Where there are challenges there are also opportunities. Even though we are still amidst a pandemic, there are opportunities that have been created and that can still be imagined due to the recent shifts in dentistry. Just by simply listening to your patients, they will tell you where more opportunities in your practice exist. They might make comments or suggests about which insurance companies they wish you took, or additional hours they would prefer you to be open.

One idea is thinking about adding an in-house dental plan for patients who do not have insurance. Patients are more aware than ever how important their health is it is our job as dentists to further educate them. Moving forward and adapting to the changes starts with having the right mindset and setting realistic goals for your practice. Think outside the box about what opportunities are now available that can make your practice unique and different in this “new normal.”

Full Transcript Below

Shawn: (01:00)
So hello, this is Shawn and Allison with The Authentic Dentist and we’re excited today. It is been a while since we’ve been in the studio, um, man, life, it’s just crazy, still in the midst of this pandemic and there’s been shifts. And we want to talk about what to do when there are shifts in the marketplace. Um, not just are there lots of opportunities, but the mindset that you can have so that you are looking for opportunities. You know, one of the things that Allison and I were talking about is after the 2008, um, housing crash and the recession that followed a lot of people, just instantly, we’re talking about man, like everything’s falling apart and it seemed like businesses weren’t gonna survive. And I was hearing all these leaders talking about this is the time that if you really, really want to, you can get ahead.

Shawn: (02:02)
If you see the shifts that have happened and position yourself to take advantage of them, instead of just following the crowd, the crowd is saying right now, dentistry is going downhill. It’s slowing down. You know, we have world health organization saying to the public that people shouldn’t be going to the dentist. That’s not safe. There’s just a lot of turbulence right now. And it doesn’t seem like it’s a great hour for dentistry, but we don’t believe that’s true. We believe right now is a great time for you and your practice to still succeed and thrive in this hour.

Allison: (02:42)
So what you said about mindset is just so true. I always think about Simon Sinek and what he talks about the why. And he did a podcast. Oh right. The beginning of the pandemic talking about, yes, our jobs may not look the same, but there’s always opportunities. You know, it just, things are gonna look different. So I have to tell the story about my son. He, um, he took my nephew to the airport and this is a couple months ago, dropped my, my nephew off and my nephew calls in and says, I can’t get on the plane. And my son, whose name is JD is like, why is it? Cause I don’t have a mask. And JD says, go buy a mask. This seems simple. And he’s like, there’s nowhere to buy a mask. Oh no. And my sense of something really profound to him, he said, if there is not a place to buy a mask at the airport and you have to wear a mask on the plane, if this isn’t true today, tomorrow I will have a stand outside of the airport selling masks. And it was just, it was profound when he said it. Cause I was listening. The truth is it’s opportunity. My nephew was seeing that there was a lack, there was a problem. And my son immediately saw, Ooh, there’s a huge opportunity here.

Shawn: (03:58)
I think that’s amazing because that’s such a like entrepreneurial reaction just to think, wait a second, you’re telling me people are going to need this. It’s almost like setting up a lemonade, stand on a golf course. You have all these golfers. There’s thirsty. The, the kid that sets up the lemonade stand makes money. It’s it’s meeting a need that exists. Especially when it’s mandated. Everyone has to have a mask. Like yeah, I think that’s

Allison: (04:27)
So it’s a mindset though. So you have to just step back and go, okay, there’s lots of problems, but that means there’s lots of opportunities. So now we just have to start looking, how are we going to meet those needs?

Shawn: (04:41)
Well, so specifically, um, what some of those leaders are that I respect, uh, during the 2009 kind of recession and fallout, everything was about, okay, how, how is it? You know, um, consumers spending who, who knows what’s going to happen? You know, you have people that are out of a house. Um, they don’t have a reliable paycheck. Maybe that they’re unemployed. So everything was like, cashflow is going to slow down from a business perspective because people are going to be tight with their money. Well, the leaders were saying, Hey, don’t, don’t think of it that way. If right now you’re not happy with the team that you have. There are so many high level educated, experienced workers that now you can pick up at 30 to 40% less than what they were willing to make a year, you know, six, six, 12 months ago. And it was just like, huh, people have gotten laid off, very educated people that, that no longer have a job.

Shawn: (05:45)
And because of this shift, the market, doesn’t, isn’t going to pay them full price anymore. Like they’re not worth that anymore because there’s such a oversupply of it. And there’s not a lot of, so it was a great time to look at the housing crash and the recession as a time to rebuild a first class team. And I was like, man, that’s just, it’s looking at something that’s terrible. And instead of just saying, okay, the trend is consumers, aren’t going to spend money. We have no idea. There’s uncertainty. It’s just all this craziness to all of a sudden, wait a second. Like I can get amazing talent at a 40% discount I’m doing it. So it’s just seeing there is massive opportunity for those that were willing to see it.

Allison: (06:30)
So patients have never been more interested in their health than they are today. It’s all over the news. They know their, their status with their immunity. So it’s an opportunity for us to set ourselves up as experts. We know a ton about mass. I’ve been my mass for 20 years. We know so much about the mouth body connection. We know that an infection in your mouth affects your immune system. We know that not being able to eat healthy affects your immune system. So we have a huge opportunity to set us up in a different way, in a different light than we have in the past.

Shawn: (07:07)
And I think one of the things is that if you know, patients are feeling some sort of a financial strain and maybe things are up in the air with insurance, this is a perfect time to set up some sort of in house membership, um, savings, whatever it would be to try to just meet the concerns of the patients that you’re facing. And everyone is in a different community. Everyone’s in a different neighborhood. You know, obviously structure one based off of where you’re at. Like Alison you’re in a very affluent area. So instead of it being like a discount plan, it could be more of a, you know, like a VIP, um, because those individuals would like to feel like they have a, you know, some perks or some higher level service where they get access to something special where if you’re in a neighborhood with maybe lower income individuals, then it’s fine. If it is just, this is a value savings plan or something like that, or some discount. So you, you want to base it off of who you’re serving, but this might be a good time if you’re thinking about something that, and you haven’t done it, it’s probably a good time to, to, to look at that right now.

Allison: (08:14)
So your patients will tell you where the opportunities are. You just have to listen. If they say, I wish you were in network with my insurance. Wow. That’s, that’s telling you, you need an in house dental plan. If they say I can’t get there because I’m working or the kids are home, or I wish you had evening hours or Friday hours. Wow. Okay. Think about that. This is there’s opportunities. You just have to listen and maybe that’s not what you want to do, but at least you’re hearing what needs to happen.

Shawn: (08:46)
You know, that was so quotable. What you just said about there’s opportunities and your patients are going to say it. You just need to listen. And I think one of the reasons people, um, I think this happens to me all the time is like, I’ll hear something, but I already have a grid of what I believe is possible. Or this is within the roles or this is within the, within the area of what is typical. And then if someone says something that’s outside of that, I don’t actually like, I’m not open to really entertaining it. Um, you know, there’s someone I know professionally, I respect this individual a ton, but you almost can’t speak into this individual’s life because they almost have a, pre-formulated like, Oh no, it’s not the right time for that. Like, you know, or like, it’s like an excuse for everything. But then when they come up with it, it’s like, now I’m going to start this and I’m gonna do this. And I was talking to, you know, my wife Kelly about this. And I’m like, man, there’s such a blindness that happens if you don’t keep an openness in your mind and your heart and your spirit to, to some, some something new.

Allison: (09:54)
Well, it’s so easy for us to just live in this little box. This is the way I do things. I go to work at this time. I go home. I eat lunch at this time and you do, you get into this routine and then you’re not listening. When everyone is telling you, you need to change and life is change. It’s okay. You can change your hours. You can change your practice model. You can, you can do whatever you want. You just need to listen to what are the opportunities ask? I want to touch on mindset because I do feel like if you think the next five months are going to be bad, I can guarantee you they’re going to be bad. If you think the next five months are going to be the best five months you’ve ever had, pretty likely it’s going to be the next, the best five months you’ve ever had, because you will take massive action either way to make it happen,

Shawn: (10:44)
You know? And that comes across, I think to some, or it could come across to some listeners as like a fairly simple, um, even, almost like surface-y statement. And it’s not like it’s so much more than just what you think, because your thoughts end up creating pictures. And right now, you know, I, I’m very, um, I’m very visual. So even in like my imagination, if I can’t see something it’s really difficult for me to move toward it. So if the picture I am seeing is kind of doomy and gloomy, I start feeling this like slide in my life toward the abyss and all that does is zap me of, of energy and excitement because I start feeling like I’m already gonna fail. So why? I don’t know. It’s just this terrible feeling, but like you’re saying the filling prophecy, it’s true. So, so those thoughts of that are positive. That are, you know what? I could, I can have the best practice of my life in six months. What that does is that starts painting a different picture, but it can’t false. You

Allison: (11:54)
Know, sometimes we, we bragged to other people, but we don’t actually believe what we’re saying. I’m doing great. My practice is amazing. And then in the back of your mind, you’re like, Oh, things are really bad, but like, I’m not going to tell them that if you truly believe what you say, then that’s when you take action to make it happen. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t live in your truth. You should live in your truth wherever you are today, but you don’t have to stay there.

Shawn: (12:17)
Yeah. But, but it’s also just having the courage to look at things the way they are, but not stay there. Like that’s the starting spot. The starting places, if things are in your practice, aren’t good. Don’t lie and say, Oh no, they’re great. It’s acknowledging, okay. There’s a, there’s some things that need to be done, but I can do it. And I know I can get that great team. I know I can implement those systems that are going to help my team and my patients, whatever the obstacles are. I can do it. You know? And that’s what I mean, Alison, you know, I’m just always so encouraged because you’re always reflecting on the last six months and year and sharing, what’s been positive, looking at what we’ve built or this, like, you’re always sharing the positive. And I think that is contagious, but that’s not always people’s default. And honestly, it’s not always my default at times, I just start thinking of what isn’t, you know, I do an audit and I’m like, okay, this is still lacking. Well, in the audit, I’m not looking at the 90% of things that are checked off that are doing great and giving, I don’t want to say myself, but just giving my team and just all of us that credit of like, we’re doing great. You know,

Allison: (13:33)
I think sometimes people are afraid to set goals because they’re afraid they won’t achieve them. But if you write down where you are and where you want to be in six months, if you are not where you wanted to be, but you’re halfway there that’s a lot. You’ve come somewhere. I mean, you can’t just say, well, unless I’m, you know, a multimillionaire by tomorrow, I’m not anything that’s not realistic, but if you set it out there that, okay, so in two years, this is what’s going to happen. It’s going to happen. Cause you just have to make it happen. And if you’re not quite there in two years, it’s not a failure because you’re still, you’re not where you were two years ago.

Shawn: (14:12)
You’ve moved forward. I love that. And again, back to one of the examples I think I gave was about, you know, if weightlifting or any sort of goal like that, when you set up progressions, it’s like, it’s not all or nothing. It’s not either I can do. Um, you know, like I said, the, the full plant or I can’t moving along the way, there’s like 10 progressions. And it’s like, I’m on progression number four right now. So it’s like, even if I never get to 10, I’m already three further than where I started. Like, so, so that’s progress. Hence the word progression. And it’s like, progress is key here because if we get so fixated on the, sometimes that’s where it’s like, Oh man, I’m not going to hit that. But it’s like, if we’re growing and we’re moving forward and we’re progressing in that journey, who knows, what other doors going to end? Like open up when you’re like at level eight or step eight, and maybe you don’t need to actually get to that step 10. But at eight you have a different reference point and you realize there’s a new 10, there’s a new, a new goal or it’s changed a little bit. But the key thing is that you’ve, you’ve grown and that you’re, you’re, you’re moving in the right direction.

Allison: (15:23)
And that’s all about mindset. And for me, I’ve decided that the next five months are going to be great. I am going to change my practice. And I told you in March that I saw some opportunities and we really seized on those opportunities and the practice is doing well at, and I’m proud of that, but I don’t want to do the practice that I’ve done for the last 20 years. I really want to change it up and do some different things, which means that I have to grow. I personally have to grow. I have to learn some things. And I’m thinking that I need some more technology in my office. And when I say that, I know dentists are like Sarah and you know, scanners and all that. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m thinking like artificial intelligence. I’m not sure I need to have as many team members. So the team members I have are really quality, but maybe I can source some of that out. You know, let’s, let’s look at the big picture, where are we going? What’s available.

Shawn: (16:17)
And that is something where looking at other industries and seeing where there’s been advancements, it’s like we get so caught up in just looking at our own industry. But if everyone’s just looking at your own industry, most of the times, those big jumps, uh, happen from other ones. So I’m not sure what happened first, whether it was the drive through banking or drive through food. Do you know? I don’t know. So one of them got like pioneered and the other one took it from that. So it’s like, I forgot what the story was, but it was basically like, you know, why would anyone want to go through a drive through for food? Like, it was one of those. And they looked at the other industry of like banking and they’re like, well, Hey, it works here. And it’s really convenient. But everyone in the industry was like, like you wouldn’t, you wouldn’t do that. And then one of the chains did it and it was like a breakthrough. So it’s like, there’s a lot of other industries right now that are automating, that are using, um, software to kind of lower that HR burden, um, cause human resources as amazing as they are to provide that culture. They’re also very expensive.

Allison: (17:25)
They’re very expensive. We do have a shortage in the market. There are people just like you said at the beginning that are not working in a different industry, perhaps in the food and beverage industry, in the hotel industry, that might be good in the team, but there’s also this artificial intelligence. So it’s thinking outside the box, what can I pull in that would make me unique and different and allow me to grow.

Shawn: (17:50)
So we’re excited. And the upcoming months to just keep you posted, um, as Alison is continuing to explore different things in her own practice and continue just to reimagine and just reinvent the new normal that she wants in her practice over this upcoming six months, upcoming year. So we’re going to be sharing that with you guys, but for today, it’s just what opportunities are there in and around your practice that weren’t there six months ago, weren’t there nine months ago. And what picture do you need to see of the future for the next three months for the next six months? That is positive. That’s toward growth. That’s toward thriving because that’s the picture we’re really wanting you guys to see. So again, hope this episode encouraged you guys.