Inside Dentistry
October 2016
Volume 12, Issue 10

Seven Ways You Can Improve Your Image

Impression management leads to more patients

Jay Geier

Your patients—new and existing—are constantly judging you, and their perception of you is equally as important as the level of services you provide.

I recently hosted a two-day event in Atlanta for more than 2,300 doctors and their team members where I discussed strategies that would allow practices to immediately increase their case acceptance and profits. Impression management is the most frequently overlooked case presentation strategy in the average dental practice.

Here are seven ways to improve your image that will create dividends way beyond the first impression.

1. Be Intentional

The reason why impression management is so overlooked is because very few are intentional about it. How are you managing your patients’ impressions of you? By the time a new patient meets you, they’ve already assessed the office space, décor, and amenities, and have judged your front desk and hygiene team. If you go into that first meeting without the intent to win that patient over, you are setting yourself up for possible rejection. You really need to consider everything you do and every interaction with your patients with intention.

2. Assess your Character

Do you and your staff follow a set of core values? Do you have a documented vision for your practice?

Dentists tend to get so involved in the day-to-day of patient care and business struggles that they often fail to take the time to step back and recognize their real purpose in providing dentistry. This is a profession with an enormous potential for impact far beyond the doctor. Take advantage of this opportunity by defining your purpose and living it out.

3. Increase Community Presence

Location doesn’t always dictate your presence in the community, but it certainly gives you an excuse to be removed from it. If you are located away from the “city center,” you will have to work a little harder to stay top of mind with your patients and the community. Get involved in community events—support races, parades, and little league teams. Be present for local festivals and gatherings. If your town doesn’t have anything like that, find creative ways to be a leader in your community while giving back to it.

4. Create an Inviting Culture

Develop an overriding exciting reason why your team does what they do. This ties back to creating a purpose. People like to be a part of something bigger.

As a private practice owner, you have an opportunity to establish that goal for your team by creating an inviting, exciting culture in your office where your team feels valued and has a bigger purpose. Consider incorporating mission trips, fundraising, and volunteering as part of your culture.

5. Clean It Up

We are all quick to judge, so you have to realize that you only have a tiny window of time to make maximum positive impact. Start controlling your physical image in the morning by asking yourself a few questions as you get ready for work:

• Does my uniform make me look like an expert in my field?
• Are my clothes freshly laundered and wrinkle-free?
• Am I well groomed and clean-shaven?
• Do I appear well rested, energetic, and healthy?

6. Address the Team

Now that you’ve given yourself a once over, turn the mirror around and take a look at your team. Their image is also a reflection of you, so make sure it’s a positive one. Don’t forget that you set the standard for them.

If you ever overhear them gossiping about each other or even worse, a patient, they need to be immediately reprimanded. If you can hear it, your patients can too, and if they don’t feel like they’re in a safe, trusted environment they will leave and never look back.

7. Don’t be Shy

Humility is an attractive and desirable trait, but don’t be so humble that you lose an opportunity for impact. Embody that purpose you’ve initiated and be bold about it. Say it, do it, and then document it.

Make sure to write about your good works and community involvement in your monthly newsletters and on social media. Don’t be shy about the good things you do for others and for your community. Your actions will inspire your patients and team members to become more generous in their lives as well.

Final Thought

When people get word of your spruced up image, the phone will start ringing with new patient opportunities. Will your front desk team be prepared to schedule them?

If you haven’t answered with an emphatic yes, take the five star challenge at www.5starchallenge.com. We will show you exactly what your potential new patients are experiencing and can help make sure that interaction lines up with the image you want to portray.

About the Author

Jay Geier is a popular speaker, consultant, and the president and founder of the Scheduling Institute. He is the creator of the world-renowned five-star new patient generation training program that has revolutionized the way dentists attract new patients to their practices. Learn more by visiting www.schedulinginstitute.com.

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