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Dr. Jeff Blackburn

Innovator Series

How Can I Be a Top Producing Dentist?

Dr. Jeff Blackburn shares his journey of practice growth from his start with a 1 operatory office to becoming one of America’s top producing dentists. How did he do this? Join us and learn how to elevate your practice and your life.

Video transcription:

Liz Lundry, RDH - Hello. Welcome to the StellaLife Innovator Series. I'm Liz Lundry, and today I'll be talking to Dr. Jeff Blackburn. During his career, Dr. Blackburn developed a truly one-of-a-kind experience for people to transform their smiles and oral health. Through proven systems, techniques, and skill development, Dr. Blackburn became one of America's top-producing dentists, and he teaches his techniques with wonderful courses at Dr. Blackburn's seminars. He's received numerous awards and was an evaluator for over 30 years for Dr. Gordon Christiansen's Clinician's Report and is a board member and spokesperson for the oral cancer cause. Dr. Blackburn, It is an honor to have you here today. Thank you so much.

Dr. Jeff Blackburn - You are so welcome. I am just excited to be here. It's just a great day. So thank you for having me.

Liz Lundry, RDH- You're very, very welcome. You've developed proven systems and techniques that led you to become one of America's top-producing dentists. Tell us about your evolution as a business owner.

Dr. Jeff Blackburn - Oh, boy. It was quite an evolution. I started I went out on my own in 1985. I had 969 square feet. I had one operatory. I answered my own phone. I cleaned up my own rooms. I did the setups. I would call a part-time assistant to come in to help me every now and then. My parking wasn't even paved yet. It was still gravel. I was driving a 1977 Chevy Chevette, not a Corvette, but a Chevette.

Liz Lundry, RDH - That's still a classic. That's a classic car.

Dr. Jeff Blackburn- And the only thing that I had had in practice management was what they offered at school. It was one semester, one hour, and it was taught by somebody who had never run a dental practice. So You can only imagine the evolution that I had to go through and where I started. But I was so fortunate. When I went out in practice, I had a great mentor, and he was the one that was able to He knew I wanted to be the best. My goal was to be the best doctor I could be, and have the best practice that I could have. I want to be a part of my community, and I want to support my family. Those were the things I wanted. He knew that. He then went ahead and turned me on to all the gurus of dentistry. I was able to then go and train under Pete Dawson and took all his courses, Gordon Christensen, all of his, and Linda Miles, every course. I can't even tell you, I saw her at least 25 times. Roger Levin, you name it, I was at that course. I found that I could never be Pete Dawson. I could never be Gordon Christensen. But what I did is I was able to take the snippets and the great things that they do, and I was able to apply that to my personality, to my skill level, and create what worked for me, just as everybody needs to do in their own practice. We can't mimic somebody, but we sure can learn from them. And so that's where I started. And that's what got me going. And from there, it just kept snowballing and snowballing, and I kept learning more and more and just couldn't get enough knowledge. And it just took off. And The things that I learned, I never dreamed it could ever be that great. And when it came down to it at the end, and I looked back on it, there were some key things that I really learned. And one of those was, if you want to have great practice, you need to have the best quality. And then you need to have absolute the best customer service. And if you can put those two things together, then you're going to have a growing practice. But there's one problem. That doesn't mean you're going to be profitable.
So you need to add to that the top-line efficiency. So when you put those three things together, you're going to be able to grow a great practice. And on top of that, you need to have an incredible team. And to build that team requires leadership. And so by doing all of those things, I was able to build and become one of the top producers and have one of the top practices in the country. And then in the Richmond area, we've got all of the insurance issues that we're going through. I formed a co-op with 60 practices and over 100 dentists. And so we were able to build within that and become far more profitable because we could lower our overhead on so many things. And so my practice grew even more. And then I got to that point where what was my exit strategy going to be? And I kept looking at every opportunity, every option. And I was one of those big anti-corporate doctors. Oh, boy, corporate was bad. But everything just kept going back to Heartland Dental. And eventually, I affiliated with Heartland, and it was the greatest thing ever. So I've had so many magnificent experiences all the way through.
And now that was able to guide me and give me so much knowledge and so many different experiences. And now I'm excited to share that with everybody.

Liz Lundry, RDH - Yeah. And so you're passionate about what you do. You've had this wonderful so many years of doing something that really you enjoy doing, and that shows. No doubt. That's also your success. And with all of that experience, you mentor doctors so they also can develop elite practices by being strong leaders because it is all about leadership. I know that as a trainer myself, the success of the training depends on the leadership skills of the doctor. Tell us about your seminars.

Dr. Jeff Blackburn - Well, if you go to Dr. Blackburn's seminars. Com, you can see them all there. I do a full-day seminar, which is obviously my favorite one, and that is the Pursuit of Dental Excellence. Where I came up with that seminar and put that together was I kept getting to ask. What does it take to become a top-producing dentist? Dentists. And I thought about that over and over and over and looked at my career, and I realized that my goal was never to be a top-producing dentist. It was to achieve excellence. Our practice model was to experience dental excellence. So that seminar is, I break everything down. You need to have excellence in leadership. You need to have excellence in marketing. You need to have excellence in your practice culture. And there are so many areas in scheduling, you name it, the hygiene department. There are so many areas that you need to have excellence. And I break those all down, and we go through how to achieve and what it takes to achieve excellence in all of those areas. And when you go after excellence and you achieve it in so many different areas, and the more areas you achieve it, as in skill development, you will find that you can't even believe the success and the life that you are going to live. And that's my favorite one. But that one just leads in because the top thing in all of it is what we've just talked about. It's all about leadership. I did one for Heartland Dental's 25th anniversary, Winter Conference this past winter, and it was on the pursuit of leadership excellence. I really enjoyed that. Went over extremely well. I'm also an oral cancer survivor.

Liz Lundry, RDH - Yes. And- Please tell us about that experience, because I can only imagine how frightening that diagnosis was. Tell us more about the emotional aspects of battling oral cancer.

Dr. Jeff Blackburn -Oh, jeez. That's a tough one. You think about that and it was 16 years ago that I finished my last treatment, and I still think about it almost every day. The moment that you get diagnosed that you have got a malignancy and they don't know where it's coming from, it is devastating. And at that moment in my life, I was a single dad. I was raising four kids. I had them half of the time. I was coaching all of their teams. I was the healthiest guy in the world. I was merging another practice into mine. I had so much going on, and I got hit with that, and it just hit me like a ton of bricks. It was just a shock. And I went out into my car after that phone call, and I just sat down and I balled my eyes off for a half hour. And then it took a while, and then I finally got it to that point that it was, you know what? No matter what happens, the one thing I'm going to show my children is that I'm going to go down fighting. So no matter what obstacle they ever get in front of them, they are never going to quit. And when I did that, emotionally, I was able to become aggressive and go after it instead of pitting myself. But I can tell you, in hindsight, I'm so happy that I went through that. I only had a 50 % chance that I was going to live five years. But the life that and how I've been able to look at life so differently and love deeper and be a better friend, a better boss, a better dentist, a better husband, all of those things, it really was a great thing instead of a negative, except for some of the physical things that you still go through 16 years later, but it always above your head. Are you ever going to get hit with that again?

Liz Lundry, RDH - Why? And it's really what you're doing now is what we all should be doing all the time is living every moment to the fullest, because no matter how healthy you are, you never know when it's going to be over.

Dr. Jeff Blackburn- So we've got to grasp it and love every moment.

Liz Lundry, RDH - So having gone through the treatments, which can be just pretty horrific and so difficult to go through. And you're on the board of oral cancer cause. So can you share with us how Stella Life has helped oral cancer cause patients? And with a lot of the symptoms that they get as they're going through their chemo or radiation of the head or neck.

Dr. Jeff Blackburn - Absolutely. I want to just mention one thing first for anybody that is interested. I am doing a seminar with Concord Dental Seminars on October 12th. It's a two-hour webinar, and that is on treating the oral cancer patient. So, anybody who wants to find out more, they can do that. Now, let's go back to your question on StellaLife because you guys are the greatest. I can't tell you, every time that we have asked for anything, you have been there. I don't know how many bottles, how much stuff you have given to each and every one of those patients that has been in absolute need, that couldn't afford to do it on their own. And you donated it without blinking. You have been on our social thon, when we are at meetings, you guys have invited us over to your booth. Oral cancer cause is so much better off because of what you do and what you provide for the patients. What those patients get is something that helps reduce the amount of pain, the amount of ulcers, just how horrendous the treatment i, and what the symptoms it brings on. You guys have just been a lifesaver to so many people.And what you've done for oral cancer cause, we are totally indebted to you. Thank you.

Liz Lundry, RDH - It's so important to us to do that. And all of our product specialists offer that to all of their doctors. If there's somebody in the practice who is battling cancer and can't afford StellaLife we will provide it for them. So we've always been committed to that. Yes. Thank you so much for acknowledging that.

Dr. Jeff Blackburn- You're amazing. You're amazing.

Liz Lundry, RDH - You're amazing. So you're helping so many people. Our mission, as everyone knows, the StellaLife and Beyond is improving people's lives. You're doing that on so many levels and teaching doctors how they can do that with their patients as well and live better lives as clinicians, getting that balance as you are able to do and then go through all you've gone through. Pretty amazing. So thank you for everything you're doing and for all of the encouragement and the information and the support that you're giving to so many in so many different arenas. So thank you for your time today. And please look out for Dr. Blackburn's courses, and Dr. Blackburn's seminars. We'll have that link up for you as well. But there's a lot to be learned there to become better at what we all do. I really want to thank everybody who joined us today for this wonderful conversation with Dr. Jeff Blackburn. Thank you so much. You're welcome.

Dr. Jeff Blackburn - Have a wonderful time. I've enjoyed it. Thank you.

Liz Lundry, RDH - That is so great. I'm so glad you were here, and I want to thank everybody again and encourage you all to keep learning, to stay healthy, and to, most of all, stay happy. Thank you all.