Many studies have been done about what makes a person successful. In fact, here is a simple exercise to do. Think about a person who you know who is successful in dentistry and develop a list of all the skills, attitudes and attributes that person has. Once you have done this, list them into skills, attitudes and product knowledge.

I bet on the list there are many skills such as, good communication and listening skills, and the ability to build empathy with the patient. On the attitudes side, are there things like positivity and enthusiasm? Have you also listed product knowledge? On occasions, when I have a discussion with a dentist, the technical skills are often left out. Although vital, technical skills only usually account for about 10-15% of a person’s success and without good communication skills, the ability to build empathy and gain commitment from the patient, you might never be able to put your extensive technical ability into practice.

The bottom line is that the amount of income that you will derive from dentistry will depend on how good you are at selling your ideas and communicating what you can do for the patient.

  1. Prepare for your appointment – here you can check the previous notes from your patient’s records, have a team meeting for the day and ensure that you are fully prepared both mentally and that you are positive about your day. You are serving the public so be excited and positive. If it is a new patient, get as much information from the patient as you can from the reception team, this will help you with the next step.
  2. Build rapport – spend just a few minutes building rapport and making the patient feel important. Talk about work, them, become genuinely interested in the person and make them feel like they are the most important person in the world. Put them at ease.
  3. Ask questions – after building rapport you can carry on asking questions, but this time about their clinical health. What they like or don’t like about their appearance and what they would like to change. Find out their vision.
  4. Provide a solution. Only when you fully understand the patients goals do you provide a solution. Use benefits and do not talk too technical. Use evidence to back up what you are saying.
  5. Test for commitment – once you have provided a solution, ask the patient if they are happy and what their reaction is
  6. Ask for commitment – if the answer is positive ask for commitment.
  7. Follow up with the patient during and after treatment. No one does this and you will stand out
  8. Ask for referrals – once you have followed the above seven steps, then you have the right to ask for referrals, so that you can build a pipeline of the right type of patient to your door.