The Numbers Tell The Story

It still drives me nuts that there are dentists out there “supposedly” running a business on hope and guesswork…..

Every day I am talking to dentists who DO NOT have a handle on their numbers.

No handle.



But true.

I ask them:

“What’s your monthly collections?”

They answer me:

“Between $150K and $180K per month.”

Does anybody else out there see this as an odd answer?

Although those are impressive numbers, there is a major ALARM BELL going off in my head when I get told an answer like this.

Let me digress.

Meet “Bob* the Builder”….

[*Bob is not the builder’s real name]

Recently I heard about a couple who were doing some home renovations.

This couple had engaged a draughtsman to draw plans for their additions, and they asked a builder to prepare a quote from those plans.

Initially, the builder came back to the couple with a preliminary estimation for the renovations.

The builder said that if he were to build those additions, they would come to a price of between $750K and $900K.

The couple thought:

“That’s a fairly big target that the builder has allowed himself?”

The couple asked the builder if that price was inclusive of GST, and the builder said it was.

The builder then prepared a more detailed estimation for the couple…. And the price came in at …..




Subsequently the couple chose to look for an alternative builder.

Because as we know, with building, the starting price is the price that the finishing price rises above from…..

So what is your point David?

The point is, that if the builder doesn’t know his rate per square metre, and allows a 20% variance, and then misses that range by between 12.5% and 35%, as a STARTING LINE PRICE, who is really going to play that game and swim in that pool with that builder?

And to that point, if this dentist is saying that his monthly collections fall into a 20% variance, or $30K, which one is it?

Because $30,000.00 is not loose change….

$30K is a significant amount of money….

On a monthly basis.

The clients I love talking to….

The clients I love talking to know their numbers.

“David, in January we collected $155,364.00 and saw 37 new patients.”

This is what I want you to tell me.

I want exact numbers.

I want to know what you are recording and what you are measuring.

If your dental receptionist receives ten new patient enquiry phone calls on Monday and turns six of those into booked appointments, is that a better or worse result for your practice than on Tuesday, when she only makes two appointments from three phone enquiries?

What do you thin?

Numbers tell stories….

Numbers tell the stories.

I don’t want to hear stories.

I want to see the numbers.

I want the data.

Because the data will give me the REAL STORY.

When we know the real numbers, we know the real story.

End of story.


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