Louise Beddow is the Sales Manager at DPAS, heading up the team of Business Development Consultants.
With her experience both at DPAS over the past nine years, and prior to this as a manger of UK sales teams in the industrial and commercial advertising sector, she has a wealth of skills in team-management.
Here she talks about her experience of helping a practice move to private, the importance of time management when running a business and how to think about your unique selling point…
What is the most challenging experience you face while working in dentistry?
For me, this has to be understanding the ever-changing nature of the dental landscape. It is constantly shifting with new or updated regulations, technology, contracts, etc. I am always striving to stay on top of this and keep my knowledge up-to-date so that I can offer practice principals and their teams the very best advice and support to help them manage these changes effectively.
What has been your most memorable experience during your time in dentistry?
Completing my first NHS principal conversion, not long after starting in my role with DPAS. We mailed 5,000 patients and the first three days helping out on the practice’s reception were busy to say the least. I really felt part of the team and it was great to see how the experienced staff pulled together, answering all the patients’ questions and putting their minds at rest. The hard work paid off as the number of patients who signed up to the dental membership plan was excellent, the practice principal was delighted and I have continued to look after this practice for many years, watching it go from strength to strength.
What are the biggest issues facing practice teams today, and how can they deal with them?
One of the most common pressures on practices is the ability to manage their time effectively. Practices are always busy places and there can often be things that happen beyond your control that affect your plans for that day or week, such as a patient not showing up, an appointment lasting longer than scheduled, or emergencies.
Whilst you can’t cover every possibility, you can take steps to try to make the day run as efficiently as possible. One of the simplest ways to do this is to have a morning team huddle every day where you can run through the day’s appointments, identify what the priorities are, each person’s responsibilities and what needs to be achieved. Whilst that may take a little time to complete, it will reap rewards and save you time later on.
What advice do you have for practices looking to grow their business?
Understand your market place and your key unique selling points (USPs). If you’re not sure what they are, ask yourself: what is special about your practice and staff? What do you offer to existing patients and do they understand the full choice available? How do you want to attract new patients? Do you have a clear plan? Is the practice team aware, involved and do they feel valued? Or ask your patients!
If you could only pick one thing that practices should be doing in order to succeed, what would it be?
Involve the entire team in the business, its goals and aspirations. Team members who feel involved in the decision-making and direction of the practice will work more cohesively together as everyone understands what you are trying to achieve and feels connected and motivated to achieve it.
What three key business lessons have you learned from your time in dentistry?
- Every practice principal’s business needs are different
- To listen and understand – both to your team and your customers
- To provide the very best customer service and support possible as this is an industry built on recommendation.
What do you enjoy most about working in dentistry?
I enjoy the fact that every day is different but I always get to witness excellent patient care, compassion and team spirit. Nearly everyone I work with has been in dentistry a long time and that speaks volumes about what a great industry it is!