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Everything Dental Blog – October 2015

Trust Me on This – Relationships Matter.

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Early in our lives our relationships provide security and intimacy. These relationships are nurturing and supportive and they provide the basis for our social existence. During this period we are entirely dependent on others.

Over a lifetime we develop thousands of relationships. These relationships are formed for a variety of reasons. We often enter into relationships for satisfaction, intimacy, dependency or need. Relationships will vary in intensity and authenticity as circumstance, time and proximity bring about change. Instinctively, we seek relationships that are meaningful, supportive and encouraging. In business we strive for collaborative and strategic relationships. Unfortunately, during our lifetime, we will all experience relationships that fall short of expectations or lack mutual respect. At some time in our personal and business life we will find ourselves in a relationship that is one sided. In my business and personal relationships I believe respect, humility, sincerity and commitment truly matter because every relationship will be tested and will have its challenges. Mutual respect and commitment is what will get you through those tough times!

Casual relationships (work acquaintances, friends of friends, neighbors, and social media connections) may be convenient and great for networking but they generally score low on the relationship intensity meter. Because these relationships can be superficial in nature, they have limitations when it comes to influence and trust. Of course there are exceptions to every rule. I have found people on social media who share my passion for the business of dentistry and they have similar core and family values. These people inspire me. They are committed to being relevant in their careers and with their clients, network and loved ones.

Take-away -A mutually beneficial business relationship requires respect – honesty – fairness – trust – support – shared responsibility and an economic benefit to span the test of time!

 

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We are in the midst of an industry wide consolidation. Dental practices are merging, being acquired and closing their doors. New start-ups are down and group dentistry is omnipresent. Distribution and manufacturers are merging or acquiring as we just saw with Dentsply buying Sirona. As we operate in this highly competitive and dynamic environment we need to embrace the tools that can make us more effective or help us manage our business better.

Dentists are often puzzled when a patient doesn’t accept treatment even when they offer a credible solution that will enhance form, function and esthetics. In these cases it comes down to just a few legitimate patient objections. Fear of dentistry, lack of trust or lack of funds.

Dealer reps and consultants are surprised when doctors won’t invest in equipment or consulting services that will yield immediate profit. Coincidently, the primary reasons doctors don’t pull the obvious trigger is because of fear (fear of failure or making a bad financial decision), lack of trust or lack of funds. In both the dental and consultant example stated above, there is a hidden objection which has prevented a deal from being consummated.

The only way to penetrate a hidden objection is to identify it and ask for permission to address it. If you are trusted and have a history of being a problem solver you will be given the opportunity to make your case. In order to have this delicate conversation, you must have a trusting relationship. You must earn trust.

Trust is a funny thing. I believe my mechanic at Acura is the best auto mechanic I’ve ever had. He is the only one I will let work on my car but I wouldn’t let him manage my retirement account! I have a childhood friend who is like family. I love him like a brother but I wouldn’t trust him to represent me on a job interview.

We all want substantial, meaningful and sustainable relationships that blossom with intimacy and trust. From the day we are born we are forging relationships. As we develop and experience life, we become wiser about the world around us and operate with intention. This is when we voluntarily and actively cultivate interpersonal and strategic relationships with purpose.

When a dental office provides quality care in an efficient and professional setting they are meeting the publics’ expectations. When a dental office provides all of the above and delivers a great patient experience the practice will thrive to new heights. Patients will accept treatment at higher rate when they trust you and have a relationship with you. Staff members are more committed, and tend to work harder when they have a good relationship with the management team.

I recently had a client share his disappointment about a few things with me. Truth be told, he had made some good points and I was thrown back because I never expected it. This client, who I consider a friend, has been with me for twenty plus years and has been very loyal. He is bright, easy going and rarely gets annoyed, but when something is troubling him he expresses his concerns. Earlier today, as I was working on some of his concerns I realized how lucky I was. My client was fully invested in our relationship. Had he not been committed to our relationship he would have left me for another supplier and would have not talked to me. This is the greatest lesson of all. Relationships require communication, commitment and work! Whether it is a marriage, parent/child relationship, business partnership or a long distance personal relationship it requires an investment in time and commitment or it will not last.

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