Lessons from the Workshop Tour

Brilliant basics

As another successful Practice Plan (PP) Workshop Tour comes to an end, one of our two speakers, Les Jones, looks back at some of the highlights and memorable moments.

When I was asked to do this year’s PP Workshop Tour with my good friend and colleague, Richard Collard, I was absolutely thrilled. The Workshop Tour presents a wonderful opportunity to engage with practice teams from across the UK and, hopefully, to give them the ideas and inspiration to take their practices to the next level.

Over the past four months from September to February we’ve hosted events in thirteen locations, from Edinburgh to Southampton, Bristol to Belfast and we’ve welcomed over a thousand team members from over 200 practices.

However, for Richard and I, the tour started much earlier – back in the spring of 2019, in fact. That’s when we first got together to start putting the workshop day together. We gave ourselves the challenge to create and deliver the ‘Most Practical Workshop Tour, Ever!’ – a tall order when we look back at the fantastic speakers we’ve had over the years.

We decided to focus on helping practices do many of the key basics…brilliantly. So, we put our creative hats on and we decided to call the tour – The Brilliant Basics – genius!

For us, the success or otherwise of the workshop, was not just in whether teams enjoyed the day, but also in how many of the tools and techniques were actually implemented as a result – that, for us, was the acid test and that meant getting personal with the practices we were going to meet at each event.

So, we made a point of visiting every practice’s website and, perhaps more critically, we put ourselves in the position of a prospective new patient looking for a new dental practice. As such, we sent every practice (that we could) an enquiry through their website and we also made a telephone enquiry to every practice.

It was a big task, but it gave us a fascinating insight into how practice teams were responding to new patient enquiries.

It became clear that many practices were missing out on huge amounts of potential new business because they lacked the processes, training and resources to respond to new enquiries in a way that gave them an edge over their competitors.

In fact, many were unwittingly putting up barriers to new business, rather than making the early patient journey personable and seamless.

Throughout each day we showed those attending what was happening in their practices and we provided them with the tools, techniques and physical resources to make significant improvements.

Finally, we gave every team a 25-day challenge to implement just one thing from each of the four sessions we delivered throughout the day. The results were almost immediate, with many principals and practice managers coming up to us at breaks and over lunch to say they’d already been in touch with their website providers to make changes to their sites and they were already planning further changes within their practice.

Of course, the longer term proof is in the pudding – our Regional Support Managers are actively following-up each practice to keep the momentum going.

For Richard and I, the tour has come to an end, but we hope its impact on team performance and bottom-line results will continue for a long time. In the meantime, we’ll take encouragement from the wonderful feedback we have received from practices that attended from across the UK.

And I personally take away a very important lesson. as a speaker, I learned it’s important to remember when you are wearing a microphone not to pop to the loo…with it still turned on!

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