Is Your Team Playing the Same Game as You?






One question that I always get asked is, “Do your hygienists sell dentistry for you?”  I am always taken back by that question because I feel that the ultimate responsibility of selling the case belongs with the dentist.  However, there are certain roles that significantly contribute to the selling process.

Just the other day two staff members approached me just as I was about to sit down and start drilling.  With gloves on and mask in place they informed me that the nine o’clock patient didn’t want his teeth cleaned.  He just wanted a filling place and then he wanted to leave.

Okay…stop action.

If you are a dentist…what would you be feeling right at that moment?

What was I being asked to do?  De-glove and de-mask to go into the next room and tell the patient to get his teeth cleaned?  Of course not.  But how many times during the course of the day are there “opportunities to persuade” that staff members can easily handle.

Now I’m not saying they have to “sell a complex case,” but there are moments when just positional leadership can be quite effective.

In this instance I hold myself responsible for not inspiring my staff to take on the leadership role of persuasion.  And in speaking with my coaching clients, I know that transferring of leadership is something that dentists need to learn.

Dentists have lots of responsibilities during their workday.  They are constantly leading,  and the one responsibility that never goes away is motivating and convincing patients and staff to do what is right for the practice and for health.  Many grow weary of this task…and actually stop doing it.

I feel for the dentists…it is one reason I take leadership so seriously.

So, if you are a staff member…any staff member, take a leadership role and start persuading patients to take action for their own good.  Learn the “reasons why” people should take care of themselves.  Learn the reasons and learn how to best reach patients.

In many cases it’s a lot easier than we think…people are really begging to be lead.

If you want to help your boss—take the lead.

I guarantee it’s appreciated.


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  1. This is so very true. And more times than not patients look to the assistants and Hygienists for a “second” opinion. As soon as the Dr. leaves the treatment room while the assistant is getting the chart ready for the treatment coord the patient will ask questions such as “do I really need this, or that, what do you think”. This is where the skills of the professional aside from the dentist comes in. Some people are born with the ability to lead others are taught however there are some that are not born with it, cannot and do not want to be taught and see their “job” only as that “a job”. This is unfortunate for both the Dental office as well as the patient. A bad attitude or lack of drive is a loss for any practice. The key is to finding employees that have the same passion for dentistry as you do and go with that. It does not take very much most of the time to persuade a patient that this or that is in their best interest. However at the end of the day one much be able to look him or herself in the mirror and like who they see. If a treatment that is being recommended is not 100% necessary and the office is trying to push it on a patient through lines of hyg and asst and its not working like they like (the office) that’s on “the office” not back staff, they must also like who they see when they wake up in the morning. We reap what we sow, good or bad. Just my thoughts……Angelia

    • Thank you for your insightful comment Angelia. I agree with you—it amazes me how some people fail to take up the leadership role. I don’t know if it is laziness–I think it is more fear based. The irony is that patients want you to show the leadership – and when there is hesitation, doubt enters the room. People are looking for strong leaders to show the way – and like you said there is already a level of trust with staff members.
      Thank You

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