Last March, Dr. John Barnhardt decided that his Ohio practice was not running the way he wanted it to. “I was tired of doing all the work myself,” he says. “It seemed like there was just too much to do. I wanted to see more patients, but I didn’t want to work even more hours.”
Dr. Barnhardt became gradually convinced that things could be better. “Really, it was the accumulation of months. After I got married, my wife made it clear to me that I was spending too much time at the office and not enough at home. Then one day a patient came in and said, ‘Gee, it’s really quiet in here—you guys are usually so cheerful!’ And someone said, ‘We’re really stressed out.’ Of course, there was stress in the office, but I had not thought it was particularly great.”
About that time Dr. Barnhardt decided it was time to do something about the situation.
“I got a videotape in the mail from Sterling and sure enough, everything the speaker was talking about was just what I thought I needed. I talked with various people at Sterling and it sounded like what I wanted to do. So I did it.
“In Glendale, everyone was extremely friendly,” says Dr. Barnhardt. “But what really impressed me was how thorough they were. They really turned over every stone to find what the problems were in my practice so they could help me. They were eager to help me succeed. The thoroughness even extended to the courses. I have never had that kind of thoroughness.”
Dr. Barnhardt was also impressed by the obvious practicality of the training. “I felt that way about everything I did. I felt good that I had a way to measure everything in my practice, by stats. And I felt excited that I would be a better executive, a better leader. I knew that we would improve in sales and income, but also that the office would be a better place.
“And that’s what happened; although it didn’t happen overnight, it did happen. The next month after I came back we had our best sales month ever and it hasn’t gone down since.
“Then a few months ago I arranged a for special Sterling consultant to come to my practice to put into effect some of the Sterling technology that I had failed to put in earlier, and we had another jump.
“Even though we spent three hours a day to get in a new recall system and improving communication lines, we had a great week of production. We got the communication lines in between reception and the doctor and the opticians and finance and this was very important. The staff got really motivated: the attitude, the teamwork among the staff was excellent. It was definitely our highest ever new patients and highest ever sales and I don’t know what else.”
Dr. Barnhardt says there is probably a certain kind of optometrist who would benefit most from Sterling:
“An optometrist would have to want to improve and be willing to try new things. If you think you already know everything and have no problems with your practice, then Sterling is probably not for you. It’s for someone who doesn’t want to just come in and put in his time.
“In my practice, there’s a lot more that we can put in place. One thing, Sterling has an excellent hiring system—I’ve added two new staff and with Sterling I can hire good people. And it has already brought out the best in the staff I had.
“Your staff will enjoy working a lot more, that’s for sure, because they have a chance to make big production bonuses. They become partners in the practice, in effect, and they care about the production.”