said, “The first lecture was great and opened our eyes to the whole day. We enjoyed the bite-sized presentations as these were short enough to whet your appetite, leaving you to go and find out more information if required. The welcome from our individual guide in the morning was a really nice touch.”

 The Good to Great Event 2018 promised inspiration as well as practical advice and guidance, delivered in an informal and bespoke manner, for practice teams looking to improve their businesses. It certainly delivered, and this was an auspicious start to what will become an annual event in the dental calendar.

Watch out for news about the Good to Great Event 2019!

Paul Green

Paul Green is a former journalist and radio presenter. He founded and sold Growth UK, a marketing consultancy for opticians, vets and dentists. He was a keynote speaker at the Good to Great Event 2018.

Client experience should be top priority for dentists

In an interview with The Dentist Magazine, Paul Green gives his views on how dentists can become more successful, more quickly by giving patients what they want.

Q: We are seeing a move towards dentists becoming more aware of their business priorities – do you feel this is a recent change or a trend that has developed over many years?

A: It’s a trend that’s been happening for decades. As a society, as we’ve gone through the greedy eighties and nineties and endured the austerity of the 2000s, now things have changed. We’ve grown used to a culture of immediate gratification. If you look at Amazon, the world’s biggest online retailer, they give customers what they want, when they want it, at a good price. This has happened quite quickly, probably in the last ten years and I now believe this attitude is extending to the service sector as well. The most successful retailers are service-driven and it’s the same in dentistry.

Our consumer culture is not going to revert back to how it was 20 years ago and I think that dentists have an opportunity to hook into not just what people need, but what they want. The ‘need’ is the basic dental health, check-ups, etc. but the ‘want’ is to be able to smile and have confidence and look great at their daughter’s wedding for example. The most successful dentists understand this and work at it in a systematic way. Every day, they ask patients questions that will uncover the hidden, deep, emotional desires of those patients, and then offer them a solution. Once patients know that you offer a certain treatment, if it’s right for them, they’ll buy it. If it’s not right at that time, then they won’t. But if you persevere and ask each time they visit, eventually the time will be right.

Q: Do you think a practice needs to change its culture in order to systemise in this way? And how would they do that?

A: The whole point of a system is that it doesn’t rely on individuals’ instinct. The system must operate every day, regardless of who is there. Let’s take some of the best run businesses in Britain. Specsavers is really well-run business, because it’s completely systemised, delighting the customer and selling them more. Its system is checklist driven and the staff are trained really well.

Dental practices need to do exactly the same thing. The problem is that many practices get caught up in the clinical aspects and the paperwork, and everyone forgets that they are not just dealing with patients, they are dealing with clients, and clients have a choice. I regard all patients, private and NHS, as clients. They have hopes and wants and fears and the most successful dentists are able to empathise with these emotions and create a system that puts the client at the centre.

Q: Do you see attitudes changing for the better in dentistry?

A: Yes, and I think it is an ‘age thing’. Younger dentists definitely seem more commercially aware and more focused. Obviously you’ve got to do meaningful clinical work, but the way to make money is selling what your clients want. I think the people who find it hardest to change are practice owners who’ve been practicing in the same way for a long time. Consumers now want a great experience and they expect this right from the beginning.

Dentists need to have a change in mind-set, and understand they don’t need a ‘receptionist’, they need a smiley, welcoming, ‘head of experience’. The whole concept that a receptionist should sit behind a desk at a computer is very anachronistic. If you walk into to an Apple Store, no-one is behind a desk, everyone is standing up, accessible and ready to greet the clients. That’s the reality of retail now and I think dentistry in the past has struggled with the concept of retail, but I think this is changing. I look at some dental practices and they’re beautiful, stylish and creating a great experience. I look at others and I see a functional, clinical practice. It’s a paradox, but the most successful practices don’t look overtly clinical. The Vision Express store on Oxford Street in London is beautiful, it looks like a jewellery shop. Of course all the technical equipment is still there, it’s just downstairs, hidden away and dentistry should take a leaf out of this book.

Q: Do you think that Brexit will have an impact on dentistry?

A: Our entire economy is based on people feeling happy and being confident and I think the problem here lies with the media. Whether Brexit has an impact on the economy is open to conjecture – my feeling is that it will, and the impact will be negative. But, as soon as the media starts the “R” word everyone stops spending. They stop moving house, they say ‘we’ll keep the car for another couple of years and they don’t spend their disposable income, they save it.

Dentistry is largely a ‘recession-proof’ business, although I know practices suffered considerably in the last recession, but when people are more cautious, practices need to work hard to attract patients back for routine appointments and even harder to sell elective, cosmetic treatments. But they need to remember that people do still spend during a recession, it’s just important to hook into how people think and feel, this is very important.

When there’s a recession, many businesses say, ‘let’s not spend, let’s not spend on marketing’ – this is the worst thing you can do. In fact the opposite is true, because when others stop spending that is precisely the time when you should continue to invest. But do so wisely. Google, Facebook, Instagram, can be leveraged in a very cost-effective way. You can look back through every recession in history and see companies that have grown because they continued spending when others had stopped. It’s cheaper, and it’s easier because there’s less competition. It’s just about being smart about what you are trying to achieve and having a plan and system for doing so.