“I began with Sterling in October of 1997, because I felt that after 20 plus years of practicing dentistry I should have it all together financially and that just wasn’t the case. I was disappointed in how I was doing financially and in how I was managing my patients and my employees. It was stressful meeting my payroll and bills every month.
“The work I did with Sterling and their executive training program applied directly to me and my practice. During the training I worked on direct applications of the material to my practice; it seemed very relevant. When I got back to my practice, I put it to work, focusing on increasing my production, collections and new patients.
“I had always had a fair number of new patients, but they would come in the front door and leave by the back door, and not enough of them were staying in the practice and getting their dental work done for it to make a positive difference. I had never had a good taste in my mouth with regard to selling or salesmanship. I was really laid back and would tell people: ‘Well, Mr. Jones, you need a crown on that tooth, and when you’re ready to get that crown, then you just let me know.’ Sterling helped me to change that approach a whole bunch! They exposed me to their concept of ‘care sell,’ meaning caring about the patients and insisting that they get their next service. That has made an incredible difference in my practice. Now I help people make the decision to do what is best for their dental health, and to do it now. The patients can tell that I care about them, and I am fairly insistent; after all, I really don’t want them to get in trouble.
“While it took about two months to start seeing things turn around after I did the training, it only took about three months to make back what I spent on the whole Sterling program, and things are continuing to improve! In the first full year after my introduction to the Hubbard management technology through Sterling, I almost doubled the production and collections of my practice. Before Sterling I would do in the $20s and $30s a month. That has more than doubled in the last year and a half I’ve been with them. I expect to hit the $70,000 mark next month. That should be our highest month ever! Things are just a whole lot more predictable now. I have a very low non-acceptance percentage. The new patients that come in are almost 100% going ahead with their proposed dental work and they are finding the money.
“My wife did the Sterling training with me. On the encouragement of Sterling while we were out there in 1997, we made a change that has been very helpful. She was a beautician for almost 35 years; within two weeks of our return from Sterling she had closed her beauty shop and had taken on the job of my office manager. We have had wonderful acceptance of this from my staff – they like her here. But she is also a very good businesswoman; she had run her own beauty shop for many years.
“She confirms the treatment plans with the patients and helps people to find money. She helps them to creatively see where they can get the money to help them get their dental work done.
“We have seven people now, two more than when we started with Sterling. We will be hiring a second hygienist shortly. We all know our responsibilities here regarding caring for the patients, that it is not any one individual’s responsibility, and each of us feels that responsibility to care well for every patient. This is a better scene than we had before.
“The consulting I’m getting from Sterling is excellent. We have a telephone consultation every two or three weeks so I can update her on where we’re at and then she gives me suggestions. They do not allow me to flounder! Her suggestions are extremely valuable. After I’ve finished talking with her, I’ve usually got a half a dozen pages of notes of very appropriate things to do.
“The office is running much smoother than it was and the stress level is more relaxed now and yet we’re more business-like. Each of us has a keen idea of the role that we play in making this office go well and do well. That has come from training my staff so they know what they are doing. We each have daily, weekly and monthly statistics that we post, so we can see how each of us is doing as we go through the month. We use these statistics during our weekly staff meetings as the gauge to see where we are and where we’re headed and how we’re doing in relation to our goals for the month.
“As an example, right now we have three days left in the month, and our goal was to have 35 new patients this month. As it stands, we were going to be one patient short of that 35. So this morning there was an all-out search to find that 35th patient, because everybody on my staff will get a bonus if we get in that 35th patient. This bonus system is great—most months my staff has been sharing about $2,000 or $3,000 bonus divided between them, according to their positions and their statistics.
“I can finally see that I will have the funds to retire when I’m ready to retire. I am finally able to compensate my staff well. I’ve got probably one of the highest-paid staffs in Eau Claire. They are working hard, they know why they are working hard and they are fun to be around. We are attracting better help. Our new hygienist is coming aboard with some excellent experience. We are also attracting a better quality of patient to work on.
“I was one of those rare people who’d never heard of L. Ron Hubbard prior to hooking up with Sterling. Let me tell you that from my personal experience the Hubbard management technology works. It is very practical. It makes sense. It’s even helped my marriage. We’re more stable. A lot of the office management techniques, like increased communication and so on, are working when applied to our marriage.
“Sterling is the best money I’ve ever spent on continuing education for myself. I used to think that management and executive training was for large companies, but in my small business I found I still needed lots of executive training.
“I am just so pleased with the way my business has done since Sterling that I can’t recommend Sterling any more highly than I do. I’m thoroughly convinced that most everyone would appreciate Sterling’s insight, encouragement, guidance and help along the way. They are great coaches. It really feels good to have some direction and some coaches who know what they are doing.”
Thomas Hebert, DDS, with wife Jean