Art Wiederman, CPA: And hello, everyone, and welcome to another edition of the Art of Dental Finance and Management with Art Wiederman CPA. I'm your host. I'm Art Wiederman. I am a Dental Division Director. Try saying that fast three times. Dental Division Director for the CPA firm of Eide Bailly. And I am located in Southern California. And for those of you who are regular listeners to my podcast, you know that I do this at all hours of the day. So we're really early today. We're up at around six thirty in the morning here in California. So the light is just coming out of my window.
And I am very, very excited about my guests. Today on the podcast, I've had Alex and Heather Nottingham of All-Star Dental Academy on my hit list for a long time. And I finally got the we got the schedules worked out together. And they're going to be on our call today. And I actually met Heather and Alex on an airplane. I didn't physically meet them on an airplane. I just started listening to some of their podcasts and their philosophies of, you know, how to make dentists successful are very congruent with my philosophies. And I've read a lot of their materials and I listened to their tapes. And they're just as good as it gets when it comes to helping their dentists to be successful, to grow their practices and to have incredible lives.
And so we're going to be talking today with Heather and Alex. I mean, again, with them, we could spend days talking about what they teach to their dentists. But we're going to focus today on two very, very important aspects of your practice, which is phone skills for your front office and scheduling success. Those two things will make or break a practice. So we will get to Alex and Heather in a moment.
I want to give you some information and some updates. Again, please go to our partner, Decisions in Dentistry magazine. Wonderful, wonderful clinical content. Lorene Kent and her team are amazing what they've done through the pandemic and all the great articles and CE courses to help the dentists. You get an opportunity to have one hundred and forty CE courses for a year at your fingertips at an incredibly low price. Go to their website at www.DecisionsinDentistry.com and you will find our podcasts there.
And if you want a complimentary consultation with a member of the Academy of Dental CPAs, you can click on the button there and we will get to you. As far as the ADCPA, we are the financial first responders for the last year in this pandemic. And if you are not working with a dental CPA, you should be. My firm Eide Bailly. We represent about 800 dentists. In my office, we work with about three hundred of them in Southern California. And the ADCPA is twenty four CPA firms across the United States that represent over ten thousand dentists. And we are living and breathing this all the government rules on the PPP and the ERTC and the HHS and ESPN, HBO, Cinemax, you name it. We got it. And so basically, you know, if you're looking for a dental CPA, go to www.ADCPA.org.
You can certainly get a hold of me in my office in Tustin at 657.279.3243 or awiederman@EideBailly.com.
Just some real quick updates again. First of all, if you guys had a greater than 50 percent reduction in your gross revenues in the second quarter of 2020 and you have not filed or even if you have filed for SBA forgiveness for your PPP loan, there is a golden repeat golden opportunity to potentially get full forgiveness of your loan, as well as to get up to a 5,000 dollars per employee for the Employee Retention Tax Credit. We are doing this work for our clients and let us know if we can be of assistance.
The Department of Health and Human Services has still not opened their portal. Maybe by the time we all retire, they might do that. Who knows? We'll see. And so we'll be keeping you abreast of that. I had made the announcement on our podcast that aired on April the 1st. And I will make it again for those of you who were not on that one because of the fact that I am heading up our firm's ERTC and PPP consulting program. It is a monster and I'm supervising a whole bunch of people and making sure that we get as much forgiveness and as much ERTC as possible, plus the fact that they are going to open up this portal and there are lots of questions, we've already got lots of clients saying, can you help me with that?
And there's also this little thing called income tax filing season, which we're in the middle of which the government put off to May 15th, May 17th, by the way, remember, your individual tax returns are due by May 17th. But if you are a quarterly estimated tax payment filer, you still have to make your first estimate by April 15th, which makes absolutely no sense. But I stopped about twenty five years ago making sense of what the government does with the tax laws. So for those reasons, starting after April 1st, we are going to start publishing our podcast every other week. So this podcast you will hear on the 15th of April, and then after that we will publish every other week for probably the next four months or so until we finish up with all the consulting work and then we'll go from there.
This podcast has been a labor of love for me. I am just absolutely honored and humbled by the thousands of people that listen and have emailed me and everything. But something had to give. There's only one of me. So that's what I'm going to do for the next couple of months is still going to be great content like you're going to get today. Last thing I'll tell you before we get to Alex and Heather is we are going to we have our monthly Business of Dentistry series. The next one is going to be the second Wednesday of April. And we're going to be talking about fraud and embezzlement protection in our dental offices and cybersecurity. Go to www.EideBailly.com/dentalseries for that.
Well, as I mentioned, I had encountered Alex and Heather Nottingham on an airplane. I listened to their podcast. I love what they have to say and I am thrilled and honored to have met them. We chatted on the phone a couple of weeks ago. Let me tell you a little bit about both of them. Alex. They are husband and wife. Alex is the CEO and founder of All Star Dental Academy. Alex has authored the dental practice game changing both Dental Practice Excellence and co-wrote a best selling book with Brian Tracy. He's shared the stage with Michael Gerber, who's the author of The e-Myth Revisited. And I love the e-Myth because they actually wrote an e-Myth book for accountants and I read it. It's a great series of books and lectures nationally. Alex lectures nationally and internationally to prestigious dental organizations.
He is also a former Tony Robbins top coach and consultant. He has worked with companies from a million to one hundred million dollars. Alex's passion is to help others create personal wealth and make a positive impact on the people around them. Alex received his JD and Masters of Business Administration MBA from Florida International University. So obviously Alex is way too smart to be on my podcast, but we'll let him talk anyway.
Heather is also an amazing, amazing person. She's a former retail sales trainer and manager from Bloomingdales, Kate Spade and Theory, and she's a top new patient coordinator for a multimillion dollar high end dental practice where she personally increased revenue by over a million dollars in less than 18 months. That guys, I've been a dental CPA for 36 years. That's really good. Heather has got over twenty four years worth of customer service training and phone experience and designated the All Star Dental Academy Phone Success Course as well as the Great Call Process.
Hey, guys, pretty impressive credentials. Welcome to the Art of Dental Finance and Management.
Heather Nottingham: Thank you so much, Art. It's a pleasure to be here.
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: Yeah, you have a beautiful voice, so definitely a podcast voice.
Art Wiederman, CPA: Well, you know what, Alex and Heather, they told me many times that I have a face for radio. So there you go. And that's why I'm on here. So talk to me before we get started. I'm going. I want the audience to know about you guys. But you were Alex, the coach with Tony Robbins. And tell me about some of your experiences with him. He's a remarkable man.
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: Yeah, well, we were going to say to you as well that Heather and I had that fun opportunity to fire walk, I think twice together. Walk on coals.
Heather Nottingham: Multiple times. I only burned my feet a little bit.
Art Wiederman, CPA: You did this on purpose, right?
Heather Nottingham: Yeah.
Art Wiederman, CPA: Not like somebody held a gun to your head to do this right?
Heather Nottingham: We volunteered.
Art Wiederman, CPA: OK, so talk a little bit about your experience working with Tony Robbins group. How did that help your career go move along?
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: Yeah, I actually got connected through Tony, through Brian Tracy. I just wanted to, my goal was to learn from the best and then bring that to whatever field that I wanted to pursue. I didn't plan to stay as long. I was successful with them, but it was a great experience and I had a chance to interact with Tony Robbins and it was actually quite interesting.
This is a story I don't tell very often, but we're in an executive meeting. And he asked one of the consultants a story about he says, just tell me a story. And they told him some story and Tony didn't like it, thought it wasn't interesting or congruent. And he reamed the guy in front of, like 20 people. And then he turns around and he points to me maybe because my bald head, whatever. He's like you tell me a story and I'm like, oh shoot. And so I get up and I talk about my father. I talk about his practice and how special it was to work with him and with Heather and make a big difference in that. And he liked that. He felt that that was a congruent story. He liked the story. And so he came over there and shook my hand. And he's got really big hands. I think I shook his pinky. They're banana hands they call them. So that was a cool experience. And he's a passionate guy, tons of energy. And so I'm grateful. I learned a lot from him.
Art Wiederman, CPA: How long were you on the hot coals with your feet?
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: It was only for a minute or 30 seconds. I mean, you don't stay. You keep moving.
Art Wiederman, CPA: I would hope so. I can tell you with reasonable certainty there's a lot of things I want to do in my life that will not be one of them. But kudos to you for doing that. So tell us your story. Tell us your journey. How did you get into dentistry? I know you helped worked with your dad's practice. I think it was. So tell us your story.
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: So ever since I was a little pup, my father said, don't be a dentist, he said that because he was a high end cosmetic dentist and did very well. And then insurance companies came. That was at his time. Corporate wasn't as big back then, but he just felt the quality of dentistry was going down. He was never good at business person. So he said, go be a good businessman and make sure you get a graduate degree. So I said, all right. So I want to become got my MBA and got my law degree. So you can trust me, I'm a lawyer. That's my line. Right.
I don't practice law. I just wanted to do it to be better at business. And while working for Tony, I also had the great opportunity. My father's practice was facing great difficulty. It was facing bankruptcy, to be honest.
They had some really bad management. He's a great dentist. He just didn't how to run his business. Got taken advantage of by a lot of people. That kind of upset me. And so I took over managing it and helping marketing market the business. We were able to send a lot of new patient interest because back then the SEO was the Wild West and we were doing very well with that.
But they weren't converting. And I had Heather over here, Bloomingdales retail trainer, sales manager, million dollar clientele book, and she was getting tired of the hours. And actually, she was already she started in dentistry for a little bit. She had this one dentist that threw a computer at one of the employees. She said, this is not the place I want to work. And so I said, well, let me this wasn't my fault.
Art Wiederman, CPA: I mean, I don't know how long ago that was, but the computers have gotten smaller. Was it a big computer?
Heather Nottingham: It was, yeah. Yeah.
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: He got mad at something, but this was, I thought, well, maybe that's not the best work environment for you. So I said, let me see if I can get you in with my dad's office. And so he said, OK, to do that.
Heather Nottingham: Well, and we started listening to some of the calls prior to me coming in. He said, can you figure out what's going on? Right. Because he said, I'm sending all these all these patients are calling according to the call tracking, but they're not converting. Right. And so he said, can you just take a listen to some of these? And we started listening and I said, well, there's the problem. That is the single biggest filter for the practice. It's the first impression that's where you make or break things from the very first call. And that's where everything was sort of failing. And so that's when he said, let's bring you into the practice and see what we can do.
Art Wiederman, CPA: So how did that work out?
Heather Nottingham: Very well.
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: Yeah, so we brought Heather in and we talked about within 18 months, we doubled the business from a million to two million. And because she was a specialist on phone skills and they got a great experience. And we have people from all over the world come. Prime ministers and so on to see my father. He was a great dentist. So it's not I haven't. My whole family are doctors. I happen to be the, my brother and I are the lawyers, although he's an accountant. You'd appreciate that as well. My brother.
So the. Yeah, it's not how good you are, it's how well you're known. It's you have to the market. Right. And you got to do both be to be ethical but you'll see the best marketers are not always the best dentists, the best dentists aren't always the best marketers. It tends to be that the best you're not maybe natural selection. You're not often given all the best features, a great dentist, great chair side manner and a great business person. That's a very rare. So humility helps a lot knowing what are you good at and then putting the right people around you that can do those things.
And so that was a great experience. And because of the experience, I mean, I remember driving and just so grateful to be there to help my dad. It was wonderful. We're very close. And it was a very nice experience to do that. And then I had this thought. I said that what if I took what I learned with Tony and what I did with my father and help other dentists, and I made the assumption that other dentists were just like my father, they're good people. They want to make a nice living, want to help people. They're not great business people. And it was kind of naive assumption.
And there are some great business dentists out there. But the vast majority are like my father. They don't like confrontation. They're with their team. Right. And that's kind of what we're teaching team training. And but they care a lot. They want to make a difference. And they're not out here just to they're not great businesspeople, but they want to make great business. They want to do well, but they want to help a lot of people. And I've been right. Most dentists are built that way.
Heather Nottingham: Right. And a lot of them have the awesome clinical skills they do CE. They have the credentials their in associations and they have all these amazing accolades. But the thing is, is if your team can't convey that to the patient, it doesn't mean anything. You can have the best equipment. You could have the most beautiful office. You could have all these credentials and accolades. But if that doesn't carry out on the call or during the interaction with the patient, how are they going to ever know that?
Art Wiederman, CPA: You're absolutely right. I mean, I have seen, as you have over the many years and the thousands of dentists that you've counseled, the front office makes or breaks the practice, as far as I'm concerned. I mean, you have. I've seen changes in front office where you go from somebody who just didn't get it to somebody who did get it. And the practice grows exponentially. And we're going to talk about some of the skills today that hopefully you can share with our listeners. So let's get started. Why are phone and scheduling skills so important, guys.
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: Well, what's interesting is I did an analysis, I like to look at the research and it's based I use the model based a lot based on what is that guy's name, Jay Abraham. He's a compatriot of Tony Robbins and others. And I built a formula inspired by him. Essentially, I call it the Business Growth Model.
And you the way this is the only way any business makes money. And let's look at the dental office. The first step that you have to happen, obviously, you've got to invest in marketing, internal or external marketing some way. You've got to generate leads. And once that happens, you have to be able to convert usually a phone call, OK, or it can be an email. But I find that phone calls are higher conversion rate than an email inquiry. So we have to convert the phone call.
This you look at a funnel, that's the first beginning of the funnel as a phone call. Then you have to schedule productively and they have to show up. They don't show up, who cares that you scheduled it? Then after that, you want to make sure the case is accepted, it's converted into a case right beyond just a cleaning or an exam, but that they actually do treatment. And then lastly, you want to then generate referrals from that great experience. And that's the only way a business is going to work and it kind of cycles through.
So if you say, OK, well, that's interesting. Well, where's the first gap where you let's say you have one hundred percent potential, your phone is that beginning part. So if you only convert 10 percent of your phone calls, what's your potential going to be? So it all starts there, mathematically speaking. And you as an accountant, understand that, right? It's right there. So you say, well, what's the low hanging fruit? I have a loquat tree and it's a pain to go two stories up and grab the fruit. But when it's right at the bottom, those are a lot easier. So why knock ourselves out?
Every wants to go. I want case acceptance. I want to quote close cases. We don't like to word close. We have more of a service philosophy than a sales philosophy. We don't believe in that. But we say the low hanging fruit is answer the phone well train on phone skills and make sure patients show up. If you can do those two things and I can go with certainly the analysis, but easily for a million dollar practice, you have a quarter million dollars right there and potential that you can grow.
Art Wiederman, CPA: And we talk about the fact that the Johnson and Johnson commercial, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. And I know that you guys have I think it's like a nine step process that you work on.
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: No, too many steps. No way.
Art Wiederman, CPA: No, but well, there were nine things on there. But I have I have to say nine, because I'm required by law to say nine, because I'm an accountant. But the point is I know that. I mean, one of the things I saw on there, you talk about an All-Star Greeting. What is an All-Star Greeting?
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: Will write for Heather with that, the All Star Greeting is part of her great call process, which is only five steps, a little more manageable. But I think you're looking at the greeting then breaks down. And this is a concept that as we'll call chunking. But go ahead. What do you want to talk about with the greeting?
Heather Nottingham: So for the greeting again, it's the first impression. So typically people it's seven seconds that they gauge if they like the practice, the tone, tonality, all of that. But we go into things like the salutation, how they're actually answering the call, because some offices just. I call offices all the time. They don't even say their name. They just say doctor's office versus. It sounds super friendly and have a concise and clear and just welcoming greeting that makes a big difference. So we teach things like that. We talk about how to use a transition statement where we're taking polite control of the conversation so that we can ask the questions instead of the patient asking the questions, because we want to gently guide them to where we want them to go.
Art Wiederman, CPA: And I know, Heather, that one of the things I hear all the time, because when I have consultations with our clients, we not only talk about taxes and finances, but we get into the weeds of the practice because that's what I do and that's what dental CPAs do. And I hear a lot of objection about, well, all I ever got it, all the patient ever does. They all the first thing out of their mouth is how much is a crown. How do you when you get that right off the bat, how you combat that.
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: Let me jump in just about the so that's going to indicate, I'm going to set Heather up for the fastball here. But that sets up the great call process essentially, and a few things to look at that I want to differentiate off the bat I kind of alluded to earlier. Number one, many training companies advocate a sales approach, right. Get them in at all costs, lie, cheat, steal, whatever it is, get them on the schedule. Some would say I don't answer their questions or do ask the question, are you or you, whatever it is, I heard one dentist say, well, we get him in and even if we don't take their insurance or whatever and they complain, we give them some money or something. But you're kind of you're tricking them. Bait and switch. We don't believe that.
The other thing is we don't believe in scripting. What's the magical script? Because scripting isn't malleable. We teach processes and systematically you learn it and then you practice it until it becomes second nature. And then when you're on the phone, it's kind of like, I don't know, I can give tennis example. You have a pro teach you different parts of a swing, but when you're playing a match, you throw that away and it becomes second nature. So you're on the phone. You don't have time to go look at your sheets and your scripts, your things, but the training systematically will start to build those habits.
Habits are continuously a never ending training. That's very important. Now when somebody calls and they ask the price question, what do you charge? They're not going in order typically of the great call process. I'll tell you the wrong way. Then I'll tell you the right way. But the wrong way you have the great call process. The wrong way is what we call the eager process. So it's great. Put it in different order, which means that they engage the patient right away. Now just for a moment, Heather, what does great stand for?
Heather Nottingham: So great is an acronym. It stands for Greeting, Rapport, Engage, Ask for the appointment and Take information. So it's a formula that it took many, many years to create just through trial and error of what works best. And it's kind of like following a step by step recipe. If you go out of order, it's like baking a cake. It's not going to be a cake.
If you do it out of order, it'll look like a Pinterest fail if you do it out of order. Collapse and look really bad. But the reason that we use the great call process, you have to greet them first. You want to give them a warm welcome. It's almost like you're having somebody come to your house for a party. You greet them, then you're going to build rapport. You're going to talk about them and ask them questions and get to know them. What are they interested in?
You know, you were asking before about they call up asking the price. A lot of times the reasons patients ask that they don't know what else to ask. They that's the only thing that they think is like a normal question. You just ask what is it cost? And so really, we want to find out through rapport, what are they interested in? You know, if they're calling about a crown, is the crown for you? Is this for somebody else? Tell me more about it. What made you think you need to have a crown? Have you seen another dentists or are you having discomfort? We want to ask them these questions to get to know them, to find out how we can best help them so that when we go back to them, give them a price, some offices give a price, some don't give a price. Some say you have to come in for a consultation.
But when we go back to talk about that, we can qualify. We can provide value for them. We can sizzle the practice and tell them why, based on the things that they told us where the best practice to help them. So then it becomes more than a crown. It becomes an experience. We want to do all of those things because what happens is if we just give them a price, they're going to just compare every other office that they've called and gotten a price from and probably choose the cheapest. But if they get this amazing experience from our practice and they're like, wow, even though they're a little bit more, I see the value in that they're really going to take care of me. They really feel like they know me. I'm going to get good treatment here. People are willing to pay more for better value. And so I think that especially for the fee for service practices, you have to have an amazing experience to be able to set yourself apart.
Art Wiederman, CPA: Do you like to, in the initial phone call, get into, you know, I mean, obviously you're going to get to know them, get to know their dental history. Do you like to get into Hey, tell me, do you have a family or do you have kids? What do you like to do? Do you get into that or do you stick with the dentistry part?
Heather Nottingham: I like to know about them because I think that that's helpful in building rapport. I think that, you know, you don't want to make the conversation super long because you have to gauge them. If they're conversing back and forth with you and they're having fun with it, roll with it. If they are more if you look at the personality or we teach different personality types in our program and you gauge what type of personality you're dealing with, if they're a high b, which is like a dominant personality, and they just want information and they don't want to chit chat and tell you their whole life story, that's probably better to talk about just the dental stuff.
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: But I think we spend like ten hours of rapport training in the program. The rapport simply is creating that relationship where you like trust and respect that person. And that's different for everybody. I like to give the example or analogy or visualization, rather, of a rapport meter, and you want to make sure your rapport meter is full until you ask for the appointment. And so that could be for different people. You have the sense of who they are.
If they're a New Yorker that wants to get moving, then you don't want to sit there and slow things down for them. If they're more of a Southerner personality, you want to go slow with them, you want to get them. And again, I'm using geographic labels, but you can tell there are different types of people. And whether you have there are many personality profiles that you can learn from. But I think going through life, we developed this intuition of treat others they want to be treated and you don't have to say, I'm only going to spend this amount of time or I'm going to spend it unnecessary, because you can spend too much time and break rapport.
There is a point where you reach the law of diminishing returns. And when somebody calls asking for the price question I mentioned earlier this acronym of eager, which is a great call process, kind of in the wrong order. Most of the time when somebody asks a question, we're taught to answer it. So say, what do you charge for it? We give them an answer that we're engaging them too soon. We haven't built rapport. We haven't done anything. And then you're just a cog. You're just become a commodity. You become commoditized. Other offices say we don't give a price. Now when you say we don't give a price, how does that feel to you in terms of rapport? You call to ask a question and I say we don't give it.
Art Wiederman, CPA: I'm not answering your question.
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: You're going to be annoyed. Like, answer my question. So what we do is we find a middle ground, right? Because if we do ask the question, if we don't answer the question, we get annoyed and they leave. If we do answer the question, they got their commodity and they go price up other people, it's gone. But what we're teaching is you build rapport and you get to know them and then you answer their question in context of what they're what they're asking. And then you ask for the appointment. Successful.
Art Wiederman, CPA: So we get yeah. So you get the patient, you know, some of them will engage and some of them will just say, well, all I want I didn't ask you to tell me my life story. I want to know the price. And if that's all they want, it may be that they may not be a good patient for the practice. Right?
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: You're right. I mean, we don't want to assume that price shoppers or whatever are a problem. This is where we it's good practice. So if somebody we don't have to go into life story, but what we'll say is we'll transition them by saying, you know, may I ask you a few questions so I can better assist you. And everybody is OK with that. But somebody who just wants to move, you can't start asking their life story because, like, what does this have to do with my question? You have the sense who they are. And in a person like that, you've got to put it in context.
So, for example, we don't know. I usually use this example, they might say they want a price or they want to know if insurance covers it. But if they're asking for cosmetic procedures, no insurance will cover that. And if you don't build rapport, you're not going to get that question right. You're not going to know what's going on.
Heather Nottingham: Yeah, and I've had patients that have called up and asked price before. And, you know, as we go through the discovery questions, then when we get to the part about insurance, they don't even really care if we take the insurance. They're fine. They just they're happy to have. I've had even I have had offices that say, well, we have Medicaid patients and we don't take that. So we don't answer their questions. And I say, well, they can still come see you if they pay out of pocket. Oh, they wouldn't do that. I said never assume I've had many Medicaid patients that paid fee for service that came to the office gladly because they wanted good treatment.
So we never want to make an assumption about somebody. We want to always go through the process of understanding what are their needs so that we can best help them. And I think most people, when you get their permission to ask them questions so that you can better assist them, most everybody is OK with that. I think if it's done in a warm and friendly way where you're interested in them, if it comes off as an interrogation and this is why the phone training is so important, because we teach about tone and tonality and the way that your voice sounds. Two different people can ask the same question and it can sound totally different. I can say, well, I need to know about your, you know, your dental history so I can answer that or I can say, oh, I'd love to help you with that. Let me ask you some questions so I can better assist you and I can get you a really good answer. So you see how it's like two different ways sound different.
Art Wiederman, CPA: Absolutely. Now, I ran my own CPA firm for thirty three years before I merged my firm and about five years ago. And I always had the attitude that I would hire attitude and I can teach skills. Now, I wonder if that works in dentistry. Yeah. And so let's talk about the barriers to getting training. I mean, what if you get a dentist, you come in, you guys come in, you get a new client. They're really excited about building their practice and having you help coach them.
And the doctor says, well, you know, Susie's been with me for twenty five years and I love her to death. And she's part of my family, but she's terrible on the phone. Can we fix that? I mean, is everybody trainable? Talk about that for a bit.
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: Well going to Heather. She hasn't had a lick of dentistry training and she did what she did. So I think if you get the right personality, you can train the skill. Now hygienists, obviously, you just can't get somebody off the street to do hygiene, but they could be on a track to do it and they have to go to school or assistant school and things like that. But the personality of a person, that's the treasure. I mean, that's the key. So I agree with you. You hire for attitude. You train for skill. Another way of saying.
So if you have somebody that's been with you for a while and they're not great on phones, I mean, look, we never again like to make assumptions on anybody. We do that as humans. It's actually a brain shortcut we do to save energy of brain processing power by making judgments. There's a reason why we make judgments. It's shortcutting. But A we even say go back. A salesperson calls our office. We're gonna treat them with respect. Everybody we call, we treat with respect, we never assume whether they're Medicaid, whether they have money, don't have money, we don't assume because you never know.
And you're every time you have an opportunity to build your brand by being a good person and a good practice, that's incredible. You don't want to sit there and obviously have an hour conversation on somebody who's not going to come in. But you always want to create a nice, great environment now for the team. We don't want to assume let's see what happens. The one thing I ask dentists, this is very important. We're getting to implementation. The one thing I will not tolerate and will not support is a bad attitude.
Well, I've been doing this this way for twenty five years, I ain't going to be training. I ain't going to do that. Well, guess what? Get out of my practice. That'll be my recommendation. Now, I'm not most dentists don't want to do that, but I think everybody should be open to the leadership and try new things. Now, that said, if so-and-so has a good attitude and they're trying, but they're just not cutting it on the phone, they don't have to answer the phone. Right. You have other people. They might be better in the back office. That's OK. We have different roles. But what we want an attitude of everybody in your team must be a team player, must really try care and give it their best efforts. And if it's not, that's why we have different positions. That's OK.
Art Wiederman, CPA: That's right. And it is all about that. And I've heard that. And you've heard that. So doctors, I want to tell you, if you have someone who has a bad attitude, but they've been there since the building was constructed, you know, Alex and Heather are absolutely right. And it and my doctors are such wonderful, caring people. They don't want to fire somebody. They don't want to blow up their lives. But to make their businesses successful, sometimes they have to. Talk about some of the biggest mistakes with, you know, phone skills that you see.
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: Well, I'm going to tell you a big mistake. I'm going to get to that. But I'm gonna tell you a big mistake about staffing, OK? And I'll just point my father out, for example, and other practices same thing. One employee should have been let go or change position, cost him three hundred thousand dollars in credit card debt mistakes.
We had another one and another employee that was let go a while back, hired again, which because they weren't a good worker, but they were desperate. They hired the person back. They sued my father for an overtime mistake and it cost them twenty five grand for it. Because dentists get desperate or they get pressured or whatever it is. And you just and what I'm saying is you don't have to be cut throat, but you got to be, you don't want to act out of contraction and a desperation because it's going to hurt you in the long run.
Listen to your CPAs and consultants. Listen. It isn't like this came out of the blue. He was told my father by many consultants, this is the problem. He didn't do it until I got involved. But that's a different story because I could yell at him, you know? Yeah, but a lot of people are like, well, I don't know. They they're like, OK, I don't have any skin in the game. You know, you do what your whatever. So that's that. The mistakes. You're saying phone mistakes was your question.
Art Wiederman, CPA: We're talking about phone skills, then we'll get to scheduling.
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: Well, the biggest phone skills and I'll knock them off and Heather can jump in is off the bat is a sales approach. Number one is we want to close the deal. We want to tell them what they want to hear. We don't answer their question or what have you. We only spent a certain amount of time on the phone. We do mystery phone calls, gotcha phone calls to manipulate the call, meaning so this is where we'll call a practice. This is a company that would do this whatever. And it isn't a real patient. Right. And so that puts the team at edge as a sale, let's say a training mistake with your team. And then the team no longer wants to do training because they feel so, so kind of abused. Right. So you want to make sure you're training your team in the proper way with love and support.
But number one, a sales approach is a big no no. It will hurt you many in the short run, but often in the long run. And as a CPA you understand more revenue does not mean more net income because you may have greater production, but you're seeing all these write offs and mistakes. At the end of the day, you're making less money.
Art Wiederman, CPA: So I want to take a break from the topic and I want you guys to talk a little bit about what you do. I mean, these guys are as good as it gets. We only bring the best of the best into this podcast, and that is Alex and Heather. So if our audience and this will be in the show notes, folks, as it always is, how do you guys work? How would you work with our listeners? How would we and the best way to get a hold of you?
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: Well, I would say, number one, we're all about education, is really I want, my uncle always says this and Heather laughs. But I think it's cute. He always says to me, he's a plastic surgeon. And he always says, I want to give patients knowledge, choices and alternatives. And so I'm a big fan of education. I learned that with Tony Robbins and so on. So I would recommend that they see our webinar or read our book and I think it's a great primer to see if it's right for them because and then we are happy to answer questions.
Heather Nottingham: And it goes a lot into our philosophy, our story, all of that, because I think that a lot of times when people look to train their team, you know, they just like people calling in a dental office and ask price. They'll ask, well, what's the price? And we're happy to talk to them about it and really learn their goals. But the main thing is what type of philosophy do you want your team using on your patients? I mean, that's big, because it can be totally different depending on which company you choose.
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: And the thing is this what we want is to be able to make a difference in the practices. That's kind of our mission to help practices live the life they want and make a difference. And to do that, there's got to be a shift from leadership. Often we have people say, well, what do you do? How much is it? And can you fix this one issue? And I'm like, it's the same thing. It's a great call process. We're back to. What do you charge for a veneer? Well, I want to look at your whole mouth. I can't just do one tooth. I have no idea who you are. And how will that make you successful?
There are other companies out there if you just want a little fix, you can do that, but you're not going to get lasting change. I'm all about lasting change. That's what gets me excited. Again, I'm a friend of Tony and others, and that's how we all think is I want to make a big difference in these individuals. That's what gets me excited. I don't, you know, we've done very well financially. We're very conservative. I did very well in accounting, by the way, in school, very well in accounting.
Art Wiederman, CPA: That's why you're on my podcast.
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: Assets equals liabilities plus equity and the intangible assets of goodwill and so on. Anyways, we can go there. So my point is this, the leadership is where it begins. You have to understand what we're teaching and it has to resonate with you. When you read our book or even more importantly, go to our webinar, which is phenomenal. You will get a sense of our philosophy. And if you go through the webinar and you're like, wow, that feels good to me, that resonates. Let's have a conversation. If you're like meh not for me. Don't bother.
Art Wiederman, CPA: So how do they find your webinar, your website. What's your web address.
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: Let me give you this. This is a shortcut. www.AllStarDentalPractice.com. Our standard website is AllStarDentalAcademy.com. You can learn more about us and we have links, but www.AllStarDentalPractice.com will get you to our book. OK, it's easy. You can download the book, name and email and then after you download the book, it gives you the option to register for the webinar. I would do that too. I would get the book and I would watch the webinar.
Art Wiederman, CPA: What's the book called?
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: It's called Dental Practice Excellence.
Art Wiederman, CPA: OK, so and if any of our listeners want to give you a call and just have an introductory conversation, you'd be happy to do that.
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: We'd be happy to chat with them. Again for that rapport. How are you? Nice to meet you. Yes, Art is a great guy, yada, yada. Watch the webinar. Let's talk again. But we are happy to talk to people.
Art Wiederman, CPA: So if you do call Alex and Heather and you engage them and they don't say Art is a great guy, hang up. No, I'm just kidding. Just kidding. I mean, these guys have a ton of information. It's obvious they've got great systems. I want to spend the rest of our time just touching on scheduling. So that's so, so important. Maybe some ABCs about scheduling with some thirty five thousand foot bullet points that you like to share with our audience about good scheduling.
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: The one I want to acknowledge Larry Guzzardo, he's our head instructor. He is very well known in dentistry, just spoke at the Henneman multiple slots. We met him at the FDA meeting several years ago and he really backs our practice management and scheduling system. So I have to make sure I give him a lot of credit because this is where a lot of it comes from, from scheduling. And I think when it comes to scheduling, there are two things that we really we want to be mindful of. One is pre blocking, block scheduling. And some people say, oh, it doesn't work, doesn't or it does work. But block scheduling is there's many ways you can do it is simple time management. Any business can do a block session. You have to block your schedule.
It's time management 101. Every book in business does it. To say it doesn't apply to you, then you're just not in this in this world. That the point is this. There are many ways to do it. You need to block your schedule effectively. We just had a group coaching last night, so what we do on our program, as well as once a month are our clients come we all meet to talk to the instructors and things, and we do a little coaching session. We talk about block scheduling, even though it's in the program, we go a little deeper, just different nuances. But the point is, you want to block your schedule appropriately. It represents your values and you got to be disciplined with it because dentists your great ideas, but you've got to stick.
The biggest hurdle around that is that when you do block scheduling or you say you want it, but then you override it, you can't do that. So block scheduling is one, the other is broken appointments. They are killer in the practice and you've got to find a way to overcome that. In the webinar I go into we go into the great call process in detail. We talk about block scheduling. We talk about broken appointment and the broken appointment policy, but essentially for broken appointments, what we teach is we want to teach or train patients, not threaten or punish them. That's our philosophy. And I go into that in detail in the book and in the webinar.
Heather Nottingham: And a lot of the cancelations and broken appointments actually come from a result of poor verbal skills when the appointment is actually booked. So what we're teaching is whether you're a hygienist is looking out the recare for the next visit or if your team that's booking the follow up appointment or the new patient appointment. There are things that we teach kind of like a confirmation triad of setting expectations, getting a commitment and creating urgency. And there are specific things that we do and say in each of those to ensure that they're much more likely going to show up for the visit.
And if you have rapport with them, of course, they're much more likely going to show up for the visit as well, because who wants to cancel on a friend? If you feel like you like them and you know them, nobody cancels on their hairdresser. So it's the same thing for the dental practice when it comes to cancelations of booked appointments.
Art Wiederman, CPA: And so talk about providing for new patients. Do you like to provide, you know, a couple of slots a week that you just don't schedule at all and you save them for new patients? Do you do that? How do you work with new patients?
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: We typically recommend we have a split between primary care and secondary care. So primary care would be more productive work. And this is our baseline block scheduling technique. But then we have five other variations that are the program that Larry did. And I'm not as privy to. But the first is primary care in the morning. And then secondary care is the more in the afternoon, that's when you'll meet with the new patients and you'll have more time. Because the idea is if I'm doing things that require more of an engineer like approach, veneers, crowns and so on and the afternoon, I'm more right brain, more rapport building, more time where I can sit there and listen to the patient, not rush them. That will be more time for new patients. Get to know people typically in the afternoon. That will be considered more secondary care time.
Art Wiederman, CPA: How do you coach dentists, as far as I mean, I've heard a lot about trying to get same day dentistry, you know, so you put it up on the digital X-ray and you see the one tooth and the patient says, well, there's those other teeth. They look pretty bad. Well, you know, we can do all three of them. Do you do you help? How do you factor that into the practice day?
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: Oh, we're going to, look, we're going to optimize based on what the practice wants to do. Now, there are standard teachings that we're going to provide that can be adapted. For those that have a specific style that they want really toned in, then that's a good place for one on one coaching. You're interviewing Eric Vickery, our podcast host, who had you on our program. He's one of our he's our lead coach. He's KPI specialist and team training specialist. He works a lot of our fee for service only practices. He works with practices that may have a certain, like, process like one day because the one day thing, we want to make sure that we're not skipping steps, that we're still providing great quality and that we're providing a great experience because, yes, there is an advantage of one day. But if we can and if we don't do one day and someone's asking about it, we want to convey that we're doing this, too, for you have a great experience. And this is why. And standard of care, right. That we make sure that this is processed. The gums are in proper shape to be able to handle this. You know, that we, what have you. So there's a number of ways, whatever it is we the verbiage is customized to be able to deliver on that, no pun intended.
Art Wiederman, CPA: I like that. So I know you've never heard this. You go into a brand new clients office and the first thing that the office manager says is we cannot stop the doctor from chit chatting or going and checking his emails. And he's always running or she's always running behind. How do you help doctors who I mean, that's I mean, doctors blow up schedules worse than anybody sometimes. Isn't that right?
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: Grow up. I mean, what this is, listen, at the end of the day, the dentist is the leader and there's, you can't out-read yourself out of it, you can't, you know, we try to find. Dentists love to do that, to find the newest course, the newest thing to overcome the one issue. And what I say is, if you're having a problem, you know the answer. And when I say, you know the answer, why aren't you doing it?
There's something going on. There's some psychological barrier. And so what would I what I say, it isn't taking more clinical courses. It isn't reading more books. It's either having an epiphany moment with yourself to say, I got to stop doing it and stop it, OK? And things like that. Or get some help, get some coaching. I work with a coach. I mean, my coaches do some life coaching, but you might want a life coach or a therapist. Nothing wrong with that. I had many in my life. It's OK and coaching. I call them coaches.
And I actually I proactively because I want peak performance, I proactively, just like what Tony teaches. Same thing. I seek out coaching and not just like business coaching. I think life coaching people and life coaching and therapist. Same thing. Come on.
OK, we just have a negative connotation, oh I'm a therapist. But the point is I look for. But when I say therapy, it isn't. I'm just going to talk about it, OK? I'm a proponent of experiential based coaching and things based on Tony Robbins as well. You have to feel it. You have to make it your own. So I look for people to coach me towards peak performance so that I'm not making these issues in terms of limiting beliefs. We've heard of those before and so on. There's a lot of things going on there of not good enough of something going.
Another thing, too, dentists love to get distracted by other things that have nothing to do with their business. My father, for example, he had all these real estate and stock deals when he should be doing dentistry. That's what's making your money. When you're at dentistry, be focused with dentistry, be present. Maybe some mindfulness training or meditation will help you. But the point is, when you're here, be here. OK, so again, there's no simple solution Art to this issue. When I see somebody that can tell a team one thing but sabotages it another. There is a discrepancy.
And the onus is on the leader to figure that out and start to work on that, either by realization, good you see it, or through some form of coaching or therapy or personal development.
Art Wiederman, CPA: I'll throw something out for you guys. And we're getting towards the end of our podcast. But I'll throw this out. Doctors. And I'm talking directly now to doctors. My legacy in this podcast and in my career is to help dentists to be successful, just like Alex and Heather is. If you are not doing well in your practice, if something is wrong, OK, you know, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. You know, I started meditating about five years ago. Best thing I ever did. I have friends that are therapists. I've gone to do a couple of therapy sessions. I'm not shy to say that. We're human beings and especially now, especially now during a pandemic, the worst twelve months for most of us in our entire lives, where I mean, the L.A. Dental Society did a study. You know, the stress level of dentists is three times of what it was 12 months ago. It's unbelievable.
So if you have an opportunity to get some help, to get some coaching, whether it's from Alex or Heather or from a you know, from a professional licensed therapist or from a life coach, I mean, you just heard one of the best coaches in the country say, I use a life coach. I mean, we all want to get better. So this is the type of stuff, doctors, I want this podcast and every podcast we do to be a call to action.
So, guys, that's what that's why I brought you on here. And I think that your information is totally invaluable and it's like anything else in any business, systems work. And that the key here. So what's the, let's finish this off with what's the hot topic? I mean, what are you hearing? Biggest concerns in dental offices right now? Obviously pandemic. We're hopefully on the back end of this. But what are the biggest concerns you're hearing from dentists right now in the coaching that you do?
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: Hiring? The other thing, too, that we also teach in the webinar and book is we find that you can reduce turnover by at least twenty five percent if you effectively train your team. So that's number one. We want to stop the bleeding. We want to lose good people. And obviously we said before the prior subject, dentists, you've got to you've got to own your leadership. I see so many dentists that when I come to them and they have a great team, I see have a great team, I'm lucky. They say they're not lucky. They work on themselves. And the key is the humility. To be able to ask for help, to be able to always look to get better and to be humble, and it's not about you. When you have that philosophy, you do very well with your team.
But the biggest issue right now, it's really hard to hire. And because of that, about a year ago, we launched a recruitment service. We actually do this hire front office. Right now we do all we do all positions.
Heather Nottingham: All positions except for we're not helping hire. It's called All-Star Hiring Services. It's for admin, management, hygiene and dental assistant, no associates and everything else. But no associates.
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: We opened it up because it was a big need.
Art Wiederman, CPA: How do they find out? Is that also on your website?
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: It's on our website I believe. But I would reach out to Heather@AllStarDentalAcademy.com and she can talk to them more. Get them more information about that.
Art Wiederman, CPA: And the last thing I want to make a comment, get your ideas on this is we have doctors out there who are listening to this and saying, you know, this is me. I'm it's not right. I don't know what to do. But I'm afraid to admit that I have an issue because I'm one who says, get in front of your team and say, hey, guys, you know what? I recognize that I may be a part of the problem why this practice isn't thriving the way it should be. I want to make some changes. I want us to be better. And I'm bringing in Alex and Heather to help coach us. What do you think about something like that?
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: I think the first step is really get really get clear on the vision. So obviously, let's assume they go through the webinar or the book or whatever, and they're like, this is for me. They sign up for our program. OK, we have an online element. Online training element was our core. We have virtual coaching, we have virtual on sites. And then as covid restrictions ease and there's more safety, we go back to onsite training if necessary.
But I think the first step obviously is there's an alignment and we often have a conversation. We do an boarding call set up where Heather will talk. And then I will actually do a call with many of the dentists to get them prepared to introduce us with their team. Heather will have a conversation with them.
But I think what you're suggesting is a nice way. The only thing again dentists have to do what's right for them. You are a person who's very open, comfortable, being vulnerable. That may scare a lot of dentists to say that in front of them. They have to be ready. Because the other thing, too, is we don't want to, teams get very frustrated with it's all talk. You say this and you feel good that one day and then the next two weeks later you're back to your old stuff again.
So what, the dentist has to have a conviction that they're going to train and they're going to be a certain way and they got to have the support systems, whether it's coaching or whatever to make sure it happens. OK, because dentists will say to me, when do I have time to train, when do I have time to do this? You have time when you make it a priority, there's always time and you make it a priority.
Heather Nottingham: And we talk about that, too, on our on boarding call, like we go through together all the different scenarios of how the office set up and when could they train. And we come up with a plan that's going to work for them because we've pretty much seen every different type of office. I mean, we have big offices, small offices, multi location offices. And also the thing is that.
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: And we have non dentists who are doing our program.
Heather Nottingham: We have every area of specialty we have as Alex said.
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: I love the orthodontists and endodontists. We have lots of them that are like this well, I'm a specialist. Well, guess what? I have cosmetic surgeons, plastic surgeons, naturopathy. I have physical therapists. I have non dental people crushing with the program. You will do just fine, trust me.
Art Wiederman, CPA: Wow. Well, guys, I and by the way, you have a podcast. Now. You should only be listening to my podcast and no others. No, no, I'm just kidding. Tell us about your podcast.
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: Yeah. We have a great podcast. And by the way, I just want to give a shout out to Robin Reis. She's our VP of Coaching and she's also our recruitment director. I just wanted I mentioned everybody else. I got to make sure I make sure I mentioned her. Give her a shout out.
Heather Nottingham: Before you mention the podcast, too. I just want to say that because we talked before about the doctors that have problems or that need help, and we work with a lot of offices that don't really have a ton of challenges or issues or bad team members. They're really, really good seasoned practices like they're doing super well, but they always want to up their game and do better. So we have a lot of those also. We have a lot of fee for service practices. So they just want to add on.
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: That's a great point. That's a really great point. Actually, I would say maybe 40 percent, 60 need help, 40 are just like I want to keep getting better and I can always get better.
Art Wiederman, CPA: And you got to love those folks. And those are probably really great. Not that the others aren't great to work.
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: But in the research that I found in successful business people, one of the top things which are always training and they're always working with a coach, they actually get kind of, you know. What's the word vigilant about that, like they know that complacency is just around the corner and they will not accept that. So with the podcast the yeah, we have a weekly podcast. We have Art. And it was cool. Eric, I want, Heather had a podcast she did. And we wanted to get that out. And Eric's like no, we have to get Art out ASAP. We can't push Art back. That's so important because of the deadline. So Art got bumped up. Because it was so important. And he was really excited.
Art Wiederman, CPA: I threatened Eric no I didn't.
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: No, but we have a podcast, Dental All Stars. And yeah, I mean, Eric is the main host. I do a few. Heather does a few. And since I'm not on all the time anymore, I was like looking. I'm like, wow, this is a pretty good podcast. There's some good people on here. It's good to listen to.
Art Wiederman, CPA: It's a really good podcast. I mean, it got my attention and I have a high bar of listening to people and stuff, so. All right, guys, last time, let's see. Your website, give out your contact information if someone wants to give you a call and then hang on after I take the podcast.
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: Yeah, absolutely. So the website is www.AllStarDentalAcademy.com. Some people, for whatever reason, call us All Star Academy. But guess what? I own that URL now, if you want to go to AllStarAcademy.com it, whatever, but also Dental Academy, if you can find everything you want there, services, as well as different opt-ins and free stuff.
If you want to get the book, go to AllStarDentalPractice.com and then wait for after the book because you can go to the webinar. The webinar is phenomenal. I would do that. You get bonus gifts and training. Go to get the book and the webinar. Be greedy. It's great. It's for you. You know. And I heard this great. And listen, even if you don't sign up for us, I have a buddy of mine. He says I never stole an idea I didn't like. So if you like something you don't want to pay for it, you can use it. OK, it's out there. Just don't claim it as your own. Now I'm going to be very serious. So that's all good. We've got the podcast and then if you're ever in doubt of anything, or call us or email Heather and she'll be checking at midnight. Heather@AllStarDentalAcademy.com. She's the heart and soul of the business. She's working while I'm sleeping. That's how we do so well.
Art Wiederman, CPA: You're married to her. You need to say that. That's the rule.
Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA: I say whatever she says.
Art Wiederman, CPA: Yes, exactly. Happy wife. Happy life. That's I've been married thirty six years, guys. That's how it works. But Alex and Heather Nottingham, you guys are gems. Thank you for everything that you've done to help dentists all over the country. You work all over the country, right?
Heather Nottingham: All over the world.
Art Wiederman, CPA: We have we have people listening in over 70 countries. So according to my Libsyn map. So if you need some help, give these guys a call. Look on their website, listen to the podcast, listen to their webinars, get their book. They got a lot of things to help you out.
So, guys, thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much for your great information this morning on scheduling and phone skills. And guys, again, just as we go out today, our partner Decisions in Dentistry www.DecisionsinDentistry.com go to their website. Good clinical content, great educational courses. If you are having issues with the, you know, PPP, Employee Retention Tax Credit, the HHS Provider Relief Fund, whatever the government programs are going to throw at us. Coming up forward, new tax law changes. You know, I mean, what was it, Steve Martin on his comedy act he would say if the IRS calls me, I have two simple words to tell them. I forgot.
Well, that doesn't apply. Right. And so, anyway, if you need a dental CPA, we work with dentists. We love working with dentists. I've devoted my career to it. You know, my email is awiederman@EideBailly.com. My phone number 657.279.3243. If you need help trying to get this Employee Retention Tax Credit, $5,000 per employee and full PPP forgiveness, we have a whole team. We're geared up to help you. We are going to destroy the federal treasury. That is our goal. That is what we want to do, folks. Mr. Biden and Mrs. Harris don't want to hear it, but that's what we're going to do for the dental profession. Get you the money, get you some money back.
Well, anyway, great podcast, wonderful guests. I love doing this. I love making friends in the dental profession. I have them from all over the country, as do Alex and Heather. They're wonderful, wonderful people. Do look into what they have to do, folks, and what they say and what they teach. It's really good stuff. With that said, folks, I am going to sign off, so this is Art Wiederman, CPA for the Art of Dental Finance and Management. Remember my five word slogan, folks, failure is not an option. So keep working on your practice. Have faith we're at the end of this pandemic, dentistry has come through it really, really well. And we're all excited about how 2021 is going to play out. So with that again, great to see you. And we'll see you next time.