For about the last ten years I’d been looking for solutions to unknown problems in my practice. I knew that things were not going the way that they should, but I didn’t know why or where I should really be going. My friend (also an orthodontist) and his wife had enjoyed great success with Sterling for about a year. A lot of the same things that he had seen wrong in his own practice, he saw in mine. He wanted me to look into Sterling and see what they had to offer.
Actually, we were at a point where we had to wait for this month’s collections to pay last month’s bills. It was terrible! We couldn’t understand why. I’m really one of the best orthodontists, but I will tell you that I had been beaten down to the point where I just felt like, maybe I’m not that good. Maybe my work isn’t that good. Maybe what I’m being told, that my work is too expensive, my fees are too high, is true. It’s not true. None of it is true.
I think we probably set a record time in going to Sterling. Within ten days of contacting them, we were receiving services. My wife has been here with me for all these years as my office manager. She really learned the meaning of being an office manager from Sterling.
As it turned out, I had employees that were causing me a great deal of trouble that I didn’t know about. When I finally understood that, I saw part of what my problems had been. It became apparent after we attended Sterling that certain staff members were the greatest cause of most of the problems in my practice—and I hadn’t known it. I had no idea what was occurring. These were very long-term employees. It was such covert action that I couldn’t see it. I thought I needed them because I thought that they were such key employees for me. I didn’t realize that they were the problem.
Before I went to Sterling, I didn’t want to be here. I would have just loved to put down everything and walk out, because I just didn’t want to be here. Now I love it! I’m having the time of my life!
I would say that we have almost doubled our gross production. Collection income is probably 35 to 40 percent greater. My wife is asking about our collections secretary, ‘Where does she get all this money from?’ It’s amazing what she is doing. It never was like that before. She is doing what Sterling is telling us to do.
We have a bonus plan now. I have to say that the bonus plan is one of the things that is a key to our success. Because of using statistics and because of the bonus that is available to the staff, they work a lot harder and are more in tune to thinking this is their business. They have received a bonus every month since last August when we implemented the bonus program. They’ve been good bonuses, too!
My biggest problem right now is how to deal with all the new business. It’s a terrible problem!
Now I look forward to coming to the office and working with my staff. My staff makes me so happy! I don’t mind staying here after hours. I’m not anxious to leave because I have work to do. I feel that I’m being rewarded now for my efforts, so the more effort I put in, the greater my rewards are. It wasn’t like that before; it seemed like it was a case of diminishing returns where the more I worked the less reward I saw.
We’ve concentrated on my practice, but I have to say something about my personal life. I realize now that your professional life and your personal life have to both be good, and if one is bad, it will affect the other. My personal life had not been what it should have been or what it could have been, but it has changed now. Even my own kids said, after I got back from Sterling, that I am a changed person, that I’m different. I’m more caring, happier, and more interested in what’s going on in my personal life instead of having all my focus be on my professional life. I couldn’t ever figure it out. I couldn’t get a grasp on it.
Now that we are on that road, my personal life is much, much better. It’s happier. My wife knows that, too. It is really, really different. I’m happy now. Most of the time I wasn’t happy before. That’s sad. To go all those years—I’ve been out of dental school since 1965. That’s a long time. After all that time, to really be happy now for almost a year—it’s so great! I’m thankful I went to Sterling, thankful to my friends for pushing me toward them.
Larry Cross, DDS