The Real Value Of Practice Relationships

We’re back with another Weekly Report as we continue our month of giving thanks and expressing gratitude.

When comes down to it, it’s the people in our lives that deserve the greatest appreciation.  In part, because the most valuable assets we can build are relationships.  

Knowledge by itself, worthless.  Money with no purpose or people to benefit from it, worthless.  Even time, worthless without the meaning that people provide it.  And, of course, your practice without any people isn’t worth much either.

Before we begin, I know we have a many new doctors here reading this Weekly Report for the very first time. Welcome, we are happy to have you and you should know you are amongst true peers in a sacred place where you are free to be yourself, pursue your vision, be proud of your ambitions, and practice dentistry on your own terms.

If you are new here, I invite you to further our relationship so we can get to know each another with a one-on-one strategy call and my entire Practice Prosperity Package that I’ll ship out to you immediately.  You can request yours here…

The real secret on making your relationships more meaningful, including your team and your patients, is to put appreciation into action.

First, you have to double down on your authentic belief over how much relationships matter to you.  This means developing some prioritization around them followed by a plan to nurture and grow their value.

Yes, paying attention to them is a form of appreciation.  Sharing words of praise and expressing gratitude are all key foundational behaviors towards making your relationships more significant.

Even the best doctors fall into the trap where most relationships are addressed reactively – when things don’t seem right or when there are mistakes or a lack of performance – instead of being proactive and taking the lead on facilitating them to success.

Now, let’s get really specific here and talk first about the asset of your patient relationships.  

We are not talking about patients as physical, tangible assets but more importantly the relationship between you and your patients.  It’s different than when you sell your practice and you are counting “active patients” on a spreadsheet as a way to calculate monetary worth.  

Instead, the real value is in the trust and relationship you develop; which cannot be bought or solid.  It is unique to you.

Use your genuine appreciation for your patients as a way to strengthen your relationships.  You start first with your commitment to really connecting emotionally with people.  This is from the phone call all the way through the clinical experience to the completion of treatment and the follow-up.

You want to set the right tone up front to illustrate your desire to connect with people.  Everyone on your team should embody this.  A true concern and interest in the person – not their mouth and not their money – but their health and wellbeing.

Every doctor and team would say this is common sense but as I often quote one of my great friends, is it common practice?

Take time now to think through your patient experience, through each team member’s role, through your own engagement with patients and ask yourself…

Is it more about the transaction, the task, the system, the protocols – or about bringing to life the experience in a personal way.

Is it more about the dentistry – or the patient?

There is a lot of good news to this because when you make it about the relationship, like all relationships, you have mutual expectations and benefit.  Obviously, they coming to your practice for a reason that’s not social. 

Are you clear with the expectations you have over your patients’ health?  Are you clear with your clinical philosophy and standard of care?  How are these conveyed, presented, educated, and experienced?

Are you discovering what expectations your patients have for you and for themselves?  This must happen before it’s too late where you are chasing dentistry or dollars on the back end.  Worse yet, you end up dealing with a disgruntled patient or a bad review because there was never a consensus on why they are there.

I’m not being passive aggressive here when I ask these questions, I’m seriously asking because you need to have an answer.

Then there is another fun part of appreciating your patients by constant positive reinforcement when they progress by making smart health decisions.  This can be done with words and it can be done with celebrations and gifting.

One of the most talked about ‘takeaways’ from our initial team immersion training are the suggestions we make on structured follow-up and gifting strategies.  I call it appreciation marketing that serve as relationship enhancers. They also happen to be referral stimulators, trust creators, wow factors, and value builders.

We could also talk just overall about your culture of valuing relationships and the overall feel of appreciation for patients from the positive talk to the preparation done in the morning huddles to consistency of following through on commitments.

It is a sign of respect, a show of gratitude, a demonstration of being valued when you prepare for your day, know your patients, and walk in with a plan for someone.

Okay, so let’s take a moment and flip this over to talk about your relationships with the people that make this all happen: your team.

Every doctor here reading this already values their team far more so than most run-of-the-mill practice owners that live with a lot of resentment for their team and considers them a necessary evil instead of welcome, valued, appreciated, cherished, and essential part dentistry.

Focus on being the source of the positive energy and lead by example with sharing gratitude every day with your team.  As the practice owner, not just the doctor, you have the responsibility for setting your team up for success by creating an environment they can thrive in, be fulfilled by, and be grateful for.

This begins with fully transforming into a team-driven culture with empowerment and leadership where they not only do but want to take initiative because they see the bigger picture and greater purpose of what you are doing.  The secret to this is… if they feel valued, they will be valuable.

I tell every team member the greatest sign of you being valued is your doctor caring enough about you and believing enough in you that they are willing to invest in your personal and professional development.

Here’s a quick shortcut to check in… the more you treat your team like your patients, the better.  Like we discussed about your patients, do you know your team members’ goals?  Are you helping them to be successful or letting them make excuses?

My challenge to you is if you are going to appreciate these vital relationship assets and you want a better return on your people then you have to commit to it, in both time and effort.  You want to have a clear vision over what success looks like and then get everyone to rally around that mission.

The key question to answer, when it comes to any relationship from your perspective in making it more valuable, is not what you are getting out of it but what they are.  The reciprocation is easy if you address this first.

Relationships go deeper than that and begin with mutual respect, clarity of purpose, and acts of appreciation.

With relationships, you take the lead.  That’s what successful leaders, practice owners, doctors do.  The result will be you won’t have a team or practice of followers, you will instead create a team and practice of leaders in their own right because valuing relationships as the greatest asset is the way to have it all, to do it the right way, and generate greater significance than just the financial prosperity that will then follow as a result.

We’re going to take these past two weeks and bundle them together to talk about how all of this applies to and directly impacts your own life, peace of mind, autonomy, and fulfillment.  The keys here are how you prevent burnout, overwhelm, frustration, or stressors.  

I’m looking forward to next week, it’s going to be deep.  And by the way…

I am grateful for the opportunity to serve and for the relationship we share!

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