Creating Purpose in Your Dental Office Conversations

I’ve been on a mission recently trying to ensure that all that we do at the Dental Office is done for a purpose, and done with a purpose.

By this I mean that everything, and that includes everything we say, should be *calculated* with an end result in mind.

And this is often a quite difficult concept to grasp for some…

Put simply, as an employer or business owner, you wouldn’t tolerate one employee, let alone a group of employees, to be wandering around aimlessly throughout your office doing nothing in particular for no specific reason with no desired outcome?

Would you?

Because that would be an entirely pointless waste of money.

Watching employees walking around doing nothing would be like standing there just tearing up a pile of hundred dollar bills.

It just would not happen.

But I challenge you that within every Dental Office the practice of doing nothing in particular is happening every day.

Because it’s happening in conversation.

Day in and day out there are conversations happening within your office that have no purpose at all whatsoever.


Conversations about fluff.

And while these conversations and discussions about fluff drift about aimlessly in your office they prevent purposeful conversation from being had.

Fluff wastes time.

And is pointless.



So what constitutes fluff?

What are the topics of discussion that have no point whatsoever?

Well, that’s easy to categorise.

In the first two instances, a topic is fluff if it is about something we cannot change, or it is about something that is a constant.

The weather is something we cannot change.

Conversations about the weather for the weather’s sake are just fluff.

They go nowhere, and are pointless.

Think about it.

Listen to people talking about the weather.

Their conversations are banal.

“Hasn’t it been hot?”

“I can’t believe this rain.”

“I’m so over this winter.”

Comments like these start nowhere and lead nowhere.

And don’t get me started on conversations about constants.

Like time.

Comments like:

“I can’t believe how quickly this year has gone.”

“I can’t believe it’s Easter already.”


Because time is a constant.

An hour is always an hour. A week is always a week.

Whether it’s a week at the start of the year or a week in the middle of the year.

It’s still a week.

Put a stopwatch on it….it still takes the same amount of time.

So if we eliminate fluff from our Dental Office conversations what should we be talking about instead?

And what should we be doing if the patients start talking about fluff?

The purpose of all conversation in the dental office should always be about the patient.


And that’s an easy topic to remember.

When we talk to someone, anyone, about them, we are talking about their favourite topic.

And once they get going, all we ever need to do is just keep asking relevant questions.

And they’ll keep on talking and talking and talking.

The purpose of getting people talking about themselves is that it allows us to collect *Customer Intelligence* information about them that we can then record and disseminate amongst other team members at a time in the future.

When one of our team members then uses that information at a future appointment to begin a conversation with that patient, the patient feels even more important.

The unexpected use of this collected information has the patient in awe!

They’re thinking: “How did they remember that?”

They’re thinking: “WOW!!”

So how do we begin a conversation and avoid the fluff?

That’s simple.

Ask a question about them specifically.

And ask in a series of questions so that if you get some not so enthusiastic answers, you can push through the wall of defence and still continue on to the information of gold we require.

Start with a question like:

“How’s your week been?” or

“Got a busy day on?”

These questions, and variations of them, are great icebreakers, and can be followed by old chestnuts like:

“Tell me more…” and

“How’s that?” or

“How do you feel about that?”

Everybody loves to talk about themselves.

And remember, that the person asking the questions is the person in control of the conversation.



So what should we do if the patient starts the conversation talking fluff?

That’s easy.

We ask them a question.

We ask them a question that leads away from the fluff and back to them.

If they open by talking about the weather, ask them if [that weather] has prevented them, or will affect them doing something.

And then we are immediately off the weather and onto a topic about them.

It’s the same with time.

If they start talking about time, ask them:

“Have you got something planned?”

And straight away we’re again onto them.

If you’re looking for a topic to start talking to your patients about, use the acronym F.O.R.D. to stimulate discussion.

F.O.R.D. stands for:

▪ Family
▪ Occupation
▪ Recreation
▪ Desires/Dreams

When we think in these four categories, it’s easy to start a conversation with our patients about them.

• Do you have family?
• Do they live nearby?
• Tell me about them…


• How’s work been?
• What do you do?
• Have you been there long?
• Tell me about that…

Do you see the pattern?

We call this line of questioning the gathering of specific Customer Intelligence.

This Customer Intelligence could be little things, such as

▪ A recent or upcoming birthday
▪ A recent or upcoming trip, or holiday
▪ A recent or upcoming new family addition
▪ A recent loss
▪ A recent sighting of the patient
▪ A recent event that we may have in common with the patient.

So cut out the fluff….

Have every team member on a mission each day to collect and acquire a certain specific amount of Customer Intelligence Information about each and every patient.
And once that information is learned, make sure that it is recorded and also shared with other team members, so it can be used in the future when that patient returns for their next visits.

Establish a culture within your dental office of collecting and sharing Secret Service Information and Customer Intelligence gathered about each and every patient.

Being interested in your patients will have them feeling that you too are interesting.
Unprompted recollections of Secret Service Information and Customer Intelligence by you and your Dental Team are the easiest ways of telling your customers that you hear them, that they are Important!

Make this collection of Customer Intelligence a part of your culture, and you’ll have your clients raving about you and your office to all their friends and family.

Having purpose to your conversations will raise the bar, and will set your dental office well and truly apart from all other dental offices in your area, because nobody else is doing this!!


The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple easy to implement system that I developed that allowed me to build an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb.  If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

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