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Episode 150: The ‘Heads Up’ Conversation

August 26, 2021
Here's how to start talking to your patients about your decision to go out of network in a very positive way!
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Even though dentists start becoming less insurance dependent, they are not totally convinced that the plan will work out. This is because they are uncertain about the way the patients will react. Humans tend to dislike changes, and this is what could potentially create a negative response. In this episode, Gary and Naren discuss the ‘Heads up’ conversation as a solution to this issue caused by human conditioning.

  • 00:00:56 > It’s the 150th episode! 
  • 00:01:32 > Intro to topic
  • 00:01:59 > Very first RIDA Summit!
  • 00:07:18 > Science of Communication
  • 00:11:51 > The Ultimate Goal
  • 00:13:28 > Who should have the conversation? 
  • 00:13:48 > Here’s what it sounds like
  • 00:20:43 > Ramp Your Marketing

Resources

Naren: Hello everyone, welcome to the 149th episode of the less insurance dependence podcast show—the official podcast of the reducing insurance dependence academy. Rid dot academy, this is Naren, your co-host. Today’s topic is the ultimate team meeting, the ultimate team meeting. Before we get into today’s topic, I have a quick announcement. For the very first time in more than a year, we are doing a live in-person MBA. It’s happening on the 6th of November. We are doing this because many of you wrote to us and said, hey, we want to see you guys live and see Gary live, so this is happening on the 6th of November in Phoenix, Arizona. It’s a full-day program with eight hours of CE from 8 30 a.m till 5 30 p.m, and it’s called thriving dentist live MBA. What are you going to get out of this> you’re going to learn the 24 systems of a thriving practice? You’re going to learn the ten elements of the thriving practice, but the thing that I’m most excited about is how you’re going to apply it in that eight-hour CE day. You’re going to do 11 exercises, and Gary is going to help you apply these concepts. So when you go back to work on Monday, you can you know apply it learn it. Now, why did we pick Phoenix? That’s Gary’s hometown he lives in Scottsdale; the second reason we picked it is you know it’s a great place to go in that time of year it’s a fun place the weather is nice in November you know you can do a lot of stuff around Phoenix Scottsdale, the entire area and I’m sure Gary is a native of Phoenix he can give you a lot of tips on what you’re going to do there. 

Gary: hey Naren, can I put my  can I put my chamber of commerce hat on and share some information about why our listeners need to be in Phoenix in early November 

Naren: yes, Gary, absolutely see; you know that better than anybody else.

Gary: so yes, the course is amazing, and I love you to attend the course, and Scottsdale and Phoenix have become a foodie town. We have some of the best restaurants in the world up and coming chefs.  We have some of the very best restaurants. We’ve got fantastic hotel accommodations pretty much in every budget. You know you can find inexpensive resorts, and you can find you know five-star resorts. We have from where I’m sitting right here to record this podcast; we have 170 golf courses within one hour of where I am sitting.

Naren; wow

Gary: 170 golf courses, including the epic TPC of Scottsdale tournament players, club Scottsdale, where they play the Phoenix open every year.  All those golf courses are in amazing shape in November.  We have world-class tennis facilities so if you like to play tennis if you like outdoor hiking, we’ve got all kinds of hiking trails right within the city limits. It’s just a great place to be, and as you mentioned, Naren, the weather is fantastic in early November very often; that’s where certainly where you are; Naren is outside of Toronto, weather’s starting to turn.

Naren:  yes 

Gary: Yeah, and you could even have snow in early November 

Naren: yeah, that’s true; it can get pretty cold for like people in the east coast Midwest  Canada, you know

Gary: Yeah, you could, and you know I can pretty much guarantee you that in early November, we’re going to have a 70 72 degree high wonderful weather to enjoy all that Phoenix’s Scottsdale has to offer. Also, because southwest airlines are hubbed in Phoenix, it means that there are very attractive airfares, whether you fly southwest or not, because when southwest is in a market, the other airlines have to compete with them, and they make very attractive airfares. So okay, I’ll take my chamber of commerce hat off, but for all those reasons, including a really fun workshop, I’d love to have you come join us in November.

Naren: absolutely, thank you for that. Gary appreciates it. Now the topic today is the ultimate team meeting and, this is a great topic because I observe you, you know, working with your clients and helping them successfully resign from PPO plans because many of them are mutual clients, and one of the things you do is is is a litmus test, you know like like a final step you do a lot of things you have the six steps to get ready to resign from insurance plans, and you do lots and lots of different things, but this is kind of like one of the finest tests almost like a litmus test. So can you talk about the ultimate team meeting getting 

Gary: Yeah, you know where you’ve set that up very well. It is the litmus test, and let’s face it, yeah, we’ve done this a few hundred times. I helped dentists successfully resign from PPO plans, and in every case, I think it’s accurate to say that there’s a little bit of a shadow of doubt on the doctor’s part because they’re about to go into uncharted territory. Is that a fair statement?

Naren: yeah, absolutely. I’ve been doing business a certain way for five years, ten years 15 years this is a different way.

Gary: Is this going to work 

Naren: yes

Gary: you know and am are is am I ready is my practice-ready and so I wanted to design something that could sort of being at last threshold to cross to just analytically evaluate whether we’re ready or not and so I started doing this a little bit over a year ago, and it has been a remarkable experience in every practice, and I wanted to share it with our listeners, and I will call this the ultimate team meeting as we’ve titled this episode and here is let me set this up here’s how you do this meeting and remember it’s all about having some way to analytically not not not subjectively but objectively measure whether you’re ready or not I think this appeals to dentists because dentists are scientists and they’re data-driven, and I think this appeals to that mindset among so many dentists. So here’s what you do doctor, set up a team meeting with your entire team; I want everyone to be there, and I don’t want you to announce the agenda ahead of time. The agenda is you’re going to let them know once you start the meeting, and there’s a reason for that because I don’t want the team to do any prep for this. You’re going to do some prep, but I don’t want the team to do any prep. So imagine being in a team meeting everybody’s there, and you start the meeting with something like this. Hey guys, we’re going to do something fun today; this is a fun team; we’re not going to do training, we’re not going to do you know systems this is just going to be a fund me, and here’s what I want to do as you know we’re preparing to successfully drop some of our PPO plans and what I want to do is I want to go around the room, and I want each team member to answer this question. Why should patients come here to this office for their dental care and here are the rules around this are the game just a game, and here are the rules we’re going to start here and point to a team member, then we’re going to go around the room we’ll go to the next person, and you can’t repeat what someone else said? You have to come up with a new reason why people should come to us, so I’ll let you think for just about talk a little bit more, and I’ll let you kind of thing, but I want you to give a reason one reason, why should patients come here to this office for their dental care and I’ll be last so as the doctor I’m using your voice and I’ll be last because the one that’s last is it’s the hardest one because some of all the good reasons have already been taken. So I’ll be willing to be last. So let’s go, and let’s start here. Susan, we’ll start with you, and we’ll go around the room; let’s see clockwise, and we’ll start with you. Why should patients come here for their dental care? One reason and then you go around the room now this is really interesting because there’s no prep they didn’t have a chance to think about it they’re just totally responding extemporaneously. That’s why you don’t set up the agenda ahead of time. It’s its seat of the pants. Now we go around the room like in my office; if I was doing this today in my office, there are 16 team members if you count paul and Tim and me, there’s 19. Nineteen of us now you go all the way around the room and then your last you come up with one more reason that has not been stated by your team members, and then you say we’re going to go around the room one more time and same rules you can’t repeat something that’s already been said now recently I did this virtually, but I did this with one of our coaching clients, and the attendance was 26 people. This was doctors plural and team members 26 people. So Naren, you’re pretty good at math; if we go around the room twice, how many reasons do I have?

Naren: so you have how many 26 people, right so? That’s 26 times two is 52 Gary.

Gary: 52 people

Naren: yes 

Gary:  and by the way, the meeting just picked up steam as they went, and no repeats, no repeats. 52

Naren: that’s amazing; that’s great 

Gary: 52 reasons why patients should come, and the office manager extemporaneously just totally imprompt said this is cool let’s go around the third time, and everyone said yes, and they went around a third time, 78 reasons.

Naren: can I give you one reason as a marketing guy Gary 

Gary: sure 

Naren:  well, the best reviews in a town like Lifesmiles, you know, 750 reviews. Many of them are love letter reviews. I give you two reasons.

Gary: there we go, and no exaggeration Naren,  78 reasons 78 unique razor reasons as they went around the room with and it was fun. I mean, it was you could hear that you could feel even though we were doing this virtually in zoom you could feel the energy in that room. 

Naren: right 

Gary: now, how do you think the owner dentist felt about that as this was unfolding in front of in this case, his eyes but his or her eyes? How do you think the owner dentist was feeling as this was happening 

Naren: oh, he felt very confident; he felt like yes

Gary: Oh my, I’m sure he was thinking in the beginning, let’s see there’s 26 of us if we go around twice because he knew we were going to go around twice that’s 52 that’s kind of hard, you know what

Naren: yeah 

Gary: the office manager was such a hoot; you know, hey, she said, “wait a minute, Gary, wait, I know you you know we said twice, but would you have any objection to us going around the room? one more time?” I said, not a one, and you know what? Nobody grumbled about it. The team didn’t grumble; they were just like yeah, let’s go for it, and they kept going around the room. Now think about what’s happening here. Remember we said that every it’d be natural for any dentist to have some doubts. 

Naren: yes 

Gary: those doubts are getting erased with a turbocharged eraser right there right, and all of these talking points think about that for a minute all of these reasons become talking points that our team members can tuck in their hip pocket and remind people as they’re talking to patients about all the benefits of coming here for your dental care, in just very not in a scripted way but just in a very natural organic human way. I mean, the feeling I had at the end of this meeting was a patient would be nuts to go to any other dental office. 

Naren: right 

Gary: you know, and again this can be if you’re a six-person team and you go around the room twice; there are 12 really good reasons why people should, so you don’t have to have 78 reasons 

Naren: right 

Gary: but 12 really good reasons why people should come there for their care, and it’s very interesting. I keep coming back to this example of 78. The team got really creative about their answers, and it was there was never a pause as we went to the next person; they just were ready to go. So clearly, this was something that they felt in every ounce of their DNA

Naren: so not only does the doctor believe in it now everyone in that room, the 26 people believe in it right that’s like a game-changer

Gary: right now, let me look at it in a different light. Now what I’m about to say I have never seen happen, I’ve never experienced. Every time we’ve done this so, this is something I started doing a little bit over a year ago, and in the many times we’ve done this in the last year, every single time using a baseball analogy, this has been a grand slam, and then after you’re done, I want you to talk openly as a team what did we learn from this exercise. So that’s the last part of this, the doctor the owner doctor finishing the meeting by saying what did we learn and it’s obvious, but it’s fun to hear the team members words, and when we did that with the team of 26, one of the newest dental assistant’s, she hadn’t been there long she said well a couple of things are really apparent to me that I’m absolutely in the right office as a dental assistant, I’ve made a great career choice to be here, and any patient would be foolish to go anywhere else for their dental care, that’s exactly what you want to hear. 

Naren: right 

Gary: What I’m about to describe I’ve never heard happen, but it is within the realm of possibility, and we need to talk about it what would happen if you did this in your office and we ran out of gas halfway through the first rotation halfway through the first round. I’ve never seen that happen, but what would the message be there? What would the takeaway be from them?

Naren: they are not ready just yet

Gary: we’re not ready, and I like the two qualifying words you put at the end just yet doesn’t mean you could never do it 

Naren: right 

Gary: but if if you’ve got ten if there are ten people in the room including you, and we’re out of gas after five, then there’s some work we got to do and better to learn it here in that environment than to ultimately have showtime

Naren: yes, exactly 

Gary: better you know using a theatre example better to flub our lines up in rehearsal than it is in the opening night

Naren: oh, another example that just came into my mind is waiting right walking away when you’re at the alter versus 

Gary: ah yeah, better to make that decision ahead of time. So if that was to happen, which I don’t anticipate any of our listeners, but if that was to happen, there’s the litmus test, and that would be a clear indication we didn’t pass the litmus test, but the stakes are low at that point.

Naren: right

Gary: I usually have time to work on those things and listen to the texture of the answers; you know, in that example of the 26, the insurance coordinator said, you know Gary, one of the reasons the patients should come here is we are going to continue to help them with their dental benefits

Naren: right

Gary: they can use their benefits in our office. I will continue to file their claims; I’ll continue to advocate for them. I’ll arm wrestle the insurance company if I have to; we will still help every one of our patients get every dollar of benefit that they have. What a great answer

Naren: absolutely 

Gary: right 

Naren: yes 

Gary:  And it’s fun to listen to the texture of the answers, and that has been a team meeting that we have done systematically as we go through our prep, and there are lots of takeaways I always debrief the meeting with the doctor after it because based on the answers we may need to build up certain areas of the practice to get even stronger, but you know you you can’t over-prepare to successfully go out of network you want to be fully prepared and this is that litmus test that you can follow that is just amazingly effective and Naren, I’m so so pleased we started doing this over a year ago, and I want to share it with our listeners because it’s something any of you can do. Now I would suggest that you follow our sequence if you’re a regular listener to less insurance dependence; you know we did the six individual episodes about the six steps to successfully go out of network. Naren, maybe we can ask our team if we have new listeners.

Naren: yes

Gary: maybe we could ask our team to put a link to each one of those six episodes in the show notes the; if you go to lessinsurancedependence.com, it’ll be the links will be right there. If you haven’t listened to those six steps, listen to those that’ll be it’s a blueprint a scientific blueprint to follow to successfully drop PPO plans but do make sure you’ve done your prep, do this meeting, and that meeting will give you all kinds of information about your readiness and hopefully be a tremendous confidence builder to not only you but to your team as well. Have fun with it, and I’m glad we did; we decided to do an episode on this because this is something you all can do, and it’s going to be definitely a confidence builder for sure. Naren, as we come into the finish line of this particular, we’re coming up on episode 150 kind of a milestone but

Naren: yes

Gary: by the way, for those of you that also listen to the thriving dentist show. Were we hit episode 500 in the thriving dentist show. If you don’t listen to thriving episodes, jump over there on iTunes. All 500 of those episodes can be downloaded. Episode 500 was a real treat; we have some wonderful contributors that you’re going to want to listen to that for sure. Hey, one more comment Naren, as we wrap up, 

you know as I was thinking about that example that I used of  26 team members and going around the room, the team member who happens to be the marketing coordinator in this practice made a great reason she said remember why should patients come here for their dental care and she commented very much like you that hey if reading our reviews is one of the reasons why patients should come here because they quickly discover what we’re all about and that just reminds me Naren that starting to attract people to your practice that don’t have insurance is a key to successfully going out of network and as you know my resource for that is ekwa is your agency Naren we’ve been working with you for over five years, and I am thrilled that every month your digital marketing support provides us with about 90 new patients on average every month and those patients are all choosing us for reasons other than were on their insurance. So how would you be willing to put a link to your marketing strategy meeting, so that team members could or any of our listeners could learn more about how ekwa supports clients in terms of mastering digital marketing? 

Naren: absolutely Gary will put a link to the marketing strategy meeting, and prior to the meeting, our director of marketing and her team, her name is Lyla stone, would look you look at how you are doing when it comes to rankings, all the fundamentals of google all the fundamentals of doctor Robert Cialdini’s influence principles and also they look at your competition and finally she would develop like a 12-month plan we have 14 teams that work across you know different types of marketing, and they all bring their expertise together to help our clients grow the calls like you, for example, you get more than 100 new patient calls a month you get you’re seen 100 000 times you are ranking on the first page of google meaning the top 10 results 512 times all this happened in the last month. So you know, so we will figure out help you figure out where you are and where you would like to go, and of course, it’s complimentary for anybody who clicks on this link; it’s a 900 dollar value. So if you’re interested, have that meeting see where you are at, and figure out you know if you need any help. 

Gary: and Naren, I love your pricing model; you know I’m a paying client of ekwa. I love your pricing model; it’s an all-inclusive flat fee of twelve hundred dollars a month 

and Naren, it is flat out the best marketing investment I’ve ever made in my practice, and the reason I brought it up in the context of this episode is that this episode was all about readiness and one of the things we need to do about readiness is we have to proactively replace any patients you might lose when you go out of network. I’m not going to share your code. You’re going to lose some patience. What we experienced today in our client base is you keep between 85 and 90 percent of your in-network patients when you go out of networking, but you are going to want to replace those proactively before you go out of network because when you do that, you’re operating from a position of strength not a position of weakness very very very important. On that note, I simply want to say thank you to our listeners. Thank you so much for the privilege of your time. Naren and I look forward to connecting with you on the next less insurance dependence podcast.


Gary Takacs

Gary Takacs One of Gary's most significant achievements as a dental practice management coach is transforming his own practice, LifeSmiles, from one that was infected with PPO plans, no effective marketing strategy, and an overhead of 80% to a very successful dental practice that is currently one of the top-performing practices in the US.

With over 2,200 coaching clients, Gary has first-hand experience transforming insurance-dependent practices into thriving and profitable practices.

Through his Personalized Coaching Program, Gary shares access to the systems, strategies, processes, and experience gained over 41 years of coaching dentists and transforming over 2200 practices worldwide.

Learn More:: www.thrivingdentist.com/coaching/
Connect with Gary Takacs on Linkedin

Naren Arulrajah

Naren ArulrajahAs CEO of Ekwa Marketing, Naren has over a decade of experience working with dental practices and helping them attract the ideal type of patients to their practices. It is his goal to help dentists do more of the type of dentistry they love with the help and support of effective digital marketing.

Ekwa’s "Done-For-You" Digital Marketing model blends fundamental persuasion principles with an all-in-one Digital Marketing solution to help your ideal patients find you and choose you for reasons other than being on their insurance plan.

If you’re interested in finding out if Ekwa is the right fit for you and your practice, book a Free Marketing Strategy Meeting with Ekwa’s Marketing Director, Lila Stone.

Book Free Marketing Strategy Meeting: www.lessinsurancedependence.com/marketing-strategy-meeting/

Recent Episodes

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Episode 149: The Ultimate Team Meeting