“I refer to him all the time, and here I find out he’s dragging my name through the mud.”
“So that’s the end of that relationship, right?”
“Well, no… I’m going to sit down with him and see how we might work things out…”
This was an actual conversation I recently had. I was astounded that my friend had any intention of reconciling with someone who was bad mouthing him in the dental community.
Reputation is brand. There is quantifiable equity built into your brand. That means your reputation is an asset, just like your computers and dental equipment.
If a person were to come into your practice, dismantle your CEREC machine, take it out back, and drag it through the mud then you certainly wouldn’t remain in contact with that person.
When a peer publicly questions your reputation, it’s time to walk away from that relationship.
“I believe my office manager might be fudging the books.”
“What’s your timing for terminating her?”
“Oh, I’m not sure it’s really happening. I need to look into it more…”
Yet another actual conversation. Again, I was shocked that the dentist wouldn’t be more proactive about nailing down the problem and firing the employee.
Several sources report that 60% of all dental practices will fall victim to embezzlement. That’s just the identifiably criminal breaches.
Then there are the softer financial breaches. I once hired a contractor to help with financial projections for my firm. At one point, she suggest that I hire her as a full-time employee. Her plan was that I pay her two times what I was paying myself and stop servicing the business’s liabilities as we had once planned. It became clear to me that she no longer had my firm’s best interest in mind. As difficult as it was, I ended the working relationship.
Anytime you suspect questionable activity around the practice finances, it is critical that you investigate and, if the suspicions are confirmed, sever professional ties with that person.
You are the CEO of the business that is your dental practice. As CEO, it is your job to protect the company and be a good steward of its assets. To that end, there is no other choice when it comes to a breach in reputation or finances: end the contract.
What does any of this have to do with marketing?
First, marketing is the most public representation of your reputation. If people are talking smack about you on the streets, then your marketing efforts lose effectiveness.
Second, marketing is a big investment for your practice. If your finances are being eroded by people who have anything less than your best interest in mind, then your resources for investing into the growth and success of your practice dwindle.
Make it a practice to check behind the people who are the shepherds of your reputation and your finances. Ask your peers what they have heard about you, and follow any ill will back to its source. Once monthly, have a meeting with your financial person to go over your profit-and-loss sheet and your balance sheet. Go through line-by-line. Ask the uncomfortable questions just to be sure that everything is on the up and up.
And if you find anything that lacks integrity, question whether this person really has your best interests at heart. If not, move on.
You’re worth it.