Learn the SECRETS of the best dental practices with Kirk Behrendt, CEO of ACT Dental, through interviews with leaders in the industry.
How to Create a Healthier, Happier, & Higher Performing Culture with Judy Kay Mausolf
How to Create a Healthier, Happier, and Higher Performing Culture
Episode #437 with Judy Kay Mausolf
People want to work where they're happy. And if your existing team looks stressed and miserable, how can you attract the kind of people you want — or anyone — to work in your practice? It all starts with leadership, and Kirk Behrendt brings in Judy Kay Mausolf, known as “the velvet hammer,” and owner and president of Practice Solutions, to share ways to create a healthier, happier, higher performing practice. Do you want a happy career in dentistry? To find out how to achieve it, listen to Episode 437 of The Best Practices Show!
Build your practice around your core values.
Hire people based on your core values.
Gel your existing and new team members.
Set realistic agreements on how to interact.
Talk about things before it becomes an issue.
Constant communication is key.
“If your existing team members are stressed and they're not happy where they're working, how are you going to bring somebody new into that situation and keep them?” (10:14—10:21)
“Everybody says — I don't care what state I'm in — they're like, ‘Oh my gosh, Judy Kay, you don't get it. You can't buy team members.’ It’s like, yeah, you can if you try. But you can't just run a little ad that says, ‘Wanted, 8:00 to 5:00.’ You have to be creative. Some of the best ways to find team members are on Facebook, with the team doing videos and talking about, ‘Come join our team! Hey, we’re really a fun place to work.’ And it might also mean that we’re investing outside the dental industry. We’ve kept the dental industry a secret. We haven't really shared what an amazing career it could be.” (10:22—11:00)
“[Your practice] has to be healthy. We have to be able to come to work and work in an environment where we feel safe, where we can trust leadership, where we feel respected, we feel appreciated. Those are conceptual words, so often, that aren't attached to actions. And that's one of the things that, in the Culture Camp, we define, ‘What does that look like? Don't just use the word. If we’re going to show each other respect, how do we show each other respect on a daily basis? What does that look like in measurable actions?’ And there's not a separate standard for the doctors. Everybody’s on the same page when it comes to this.” (22:31—23:15)
“What's the attitude? What's the energy we bring in the door when we step across the threshold? We’re responsible for that energy. And if we’re a doctor or manager, we are the leaders. We have to set the tone. We have to lead by example.” (23:16—23:27)
“We want to attract people that want to work in our practice. We want to have the best of the best in the industry. And if it’s a healthy place to work — people want to go where they're happy. I mean, it’s as simple as that.” (23:31—23:41)
“People think happy is fluff, but it’s not. And happy isn't just about — you can't just say, ‘Be happy, damn it!’ It doesn't work that way. You have to get rid of stress. You have to build respect and trust. And those are key in feeling happy in the practice.” (23:42—23:58)
“Happy is the attitude and the fun. We teach body patterns, changing body patterns when we’re stressed to positive body patterns. We talk about what are some things we can do for each other to lift each other up if we have interesting patients. And what do we do when the wheels do fall off? How do we not kick each other and support each other? Because the wheels are going to fall off.” (24:02—24:33)
“High performing is about the communication being everything. How do we keep each other in the loop, and what are things that we need to create as part of processes that happen consistently so that we don't get so busy that we don't take the time? Because that's what I hear all the time, ‘Judy Kay, you don't get it. We don't have time to communicate.’ I said
Understanding Artificial Intelligence in Dentistry with Dr. Marty Jablow
Understanding Artificial Intelligence in Dentistry
Episode #436 with Dr. Marty Jablow
Artificial intelligence isn't taking over dentistry — yet. But it is changing what dentists can do. AI can enhance your dentistry, and Kirk Behrendt brings in Dr. Marty Jablow, president of Dental Technology Solutions and “America’s dental technology coach,” to explain how AI can improve diagnosis, boost treatment planning, and help you to help your patients in brand new ways. If you want to take your dentistry from Jurassic Park to state-of-the-art, listen to Episode 436 of The Best Practices Show!
AI is an enhancement for dentists, not a replacement.
Understand why you need a particular piece of technology.
Ask yourself what the technology is going to do for you.
Choose the technology that is right for your practice.
You don't need a high budget to be high tech.
Don't be on the trailing end of technology.
“We’re in a place now where we’re not necessarily doing something new, we’re just finding better and more efficient ways to do them.” (4:10—4:18)
“If we take it out of dentistry, there are many places — there's radiology of the brain and things like that — where [AI is] as good as a radiologist. What that does is it opens it up for other people in places that may not have that expertise to get that expertise. If I'm in some unforsaken place that doesn't have that kind of person available, well, that may mean that I can use this AI to make a better diagnosis than I would maybe on my own.” (9:23—9:53)
“When I've used [AI] real-time in my office, it might point out areas that I need to look at. It’s not necessarily making the final diagnosis. That is still left to me. Takes a human being to do that. It’s complex. But with that, it points out areas that are suspect. And with that, then I can use other data points — see, that's the whole thing. To me, it’s all about how many data points can I have to make the best decision possible. Well, the AI is looking at these radiographs and making that determination from the radiograph.” (9:55—10:34)
“Ultimately, do I think [AI] will lead to a decrease in dentists? Yes. Will it be any time in the next 10 years? The answer is probably no. But ultimately, yes, because technology is going to catch up with a lot of things. It won't catch up with abuse, neglect, and all of those things. That, it won't be. And accidents. But what it will do, and I've seen some of this, we’re going to have more precision in what we do.” (13:08—13:36)
“If I can place something in a patient’s mouth and have a laser drill the very minimum to get things accomplished, and then restore it almost in the exact same manner, it’s going to be beneficial to everyone.” (13:42—13:56)
“[AI] may not take the doctor out of the room — it’s the number of doctors that you need in the room.” (14:44—14:49)
“Whenever you're going to implement or want to acquire new technology, there's one important question: what is it going to do for you? That's first off. And then, is there an ROI? Now, not all ROI is necessarily money. Sometimes, dentists need something to kick them in the butt to get excited about dentistry again, or something new and different, or that kind of thing. So, when I look at that, I kind of look at it the same way. But the first thing is, what are you asking it to do for you? Is it going to make your life more efficient? Is it going to give you better treatment? Is it going to give you better outcomes? What is it going to do? Because if you can't answer that question, why do you need it?” (16:40—17:25)
“You have to pick what works for you. And why do you do it? So, an example would be, depending on the cost of your crown, can you make enough money to justify the mill? I think everybody can justify an intraoral scanner. But can they justify the mill, the $50,000 to $75,000 for the mill and the cost of the blocks? Because you can g
Selling Your Practice Under Ideal Conditions or Under Duress with Paul Sletten
Selling Your Practice Under Ideal Conditions or Under Duress
Episode #435 with Paul Sletten
Selling is one of the most important things you will do in your practice life. But whether you're the seller or the buyer, you want to ensure ideal conditions. And to help you in that process, Kirk Behrendt brings back Paul Sletten from the Sletten Group to share his expert advice so you can plan, prepare, and transition successfully. You will likely sell your practice only once. To learn how to do it right and under the best conditions, listen to Episode 435 of The Best Practices Show!
Have a plan for selling under ideal conditions.
Also have a plan for selling while under duress.
Be prepared so that you have more options.
Buying from needy sellers is very dangerous.
Fixer-uppers are usually dangerous situations.
Don't buy or sell on your own — get an expert!
“If the seller comes to the closing table in a financially needy position, they’ve got to score a big win. Look out, buyer. Because it’s liable to be a biased process, a stacked deck, if you will, because they’ve got to scratch every cent out of the sale of that practice.” (3:33—3:55)
“If they’ve done a great job planning and implementing their plan financially over their career, the sale of the practice — even though it’s a big number, typically, in a healthy practice — is really only the icing on the cake. So, if you're going to have a win-win outcome, you can't have someone needy sitting at that closing table.” (3:57—4:19)
“I think an ideal selling price for a practice is what a talented buyer can afford to pay for it. Reducing the debt, retiring a debt over a reasonable period of time, say seven to 10 years, and getting an ever-improving lifestyle in the process so they're not an indentured servant while they're paying off the practice, I think that's what a practice is worth.” (5:17—5:46)
“I don't think I can ask [a dentist if they need the money from the sale] early in the process. But as you're going through the process, certainly. That's a question we ask everyone that we’re helping to sell a practice, ‘What kind of condition are you in for your retirement, and what sort of a contribution does the sale of your practice need to make?’ And we get right on that topic upfront. And sometimes, in those situations — sometimes, not always — the seller is going to come to us and literally tell us upfront, ‘Here’s what I need out of the sale of my practice.’ And we very nicely let them know that this isn't the way it works. Your practice is going to be worth what it’s worth based on a whole bunch of criteria, and we’re going to do a formal practice valuation.” (7:06—8:03)
“Ideal conditions would be where you have a healthy owner and a practice trending well. Maybe it’s a little bit flat, but it’s not in decline. So, it’s a healthy practice. You've got a good team in place; you have a good reputation; you have a good net profit; you have good patient numbers. Or in the case of a specialty practice, you've got a good referral base and that kind of thing. So, it’s all systems-go. It’s something that someone is going to be able to step into and ride it into their own successful career because it’s really doing well. That's what we call ideal conditions.” (8:19—9:07)
“Duress is when the owner of the practice is ill, or is injured, or had died, and the practice has been impacted in a huge way by those conditions. And so, here, you have a real high, strong sense of urgency to get it sold as fast as you possibly can. You still want to sell it to the right person and all of that. But everybody needs to have a plan for selling under ideal conditions, and a plan for what to do if something bad happens, God forbid.” (9:11—9:53)
“We’ve had so many situations that we’ve had to deal with and help with over my career where suddenly someone becomes ill, or is in an accident, or dies
It’s OK to Not Be OK with Dr. Gina Dorfman
It’s OK to Not Be OK
Episode #434 with Dr. Gina Dorfman
How much do you trust your team members? Do you question their abilities, or do you find them capable? Do you delegate, or do you feel better off doing everything yourself? If there is one ingredient for success in anything, it’s trust. And Kirk Behrendt brings in Dr. Gina Dorfman, co-founder and CEO of YAPI, to reveal how trusting her team at the highest level led to running multiple successful businesses. For her advice on how to build the ultimate dream team, listen to Episode 434 of The Best Practices Show!
Find the right people for your practice.
Share your vision with your team.
Trust your team of being capable.
Designate adequate time for training.
Give them the right to make decisions.
“People always ask me one question, ‘How do you get all of this done?’ And the secret is, I don't do anything. I just have people around me who are absolutely amazing.” (4:47—5:00)
“I'm nobody without the people around me. And I sincerely mean it.” (5:18—5:24)
“First, it starts with vision. If we want our people to come to work and build what we want them to build, our vision needs to trickle down to them. And we’re doing a very, very bad job at doing this as a profession, as dentists, because we talk to our patients and — I mean, I get it. Throughout the day, we hear things like, ‘Doc, this tooth didn't hurt until you touched it. And nothing personal, but I don't like the dentist.’ And so, what we do is we hide. We hide in our offices.” (10:46—11:27)
“We tell the story to ourselves that unless we do it ourselves, no one is going to do it better than us. And even if they could, by the time I teach them how to do it, and by the time we get all the quirks solved, it’s better and faster to do it ourselves. That's a bad story.” (13:23—13:50)
“You [start to believe the story you tell yourself]. And you believe them so much that you keep telling those stories to yourself. And your team starts to believe those stories because they see that you have no confidence in them.” (14:12—14:24)
“You have to delegate, and you have to trust your team to get the job done.” (16:32—16:39)
“Dr. Howard Farran says that you have to delegate authority. And in my office, we call it a $200 decision. So, in my office, every team member has the right to make a decision. And if I lose $200 because of that decision, it’s going to be just fine. The worst thing that can happen is they come to me asking questions all the time, because then I can never leave the office. How can I go to Maui for 30 days? How can I run a software company if my team cannot make decisions without me being there?” (16:41—17:24)
“We’re struggling to even hire people right now. But I think the fact that we are afraid to delegate, and we’re doing a lot of jobs that are beyond our pay grade, I think that's a problem for us.” (17:51—18:06)
“You have to have the right person with the right training. And I see it all the time. It’s like, ‘Oh, well, if the hygienist has downtime, she should call the recall.’ Uh-uh. No. No — not unless she has the right verbal skills.” (19:21—19:37)
“How many people get to answer a phone in a dental practice before they get trained on doing that?” (20:08—20:15)
“I cannot tell you how many times we've trained an entire team on how to use a software that is designed for the whole team to use while they're still checking patients and doing things. And I get it, production is important. But it’s also important to delegate time to non-production, training your team to getting better.” (21:16—21:41)
“When you have 20 years of people liking you, you're doing something right. I have seven associates, and all of them have been referred to me by previous associates. That's — you're doing something right. And the thing is, you train people, you share your vision, and you trust them to do their jo
How to Not Spend Money on Marketing and Still Get Great Results with Minal Sampat, RDH
How to Not Spend Money on Marketing and Still Get Great Results
Episode #433 with Minal Sampat, RDH
You don't need to spend a crazy amount of money to market effectively. Whether you're a new practice with little money to spend, or an established practice looking to change your marketing strategy, today’s episode is for you! Kirk Behrendt brings in Minal Sampat, author of Why Your Marketing is Killing Your Business, to share some of her marketing secrets that you can start implementing today. To master effective marketing for different budgets, listen to Episode 433 of The Best Practices Show!
Understand your target audience and how to speak to them.
Know which marketing strategies will work for your practice.
Your current patients are the top two for new patient referrals.
Find ways to internally market to your current, loyal patients.
Avoid overspending on websites and things you don't need.
Don't be afraid to try new things.
“The reality is, all marketing works, and all marketing does not work. There are practices and companies out there who will say, ‘Do print mailers! Print mailers are amazing! We get hundreds of patients from it.’ And then, we have practices that are like, ‘Absolutely not — never do print mailers! They're horrible for us! They never work for us!’ It’s true with everything. So, what is right for you? What is not right for you? How do you get around it? And what I realized was that my real success came from not adding more marketing but leveraging the marketing businesses were doing, specifically, practices were doing.” (7:30—8:02)
“The number-one thing in marketing is, know your audience. But in our field, in dentistry, we never talk about knowing your audience. When I ask a GP practice who your audience is, they're like, ‘Well, age two to 85, whoever comes in.’ But that's five different generations. They all react to things differently. They buy differently.” (10:41—10:58)
“Video is powerful because they get to see you. They get to connect with you. They get to see your smile. They get to see who you are as an individual. You could do the makeup. You could add the filters. You could do all of that. But the video is something where your personality is going to come through.” (11:25—11:41)
“According to Forbes, the average user spends 88% more time on a website with a video than without. Why? Because we’re nosy people. Think about it. All the listeners who are listening, if you go to a website and there's a video, you press the play button. You just do, every time, because we are nosy people. That's why social media is so successful. But when your website does not have a video, you just keep scrolling.” (13:08—13:34)
“I would help practices who call me and say, ‘Minal, we need to get on social media! Can you help us?’ Now, I am a social media coach. So, clearly, from a business perspective, I should say, ‘Of course! 100%, get on social media!’ But I never say that. I always come down and say, ‘Why do you want social media? Why do you think you need it? Do you need it because your competition has it? Do you need it because your granddaughter is telling you you need to be on TikTok? What is the reason behind it?’ And they're like, ‘I don't know. We just keep hearing it.’” (13:43—14:09)
“Where are your patients coming from? Who are your patients? And let's say that we run a whole analysis, and they're like, ‘Well, the majority of our patients are in the senior population. We have X, Y, and Z, 65 and above patients. That's our bread and butter. That's who we see.’ So, I'm like, ‘Okay. Well, if that's the case, then we have to break this down and say, where do I spend money? Do I go to TikTok? Do I go to Facebook? Do I go to Instagram?’ And then, you start figuring things out and say, ‘Okay. Well, we want to go to Facebook.’ But this is the same population that really works on connection and communication,
Trends in Insurance Reimbursement with Dr. Roy Shelburne
Trends in Insurance Reimbursement
Episode #432 with Dr. Roy Shelburne
Everything you know about dental insurance today — well, it may be different tomorrow! So, to help you stay ahead of the trends and changes and protect your practice, Kirk Behrendt brings back Dr. Roy Shelburne to share his expert advice. There are ways you can maximize your reimbursement, and it starts with one thing: read and understand your contracts! If you want to collect every cent you're entitled to, listen to Episode 432 of The Best Practices Show!
Dental insurance rules are constantly changing.
Always read and understand your contracts.
Double and triple-check your documentation.
Audits are done for a reason, not at random.
Be prepared when communicating with insurance.
“What you know about dental insurance today, the rules are going to change tomorrow. The codes are going to change tomorrow. So, we have to continually keep our focus on understanding and doing it correctly.” (4:36—4:52)
“[Insurance companies] like claims that are clean. They don't like to have to send it back and ask for other information. It’s harder for them and it’s more expensive for them. So, that's the reason why they're concerned about having it done the right way.” (8:29—8:42)
“So many dentists look at the contract and only review the fee schedule and think, ‘Okay, I can live with this fee schedule.’ But, in fact, there are all kinds of other limitations or restrictions on that plan that have a broader effect on the reimbursement scheme. So, they aren't aware. It’s like, ‘Well, this says it’s going to pay at this amount.’ However, there's also a different section in that contract that says, ‘Oh, and by the way, under this situation, we can't pay. Under this situation, we can't pay.’ So, it’s understanding, first off, the restrictions and limitations not only in the fee schedule, but also the way the contract is set up.” (9:18—9:59)
“The contract, primarily, is seldom read. Or if it’s read, it’s misunderstood. And secondarily, the contract that you've signed with the insurance company gives them the right to change that contract with 30 days’ notice. So, not only have dentists not read the contract when they signed on originally, those letters that the insurance companies send to their network dentists periodically could have some very significant modifications to that contract where they're letting you know it’s changing, and the person who gets that letter, or the doctor who gets that letter, looks at it and goes, ‘This is junk mail,’ dumps it in the trash can, when the contract has been changed and it’s been disclosed in that letter that you haven't read.” (10:14—10:56)
“The concern is, we’re talking about inflation and how it is now increasing at a not foreseen rate. Maybe, what was it, in the ‘80s, it was similar to this? But now, do the costs for dentists go down? Absolutely not, as far as you have to pay teams more money. We have to be competitive in the employment market today. And as far as the supplies, they’ve gone out the roof. And what has been the trend with reimbursement? Has it increased? No. Absolutely, it’s going down. How do you make that work? How do you work harder and make less? And how many additional patients do you have to see, and what's your capacity?” (13:39—14:33)
“As far as the EOB, I think it’s meant to be obtuse, to be able to not follow. The more confused you are, the less likely you are to go ahead and counter, to appeal that denial.” (18:34—18:46)
“Ignorance is no excuse. And honestly, the bottom line, you're going to bleed a whole lot of money on the table if you don't pay attention.” (20:30—20:36)
“In my experience, although they say it’s a random audit, I don't think that's a thing. It’s an audit that is caused, triggered, by being unusual in your submissions. And the insurance companies view that very, very specifi
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This podcast has changed my LIFE!
Kirk features some incredible guests who offer some of the most valuable wisdom in the dental profession. I’ve listened to well over 200 interviews and each one builds on a knowledge from the top professionals. Thank you, ACT Dental. This has been a godsend.