May 17 Edition – A weekly compendium of tips and advice for the dental practitioner

Your Friday Brief, Doctor

Attract More Referrals
“Getting to Know You…”

Listening and reading time about six charming minutes
Do you remember this famous song? 

According to Dr. Robert Cialdini’s Liking Principle,* we like and prefer to do business with people who are like us. We are attracted to those who share similar interests, opinions or background. And we are more likely to comply with their requests.

Patients who feel you understand and like them will relate to you and think of you as a friend. They will be more likely to refer others to your practice.

Relationships Grow. Start with Small Talk. Have a 3-Minute Conversation 

Opening lines:

  • “What keeps you busy?”
  • “What do you do?” After the patient responds say: “Wow! That sounds hard.” This works well.
  • A compliment: “I like your shirt. It’s beautiful.”
  • Talk about sports, weather, pop culture, any immediate shared experience.

If you ask questions and listen, and draw patients out, they’ll think you’re a great conversationalist.

A true conversation superstar…

  • Greets patients by their first name. It delights them.
  • Is attentive and gives eye contact
  • Shares the conversation pie. Give them three-quarters. Be more interested than interesting.
  • Makes active and engaged expressions.
  • Repeats back what they hear and follows with questions.
  • Makes a declarative statement: “The Yankees don’t stand a chance” and seeks the other person’s opinion, “What do you think?” 

Have your conversation last because last impressions last longer.
They may not remember to floss, but they will ALWAYS remember how you made them feel. And tell their friends.

Exits like a pro.
When you want to excuse yourself, wave a white flag, like in car racing, to indicate they have only one more lap and then it’s over: “I only have a couple more minutes until another appointment, but before I go, what do you think is the No. 1 reason why… (resume what you are chatting about).

Say good-bye with a warm smile and a warm wish: “Have a beautiful day.”
*Influence: Science and Practice (5th Edition); Allyn and Bacon, 2008.

Today’s Chuckle

Your Patients Control Online Conversation. And You Need to Jump In.
Reading time about three minutes 
Social networks like Facebook, Yelp, Vitals and Google have dramatically changed the way business communicates. Today, your online business reputation is based on what you say and what your patients say about your practice.

It’s a two-way conversation — your practice can broadcast the message they want people to see. And so can your patients. There is a democratic nature to social, with brands, consumers and everyone having an equal voice in a shared space.

Practices with successful social media programs (1) manage their reputation, and (2) use it to create brand equity: community awareness, loyalty, added value, personality, and professional leadership. And to attract new patients.

Today, consumers can talk to brands or to their health care professionals online and vice versa as if they were chatting with friends. Earned media — like online mentions, patient reviews and shares — encourage consumers to advocate for the brands and practices they care about most.

However, a customer can also let everyone know they had a terrible experience. Responding effectively to a negative review with positive feedback is essential for success.

Consider this.
How many times have you tried to contact a business to discuss a negative issue but they didn’t answer? And how angry were you that you couldn’t reach them?

Same with a patient. Not responding to their negative review is worse than having a phone line that doesn’t answer. Besides, thousands of people can witness your neglect in a very public forum.

Our advice: Sure it stings, so cool off for an hour. Then, within 48 hours, respond thoughtfully and warmly. And invite them to call your office for resolution. Your prospects are watching.

 “Dear Doctor, What people see online matters. And they put their money where their trust is. Consumers of all age groups trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.* This is a huge shift in thinking.

“The worst thing you can do is nothing. To ignore your business’ social reputation is like turning up the radio when you hear a noise coming from your engine: The longer you ignore it, the worse and more expensive it gets (and by expensive we mean lost patients).”
*Bright Local 2018 Local Consumer Review Survey. Age groups: 18-34, 91%; 35-55, 79%; and 55+, 61%.

“Your Friday Brief” is published by Smile Reports. We provide tested, proven online reputation management and Facebook services to dental practitioners and partners nationwide. Learn more at