DEAR Alan 2
When I greet my patients and ask them, ‘How are you?’ they reply with, “Alright until I saw you.”
Why do people say this? Do they think it is funny and that I am going to laugh?
Answer: I have a few suggestions for you.
You could respond in kind with, “Funny you should say that but, I was feeling alright until I saw you.”
You could be self-righteous and say, “Well I’m really happy to see you.”
You could act like a prima donna master chef and say, “That’s it I’m just not going to work unless I’m in the mood” and walk out leaving the aforementioned patient mute and begging for you to return.
My personal favourite is to ignore the comment, change the subject and add 10% to the bill.
Every time I go into reception I move an aspidistra to its correct position. When I return the plant has always gravitated back to where it was? Is this a case of walking plants?
Answer: I suspect your receptionist is moving the plant. There isn’t much point owning a dental practice unless you can randomly and erratically exercise some authority. Wait until the waiting room is full of patients then while pacing up and down loudly rant and scream sarcastically. Finish by picking up the plant and throwing it at her. This will make you feel a whole lot better and hopefully the plant will break and you can get rid of it.
I have a young female patient who needs veneers. How do I convince her that this is what she needs?
Regards Cosmetic Dentist.
Answer: Tell her that after she has the veneers done she will land a job as a model; become a reality TV star; attract hoards of followers on twitter; secure the lead role in a Hollywood blockbuster and marry Geoffrey Edelston.
My practice is not busy. How should I go about marketing it?
Regards ‘Not Very Busy’.
Answer: What you need is a marketing strategy that can be incorporated into your business plan. A plan applied to your practice so that feasible opportunities to produce positive outcomes can be realised and then levered. An integrated marketing plan that has an internal component for your existing patients and an external component to attract new patients. A plan that helps you differentiate your practice to create a sustainable competitive advantage.
Then again come to think of it all the good dentists I know don’t need a marketing plan. Their work markets their practice. You may be quiet because your work is rubbish. Any marketing based on poor quality goods will give your practice an artificial boost in the short term but ultimately do nothing.
You could be one of those dentists doing the general public a service by not being busy. You could be a physically dyslexic, immoral, lazy, slothful alcoholic who does more harm than good. If you are then accept your fate in life. You are a loser and will never be busy. But you can still be a loser who has not wasted thousands of dollars on marketing. Save your money. There are some things you cannot polish.
Unfortunately a salesperson will sometimes arrive when I’m not busy. I then have to manipulate the truth by telling Beryl I am too busy to see them. This lying makes me feel guilty. How can I absolve my guilt?
Answer: This salesperson has just driven for hours with a headache through horrendous traffic; lugged their samples up stairs while checking their voice mail messages and stuffed their half eaten lunch into your pot plants. The least you can do is speak to them. They are just doing their job. One day you will need them. Go and listen to them. Treat them with respect. Be polite. Accept their brochures and wait until they leave before throwing them in the bin.
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This blog is the fictional story of a dentist. The dentist works with Jessica and Beryl in a town a lot like Hobart. The blog tells the story of what these people get up to and the work that they do. If you feel that you recognize yourself in one of the stories please remember it is fictional and the characters and stories are all fictional. Though all the stories are based on my time as a dentist in Hobart and are based on things which actually did happen.