As a patient and consumer of dental services, I pay attention to what happens in the dental office. I pay much closer attention to how people treat each other and ultimately the tone and respect set by the dentist to the team.
In a dental office, “every conversation is a selling and coaching moment.” Every interaction whether with a patient or each other constructs lasting images in people’s minds.
Considering how important first impressions can be, three words are deadly to the image and credibility of your entire team. These three words, send an extremely negative message to the patient and everyone around you. These words – just nine simple letters and one apostrophe – can have an incredibly detrimental effect on creating new relationships, establishing credibility and attracting new patients. Ready….? Here they are:
“I’m just the…”
If a dentist allows these words anywhere in the practice, it starts a downward spiral in the mind of the patient.
Trust me on this point. If not heeded and managed by the dentists, these words will have a disadvantageous effect on profits, retention and case acceptance. “I’m just the” sends a powerful message about how your team views themselves and their value and contributions to your organization. “I’m just the” sets up a cascade of unflattering perceptions and opinions in mind and hearts of the people who hear them. It creates an indelible image that you have little to no value.
As a dentist and business owner you need to know why people might use these words:
- This expression is one people are wired to say, and it sends the message that “I don’t matter.” It’s akin to saying, “Please don’t take me seriously.” Usually, they are used when we first meet someone (the hygienist for example) and ask, “what do you do?” It’s the unconscious way these words are used that set us up for disengagement.
- Never, ever introduce anyone in your practice as “she’s just the hygienist,” or “he’s just in billing.” As a patient, if I hear my dentist refer to anyone in this way, I will not be back. The new patient acquisition is hard in a good day, and this makes it all the more challenging.
- “I’m just the” is the same as using the word “but” when you should say “and.” Using the word “but” is a bad idea because it negates everything that has been said up to that point. The same result occurs when you say, “I’m just the.” You make it harder on yourself to get what you need, and it drastically affects your ability to leave a lasting, positive impression. You must engage people to further their goals.
- It sends the clear message that you don’t have confidence in what your people do and how THEY contribute every single day. Don’t allow people to waste an opportunity to differentiate by starting with “I’m just the.”
- It telegraphs insecurities. Everyone has them and anyone who suggests that they are not insecure at some level is vulnerable. Secure people are ok with their insecurities and face them with courage and determination. Life can be hard enough without adding to it with these three words.
- Patients like confidence. Don’t squander that golden opportunity with the following answer …” I’m just the” because it has the opposite effect on everyone.
It’s competitive out there! When you use these words, you don’t differentiate or set yourself apart in
As a dentist and business owner, you are responsible for the tone you set and how people interact. If a patient feels that the dentist doesn’t respect the team, they leave.