Are You A Grass Cutting Dentist?

Do you have a crystal ball?

What does the year hold for you?

How do you sleep at night?

Can you enter a room without opening the door?

There are some interesting ethical questions we need to ask of ourselves, and each other, as we look at our future.


What will be said of you when you are gone?

What will be asked of you when it is time to meet your maker?

As a Dentist, I always liked to think that I could attract a patient, treat a patient and keep a patient.

Most of the time.

And history will show that that is what I did very well as a business owner Dentist in the working class heart of Western Sydney.

I did it from 1987 until 2007 as a business owner, and then from 2007 to 2014 I did it as an employed dentist under contract for the purchasers of my practice.

I have figures to show that from 2007 to 2011 I actually grew my practice for the new owners.

On my own.

As I said, the success of any business depends upon the fact that the business is doing three things extremely well.

  1.  Attract new business
  2.  Treat that business
  3.  Keep that business

A truly great business will do all three.

Some businesses think that you do not need to be a master of all three of these.

I believe you do need all three.

I see Dental Practices out there with huge new patient numbers, month after month after month.

Yet they are not overly successful?

Where are all these patients going?

My thought would be that the large volume of new patients at these practices are not being treated well, and therefore are not being retained by the practice.

The whole thing looks and sounds like a short-term sausage factory.

If you have high new patient numbers month after month after month where are those patients being put?

Are they being fully treatment planned?

Are they being maintained in an effective hygiene programme?

I would suggest they are not, because if they were there would really be no further need for large numbers of new Patients after a certain point in time?

This is because the schedule for treatment times with the doc would be overflowing, and the hygiene department would be exploding with all those new patients being syphoned into the hygiene programmes.

Practices with high new patient numbers that are not growing are either underservicing and underdiagnosing their patients, or they are churning and burning their new patients.

They either have patients with incomplete and unpresented dentistry being “watched” to death, or they have patients shooting out the back door [for whatever reason] just as quickly as they arrive at the front door.

And that reason could be due to the facility, the poor systems, the poor service, the inept dentist or the apathetic or arrogant team members.

Whatever the reasons, they need to be addressed and remedied, because spending money on marketing and churning new patients through a poor system is just like driving your Porsche down the freeway with your right foot hard on the accelerator and your left foot hard on the brake pedal.

If you did that, what you’d find out is that all this would end up being is an incredible waste of fuel, brake pads, and torque.

And a ton of engine wear and over-revving….

It’s funny, as a Dentist I always practiced with capacity.

At the other end of the spectrum, I see Dentists who are so booked out doing necessary dentistry on people who are not often in pain that they do not have capacity to see new patients, and some of their own patients who need to be seen urgently.

I always allowed time each day, and kept it available for patients of mine, and new patients, who needed a same day appointment.

Because I knew, that if they could not be seen by me, their own dentist, then they may become disgruntled and go looking elsewhere, and stay elsewhere, just because they thought we did not care.

Keeping available time also allowed me to give appointments to New Patients seeking same day care, and a lot of these patients, for whatever reason, did not have a regular Dental home.

Funnily enough, a couple of my neighbouring Dentists would sometimes send me their patients to be seen in an emergency, because we kept this capacity, and for whatever reason they did not.

What I also never did was try to steal any of my neighbours’ patients that I may have happened to see. To the contrary, what I used to do was send these patients back to my neighbours with a message of a need for further treatment:

“You need to go back and see Joe and get him to put a crown on this tooth to protect it.”

And I did this because years ago a Dentist in Perth way across the other side of the country saw one of my older patients and told her the exact same thing.

And he was right.

And it was the right thing to do.

It’s funny, because as a consultant to the Dental Industry, I’d never advise my clients to “cut the grass” of their neighbouring competitors.

But yet this week on social media, I’ve had two consultants cut my grass with their comments on posts that I’ve made.

The public aren’t stupid.

They can smell a rat a mile off.

They know when is the right time, or the wrong time, to be “hit on”.

So when you attract a new patient, the patients who are going to stay are the ones you make feel special, the ones that you create an experience for, the ones who say “WOW!!”

The patients you don’t want to attract are the ones who respond to your ad which says,

“We do whitening cheaper than anybody else”


“We’ll beat your best quote by ten percent”

Or patients fixated with price related questions only.

Because they’ll be painful to treat and they’ll treat you poorly as a Dentist.

Twenty to twenty five percent of the population out there will choose a service or product without even caring what the competition is charging.

Be it a restaurant, a hairdresser, a dry cleaner, a car repairer.

Because they like that service and that service provider providing, first and foremost.

And there’s enough dentistry out there in that sector of the market for those dentists who choose to operate in that rarified air.

And let me tell you, that rarified air even exists in working class areas.

It can be done. You can do it.

Without a lawn mower….


My upcoming two day workshops will be held in Melbourne Australia in February and in Manhattan in April.

You can reserve your places here: Click Link To Order


Have you read my book , How To Build The Dental Practice of Your Dreams [Without Killing Yourself!] In Less Than Sixty Days.

You can order your copy here: Click Link To Order


The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

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