Why Winging It Is Not a Good Business Policy: The Importance of Role Play and Role Practice In Your Dental Office

Jayne and I had the pleasure yesterday of spending a full day in a workshop with great sales instructor Jack Daly.


It’s important to regularly go outside of your industry to look at what other businesses are doing, and how other businesses are dealing with business issues in the day to day running of their businesses.

Regularly checking in into one of these non-dental workshops always provides me with business insights into what we could be doing better in the processes and systems we use in our dental offices.

One of the key things I learned from Jack yesterday, or let me say, that Jack reminded me of yesterday, was the fact that in business, there is hardly anything that goes on in a sales call that you could not be prepared for.

In preparing for those sales calls, Jack reminded me that it’s best to have your sales team role-play and practice, or rather role-practice, their sales questions and answers on each other.

This role-practice could take the form of a twenty-minute session three times a week. Or it could be more often. It’s not difficult to find twenty-minute opportunities for two team members to practice and drill their Q&As on each other.

What is not appropriate, and what we see so often in the dental office, is that there is no role-practice time, so skills are either learned or never learned on real live office time calls.

And this is seriously wrong.

Sports teams practice. Pro football teams spend hours and hours and days and days drilling and rerunning moves over and over and over again until they become second nature, so that when game time comes, the moves occur like clockwork, without hesitancy or thought.

And if your team are professional, and I mean professional in their approach, they’ll understand the importance of taking the time to learn and practice their skills.

So what’s the best way to learn those skills?

Jack Daly suggested a way where three team members worked as one unit.

One team member would be the prospect. One would be the sales person. The other team member would be the observer.

In the role-practice, the prospect’s role is not to be the prospect from hell, but not also to be a push over either.

The sales person needs to know the purpose of the call. No call should ever be made without a purpose.

In dentistry, the front office person answering incoming phone calls has one purpose. Her purpose is to make an appointment for hat person calling in. When the front office person has this mindset, that the caller has not rung for entertainment because they have a spare five minutes, then things at the front desk work a lot better.

Remember, there is no such thing as a “shopper” phone enquiry. The person calling has a dental problem that we can solve. As I’ve said before, they only ask the price because they have no other barometer or scale or means of differentiating one dental office from another…

The observer’s role is to make three lists.

What they like. What was not so good? And suggestions to improve.

So during Jack’s seminar we break into groups of three for a fifteen-minute role-practice. At the end of the fifteen minutes here were Jack’s take aways.

Firstly, there was more energy in the room during the debrief section of the role-practice than during the “call”.

Secondly, the longer the debrief went on, the greater the energy became…

The debrief usually takes the following order. Firstly, the observer says, then the sales person says, then the prospect says,…. and then they all say……

In fifteen minutes, your three team members have each learned *something*, and maybe more than one thing, without having to have been in a seminar….

Given an hour, if the three team members can rotate their roles, the results and take aways can be even more dramatic.

The third time role-practice will be way better than the first role-play.

The observer role is always the most valuable. The observer in each role-practice is the person who learns the most….

role-practice, repeated like this on a regular basis, several times a week, will have your team members fine tuned and ready and prepared for nearly every sales situation within your dental office.

And just lie a sport’s team, the moves are practiced and rehearsed week in and week out. The moves are not just learned and committed to memory. A sports team will drill them down, drill them down and drill them down, every training session. Making sure they become regular, routine, and natural.

And that’s what makes a professional outfit.

That’s what makes a successful outfit….

Are you and your team doing what it takes?


The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple easy to implement system 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.

Email me: david@theUPE.com

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