Lesley Turner has been part of the Medenta family as a Business Development Manager for over six years.
We talk to her about her wealth of experience within the practice setting and the importance of strong teamwork to move a business forward. She also shares her top tips for successfully implementing finance into your practice…
You have a wealth of experience within dentistry, with ten years working as a practice manager. What was the most challenging experience you faced while working in practice and how did you deal with it?
Lesley: One of the most challenging experiences of my dental career has been working with multiple dentists who just happen to be the business owners too. I’ve had to act as referee in some situations and the voice of reason in others.
Not everyone sees eye-to-eye and sometimes emotions can get in the way of making sound decisions, especially when it’s your business. By having the courage to put forward a well-reasoned argument, I usually found solutions that maintained harmony within the team.
What was your biggest achievement or proudest moment?
Lesley: I’d say this was being presented with the British Dental Practice Managers Association Practice Manager of the Year award. It was such a great honour to be nominated by the directors of the business where I worked.
What do you think the biggest issues facing practice teams today are when you go into a practice, and how can they deal with them?
Lesley: In any team there has to be combined effort to drive the business forward. Sometimes this means going the extra mile to achieve bigger and better results. If the entire team are not in sync with the business ethos and motivated to do their bit, it can stifle the growth and ultimately the success of the business.
Meeting regularly with the whole team and communicating your goals will help keep everyone informed and on track.
What advice do you have for practices looking to implement patient finance?
Lesley: The first piece of advice is to decide if your business can benefit from patient finance.
Look at the percentage of treatments converted – most dentists think they convert 100% of treatment plans, when in reality it’s not usually the case. In most cases the barrier to treatment acceptance is either fear of the procedure or cost.
Does your team know how they can help the practice grow and increase the profit margins? Do they understand how they benefit when the business thrives? Are the team all on board with the concept of patient finance?
If not, you need to find out why not and put a plan of action in place.
What advice do you have for practices who want to increase their patient finance applications?
Lesley: For me, it’s to ensure the team are all aware that the practice offers finance and know the practice’s system to offer quotes to patients.
Add a comment at the end of the treatment plan such as: ‘We also offer finance, please ask one of our team for more details’.
You can take this one step further when writing detailed treatment plans, by providing the patient with the full range of finance quotes you have available so that they can make an informed decision as to which suits them most.
What three key business lessons have you learned from your time in dentistry?
Lesley: Dentistry is not an island; it’s actually like any other business, therefore management and business skills are transferable. Don’t be afraid to look outside the industry for non-clinical positions on how to move your business forward.
Encourage the growth and development of individuals within the team – demonstrate how valued each member is and how their contribution to the business makes a difference.
It’s the little things in life which make a big difference. Never forget that dentistry is a caring profession, and that needs to extend to the team that work for you.
What do you enjoy most about working in dentistry?
Lesley: Having previously worked in other industries, I find the comradery in the dental business is exceptional. You are sure to see familiar, friendly faces at any dental exhibition or seminar.
Tell us something that not many people know about you?
Lesley: I am known as an over-sharer. Most people know everything about me and probably things that they would prefer not to know!