Orthotown Magazine spoke with Jay
Geier, President and Founder of the
Scheduling Institute, to learn more
about how his company is helping
orthodontists succeed. With decades
of experience in generating new
patients for dental practices all over
the country, Geier and his team are
shining a light on how they are one
of the best kept secrets in the orthodontic
community. Check out Geier’s
insights on the importance of new
patients, the future of ortho and more.
How did The Scheduling Institute get its start?
Geier: It goes back 20-plus years ago when I was the marketing director for a
large private practice and was working on techniques for generating new patients. I
used every imaginable strategy to get new patients. The phone was ringing but we
weren’t seeing more new patients. My mission became to figure out why and close
the gap. I kept working on it until I came up with a solution that closed the gap
between the number of patients who called and the number who actually scheduled
an appointment. Then it became very clear to me how much impact new patients
have on a practice’s ability to grow. I knew it was something every single doctor could
benefit from, but most doctors were completely unaware of. So I went out on my own
with a mission to teach every doctor this technique. That’s where the Scheduling
Institute (SI) started. Since then more than 8,000 doctors have gone through our new
patient phone training program. Most doctors, on average, see a 15-40 percent bump
in new patients within two to six months.
There’s a misconception that SI is just about phone training and new
patients. Let’s set the record straight. What is SI all about?
Geier: We’ve continued to teach our new patient phone training, however, as the success
of that was occurring over the years we built up an entire back end to our business and
have grown to become the largest training company in orthodontics. We now offer 20 different
trainings and continue to expand our doctor coaching programs. We’ve expanded
our training facilities to better serve our clients. S ince we were featured in Orthotown
Magazine in 2011 we’ve doubled the size of our Atlanta training facility to 20,000 square
feet and we’ll be opening our new 24,000 square foot Phoenix facility in early 2015, to
help cut down on some travel for our west-coast clients. A third location is on the drawing
board for Canada because our Canadian client base is growing quickly. We’ve continued
to expand course offerings for the 5,500 team members enrolled in our university. As we’ve
expanded our offerings, we’ve also grown our team to ensure we’re always creating value
for our clients and exceeding their expectations. We have 50 trainers, a team of six coaches
and 122 other employees dedicated to client service and support. Every year we become more intentional about giving back. Ten percent
of all SI profit is given to charity and last
year we partnered with a community in Costa
Rica and started hosting mission trips that
our clients go on with us.
We have learned that the key to really
transforming a practice lies not only in the
doctor and the way he or she thinks but also
in the team and the way that they think and
behave. By working in the practice with the
doctor and the team, we’re able to identify
several things that play a big role in a practice’s
success, whether or not they have the
capacity to give the patient the best care and
greatest experience and who in the practice is fully committed to the business and its processes, beliefs and purpose versus who is not. Many
doctors just really need help figuring that out and instilling that. It’s not many doctors’ natural
ability or talent and that is something that our company has been very successful at doing where
others have not. I n the past few years we’ve seen a trend among the most successful practices we
work with. They are doing a training with us at least once every quarter. So we’ve now created
training packages to fulfill this.
You’ve talked in the past about why new patients are so fundamental to success.
Explain your philosophy and why you think it’s best for every doctor to work on
Geier: Demand is the key to creating margin and
also a patient base that you actually like and enjoy. So
people with a shortage of new patients tend to tolerate
things they really don’t enjoy and things that can actually
be harmful to the practice. They tend to let the
patient have a high level of control. S o what we find
is that in any situation an abundance of new patients
is one of the greatest business-building tools available.
And simply trying to get more money from each patient
is a short-lived strategy that has very detrimental consequences to the practice. Therefore, we believe every
doctor needs to stay very active in the new patient business,
especially in orthodontics where there is a high
value per patient. For more info on our new patient
training program, go to SiforOrtho.com.
You believe that orthodontics will be facing some big changes in
the next few years. Describe the transformation you see coming.
Geier: As one of the main advisors to general dentists I can tell you that
in no uncertain terms general dentists are aggressively adding more to the
mix in their practices, particularly in the practices that would be considered
great referring practices. They are assessing what is being sent out and creating
strategies to keep things in house. In the next five years we are going
to see a massive transformation in general dentists holding on to work that
historically was sent out to orthodontists.
What should orthodontic practices be doing to prepare for this
Geier: You must start by doing an exhaustive study of your referral sources
and take a hard look at your level of dependence on general dentists. I f you are
like most of my ortho clients, you can probably think of a referral source or
two that has dropped off in the last 1 2 months. This is the beginning of the
transformation. We’re teaching our ortho clients how to become independent by creating their own market and building up
their own resources. Really whatever is needed
depending on the particular market. This doesn’t
mean you stop going after referrals, you just
don’t want to be completely dependent on them
because when the general dentist decides to keep
those referrals, you’ll have a significant problem
on your hands. For more information on this, you
can watch a video from my latest orthodontist
boot camp at SIOrthoBootCamp.com.
SI has done a lot of work in the past
with dentists. What sort of success have
orthodontists had working with you?
Geier: We’ve actually been working with
orthodontists since 2005. Our success has been
tremendous with orthodontic practices and we
continue to see rapid growth. Some clients have
grown as much as five times larger and we continue
to see this market as a growing market, if
the doctor is willing to do what it takes. We have
a ton of stories from our ortho clients. Here are
just a few of them.
What’s the best way an orthodontic
practice can get in touch with you or get
Geier: Every orthodontist should know how
focused his or her team is on new patients and
how well they are doing getting patients into
the practice. We offer a practice transformation
package that comes with a custom anlaysis of
your team and a rating that will tell you how
focused they are on new patients and how they
stack up against your competition. It’s complimentary.
There is no cost or obligation to get
it. Just go to SIforOrtho.com and click on Free
Analysis or call 855-975-9455. If you’re ready to
start the new patient phone training, call 855-
975-9455. My team has special pricing options
for you if you mention this article.