The Dental Force Awakens (Part 1)

In this episode of Dental All Stars, host Alex Nottingham introduces the concept of The Dental Force Awakens. This is a two-part presentation that looks at the dark forces affecting dental practices, and how to overcome them. The concept is based on the Star Wars movie series, which explores the forces of good versus evil and the hero’s journey. Part one looks at the dark forces, while part two focuses on becoming a dental Jedi master and the five steps to accomplish this. Nottingham encourages viewers to engage with the podcast and hopes they will find it interesting and inspiring.

Highlights

[00:00] “The Dental Force Awakens: Overcoming Dark Forces and Becoming a Dental Jedi Master”
[02:03] Exploring the Difference Between External and Internal Forces in Professional Practice
[05:31] Analysis of Dark Forces Impacting the Dental Industry
[09:54] The Advantages of Private Dentistry vs. Corporate Dentistry
[12:00] Exploring the Challenges of Dental Marketing in the 21st Century

Resources

Free Training Webinar: Dental Practice Excellence – 3 Steps to an All-Star Practice

Watch Part 2! 

About Alex Nottingham JD MBA

Alex is the CEO and Founder of All-Star Dental Academy®. He is a former Tony Robbins top coach and consultant, having worked with companies upwards of $100 million. His passion is to help others create personal wealth and make a positive impact on the people around them. Alex received his Juris Doctor (JD) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Florida International University.

Episode Transcript

Transcription performed by A.I. Please excuse the typos.

00:25 – 00:55

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

And everyone. I’m Alex Nottingham, founder of All-Star Dental Academy and welcome to Dental All Stars. And may the force be with you. That’s why you hear this Star Wars music, because today’s May 4th and I have a very special two-part presentation for you. Today’s title is The Dental Force Awakens, and we’re going to look at the forces, the dark forces facing you and your dental practice and how to overcome them.

00:56 – 01:12

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

And it’s going to be a lot of fun. And then in part two, we’re going to talk about being a dental Jedi master and the five steps accomplishing that. So I trust you will enjoy this podcast.

01:14 – 01:41

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

Now, for those that are new to Star Wars, Star Wars is a movie that takes place in space. It’s about the forces of good versus evil, which really is something very common on epic movies and stories that you hear. It’s about the hero’s journey, the human experience, and it’s very relatable and inspiring for those that have watched. And I’m sure many who are watching have seen it.

01:42 – 02:03

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

Now, again, I don’t want to assume that. So let me review some of the characters that will be exploring today. We have Luke Skywalker and he is a Jedi, which is someone who masters the power of the force, the good force. And then we have Darth Vader. That is part of the harness is the part of the force is called the dark side.

02:03 – 02:30

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

And then later, Luke Skywalker meets Yoda. And Luke Skywalker also has friends, which is Princess Leia and on solo. And really everything in the universe is based on force. There’s forces pulling you one direction and you want to go and one in another direction. And so today, we’re going to start out looking at the differences between the dark or external forces versus the light or internal forces.

02:30 – 02:57

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

In your practice, you’re going to learn how to make the dark side of your practice and forces facing you practically irrelevant. Now, I know many of you know who I am and follow us, but quickly I’m going to talk about who I am for those that are new. So let me briefly tell you about myself. I’m formally trained as an MBA, an attorney, so I share the investment that all of you have in post-graduate education.

02:58 – 03:19

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

I’ve worked as a business coach with companies from 1 million to over 100 million. I was a top coach for Tony Robbins. I wrote a bestselling book with Brian Tracy. I’ve had the great honor of sharing the stage with Michael Gerber, the author of Myth Revisited, where we taught professionals how to implement systems and training in their businesses.

03:19 – 03:39

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

I work with hundreds of professionals, helping them improve their businesses, and my passion is breakthrough success. How do we achieve that in the highest ethical manner? Because I believe great businesses can create wonderful personal wealth, but also have a huge impact on the people around us. My father’s a dentist and ever since I was young, he told me, Don’t be a dentist.

03:39 – 04:01

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

He said, Go to law school, which I did. So of course, I always joked, You can trust me. I’m a lawyer, but I don’t practice law. I really focus more on the business side of the MBA side of this. Basically, there was a point in time where my father, his practice wasn’t achieving success. He wanted and he wasn’t getting paychecks, which I hear many of you sometimes have when there isn’t enough business coming through.

04:01 – 04:20

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

And so I offered to help. And so I revamped his marketing and we were able to send a lot of new patients to his practice. But unfortunately they weren’t converting. So my girlfriend at the time, who’s now my wife, Heather, I thought, could I bring her in because her background is a manager and trainer for Bloomingdales? Kate Spade In theory.

04:20 – 04:45

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

So I brought her in and his little gamble paid off. We added $1,000,000 to his practice in 18 months, doubling the practice to a $2 million practice. And that is where kind of the beginnings of All Star began. And we took all the phone skills that we applied the scheduling skills to build All-Star coupled with adding some great experts and our wonderful head instructor, Larry Guzzardo.

04:45 – 05:11

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

I want to define the difference between external and internal here. External forces that I talked about before are the forces that are pushing your practice to bend to its will. What they, the outside forces, want you to do. And then you have the internal forces, which are what you want to accomplish in your practice. And many years ago you could just open a practice and patients would come.

05:11 – 05:31

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

But it’s not the same way. Now, with dentistry consolidating, it’s hard to just be a great dentist. You know, I’m asked is it is it important to be a great as absolutely. Being a great clinician is assumed you have to also be great at business. So let’s explore the dark forces before we get into the light forces, if you will.

05:31 – 05:55

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

But I have a caveat. Dark is relative, so I’m not saying that these things are bad of themselves. You know, everything comes from from your own perspective. And oftentimes we need to create stories in myths, mythology like Star Wars to be able to motivate us. Sometimes it’s good to have challenges, to have these dark forces because you have a reason to overcome, a reason to get better.

05:55 – 06:19

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

And oftentimes, if you look at the most challenging parts of your life, you find that those are where you find your greatest strength from and growth from. So here are the external factors. I’m going to examine each one in detail. The first is insurance companies. Second, corporate dentistry. Third, marketing saturation. Fourth patient buying power in fifth competition. So let’s take a look at insurance companies.

06:20 – 06:45

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

So dental insurance invented in 1954 and the benefits have not kept up with inflation. Not even close. And participation requires between 30 to 40% lower fees. It about 60% of the general population actually has some sort of dental benefit. And 74% of Dennis, except at least one PPO point being insurance companies are here. They’re here to stay. They’ve got a lot of power.

06:45 – 07:05

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

Now, the effect on a dental practice is you’re going to less reimbursement, you’re going to have higher net overhead. You have to find ways to cut costs. This could decrease the quality of your care because if you can’t get the best materials, something has to give or you can’t apply enough time. Something has to give hourly production will go down.

07:05 – 07:24

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

You’re not going to make as much as if you weren’t taking insurance. And the ultimate effect is you need more patients to get the same result. Now, what you should do, whether you take insurance or not, I’m not going to get into that discussion. But ultimately, there’s somebody out there that has a practice very similar to yours, whether you take insurance or not, they’re going to be like you.

07:25 – 07:50

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

And you have to differentiate. You have to spend more time with patients. You have to provide more value, whether it be photography, wax ups, whatever it might be, very important is demonstrating amazing customer service and certainly working with some sort of coach or consultant is a wonderful investment. Now, some say that corporate dentistry and this is our next dark force, 10% of market share right now, which is $7 billion.

07:50 – 08:15

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

Predictions say it will plateau at about 25% or one fourth of dentistry is going to be corporate. And if you ask most dental students unanimously, they’re raising their hand saying we have to go to corporate dentistry because we don’t have the money. I mean, when you go to school for dentistry now it’s 300, up to $500,000. So is corporate dentistry good or bad?

08:16 – 08:42

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

Is it the force or the dark side? And that’s not the point. The point is, what can you learn from corporate dentistry? You can learn to run your practice like a business. They do that very well. You can learn to lower overhead. You can learn to invest in marketing and do marketing well. And here’s something very interesting. You can learn to invest in ongoing training.

08:43 – 09:09

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

You see corporate practices, know the value of training, ongoing training. They come from the business world, which is where I come from initially. And and seeing practices across the board, have training, have, you know, onboarding, training and comprehensive training. So this is a competitive advantage that they’re bringing in that all of you have to be aware of and need to do, whether it’s all star dental academy or something else.

09:09 – 09:13

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

You need to be doing training every week. You have to model the best.

09:13 – 09:16

Yoda

You must learn what you have.

09:17 – 09:53

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

But you have to unlearn some things as well, which are the notion that I just have to be a great clinician. That’s enough. You have to be great at business. So how often do dentists train in customer service? We did a study with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the digital dentist, and also Dental Academy. We found that about 1.5% of dentist trained weekly on customer service monthly another 1.5% occasionally, which means less than once a month was about 40% and over 50% never.

09:54 – 10:21

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

So that’s 97% of dentist that are training periodically are less than once a month. And so when I ask dentists, should you train more consistently, they say, Absolutely. Do you know why not? I don’t know. And there’s a lot of reasons that may go into this concept of being too busy or staff resistance. What my response to that is, if you just have 20 minutes a week, that’s plenty to invest.

10:21 – 10:47

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

Little by little, get you there. So your advantage is you can make changes faster with corporate dentistry. They have to go through the food chain. They go through go through the bureaucracy to be able to make a decision. You have less pressure for bottom line results. Potentially, you can provide higher quality care. You have more freedom, obviously, and there’s no ceiling in terms of pay.

10:47 – 11:08

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

Corporations legally, they have to make a profit as the only legal requirement of a corporation is making a profit. I mean, obviously, they have to respect the laws of the United States, but they have to make a profit. They don’t have really any major ethical requirements unless you’re some sort of nonprofit. So that carries pressure for them, shareholders, stakeholders, you don’t have that.

11:08 – 11:36

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

So you can really invest on creating a movement, not just a company. And patients see the difference and don’t cut costs. Corporate is much better at doing that. Your winning strategy is relationship focused customer service. That’s how you really differentiate yourself from corporate dentistry. Marketing saturation is our third. So how much Denny’s spent on marketing? We found somewhere between 3 to 5% of collections.

11:36 – 12:01

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

So depending if you’re a 1 million or $2 million practice, is anywhere between 30,000 to over 100,000 are marketing per year. And the problem is marking is becoming extremely saturated. So what used to work doesn’t work as well and it’s hard to get the same are lie. So the solution is you need to track your marketing, you need to test your marketing and you need to be more efficient.

12:14 – 12:24

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

Let’s look at patient buying power. Now, if you look at the cost of living in 1938, it wasn’t very expensive. I mean, 3900 for a house, $860 for a car. I mean, look at tuition to Harvard, $420 a year. We talk about how expensive dental school is. These costs, I mean, the cost of housing has gone up about 100 times.

12:25 – 12:46

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

So expenses are going up. But income isn’t necessarily. If you look at inflation, for example, after adjusting for inflation, today’s average hourly wage has just about the same purchasing power as it did in 1979. So what that means is patients don’t have the same money they used to. Now, dentistry competition. Let’s look at this, Dennis are going to more concentrated areas.

12:46 – 13:12

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

They are forming regional and corporate practices. They have higher marketing budgets and they invest in professional support. But I think even a bigger issue is not dentistry competition but non dental competition. Who here would rather have a new house or get a root canal? How about getting an implant or getting a new car, you know, and who wants to get an extraction rather than going to Disneyland or Disneyworld?

13:12 – 13:57

Alex Nottingham JD MBA

You’re up against convincing your patients that dentistry is valuable and bought. But there is hope because I see in every industry I don’t care what business model. I don’t care what demographic. There is success. The key is to master the internal forces. And so we’re going to explore how to make these dark forces we cover practically irrelevant. And then in part two, we’re going to talk about being a dental Jedi master.

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