Pre-TTI, Dr. Verges's collections were $500,000 with $700,000 in production. Last year, he produced $1.5 million.
production, company culture, hygiene care, patient experience
Three years ago, Dr. Troy Michael Verges found himself having to start over after practicing dentistry for twenty years in the rural town of Kentwood, LA. Working harder than ever, he was on the verge of mental and physical burnout. After opening a second, bigger practice in a larger town 15 miles away, the associate he hired didn’t work out. On top of that, Dr. Verges had a mountain of debt from the loans he’d taken out to open the second practice. “There was a lot of pressure on my time and energy,” Dr. Verges said. “I was unprepared for bringing on an associate. I had no experience with this and was just making it up as I went along. When it didn’t work out with that one person, the entire house of cards fell apart.”
After floundering for two years, he moved all his patients to the newer, larger practice and closed his practice in Kentwood. Within two years, he’d built his business back up to the successful business he had before, doing even better than ever. But he was experiencing the same problems. “There was a lot of pressure,” Dr. Verges said. “For the second time around, I found myself in a successful situation but feeling very limited with my business and personal time.”
Wanting a different outcome and looking for answers, Dr. Verges found The Team Training Institute (TTI) after he was referred by one of his vendors. A self-proclaimed “do-it-yourself” person, he wasn’t used to asking for guidance. Furthermore, operating in a small town, he was apprehensive about spending money on continuing education because in the past it was ineffective at producing results for him. “I’d been fairly successful without needing extra help,” Dr. Verges said. “I’m an independent, self-driven person so it is not in my nature to seek out mentorship. Plus, we were the only dentist for miles around. We didn’t have competition, so spending a lot of money on continuing education and coaching was hard for me to understand. But I learned the hard way when my first attempt didn’t work out. I realized I’ve got to get some help. I made it a goal of mine to figure out what was missing. I started reading about successful dental offices, successful people, and successful businesses and the one common theme that kept coming up over and over was that all of them used mentors and coaches.”
Six months after Dr. Verges started with Hygiene Diamonds, TTI’s entry level program, he joined the Blue Diamond Coaching Program. “At that point, we knew we needed a more comprehensive level of coaching,” Dr. Verges said.
Since joining The Team Training Institute, Dr. Verges has more than doubled production without adding additional team members or doctors and without adding any new providers or new equipment. Pre TTI, his collections were $500,000 with $700,000 in production. Last year, despite being shut down for two months because of COVID-19, he produced $1.5 million. “We have not added anything,” Dr. Verges said. “It’s all due to implementing what we are learning from The Team Training Institute. We are just managing things and we’re running the office better.”
The value of his practice has also doubled, and he’s used the extra profits to pay off all his loans. Even more significant to Dr. Verges is how working with The Team Training Institute has positively affected his team and “taken the patient experience from good to great.” “I’ve always felt that my employees and my patients took precedent over numbers and financials,” Dr. Verges said. “And I always thought we took good care of our patients, but when The Team Training Institute introduced us to asking for reviews, we found that now we KNOW we are because of the feedback and 111 five-star Google reviews we’ve received. We get a lot of compliments on listening and taking care of our patients. My team receives compliments the most in these reviews which makes them more engaged and has made our culture so much better than before.”
In the past, staffing was a real stressor. Now it isn’t. He has less staff turnover and a more cohesive team that is excited about helping the practice and their patients. “I was constantly understaffed and overworking the good people that I had,” Dr. Verges said. “The team didn’t have the time to give that little bit extra to patients. The Team Training Institute has been enormously instrumental in helping me understand the proper way to staff an office, how to not burn out your good team members, and how to create other good team members. Now the good team I’ve built has the time to spend with patients and make a connection with them.”
While Dr. Verges is still busy, he defines it as “a healthy busy.” “My frustration level is way down, and because my culture is much better, I’m more productive,” he said. Dr. Verges improved so much, he’s been invited to join the top-tier TTI coaching group, CEO Mastermind, led by Dr. John Meis in 2022.
Here are 7 ways Dr. Verges made his practice more productive, more profitable, more valuable, and more enjoyable:
#1: Implement an Organized Hygiene System
Prior to Hygiene Explosion, Dr. Verges had hit a ceiling of production and profit. He’d always trained his hygienists on his own, but when he moved to a bigger town, he realized there needed to be a smoother, easier, more organized way to handle his hygiene department.
“My version of a productive dental office was to be very, very busy, and I was extremely good at that,” Dr. Verges said. “With Team Training Institute, we have changed the way we schedule patients, talk to patients, and present treatment to patients. And that has allowed me to be even more successful and more productive. But I do a lot less running around.”
He was surprised by how much he learned. “Hygiene Explosion was extremely comprehensive,” Dr. Verges said. “Not only did we get into the nuts and bolts of seeing the patient and the hands-on training, it also comprehensively taught us about the business of hygiene and where patients are coming from, why patients aren’t coming back or why they are coming back and what they’re expecting from us. I’m very proud of my hygiene department. I feel that my hygienists and hygiene assistant are some of the best-educated and most highly trained dental professionals in our area. Throughout the process of The Team Training Institute, I have seen their level of professionalism, commitment and enthusiasm for our office and our patients grow year after year.”
The level of protection for patients has increased significantly too. In 2017, prior to Hygiene Explosion training, Dr. Verges did 114 sealants. In 2020, he did 742. “The Team Training Institute introduced us to sealants and a fluoride program which we were neglecting,” Dr. Verges said. I was assuming that everyone that was walking through the door was offered sealants and getting fluoride, and I found out that wasn’t the case. Now I know because we are tracking those numbers.”
#2: Educate Everyone on Your Team
In the past, he found he’d get negative comments and resistance when he tried to implement changes and educate people, but with Team Training Institute, everybody is on board. “I was extremely excited that Team Training Institute promotes that the entire staff needs to be well- educated,” he said. “When we go to the Team Training Institute meetings and training, a lot of the focus is not on the doctor, but everybody as a team. That is important to me. With Hygiene Explosion, a coach came to our office and trained the entire office—including administrative people and my restorative assistants that don’t deal with hygiene. They educated everybody on why we’re doing these things and what we’re doing. It brought the educational level of the entire office up as one group. I was super impressed. We are serving the community better, faster, and stronger than anyone else and I feel we are just at the beginning of our potential.”
#3: Improve and Protect Your Culture
Prior to The Team Training Institute, there was a lot of drama and staff turnover. By putting proper management in place, he’s created a healthy culture, a better working environment, and eliminated staff problems. “I was the really nice guy boss,” Dr. Verges said. “People would take off. People would come and go. One person would do one thing, and then another person would do something different. And I pretty much didn’t tell anybody, “No.” I concentrated on developing a good, healthy culture for our business. We are more particular about who we hire. We are more protective of the culture and of our environment. Every new hire is vetted, more educated, better trained, and more enthusiastic about the practice as time goes on. I no longer worry about whether somebody’s doing their job right or if somebody needs to be disciplined or hired or fired. Now management takes care of that and all I have to do is show up on time with a good attitude.”
#4: Collaborate With Your Team
Attending the The Team Training Institute Practice Growth Retreat with his manager and two supervisors created tremendous growth. “The retreat was such a great experience,” Dr. Verges said. “Everyone (Dr. Verges and his three team members) was reading off pages of notes they’d taken and asking questions. The concept of four people taking notes for my business and trying to solve problems and find answers–you just can’t put a price on that. It was fantastic. I’ve never had that many people collaborating for MY business in the 20 years I’d been practicing. At that point, I knew this was absolutely the right thing to do.” After the retreat, Dr. Verges’ team implemented in a way he’d never done before. “It was the first time that my supervisors and my manager delegated training, culture, and responsibility to other people,”he said.“This grew things exponentially. It was the first time that we really started letting people be independent and that got people really involved. THAT was the beginning of a whole new level of culture for my office.”
#5: Get Proper Leadership Training
Dr. Verges already had a manager, Christian “Chipper” McElveen, in place when he started with The Team Training Institute, so he already experienced the value of having someone to collaborate with on tough decisions. “I was so busy dealing with problems I didn’t have time to fix anything and knew I needed management in place to run two offices at once,” Dr. Verges said. “Having Chipper in a leadership role took some of the pressure and burden off me.”
He admits he didn’t get her the training she needed the first time around. “Everything she knew about management was from me, who’d never taken a management course in his life,” Dr. Verges said. “She was well educated, took courses on it, and was pretty successful at it—but she was getting some sketchy advice from me. Because of the training and coaching Chipper has received from The Team Training Institute, her level of management now is years beyond anything I could have ever gotten her to, which is fantastic. It’s definitely allowed me to enjoy dentistry and become more productive, which gives me a lot of peace of mind and allows me to think about a bigger future.”
Chipper credits The Team Training Institute for creating two additional leadership positions and helping her train people in the office to make sure everything runs smoothly. “The Team Training Institute has given me a whole new level of confidence,” Chipper said. “If I’m stuck on something, I have somebody I can always call. They’re awesome at helping me through everything from employee issues to clinical stuff. The training has been exceedingly helpful for me because I have people I can rely on in the office. I just took a week’s vacation. It was the first time I didn’t think about work once because I knew everybody was taking care of everything.”
#6: Use Success Loops to Make Better Decisions
The Team Training Institute’s systems with step-by-step instructions and lists of what to do have given Dr. Verges and his team clarity he didn’t have before. One of the huge problems he solved is insurance collections. “I was completely unaware of how much money we weren’t collecting and how poor we were managing things,” Dr. Verges said. “The Team Training Institute made me exceedingly aware of just how lacking my insurance processing was. We’ve taken steps to correct that and now I know the money that I’m collecting.”
One of his favorite systems is the Success Loop. Looking to the future, his supervisors are being trained to use Success Loops so that Chipper will be able to work remotely and oversee more than one office.
“The success loop tracks the stats and the numbers at any given moment for your practice,” Dr. Verges explained. “I’d like to have Success Loops for everything in my life–for me, for parenting, and for all aspects of my business. I use it weekly so we can see which direction we’re moving and to help us make good decisions. We’re also using a Hygiene Success Loop now and Chipper is working on making Success Loops for other aspects of our office.”
#7: Tiger Proofing
A big goal for Dr. Verges is to get his practice to where it’s not reliant on him, which means hiring an associate. He feels much more confident that he’ll be successful in hiring an associate this time around.
“The Team Training Institute has an associate worksheet we are working through to get prepared for an associate,” Dr. Verges said. “We are 80% complete right now and it’s been extremely helpful. It gives examples of how to handle conversations with associates, and how to handle interviews, and what to expect from an associate. All these questions that, I didn’t even know to ask. Now I have answers for all those questions.”
Dr. Verges loves that his practice is evolving. His goal is to work fewer hours while simultaneously providing patients more convenient hours. He’s found it’s the business growth and teaching and mentoring others that is interesting to him which is why he wants to expand to four locations.
"Before The Team Training Institute, I was extremely busy and overworked. Mentally, I don’t know that I could have kept up that pace for much longer. Now, I have a great management team in place that can handle my current needs as well as preparing to handle the future. Between my trained team and management, the systems I have in place, the software that we use, the tracking systems—all that I have because of The Team Training Institute, I am extremely well informed. If somebody wanted to come and talk to me about my practice and what it’s worth and what it can do, I can speak very intelligently about where we are now, where we’re going to be in the future and what’s going to happen. And I can do it with confidence. I couldn’t have done that four years ago. Plus, it’s exciting to have my loyal people, that love my business, no longer limited in their enthusiasm, education, and how much money they can make. Because now when I expand offices, I have other opportunities for them to continue their careers and grow. That’s fun for me.
The TTI process has allowed Dr. Verges to make more money with less stress. He feels more secure and enjoys the connections he’s made with other dental professionals through TTI. “I love that the numbers I look at aren’t magical anymore. I have a much better understanding of how the business of dentistry works, from collections to insurance to employees, and how they all relate to each other. I know where the numbers are coming from, so when we do good, I know why, and when we have lower numbers, I know exactly what’s going on so that we can make adjustments. The security that comes from knowing your numbers and where your money is coming from, where it’s going and and what that means, has given me the confidence to think about a successful future for my business and for expanding and growing.
Every day I wake up scared, nervous, and excited about my life and the future of my business. It is nice to have The Team Training Institute as a business partner who has many answers to a lot of my questions and who puts employees and patients as the main focus. It’s also nice to have made some really good friends through the TTI connections. These people not only support me but challenge me to try the things that are scary for me, and it’s been great!”