Connection is more important than ever.
We live in this amazingly high-tech world where we can connect with someone across the world from the device we carry around in our pockets. However, this can be at the risk of disconnecting from the person sitting opposite us at the dinner table.
It’s so important for us, when we find ourselves in these situations, to disconnect from the Internet and find real connections in person with those around us.
In fact, a new study recently published from Harvard spanned 75 years and multiple generations of researchers. This study found that there was one commonality between everyone that had a fulfilling life. It wasn’t the jobs, the possessions, the education, or any of the rest of it. The researchers found that the one highest predictor of whether one had a fulfilling life was whether they had strong interpersonal relationships.
This is the challenge we have before us. We’re more connected globally than ever before, but we’re also more disconnected locally. Some of the most simplistic things are overlooked simply because they are close and easily accessible.
Now that we’re moving into 2019, it’s time to take note that there’s nothing new. There’s nothing that hasn’t been reinvented a thousand times out there. Instead, our challenge this year is to reconnect with people. It’s getting back in touch with what we already know and link our brilliance with others.
For me, I don’t think we should just pursue stronger relationships with our friends and family. Pursuing relationships and creating connections with our patients within our dental practices is the best way I know to create a fulfilling, stable business.
Dentistry is high touch. It should be high connection, too.
I say this again and again on this blog, but dentistry is very personal. It’s face to face. You literally have your hand inside in someone’s mouth. People come to your practice feeling anxious, nervous, afraid. They have a sense of trepidation. Is this going to hurt? Can I afford this?
I have found that people that build highly successful businesses, they have learned to move on from a transactional world where you get what you pay for and then we disappear. No, in really successful businesses there is a sense of connection that is the glue that holds everything together.
People that feel safe at a dentist’s office will go back again and again. Even if they move and it’s less convenient, if you’ve managed to create that connection, they will travel for you.
How do we build these connections with our patients? How do we do this in a way that doesn’t feel cheesy and fake?
Take time to build rapport.
It’s easy to connect with someone when you’re both very similar. When we value the same things, it’s easy to go into a relationship and see not only the benefits to ourselves, but what we can bring to it to make each other stronger.
You can always get along with like-minded people. If you put me in a room with 100 people, there are probably 10 or 20 just like me that I can connect with instantly.
The trick is to learn to connect with someone that is 180 degrees different from you. How do I connect with the 80 people in that room that aren’t like me?
Because truth be told – not every patient that walks through your office door is going to be like you. To be a truly successful dentist, you need to learn to connect with patients that are very different from you.
To do this, it’s time to shift your thinking. Instead of broadcasting your wants and needs, it’s time to tune into your patient’s frequency. You might want someone to get a crown now to prevent further damage along the line. But that is likely not your patient’s priority. They might be worried about the pain of the procedure or the cost.
Even just learning to change the tonality or pace of your voice can have a huge impact on the way your patients connect with your medical advice.
Energy is everything.
At the end of the day, patients don’t pick a dental practice based on scientifically, which is the best option for their needs. After all, it’s not like patients have the opportunity to audit a root canal before having their own. No, they are going to pick a practice based on the way it feels to them.
Does it feel safe? Do other patients seem satisfied? Has the dentist understood my needs and overcome my doubts? Do I feel good about this place?
Part of the way that patients connect with the energy of a business is through marketing. How do we talk about ourselves? What is our culture? Our values? You could be the best in the world at what you do, but if none of your patients know it, guess what? They won’t come.
Connection is going to be a big theme for 2019 and onwards. The way we think about interpersonal relationships with our friends and loved ones, other business leaders in our communities, and the patients that we serve should help us navigate the choppy waters of entrepreneurship.
If you haven’t already, please head to your favourite app store to download the Savvy Dentist app. We have versions available for both iPhone and Android. There are a lot of free resources there including tools, training, and more. You can also join the Savvy Dentist Facebook group and connect with like-minded individuals.