Bart Knellinger is the CEO and president of Progressive Dental (PD)
Progressive Dental is a full-service practice consulting firm in Clearwater, FL that specializes in helping dental clinicians increase acceptance rates for targeted high dollar procedures through the creation and implementation of customized marketing campaigns.
Bart grew up in Palm Harbor, FL with a family that had a passion for dentistry. His father, Dan Knellinger DDS, has a practice and has been a pillar of the community for over 30 years. His mother, Jennifer Knellinger, has worked by Dr. Knellinger’s side in the office every year since they began seeing patients and is the catalyst behind the growth of the practice. Bart has three sisters, Stacey Verkler, Carol Bou-Sliman, and Jill Schmidt. Stacey is also a dentist and is in practice with Dr. Knellinger. Carol is a new graduate from the University of Louisville School of Dentistry and is in practice with Drs. Knellinger and Verkler. Jill is an accomplished attorney in the Tampa Bay Metro area.
When Bart graduated high school he did not take the same path as his family. His dream was to be an entrepreneur and he believed the most important skills he needed to hone were creative thinking, communication, and determination. There is no better way to manifest all of those aptitudes than to put yourself in a situation in which you have no choice but to succeed.
So at age 19 with $478 in his pocket, Bart drove to Chicago, much to the dismay of his parents. He took a job selling oil changes and pizza coupons door to door the very first week he arrived. He was paid $10 for each one he sold. “I had to sell 20 per day, whether I was sick, tired, sad, or happy… nobody was going to do it for me, so excuses pretty much had no value,” says Knellinger. While working on the streets with nothing to sell except a coupon, Bart managed to thrive. He credits the experience with helping him master communication, rapport, and a work ethic that is second to none.
"Nobody was going to do it for me, so excuses pretty much had no value."
Eighteen months into his journey, a friend told Knellinger that Idearc Media was hiring consultants to sell advertising. The company had recently offered an early retirement buyout package to many of its employees, so the timing was perfect. Knellinger jumped at the chance to work and learn from a Fortune 500 company, which also provided him with the opportunity to move back to Florida. He instantly succeeded at this job and was ranked number one in new and existing sales during his first year. He was also selected for Idearc Media’s prestigious Presidents Club, an honor that recognizes the top 1% out of the thousands of consultants in the company.
Bart loved his job, but there was one aspect that really bothered him. Knellinger would talk to so many different business owners each week he could not possibly know enough about each business to really help them craft a plan for expansion and growth. Therefore, sometimes the marketing would work and sometimes the marketing would not work, but Knellinger never knew why. That is when he decided to start his own marketing firm - Progressive Dental - and focus on learning everything he could in regards to how a practice is run and the problems dentists and their teams face in regards to growth.
For some practices, Knellinger found that the main challenge was in booking the appointments, rather than getting the phone to ring.
“This was when we realized we needed to add staff training, phone tracking, and analytics,” says Knellinger. “Marketing doesn’t stop when the phone rings. It’s almost a travesty if the patients don’t get the care they need because the phone call wasn’t handled properly.” To address this discrepancy, Knellinger implemented staff training, phone scheduling, and treatment planning protocols at PD to assist dental practices in overcoming common objections and improving their new case acceptance rates.
Since the firm’s launch in 2009, PD has achieved superior results for numerous dental practices across the country and abroad using Knellinger’s “Full Circle™” methodology. The Full Circle™ approach employs a combination of strategic planning, patient education, staff training, and analytics to qualify and convert new patients. The success of this marketing innovation distinguished PD from competitors and solidified Knellinger’s reputation as an industry thought leader. A popular speaker on the dental conference circuit, Knellinger remains passionate about equipping today’s dentists with the sales and marketing knowledge they need to sustain a profitable practice.
In 2014, Progressive Dental’s rapid expansion earned the firm a spot on the Inc. 500 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America. “Over the last three years we have come a long way as an organization,” says Knellinger. “The growth of PD is, and will continue to be, contingent upon the growth and success of our clients. Our mission and advantage remains the fact that we always put our clients first. We are prepared to do whatever it takes to help them achieve their goals and build their practices.”
To learn more about PD’s Full Circle™ dental marketing and consulting services, please call (727) 286-6211 to schedule a complimentary consultation.