Some of the most frequently heard complaints from dentists are concerning their staff:
“Why can’t I find a smart receptionist?”
“She’s only been here three months and she’s asking for a raise.”
“Aren’t there any dedicated people out there?”
John McKay was a very successful college footballl head coach with UCLA. He was hired to be head coach of the 1976 NFL expansion team Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After starting their first 26 games without a win, head coach John McKay was asked what he thought of his team’s “execution.” He replied, “I’m all for it.“
You don’t just “get” a great employee, you build one.
Here’s an OUTLINE OF A PROCESS that assures a more successful and longer lasting relationship with employees. It will foster a mutually rewarding future for the doctor and the whole team.
By the way, McKay’s team improved by the end of the 1970s, making the playoffs three times including an appearance in the NFC Championship Game in 1979.
The solution starts at the beginning and lies in your Process of Recruiting, Inducting, and Managing.
1. Trust your Personnel Recruiter.
2. Clearly define what you are looking for- job description, personality traits, availability, etc.
3. When possible, call the “promising applicants” to make preliminary phone judgements. 
4. Set up “working interviews” of undetermined length.This will help you determine the prospect’s value and thus, her/his starting pay. 
5. Carefully review the job description and your expectations with the new employee. 
6. Hire on a probationary three month basis with all recommended written safeguards. (Employment Practice Liability, etc.) 
7. Get on-going feedback from trusted team members about new employee. 
8. Conduct scheduled, periodic, one-on-one, quarterly employee evaluation meeting.
9. Encourage the new employee to participate in morning huddles and team meetings..
10. Keep education and improvement as a priority.
11. What would YOU add to this list?
Remember…..  “trainability” and having an open mind (growth potential) is crucial, because YOUR practice and YOUR expectations are much different from those of her/his prior employers.
…… the “chemistry” between you, your other teammates, and the prospect is necessary. You will be spending more time with the new employee than with your spouse.
……. you are the President and CEO of this team. Be a benevolent but firm, empowering, hands-on Leader. Employee management is part of YOUR job.



Brand yourself as a Doctor who understands and diagnoses sleep apnea problems.

The winners in this difficult economy will be those Dentists who are able to offer the combination of patient engagement and niche marketing.

  Those Dentists who convince people that they understand their needs, truly care about them, and have a unique and essential service to offer, will stand out.  Patients’ priorities have changed. The money is still there. They are willing and ready to spend money on their priorities.

The current need, and “buzz”, is in diagnosing and treating sleep apnea.  Patients are asking their Dentists about sleep apnea. How comfortable are YOU with the answers? It is reported that less than .5% of practicing Dentists are able to assist the more than 50 million people who suffer from sleep apnea. There is a growing public awareness of the hazards that come from a nocturnal stoppage of breathing. Your patients are becoming increasingly more concerned about the blockage of oxygen to the brain and other organs. Strokes. Heart attacks. Diabetes. As a Care Giver, think of how you can serve. Serve an unfilled need.

Your patient doesn’t want to buy crowns and fillings. Your patient wants to buy YOU. Once a patient likes you, trusts you, believes in you, and knows you are REALLY concerned about them, they will want to accept your recommendations. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS.

Here’s a mnemonic for you to remember:

STAND UP for what you believe in. Be a complete healer.

STAND OUT with a unique and valuable service.



Never assume” is always very wise advice, and may be extra true in dentist/patients relationships. There are techniques to “pre-qualify” a patient’s initial interest, but that should not discourage the dentist from giving an honest and sincere presentation of the patient’s real needs.

I like to see a dentist introduce him/herself with, How may I help you today?” You may have some information from the patient’s registration, but often you will get a better (or different) understanding from a personal response.
ALF= Ask questions, Listen, give Feedback.
Here’s a classic example of dentist disengagement-
A few years ago I witnessed an experienced dentist conduct this exchange with a new patient.
Patient (an 85 y/o plainly dressed woman with severely eroded anterior teeth and a “closed bite”: “Doctor I would like to have a nice smile. I think I need all my teeth capped.”
Dr. S (A good clinician with very poor communication skills) “You know, that’s going to cost over $20,000.” (He ASSUMED from the patient’s age and appearance that she was just fantasizing and would waste his time.)
The lady looked him right in the eyes and said, “I thought it might have cost over $30,000.”
She completed and paid for her exam visit…. and never came back to him. When she left his office I explained to him how he probably lost the patient and even worse, injured the self image of his patient. She (and I) interpreted his callous statement as an insult, and even if she lived another 5 years, or 6 months after treatment, she will have realized her dream of “a nice smile”. What right did he have to destroy her self-value and steal her dream? She may have won a lottery, or perhaps her children may have decided to give her a birthday present… but Listen to your patient.
This is a true, actual example. Here’s the outcome of this story. The woman went to another Dentist in the area (Dr. B) who kept an open mind and helped her achieve her dream.