Who are the MVPs in your dental practice? Here is a little secret, it is NOT the doctor. They are not the face of your dental practice – that title belongs to your receptionist or office manager.

When we go through transitions with the buyer and the seller, the most important human asset is your front desk person. Think about it! When a person walks in the door, who is the first person they talk to? The receptionist. Who is the last person they see before they leave your dentist office? Your receptionist. And, don’t get us wrong, this person isn’t just a “pretty face.” They have built relationships with your customers. They know your patient’s names, their kids, significant moments in your patient’s lives … and especially for practices in small towns … this knowledge is HUGE!

Your office’s front desk position is one of the most important and valuable positions in your entire practice. And, here’s a little bit of good news, you can actually invest in this position to improve the selling price of your overall dental practice! Perhaps paying them a higher wage is incentive enough to get them to stay as you transition ownership. Or, investing in the professional development of your dentist office receptionist could enhance their interpersonal skills, which can drive greater value.

And then, from a buyers’ perspective, hands down the best person to keep, is the front-desk person. So, you’d better believe this man or woman is being considered during the negotiation phase.

So, if the dentist office receptionist is the most important person in the practice, the dentist has got to be the second most important person, right? Wrong! The second most important dentist office employees are your hygienists.

Not only are these men and women on your front lines, especially if you have good oral health, they are the people your patients will spend the most time with in your practice twice a year. And, like your receptionist, these individuals have gotten to know your patients very well over the years.

When it comes to selling or buying a dental practice, a lot of the value will be driven by how consistent the practice can be when it comes to maintaining the office’s staff. Dental transition experts Matt and Joe are back to explain these factors in more detail and will also talk about:

– Why dentists aren’t the key people in your practice.

– How to incentivize your key people to stay.

– How hygienists help to drive dental practice value and bring in ongoing revenue to the practice.

We hope you will check out this video to learn more about your dental practice’s MVPs.

Matt Scherer:  Hello and welcome. My name is Matt Scherer with PMA Practice Transitions and I assist dental professionals in buying and selling their practices in Ohio and Western PA. And my colleague is…

Joe Gordon:  I’m Joe Gordon, I do the same and I do it in Indiana and Northern Kentucky.

Matt Scherer: And our topic today is…

Joe Gordon: To, who are the MVP’s in your practice?

Matt Scherer:  I hate to say it Joe, but it’s not the doctor is it?

Joe Gordon: No, generally it’s not the doctor, it’s…

Matt Scherer:  We can rank them from top to bottom, right?

Joe Gordon:  But I think we’re going to have to caveat that, the doctor can be the most valuable being the leader of their team.

Matt Scherer: Absolutely true.

Joe Gordon: But the face of the practice generally is not the doctor.

Matt Scherer:  That’s right, it’s the front desk.

Joe Gordon: It’s the front desk-

Matt Scherer: Or office manager, slash office manager.

Joe Gordon: Or personal first impressions, I’ve heard them called everything in the world, every consultant has to come up with a new name for them, it’s the receptionist as far as I’m concerned.

Matt Scherer:  Absolutely. And when we go through transitions with the buyer and the seller, it’s most important to keep the staff obviously, but the most important is the front desk person because think about it, when a patient walks in the door the first person they talk to is the front desk person, right?

Joe Gordon: Exactly.

Matt Scherer: And guess what, when they leave, who’s the last person they talked to?

Joe Gordon: Usually the front desk person.

Matt Scherer: The front desk person. And usually the front desk person knows the names of the kids, and the grandkids, and all that stuff.

Joe Gordon:  Depending upon the size of the town you’re in, they may know their parents, they may have gone to school with them, they may know absolutely everything. It is a position that is very important in the practice. It’s one that you can invest some money into.

Matt Scherer: Absolutely.

Joe Gordon: In terms of, is it worth paying somebody an extra dollar or two dollars an hour to have somebody of good quality there, that you can also invest in having consultants come in and work with them, making sure they have a script. I think scripting is very important when it comes to the practice in terms of consistency.

Matt Scherer:  And I think especially in a transition, obviously the most important person to keep from a buyer standpoint would be the front desk person. Moving on, the second most valuable person in a dental practice is probably the hygienist. Would you agree with that?

Joe Gordon: I would agree with that. I have a wonderful personal relationship with my hygienist. Polly, if you’re watching this, just know I talk about you all the time.

Matt Scherer:  And you really have to think about if you have somebody who has good oral health, right, and you don’t have a lot of cavities or a lot of things that the dentist needs to do to you, who do you see twice a year?

Joe Gordon: Probably see Polly.

Matt Scherer: That’s right, you see your hygienist. And you’re having conversations with your hygienist, you’re talking to your hygienist, a lot of times your hygienist knows about you, what do you do for a living, things of that nature, as well.

Joe Gordon: And the consistency in that is wonderful. Patients like that consistency. They want to see that same face there all the time. Doing the dentistry, one, patients can’t really talk to you, but they do talk to the hygienist for the most part. And there’s a lot of rapport that’s built up there and a lot of trust because, I don’t know about everybody, but when somebody starts sticking sharp pieces of metal in my mouth, I don’t want to trust them.

Matt Scherer: Right.

Joe Gordon: And I like to have the same person do it.

Matt Scherer: Well, and speaking of sticking sharp objects in your mouth, if you have a good hygienist, what are they doing for the doctor? They’re generally speaking, coming up with…

Joe Gordon: Treatment plans.

Matt Scherer: Treatment plans, they’re looking at the perio side of the general dentistry and identifying perio issues or identifying cavities, things of that nature. So ultimately the hygienist is then giving business to the dentist.

Joe Gordon: You hope to have them incentivize to do those things.

Matt Scherer: Right.

Joe Gordon:  They’re the ones that are the front line of selling. So those two positions are vastly important in practices, they are great to maintain consistency on a transition.

Matt Scherer: Yeah, absolutely.

Joe Gordon:  And they can really make or break you in a lot of ways.

Matt Scherer: And we’re not saying that a dental assistant isn’t important, please don’t take that message wrong. It’s just we’re saying that the front desk person and hygienist are probably the top two most important people in a transition, because they’re the ones dealing with the patients on a regular basis and they’re the ones that can help transfer the goodwill for the seller.

Joe Gordon: Right. And there’s been a number of instances in transitions where we have kept the receptionist and the receptionist happened to be married to the dentist.

Matt Scherer: That’s right, that’s right.

Joe Gordon: And specifically ask if they stay on for a period of time so we can really transition all the patients, it was invaluable.

Matt Scherer: So we’re going to wrap up with that. We appreciate you listening to this podcast of ours and we hope you’ll like it. If you do, please give the thumbs up and certainly share this with your colleagues and friends.