The Most Important Question to Ask Your Team

Yes. Being a conversationalist is a skill that can be taught, practiced, and then massaged and refined into an art that is extremely individualized based on the person using it.

While clinical knowledge is critical, necessary, and obviously of significant importance in your Dental Office, it is the ability to convey, converse, and convince a patient of the essential and life-long benefit of their oral health that ultimately matters.

I can give you countless examples of Team members who have far less Dental experience but are much better communicators who influence more patients to proceed with treatment.

You can be the judge of what you value, patients getting healthier or people being able to talk to dental colleagues about the newest industry jargon or technology or techniques.

Both having the knowledge and being able to communicate it matter. Focusing on clinical or human skills isn’t an option, one without the other has no value in your daily patient interaction.

I suggest you use your “training” time with your team to work on both. Interestingly enough this month I am hosting an in-depth day of practice and immersion into the psychology and emotional buy-in of Patient care and effective presentation of financial arrangements for Treatment Acceptance with some of my most advanced Clients and their Team Members who dialogue about treatment and money with patients and serve as Coordinator, Manager, or otherwise engage with New Patients for the purpose of achieving case acceptance and completion of comprehensive treatment.

It’s going to be an amazing day and it’s something that is ignored and undervalued and quite frankly every decision a patient makes by the time they walk out of your office boils down to those 3 things.

Next week I’m going to share with you the 7 most powerful “transition statements” or sentences that create dialogue with patients to bring about influence, interest, awareness, acceptance and open their minds to listen to whatever you want to say or present or educate them on.

You will find magic in them and they will add to your Team’s arsenal of conversational dialogue about Treatment with patients.

For this weeks Huddle, I have one simple question for you to work on with your Team… if you were to answer the following question and then go around to every Staff Member in your Practice and on a piece of paper, behind closed doors, to a patient over the phone or in an operatory, at any point of interaction would they be able to answer the question exactly as you would expect?

The question is this:

What is Dr. (insert your name here) philosophy on dental care, oral health, cosmetic dentistry, restorative care, preventative care, perio, disease, holistic or comprehensive health…
Yes, I know, always a more complicated question with me, you ought to be use to that by now. The point is quite simple, profound, and extremely important.

You are the leader, the practice and patient interaction is supposed to be guided by YOUR approach, philosophy and principles. The number one key to a precise and controllable outcome for your patients is CONGRUENT communication and interaction with your patients and every one of your team members.

I suggest you either a) answer the questions first for each of these and then have your Team do the same, or if you want to take some chances, b) go around the room and ask each person to comment on a different aspect of care and have them state what they believe you would want them to be saying to a patient.

The only way to align everyone is to put it on the table, create the standard and expectation, then practice and engrain it in everyone and then ensure it becomes written in stone.

While you are at it you ought to double check yourself and make sure you’re not limiting yourself in terms of your expectations, making sure you’re not stuck back in the stone ages and practicing dentistry at the most basic and foundational level, if you aren’t taking your patients through the continuum of care and moving beyond urgent, emergency, reactive, patchwork dentistry then get with the times because society has long left you behind.

Please don’t underestimate the power of this little exercise, the only way to check-up on everyone, you included, is to open the dialogue and find out what reality looks like, it doesn’t mean it can’t change, I help Dentists do it everyday, but you got to have an accurate view of where things are at.

This…is the most important discussion to have with your team and the foundation to your entire practice and the culture your patients experience when they put their trust in you for their care.

I invite you to type up your answers to each of the “areas” in your practice as to your philosophy and send them to me. Some reward and best of all my personal comments will be gifted to anyone taking the initiative to do so.