Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Gifts

Happy Friday.

My wife is doing her annual girls' weekend this weekend, so it is just me and the four kids. Yeah, it is going to be bad. Heck, I don't even know for sure what time my 14 month old goes for a nap. Wish me luck.

Noah turned 7 a few weeks ago and I told you about the his party at the go-kart place. For about 9 months, he has been talking about his party and how he wanted it to be Monster Trucks. So my assistant made him a Monster Truck cake. I told you she makes specialty cakes, and she really overdid it this time.

The yellow thing on the bottom is a bus. Now that is cool.

He was like a pig in poop.

We recently took our family photos. I have to say that my family really did well. One of the real reasons I did the pictures is that I want to put my family in the reception area; I want people to know me. I want them to know that I am a dentist but I am also a son, a brother, a husband and a father. I am going to have a really nice display made of some great photos. I think it makes visitors feel a little more connected to me. And when I get the CD, I will do the same to you guys.

I've got to get my nose back to the grindstone, so I got a ghost writer to take over for today. It is really good stuff. Don't get ticked at me, I am just the messenger.

The holiday season is here. Have the cards started rolling in? This stuff gets me thinking. Every year, I probably get 50 cards from specialists I don’t know. I know they are saying, "I am still in business, so if your specialist starts to tick you off, then give me a shot."

I am good ok that. I actually think it is a good idea. But it is MY specialists that this blog is about. Take my oral surgeon, for instance. I send him ALL my wisdom teeth extractions, probably about 100 patients a year. Let’s say all 100 go to him, and 75 of them get the work done. If I extract a wisdom tooth, it is $250. But when they do it, the total is more like $2000-$3000. I don't know if it is the sedation or what... but this is not the issue. Okay, so 75 patients at the tune of $2-$3k each... carry the one… we are talking $150-$200,000 a year. Maybe I am too full of myself. Maybe I guess too high. Let’s say I only send him 50 patients a year and he works on 40 of them. That still is $80-$120,000 to my friend the Oral Surgeon.

Now what do you think an appropriate gift is for the conductor of this gravy train should be? I am not going to answer this question. I am just throwing it out there. I know this oral surgeon has a ton of referring dentists. But I am not talking about the dentist that is throwing this oral surgeon a bone (4 or 5 patients a year or something like that). I am talking about the loyal general dentist that has been faithfully referring all his wisdom teeth patients for the last 15 years.

How about the orthodontist? Let’s say I send him/her 2 cases a month (I send more); that is about $12,000 a month. That is $144,000 a year to their bottom directly related to ME. Now, what do you think an appropriate gift for someone adding $144,000 to the bottom line? To put it in perspective, last week I got a gift card to a fancy steak house from a specialist I DON'T EVEN REFER TO. It is an awesome gift and it is from a guy I haven’t referred even one patient to.

Now if you are a specialist, I am not mad, I am just thinking out loud. These are not actual numbers and I don't have any specialist in mind when writing this. But I know a lot of general dentists must feel this way. It is the main guys that I am calling out.

We know what kind of cars you drive. We have been to your houses. We sometimes go to your mountain homes. We have been to your hunting leases and driven your 4 wheelers and then you have taken us out on your Air Nautiques. And you send us chocolate covered pretzels for Christmas. Or you send us a basket of crackers and wine that I saw at the grocery store.

Again, I don't think of myself as that everyday guy. I am the one that talks so highly of your office. I am the guy that calls you to give you constructive criticism because I want you to do well. I am the one that likes you for you. I am the guy that is not leaving your practice. I think this kind of loyalty deserves more than your assistant’s trip to the local cookie store. Am I right, general dentists?

Now I know all you general dentists are thinking, "YEAH!” But I am going to through this right back at you. When was the last time you bought your specialist a gift? These guys/gals are cleaning up your messes all the time. They are the guys/gals you call to get you out of a hole that you have dug yourself into. These are the guys/gals that are defending you to your patients, telling your patients not to go to another dentist because the other guy is cheaper.

Oh wait! You don't know they do this. Dude, WAKE UP! Don't give me this "all my patients love me and they never have problems with me" crap. Get your head out of the sand and realize this is a symbiotic relationship. These are the orthodontists that see your kids. These are the oral surgeons that take out your kids’ wisdom teeth.

“NO!!” you are saying, "I send all that work to you, you should feel lucky to see my kids." But that is a slippery slope, my friend.

This year I want all specialists to make their general dentists to feel special. And I want all the general dentists to know how good they have it and send their friends a gift. They deserve it.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

Good stuff from this guy. Like I said, don't get mad at me.

Have a good weekend.


Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure I have unofficially referred someone to the guy who took out my wisdom teeth way back when. That should at least warrant some pretzels.

actinomycetemcomitans said...

This just skims the surface of how people should appreciate each other, not just in the dental realm. Could take it a step further... how much money do our own hygienists bring in?? Gift accordingly there as well. Keep your people happy and feeling like they are something special and in most cases they will give you their best, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

You are somewhat insufferable this week! A gift is just that. A gift! Not mandatory, but given freely, a token of respect, remembrance, thoughtfulness and consideration. Why must you put a price tag on it? That is precisely what is wrong with this time of year. The essence has been lost, consumed by a dollars & cents mentality. If you are unhappy with how you perceive your treatment by specialists, then do something about it. Discover who gives the best gifts and refer there. If that is what is important to you, so be it. Yet, you discuss economizing on your Christmas party. A bit of hyprocrisy, Doctor? Does not your staff contribute immensely to your bottom line? Are they not worthy of high end dividend?
I don't expect you to post this. It is primarily for your personal edification. Hopefully, it will make you think a bit. And, oh, thanks for recomfirming my cynicism about Christmas Spirit. At least you have plenty of company with your current outlook. It is pervasive! Merry Christmas, Dr. G.

Anonymous said...

Big difference with hygienists. The dentists are paying them.

gatordmd said...

I have to repeat that the A GHOST WRITER wrote this blog!!!!

I publish it because I know when someone is feeling this way, maybe a bunch of others do as well.

My take is Christmas has never been about presents. It is about spending time with people I love and enjoy.
And as far as my specialists...I refer to them because I like them and I trust them to treat my patients the best...and they do.

I don't care about presents and I think that gift kind of get in the way. "Jesus is the reason for the season" and I like to keep it that way.


Anonymous said...

What if we do your children's orthodontics for you still expect a large gift? Serious question.

gatordmd said...

I was waiting to see if the ghost writer might chime in on this one but, I wanted to give my two cents.

Good question.

As far as ortho....I obviously have four children and they all have jacked up grills.
This is not something I take lightly.
We have done some initial work ups and some phase I stuff so far.
I am very appreciate for the professional courtesy. I try not to go to the office empty handed. I bring in Gift Cards sometimes, bagels and other stuff. Does this make up for the thousands that I am saving? No, but I want them to understand how much I appreciate the gift.

On the other hand, I treat quite a number of dental people in my office. No one gets charged. I treat specialists, lab technicians, and their families and I don't charge any of them.
I think it is something that I feel strongly about...this sounds like a good blog topic.
I just think it all will come back around for me.

Thanks for commenting

Unknown said...

I like your thinking - it is really relevant and shows how referral should in some way be recognized - it's an affiliate model that works really well at Christmas Gift Giving times.


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