I was practicing dentistry with my father in the early 1980s when a recession hit. We lost 47 executive families who were transferred, laid off or otherwise disappeared. Before we could fully recover, health issues forced my father to retire. When he left the practice, his patients did too!
Now I had to make all the decisions. I didn’t know enough about managing a practice to evaluate what my problems were, much less how to fix them. I did know that the number of patients was shrinking along with the revenues and that something wasn’t right, so I looked for help.
During my search, I received information from Sterling and attended one of their management seminars. I realized there were things I could learn from Sterling so I became a client. I did their management courses and worked with my consultant on a customized program for my practice. Amazingly, within two months, our production and collections doubled and kept growing. Last October, I hit highest-ever numbers in the history of the practice.
Before Sterling, the only marketing we had done was a referral program. Now we advertise through direct mail, magazine and newspaper ads. Although we are 45 miles from downtown Houston, we have people driving 50 to 60 miles to come to see us. Our advertising has increased the number of new patients by 40% and many are bigger cases.
Sterling helped me get my practice running like I wanted and imagined, and helped get the staff operating as a team. For example, on the last day of October, our record-breaking month, I calculated what we needed to hit highest-ever production. I told the staff that if they could create the additional production that same day, they would get special bonuses. They hit the phones calling in patients and as a result, we ended up surpassing our highest-ever production. Morale was sky-high.
I have been a Sterling client since 1988. I learned that I can’t put my practice on cruise control. It takes work to be successful but I love what I do and being well-paid for it. My consultant and I are now working out how to reduce my 4-day work week so I can do more outside of the practice with my wife while ensuring my practice continues to grow. Sterling helped turn my practice around and made dentistry, and my life, more enjoyable.
John Hackbarth, DDS