I used to hear stories about dentists who were making a lot of money and would think that it was a bunch of hogwash. At least that was what I thought before I started attending the Sterling workshops and meeting many who are doing just that.
I graduated from dental school in 1989 and spent five years associating with another doctor before opening my own office in San Diego, California. It wasn‘t what you would call a model practice. My income was not very high, and the scheduling was out of control. We would schedule patients for whenever they wanted to come in. As a result, I was only working a few hours per day, but those times were scattered throughout the day. I was working six days a week and wouldn’t take time off or go on trips. I was afraid of going on a two week vacation because of the lost production.
I started with Sterling to help me increase my production, and increase my control over the practice so I could use it as a vehicle to accomplish what I wanted in life. I am now well on the way to achieving that. My average income over the past eight months is forty percent higher than it was before Sterling and this month my production is more than double what it used to be.
But the money is only one part of the equation. In fact, I could be making even more money than I am currently, except that this year I have decided to stop working on Saturdays. I’m even able to schedule three and four day weekends so I can take short trips with my family. A few times we have gone down to San Felipe, a city on the gulf coast of Baja California and this weekend we are headed out to Palm Springs.
One of the weekend destinations has been the Sterling workshops. So far, my wife and I have gone to two in Los Angeles and one in New Orleans. These workshops have been key in getting control of the practice so that I am making more money and can afford to take time off. Besides that, they make for an enjoyable trip out of town for the two of us.
One of the most important parts of the workshops is talking to my consultant. She guides me as to the best workshops to take for me and my staff. She also sums up what we’ve done so far and reviews what we want to do for the future.
Every time I go, I try to implement as much of the information as I can in my practice. For example, I learned how to assign posts on the org board to everyone in the office. At the New Orleans workshop, I learned about incorporating games into the practice and give the staff a bonus if they make their quota or schedule a day perfectly. I also share with my staff topics that are covered at the workshops such as ARC* and working as a team, and they start using these on their own jobs.
One particular thing that has proven very useful to myself, my wife and the staff is how to reach an agreement, rather than getting into a “I’m right and you’re wrong” type of impasse. I knew of that concept before attending the workshop, but this time I really learned how to apply it at work and in my personal life.
With what I have told my staff, they are now excited about attending the workshops themselves, so I will be taking them to the next one in Los Angeles. They are looking forward to attending the sessions and meeting my consultant. But one of the things that they are most anticipating is also one of my favorite parts: meeting other dentists and hearing their stories about how they increase production. Talking to them makes it real to me how much it is possible to achieve and my staff want to see that too.
It’s very nice to meet other people who are with Sterling and who have succeeded in meeting their goals. It gets you motivated so that you can do it too. I know that it is working out great for me, and in a little while, I will be the one sharing my own success story to let the newer clients know that it is possible for them to reach their goals.
Carlos Espana, DDS
*ARC: a word from the initial letters of Affinity, Reality and Communication, which together equate to Understanding.