By Roger P. Levin, DDS
The orthodontic practice as a business model is actually rather simple. The more new patients you have and the more of those patients that you close, the higher your practice production. So it stands to reason that one of the keys to orthodontic practice success is and will always be acquiring new patients. And getting off on the right foot with new patients requires making a great first impression.
Go the Extra Mile for a Great First Impression
Traditionally, we’re told to smile, shake hands, and make eye contact when trying to make a good first impression. While this is still great advice and should be continued as a basic foundation, it’s no longer good enough to create that great, knock-your-socks-off first impression in this world of increased competition where everyone is vying for people’s attention. You need to go the extra mile to really stand out. As you know and have learned from everyone, “You only get one chance to make a great first impression.”
Here are four “extra-mile” ways to create great first impressions:
- Give every new patient and parent a compliment. Know enough about them from the initial call or learn something about them when they come to the practice that allows you to give them a compliment. It could be an admiring remark about how polite the child is, what a great school they go to, or anything related to family or activities. Giving a compliment shows people that you’re a positive person and you’re glad to see them.
- Encourage the parent and child to talk about themselves. The more people talk about themselves, the more they talk themselves into becoming patients in your practice. Research now shows that 40% of an individual’s conversation is about how they feel, what they think, what their opinion is, etc. Having people talk about themselves is a powerful way to develop a great relationship and create a high level of comfort for the parent and patient.
- Don’t use language such as “we need” or “we have to.” Talk about “want” not “need.” The word “need” conveys that you “have to” which is negative and “want” expresses a strong desire for something which is more positive. Use statements such as, “We want you to have a great experience in our practice,” or “We want to get a great picture so that we can show you how fantastic your smile has become.”
- Share personal stories about yourself. Treatment coordinators and doctors should share personal stories with parents and patients. Stories that are funny, place you in relatable situations, or are self-deprecating are great for helping parents and patients relate to you on a different level and become extremely comfortable in your presence.
While it’s always important to smile, shake hands, and make eye contact, it’s no longer enough to make a great and memorable first impression. Use these extra-mile ways to welcome parents and patients into your practice for greater success.
ROGER P. LEVIN, DDS is a third-generation general dentist and the Founder and CEO of Levin Group, Inc., a dental management consulting firm that has worked with over 26,000 dentists. Dr. Levin, an internationally-known dental practice management speaker has written 65 books and over 4,300 articles. www.levingroup.com . He is also the Executive Founder of Dental Business Study Clubs – Dentistry’s only All-Business Study Clubs, the next generation of dental business education. www.dbsclubs.com