You’re only lying to yourself

Many dentists tend to rely on what they call ‘conventional wisdom’. In reality, this conventional wisdom is often a pack of what we more bluntly call ‘lies’. These lies can hold you back throughout your career.

As a result of consulting to thousands of dentists and specialists since 1985, Levin Group has identified more than 100 lies that dentists tell themselves. Here are four more of the most common:

1: ‘Only wealthy patients will choose implants/elective treatment’
Don’t diagnose pocketbooks. In today’s casual age, it can be surprisingly difficult to gauge a patient’s economic status. For example, a male patient that you don’t know especially well walks into your office wearing a polo shirt and jeans. Are you going to assume that because he isn’t wearing an Armani suit that he can’t afford a pricey elective treatment? Big mistake. Remember, while some people flaunt their wealth, others deliberately downplay their financial status for any number of reasons. This man in jeans might be the boss of his own company but he just doesn’t like wearing suits. Who knows? The point is, passing judgment on him can be detrimental to you. You need to present treatment options based on what you think they need or want, not on what you think they can afford.

2. ‘My reception staff does not need to understand the services we offer’
If you believe this, you may be shocked to learn that patients typically seek a second opinion about recommended treatment before they even leave the practice.
For example, a patient stops by the front desk and asks a staff member what he or she thinks about the procedure you have just recommended. When patients hear a response such as, ‘I don’t really know much about that stuff,’ they are not exactly going to be brimming with confidence in you or your practice. Your reception staff spends much of their time talking with the patients. As a result, a majority of patients will ask the staff clinical questions. If trained properly, your staff will be able to relay the benefits of treatment to patients and reinforce its value.

3. ‘My staff is only motivated by money’
Make no mistake about it – money is a big motivator. However, it’s far from the only one. Now, more than ever before, employees want to experience some enjoyment in what they do for a living. The factors that allow team members to find enjoyment in their jobs are quite varied. Some enjoy feeling needed. Others enjoy knowing that they are good at their job. Some enjoy the fact that they have a lot of say in how the practice runs. Some enjoy interacting with patients and helping people. For some, it’s a convenient location. Others just like who they work with. As the leader of your practice, you need to discover what motivates your team so that you can make sure they continue to be motivated.

4. ‘Staff meetings aren’t worth having. They just turn into  ‘gripe’ sessions’
Even the best of inventions can be put to the wrong use. Staff meetings are one of the best things you can do for yourself and your staff. Remember, a little complaining is okay. It helps some people to let off steam. However, it can’t end there. Otherwise, the meeting ends with the sense of, ‘Well, we just depressed ourselves enormously. Let’s get out there and see if we can sink even lower’. Let’s face it – a meeting like that isn’t even worth having. On the other hand, an ideal staff meeting can make all the difference to office morale. Keep in mind that the meeting is about identifying the pitfalls and creating solutions. The end of the meeting should always feel upbeat, like, ‘We have things handled. Everyone is doing a great job. We’re hitting our goals. Let’s go!’

When your firmly held convictions are fictitious, you’re headed for disaster. By dispensing with beliefs that can undermine your success, you position yourself better for a successful practice throughout your entire career.

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