5 More Things to Do Monday to Grow Your Practice
- Tell the parents of observation patients they did the right thing – People are scared of doctors. They don’t understand the words we use and they are afraid of looking stupid or wasting the doctor’s time. I discovered this when I took my 1 year old to the pediatrician for some general malaise years ago. After I explained that I was unsure whether or not a trip to the doctor was appropriate, the founding doctor who had been practicing for more than 40 years put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Son, you did the right thing to bring your boy to see me”. I felt so relieved – then I realized that I’d been making parents in my office feel bad for years by telling them, “your child is too young, come back and see me in a year”. Now I tell every parent that they did the right thing and that we love to see kids young to make sure things go well. Happy parents refer.
- Start a Smile for a Lifetime Chapter – S4L.org is a great way to channel your charitable activities and harness what you do best to help those in desperate need. It takes some time and effort to set up your own chapter and bring on your own board members but the rewards are huge and directed at you and your practice instead of some national organizaiton. You can engage community leaders in a meaningful way – with huge rewards personally and for the business. You can give away hundreds of thousands of dollars in Orthodontic Scholarships without spending a dime (you even get your braces and wires for free). You can point to all you do with S4L.org when people want you to donate to the traveling T-ball team or the dance squad and explain that S4L is your charitable focus and no one gets mad when you don’t give them cash! You can change the lives of kids who wouldn’t stand a chance in a cruel world without you. You’ve got excess capacity. What else are you going to do with that? (FYI – I created Smile for a Lifetime Foundation in 2008 but it is run by a national board of orthodontic industry all stars and I have no official position other than founder and cheerleader)
- Smile – It is amazing to me how few doctors smile at work. When you don’t smile, your staff doesn’t smile. When your staff doesn’t smile, your patients don’t smile. When your patients don’t smile, their parents don’t smile. When parents don’t smile, no one refers new patients to you. Don’t be a frowner – switch to smiling today (and if you don’t feel like smiling, fake it until you fool yourself!).
- Speak nicely to one another – Please and thank you go a long, long way. Patients and parents are watching how you speak to your team and how your team members speak to one another. I’ve had dozens of parents tell me over the years that they come to us and told others to do so because of the way we speak to one another.
- Compliment team members – We are trained to ignore what is right and focus on teeth that are ½ mm out of line or rotated 2 degrees. This is great for aligning teeth but a terrible model for dealing with human beings. Be sure to compliment your team members when they do a nice job with a tough patient, on isolation, on the amount of glue they put on a bracket, how fast they do a procedure, how well they do a procedure, whatever! Find a reason to compliment each team member daily.