9.28.12 Issue #551 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Gene St. Louis
VP Practice Solutions
McKenzie Management
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9 Steps to Creating the Perfect Patient Relationship
By Gene St. Louis

Before getting into why the 9 steps to creating the perfect patient relationship are important in dentistry, you have to first understand how I began teaching about these steps. I can’t actually take 100% credit for them, but I can take credit for adapting them in dentistry. They were developed by Dale Carnegie, who was an American writer, lecturer, and the developer of famous courses in self-improvement, salesmanship, corporate training, public speaking, and interpersonal skills. He was the author of How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936), a massive bestseller that remains popular today.

I began teaching dental teams about using these steps and others in the mid 80’s. It became apparent that most dental teams valued this way of presenting cases and felt it to be the most natural and comfortable. The first realization one must have is to begin REALLY focusing on How to Win Friends and Influence People. There are many principles that Dale Carnegie taught, but if you can simply apply these 9 to your daily living you will absolutely be on the road to greater success in the treatment room.

1. Don’t Criticize, Condemn, or Complain
This is the only negative principle he developed, and thought if we could master just one principle this should be the one.á

2. Give Honest, Sincere Appreciation
This is not very often applied in the dental office, yet not only the staff appreciate a “great job” comment - this applies to the staff saying it to the dentist also.

3. Arouse in the Other Person an Eager Want
THIS IS A NO BRAINER IN DENTISTRY; if we can’t arouse an eager want (get excited, with positive attitude and enthusiasm) around our patients about our dentistry and what ideal treatment is available to them, we should consider another career. Think about the iPhone, Steve Jobs mastered this principle.

4. Become Genuinely Interested in Other People
Nobody likes a bragger. It isn’t about you and your family, kids, staff, etc. - it is all about them. People love to talk.

5. Smile
Amazing that we are in the smile business, yet we walk around doom and gloom in the office and aren’t smiling all the time - after all, that is our business!

6. Use People’s Names
Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language. We must be mindful of our patients’ names and pronounce them correctly, use them often.

7. Be a Good Listener
Encourage others to talk about themselves. When you become genuinely interested in other people, the listening is easy. You should be listening 90% of the time and talking 10% - not 80/20!

8. Talk in Terms of the Other Person’s Interests
Find out what is of most interest to them. There is an entire technique on this, but just remember to keep asking questions about what they are interested in.

9. Make the Other Person Feel Importantů and Do It Sincerely
Most dental practices do this very well - but it’s about the little things in the dental practice that we can do for the patients such as having a refreshment area, hanging up their coat, going around the desk to greet them and shake their hand, or offering a warm cloth to wipe their face after treatment. You get the idea.

I urge you to think about choosing one, if not all 9 of these principles, and incorporating them into your life in the practice and at home. The entire success of the practice depends upon the result of the case presentation, as does everyone’s paycheck. A one-on-one presentation with the patient, where you are exhibiting confidence, is what creates an eager want in the patient. Your enthusiastic attitude is what the patients will see, feel and desire. Everyone in the office must believe in the dentist and dentistry being presented and performed, including the dentists, office manager, dental assistant, front desk and hygienist.

“Hang your hat” on your ability to be the best clinician and diagnostician you know you can be. Pretend Dr. Gordon Christensen or any one of your favorite “gurus” is coming to your office tomorrow to review your charts and sit in on the presentation. How prepared would you be? How prepared are you now? What must you change?

To be the best presenter you must be the best listener. There are three ways people listen:

1. Listening about the person:
• Not an active participant in conversation
• Tendency to fade in and out
• Not concerned with what the other person is saying

2. Listening for a person:
• Looking only for the opportunity to speak
• Analyzing/prejudging content before the person is finished speaking

3. Listening to a person:
• Involved in/mentally present for conversation
• Reading between the lines
• Asking for/making clarifying statements
• Truest/most sincere form of listening

By using “Listening To” skills, one will be effective in revealing the values, concerns, and any objections of the patient. The information gathered is then tailored to fit that particular patient’s needs.

Presenting a great case presentation should have the following:
• Present the patient’s oral conditions - Inform before you perform
• Inform the patient of their needed treatment and benefits - Don’t mention what the benefit is to you or the practice
• Identify any probable consequences of non-treatment - this is the first item looked for in malpractice cases
• Identify the estimated time and financial requirements of their recommended treatment - your Financial/Treatment Coordinator should be present during the presentation
• Any questions or objections should be addressed by the Dental Assistant, Treatment Coordinator or the Doctor
• Always remember to assist patients in arriving at decisions that are in THEIR BEST INTEREST - NOT OURS!

Stay tuned. Next time we’ll discuss 9 essential steps when treatment planning your next patient.

Interested in speaking to Gene about your practice concerns? Email gene@mckenziemgmt.com

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