What A Successful Dentist Can Teach You About Client Relationships
I bet you never thought about asking your dentist for some advice on how to build your prospect list. You should.
A successful dentist is not only a great dentist, but also a master relationship builder. They have to be.
Think about it, they have to build relationships. Most of their business is from referrals. And referrals demand relationships and communication. If they don’t do this, they won’t have any patients.
Last night I was the keynote speaker at the annual Augusta Dental Association dinner. The title of my presentation was, “The Myth of the Rational Client – Building Relationships.”
While doing my research, I found out that the greatest challenge facing dentists was NOT the clinical skills of dentistry, technology, and so forth. It was engaging, acquiring, and retaining patients – building relationships based on communication.
This makes perfect sense, but I doubt most people think this is what your dentist worries about.
At the reception before dinner, I asked everyone I could if this was, in fact, a problem. To a person, they said it was.
I also asked everyone who looked like they’d been at dentistry for more than a few years what they thought was the most important thing they had done to build a successful practice. Again, to a person, they said it was their conscious and systematic commitment to building and sustaining relationships.
Next I tracked down a few senior dental students from Georgia Regents University Dental School and asked them what they thought would be their biggest challenges after graduation. Yep, again, building and sustaining relationships was key – followed closely by paying for school.
General dentistry, like many professions, has in recent years become more commodity like. Patients have no way to judge clinical skills; they really don’t know much about how it all works, and generally lump everyone together by specialty.
Patients do, however, discriminate emotionally. Their feeling brains like anything and everything that shouts “patient-friendly” – easy, fast, and no pain. Remember, the brain is all about staying alive. Pain avoidance is hardwired somewhere in the unconscious brain.
The dentists who “get it” understand that their practice is built upon relationships and solid communication. Technical skills are important, but not that important. Why? Because the feeling brain doesn’t understand or really care about that.
If you’re in a profession that is now a near-commodity, or sell to this profession, take note. Clients, customers, and patients choose with their feeling emotional brains. Their lazy thinking brains stay out of it as much as possible.
Start focusing on relationships and communications. Save all the features and benefits stuff for support and back-up.