“We Keep Waiting on the World to Change”
– John Mayer
For over a decade I have felt the need to share my experiences, both from work and life, with younger adults. It is cathartic for me as I receive a great deal of pleasure mentoring people. Most of the time I help young people to realize their value and potential. It’s amazing how many talented people go through life not knowing that they are exceptional.
People must understand that they have value and to an extent, can control their own fate. This isn’t some esoteric perspective; it’s the lessons I have learned after almost four decades of serving clients. The sales game can be lonely and thankless unless you attract the right clients and put your efforts where they matter most. Ideally, we’d like to believe that all customers are equal. However, sometimes practicality wins when you have limited time and resources. A patient who keeps their appointments, refers patients, pays their bill on time and accepts treatment recommendations, is a great patient. A patient that maintains a balance and cancels their hygiene appointment because it’s a beach day or it’s raining outside, is not such a great patient. Who would you accommodate or squeeze into an already overcrowded schedule, if they called and said they were having discomfort?
Managers, account executives and doctors who depend on relationships are often silenced with the fear of loss or repudiation. In most cases, a sales consultant can provide valuable resources and offer ideas on how to grow the clients business but many resist. They fear that some clients are only focused on the transaction and price and are not interested in their advice. This challenging and consulting style is not welcome by some clients but it’s critical if you want to positively impact a business partner’s behavior. A dentist may not excuse a lousy patient from the practice because they fear losing the patient and others (family members and friends) from the practice. Many dentists fail to communicate the oral/systemic link or the life changing benefits [electives] of modern day dentistry to their patients. Some are reluctant to inform the patient about the full extent of their dental needs because they fear an expensive treatment plan may alienate the patient. I wonder how that patient would feel if they were in the hospital emergency room and the doctor on staff didn’t share their complete diagnosis and treatment options.
As my readers know, our industry is changing rapidly. The movement towards a digital workflow compounded by insurance participation and an industry wide contraction is creating uncertainty. The way patients find their dentists has changed. The way dentists perform dentistry and the menu of services they provide has changed. And the way dentists buy supplies and equipment has changed. These monumental shifts in the way business is done is causing stress as well as challenging the status quo for all of us in the dental industry. Whether you are the doctor, hygienist, staff member or dealer rep you are affected by these distractors. This is why business partners must hold each other accountable. Failure to change and navigate the new normal will take its toll on the practice and will impact production, cash flow and the Drs. exit strategy.
Harder For Us But Easier For the Patient
Modern Day Dentistry is amazing. We have preventive, restorative, cosmetic and surgical solutions that were not available a decade ago. Patients have better choices and outcomes because today, dentistry is multidimensional. It’s not just about bleeding gums and taking people out of pain anymore. Need based (pain driven) dentistry transformed into a need/want based profession in the late eighties. In the nineties we moved towards preventive, restorative and elective dentistry. Today we have entered a new era of same day dentistry with services ranging from whitening, implants, clear aligners, facial fillers and sleep medicine.
Patients can find the right dentist who specializes in their clinical and cosmetic needs very easily. They can search by zip code, insurance participation, clinical ratings, patient reviews and elective services with the click of a mouse. More and more dentists are marketing a modern facility, new technology, cosmetic services, implant placement, crowns in an hour, sleep medicine (sleep apnea appliances) and same day dentistry on their website.
Another interesting fact about today’s patient is their enhanced dental IQ. Patients become educated about dentistry by surfing the web. It is common for dental practices to promote their practice on their home page. A patient will sum up your office within minutes by scanning your web site. They’ll know if you have the technology they seek and if you provide the services they are looking for. They will also determine if they like you or trust you by your web content. If you do not have a compelling story and great visuals (avoid common stock photos), then you won’t attract the patients you seek. If your website is not updated regularly and is not mobile ready, than forget about attracting millennials and young families.
Are you still waiting for the world to change?