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MASTER THE ART OF FIRST IMPRESSIONS

  • Mar 30 / 2014
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MASTER THE ART OF FIRST IMPRESSIONS

see the video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8Z0xUCSJ8Y

Good morning, everybody. My name is Bob DiAntonio, and I am the business development manager with Aseptico, Incorporated. We’re very happy to have you joining us for the webinar today. Before I turn it over to Danny, I want to give you a couple of quick housekeeping items and to give you a little bit of clarity as to who I am and what I do.

I mentioned I am the business development manager of Aseptico, and my primary responsibility is to serve as product manager for the Wand All-Injection system. That product was developed and invented by a company called Milestone Scientific a little over a decade ago, and it’s gone through some changes. It was originally launched as the CompuDent.

It is now the Wand STA, and we at Aseptico have taken over as exclusive distributors back in November, 2012. In a few months, we are only going to be the only company selling not only the drive units but also the handpieces. So, we’re very excited about the product. It’s going to be talked about a little bit Danny today, and apart from that, that leads into the housekeeping items.

The webinar today is going to be recorded and audiotaped. So, there’s no need for you to take notes.  Just sit back and follow along with the presentation, and during the presentation, all of you guys are going to be muted. However, you guys can submit questions electronically, and we’ll get back to you at the end of today’s presentation. For Wand-specific, for anesthesia-specific questions, I will be following up with each one of you individually. So, go ahead and type in your questions online here.  We will get them and sort them out at the end of the presentation.

Let me introduce Danny for you. Danny Bobrow is an MBA and president of AIM Dental Marketing, and he’s also the executive director for the Climb for a Cause and Smile Tree Foundation. Mr. Bobrow lectures nationwide, and he’s been published on dozens of professional-related publications. He owns a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from the University of Illinoi and MBAs in finance and marketing from the University of Chicago and KUL Belgium, respectively. 

Danny is the author of the State of the Art in Dentistry Marketing and Industry Marketing: Strategies, Tips, and Secrets, and he’s the author of The Art of First Impressions.  He’s also a certified mediator and arbitrator, a charter member of the Speaking and Consulting Network and founding executive member of the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health. So, without further ado, I’m going to turn it over to Danny.

 

Thanks a lot, Bob. I appreciate that kind introduction, and I want to acknowledge you and Chris and my other friends at Aseptico not only for offering a service and a product that really, without putting too fine a point on it, promises to broaden the appeal and the accessibility of dentistry to the public which, as we know, is a very important thing to do because such a large percentage of the population does not see a dentist because of fear, but I also want to acknowledge you for your generous support for our foundation. Aseptico has now, for two years, been a staunch supporter and participant in Climb for a Cause. Chris Perry joins us, and we always have a lot of fun and make a difference.  So, I appreciate that very much. Thank you.

What we want to talk about today is the all-important skill and art of connecting with prospective patients. That’s because you can have the best offering in the world but if you or your team are not adept with connecting with people who don’t know you, like you, or trust you, it’s really like you don’t ever get a chance to run the race. You don’t get out of the starting blocks, and this is why this is so important. What we’re going to cover today are the foundation pillars of building a house or a structure that enables you consistently and deftly connect with these telephone callers.

The first thing we’re going to talk about and share is setting the stage for success, and we will get into what that means. It has a technical and personal component for sure. We’ll then parse out what comprises effective communication, and that’s important to understand why sometimes it’s a bit of challenge connecting with people on the telephone. It has to do very much with the visual gap which is the next item we’ll discuss.

We’ll then talk about some distinctions that are important to understand and then choose to avoid like the self-fulfilling prophecy trap, and we will share the distinction between negatively and positively charged words and phrases and why they’re so important to building this structure on a sound foundation, emotional connection.  Speaking of emotional connection, we will talk about the key components which are really establishing rapport, conveying empathy, and exuding enthusiasm as early and often in the call as possible as well as the art and science of questioning and listening which really have all to do with gaining control of the call and guiding the caller to a decision which is really ultimately in their best interest. All these taken together lead to what we call agreement.

Now, some assumptions that I make, which I assume I make correctly because most people who choose this profession are doing so because they care, but the assumptions are that you, if you’re a practice owner, and your team are enthusiastic about mastering this art because of all the power and potential it offers you to be more successful and to have a less stressed experience during your work day.  I further assume that you care deeply about delivering the very best for your patients and your community and that anybody who is in danger of answering the telephone is really excited about being there and sharing whatever it is that your practice has to offer in terms of helping people live healthier and happier lives because that’s what it’s about.

These are some specific reasons why exceptional telephone skills are so important and valuable for your practice, and I like to use the analogy of the first date. When we’re on our first date if we want to have a second date, we’re on our best behavior. We want to impress, and that’s why we talk about the art of first impressions. This telephone call really is your first date with the patient, and it will set the tone for the relationship going forward. It’s therefore a wonderful opportunity to set mutual expectations and set a tone of professionalism and mutual respect.

As I said, when you master this skill, it actually reduces confusion and stress because you’re prepared and excited. Imagine if you were asked to perform a dental hygiene procedure and you were either fresh out of school or maybe haven’t even completed school. There’s a lack of training and experience and confidence, and that’s as much point as knowing your stuff. We’re talking about nothing less here than knowing your stuff when the phone rings.

This really is very much about branding. Branding is basically delivering on promises and exceeding promises that are made, and if someone is responding to some sort of a solicitation or was referred by a fellow patient, they have certain expectations about what they want from a dental practice. Here’s your opportunity right off the gate to exceed their expectations. For all these reasons, it is, in fact, your best marketing tool.

Sometimes people make the mistake of thinking that marketing ends when the connection is made with the prospective patient, and in fact, it’s only beginning. We will talk about marketing math a little bit, not a lot of math so hang in there, but we will really use it to underscore the value of being able to convert these calls into appointments.

So, let’s talk about what we mean when we say setting the stage for success. The first thing we like to ask is which describes your practice environment? Now, environment is the physical characteristics of your practice. It’s also the environment in your own mind. Is your office cluttered? Is your mind cluttered? Are you distracted? Do you feel unprepared? Do you feel that the practice environment is not conducive to having a comfortable and focused conversation with a prospective patient? If the answer is yes, then all the training in the world, while it will be helpful, you will be limited in terms of your ability to maximize your value. That’s why these go hand-in-hand and why we will talk in some specific detail about how to create an environment in the office that is conducive to effectively communicate with callers.

Along the lines of the internal environment, what’s happening in your mind, these are some concerns that we’ve heard over and over. We’ve talked and coached thousands of practice since 1989, and we’ve got a pretty good idea about the perspective of the dental team member. I think that’s obviously important because if we don’t have that perspective, then we really lack the credibility and the empathy which we talked about. We don’t practice what we preach basically.

So, I do want to go through a few things that are often mentioned, and some of them are not mentioned. They’re just believed by the team member, and these are some of them. They’re in no particular order, but I want to spend a little time of them.

Many people are perfectionists, and I will raise my hand and pled guilty to that as well. I’ve learned fairly recently that although it’s really counted as a virtue in our society, being a perfectionist is really not a virtue because perfectionism leads to a number of unintended consequences, one if which is procrastination. When somebody feels that they have to know something perfectly before they will attempt to do it like adopt a new telephone handling protocol, they’re unlikely to ever want to start or be able to start. They’re basically suffering from paralysis by analysis.

The other kind of interesting fact is that until you actually dive in and begin to practice something, you never really can perfect it because you’re not getting the data, the feedback that you need to know whether something you’re doing works or doesn’t work. So, we like to practice the 80-20 rule or a variation of it which is if you’re 80% confident you should dive in, and then you’ll get the next 80% within a reasonable period time. You’ll never be perfect anyway. So, don’t worry about it.

People also express the concern that this is not their personality, and I actually have a couple of viewpoints on this. Number one, when you go to a restaurant and you are given excellent service by a serve, you don’t really necessarily what kind of day they’re having. It’s not really so much a comment on their personality as their personal state of mind. We’re professionals, and we have to leave our personal baggage at the door. I think you all know that.

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