At age 44, Dr. Bencaz is no longer practicing dentistry. He's the visionary buying dental practices and expanding the business.
hygiene care, production, systems, team development, expansion
In 2009, Dr. Jarrad Bencaz was ready to quit dentistry.
He’d purchased the practice two years earlier and was in the process of updating it. And while he’d increased the business from $700,000 to a million, he was struggling to fill the schedule. While he was making it work, he wasn’t enjoying it.
That’s why in 2009 when a freak twenty-minute rainstorm flooded the practice, Dr. Bencaz was ready to throw in the towel. “The whole building had three inches of water in it, and everything got wet,” Mishaux Ramirez, CEO of Bencaz Family Dentistry, said. “X-ray units and things like that shorted out. We ended up losing pretty much everything.”
But Dr. Bencaz’s team wouldn’t let him quit. While working out of a temporary facility and rebuilding, they brought in a hygienist to temporarily cover another hygienist on maternity leave. The hygienist filling in was none other than The Team Training Institute’s coach Bert Triche.
“At that point, we were a five-producer practice, with just three hygienists and two doctors,” Janae Graves, former Hygiene Manager for Bencaz Family Dentistry said. “Within just a few days of Bert coming in to temp, we were like, ‘WOW! What is she doing?’ She was producing so much higher than we were.”
“Bert was doing things that we had never heard before,” Mishaux added. “Dr. Bencaz and I were both out of school and just did what insurance covered. We never talked about anything else but knew there were other things people might want. The way Bert talked to patients and went over risk factors and talked to them about adult sealants and fluoride and check-up appointments, we’d just never heard that before.”
When they asked Bert what she was doing, she told Dr. Bencaz and his team about The Team Training Institute. “Wendy Briggs came in and talked to us and then we attended a conference in New Orleans,” Mishaux said. “That was a turning point. From there, everything exploded.”
Today, Dr. Bencaz is still growing his practice, although these days, at age 44, he’s no longer practicing dentistry. Instead, he is the visionary buying and selling dental practices and expanding the business. Mishaux, who started as a hygienist, was promoted to office manager in 2010, and today serves as the CEO running the day-to-day operations of Bencaz Family Dentistry, which has grown to four practices, with six doctors and eleven hygienists.
Since starting with The Team Training Institute in 2010, revenue has increased by 500%.
Here are five strategies Dr. Bencaz and his team implemented that you can adopt to grow your own practice:
Prior to The Team Training Institute, the practice wasn’t geared toward preventive care. After attending the conference in New Orleans and signing up for the Blue Diamond program, they brought Bert into the office to train the rest of the staff. In year two, they brought in to train the staff because they had hired so many new people and they wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page.
“We felt like everybody needed to hear this training,” Mishaux said. “Our philosophy has always been about delivering expert care, and if you aren’t doing what’s best for the patient, you can’t have expert care. We wanted to figure out what was best for our patients and so learning about all these new preventive things, to us that was new. The thought process was a new way of doing preventive dentistry. We wanted to take care of our patients properly because we view our patients as family. So, whatever’s best for them is what we’re going to do. Not long after we went through Hygiene Explosion and learned all the things you can do in dentistry for preventative care, we were so busy, we ended up bringing on another doctor. We even bought another dental practice right down the road to refer patients to because our Humble Street location was just overflowing with patients. Then, we added onto our main practice in 2014 to try to accommodate everyone.”
Learn How To Talk To Your Patients The Right Way
At first there was concern about offering services that patients would have to pay for out of pocket because it was extremely important to Dr. Bencaz that patients never felt like they were being sold. There was also some push-back from patients who were used to having insurance cover all their dental care. However, that quickly changed once Dr. Bencaz and his team learned how to present information to patients.
“We want patients to know what’s best for them, but not feel sold to, and so that was a concern initially,” Mishaux said. “Dr. Bencaz made it known that we never want to sound like a used car salesperson or anything like that. We want the patient to understand and know we’re there for their best benefit and doing what’s best for them.”
The right verbiage to talk to patients made all the difference in treating patients and made Dr. Bencaz, the team, and the patients comfortable. Tools introduced by The Team Training Institute made it easier for hygienists to explain treatment to patients, plus the doctors and hygienists started to feel better about patient care. In turn, patients have expressed their desire to receive improved care and this new hygiene system has significantly increased production. Within one or two meetings, they doubled their production from $700 days to $1400 days. Today, they regularly hit over $2000 per day and it’s not uncommon to have a $3000 day per office.
“This has been a true game changer for me,” Annie said. “When I started using these tools, I was able to get all my patients to accept fluoride. Now I don’t even have to try. My patients remind me and ask me for these additional services.”
While Mishaux no longer does hygiene, she still gets awards for having one of the highest production days ever–generating $3,472 in one day. Annie LaCour, the current hygiene manager, has 100% case acceptance for fluoride and has for a long time.
“Patients were used to coming in for their free cleaning,” Mishaux said. “They wanted to know why they had to pay something. Bert helped us with the verbiage, and now it’s no longer an issue. It’s just about talking to patients and letting them know why they need it and the importance of it.”
Janae, who left her position as hygiene manager to help her husband with his business, still works as a hygienist occasionally. She recalls working with Bert when she was the hygiene manager. “I was always excited with Bert,” Janae said. “She is amazing, and I just love her. We worked well together, and we all took to her. I could never live without her because I would do monthly calls with her where we would review numbers and she helped me with anything I needed. She just completely changed my world. I would then take what I learned to the other hygienists. It just completely changed hygiene. It made it more exciting. It impressed patients. It made them want to come back in six months. It helped with patient retention because we were talking to them more and building relationships. Patients were so thankful that we were giving them opportunities to do everything they could to keep their teeth.”
Develop Systems That Inspire, Motivate, and Create Consistency
Systems have played a huge role in their success. “How we talk to patients has become a part of our system,” Mishaux said. “From start to finish of the appointment, it was changed, and this had a night and day effect on our case acceptance. The Team Training Institute has the verbiage, the tools, and the whole system.”
Currently, Annie is working on putting the systems and processes they do throughout the appointment into a booklet to train new hygienists. “We want every hygienist to do it the same so that if patients get a different hygienist the next time they come in, everything is done the same,” Mishaux said. “This way, the patient doesn’t get confused.”
An incentive system introduced by TTI motivates the hygienists to do their best and keeps them excited. Part of the incentive system includes holding meetings where they review their numbers. (Prior to TTI, they didn’t have regular meetings.)
“I love the incentive system,” Annie said. “I’m a competitive person, so I always want to be the best. I concentrate on one thing at a time. I made up my mind that I wanted to get 100% of my patients to accept fluoride. After I achieved that, I started focusing on sealants. Next, it was oral cancer screenings. It makes me strive to do my best. As the hygiene manager, I notice that the hygienists are asking me for their numbers because they are excited too.”
“We hold monthly meetings and go over things,” Janae added. “I never wanted to be the hygienist that wasn’t hitting my numbers. If my numbers are low, that means I’m not presenting patients with their options. I never want to be the weakest link in the team. By presenting, I’m showing patients that I care and by having incentives, it keeps everyone on our team in check with each other.”
Don’t Back Off Training
There were a few times where Dr. Bencaz considered backing off training, but his team pushed back and encouraged him to stay with it. “There were times where Dr. Bencaz got comfortable and talked about stopping our training with The Team Training Institute (TTI),” Janae said. “But I told him we cannot lose TTI because every month Bert and TTI help me stay accountable. And then I’m able to hold my hygienists accountable. I never wanted it to end because I feel like when you get comfortable and you back off, you start to downward slide.”
In 2016, Dr. Bencaz made the tough decision to take a break from training after his practice flooded a second time. It wasn’t just their practice that flooded this time though. Ninety percent of their town flooded and had to be rebuilt. This is when Janae left to help her husband’s construction business. Fortunately, Dr. Bencaz had already expanded to two practices at this point, and only one of the practices flooded. “It was complete devastation everywhere,” Mishaux said. “We didn’t even have room to put another patient because we had one office to cram all the patients in. It was insane, so we put our marketing, TTI, and everything on hold.”
But in January 2022, after buying two new practices and with a focus on continuing to grow, Bencaz Family Dentistry rejoined The Team Training Institute. “I wanted The Team Training Institute back in here to help us grow,” Mishaux said. “After the flood and then COVID-19, things just went a little haywire. We brought The Team Training Institute back in to get us organized and back on track. We are working on getting all our systems, not just hygiene, but the whole office back on track, and TTI has been helping us do that.”
Replace Salary With Profits
Dr. Bencaz has completely replaced his salary with profits. First, he decreased seeing patients to two days a week and by the end of 2014, he quit seeing patients altogether. Today, he’s focused on being the visionary and growing the business. “He’s playing golf and buying buildings and writing things and all kinds of stuff,” Mishaux said. “His dental offices continue to produce profits without him practicing.”
Since rejoining TTI, profitability is up in the practices too. Mishaux credits The Team Training Institute for not only helping them get back on track but doing it without incurring debt. “We’ve had to spend a bunch of money to get things back on track,” Mishaux said. “We didn’t have the equipment and all the things we needed for the new practices, but despite spending $200,000 in the last three months, we are still profitable.”
Dr. Bencaz and his team have come a long way since 2009. From having no management in place and struggling to fill their schedule and inconsistencies in how the team treated patients to a full schedule, multiple practices, and everyone on the same page.
“If it weren’t for TTI, we all would have had to find somewhere else to work and Dr. Bencaz would have quit dentistry,” Mishaux said. “With the help of TTI and getting things back on track, he saw that he could do more than just dentistry. Helping patients and helping the community and helping people, in general, is what he loves to do. It’s not necessarily the actual dentistry. One of the things he always says is ‘It doesn’t matter where we are today, but look where you came from.’ When we go back and look at where we were, we were a huge office with no office manager. We were making it work, but now we have a leadership team, and we’re all marching in the same direction. TTI has really turned his life around and helped us get organized. We’ve had several consultants and all these different things that we’ve done so we can get better because Dr. Bencaz wants us to grow both as people and as a practice. But what’s most important to him is that we are doing what will help the patient and what will help us give the patient better care, and I feel like TTI is one of the best consulting firms out there that helps with patient care. A lot of consultants out there just care about the numbers and where TTI is different is that they say if you build it, they will come. If you do these things and take care of your patients, the revenue is going to follow. That’s what we’ve done, and the revenue did follow just as they said it would, and it’s been great.”