Two weeks ago I published an article discussing how some dental practice team members have difficulty having conversations with patients that come to their practice.
And I mentioned how there are serious consequences for dental practices that have team members who cannot master the art of conversation between each of their patients and each of themselves.
This is because patients will only tolerate being ignored for a certain number of times before they start feeling that they should be taking their business elsewhere.
Last week, I wrote about one of the four great ways that any staff member can quickly and easily become a conversational guru, no matter how shy they are.
These four great ways involve being able to converse with any patient at any time on any one of four very straightforward topics.
Today I will continue with the second topic that your team members can use to strike up deep and meaningful conversations of any length with every patient who visits your dental practice.
Probably one of the easiest topics to discuss with anybody at all is what they do for a living.
Especially at a dental practice…
Because dental practices primarily function during business hours, patients often come to the dentist before going to work, during their work hours, or after completing work for the day.
Unless they do not work, or are having some time off from work.
Interestingly, the clothing that someone wears to their dental appointment could be a dead giveaway for what they do for a living.
They could be wearing a uniform?
Or a suit?
Or Hi-Vis clothing?
These attires are certainly easy to spot and easy to use as conversation ice-breakers.
“Where do you work?”
“How long have you worked there?”
“How long have you been doing that?”
If they’ve been doing this or working there for a long time, you can say:
“You must like it?”
“You must like it there?”
Or simply say something like:
“Tell me about that?”
“Tell me more…”
If this is a new career or job for your patient, or a new place of work for them, you can ask:
“How do you like it?”
“How do you like it there?”
“How is it there?”
You can also ask about where they work, and who they work for.
You can also ask them where they used to work. And what they used to do for a living before this new job.
Without sounding like you don’t know their business or what that business actually actually does, you can ask about where it is located and how many people work there.
Your patient will probably tell you at this point whether it is a one site operation or a multi-site operation, in case you didn’t know.
You can ask this:
“What do you do there?”
“What’s your role there?”
“How big is your team?”
“How big is your department?”
You can ask if they are a nice bunch of people, whether they are a friendly lot, and also whether you see any of them or many of them outside of work?
You can ask your patient who they have to deal with:
“Who are your customers?”
“Are customers difficult to find?”
And of course, if at any time your patient tells you something that you have no real idea about whatsoever, you can simply ask questions for more details about what exactly it is that they do, or their job involves, or that the company they work for does.
If your patient doesn’t work….
If your patient doesn’t work, or used to work, you can still ask them a lot of the questions above.
If your patient is looking for work, you can also adapt some of the questions above.
If the have not worked or are not working, you can ask them what their relatives do for a living, and then follow on with some of the questions above. This is a good option when talking to school children or stay at home parents.
You can also ask stay at home parents what they used to do for work, whether they work part time, or whether they will be returning to work or planning to return to work.
There are so many options for good conversation….
It’s not difficult to lead a conversation especially when you get people talking about themselves.
There is a skill in staying on point and not dropping back into a “ME TOO” type of situation. You must not start talking about yourself.
When you are well prepared with a mental list of subjects to ask your patients, you will be well on the way to being recognised as an interesting person, and also a great conversationalist.
And all you really did was simply ask questions.
If the patient asks you a question about yourself, it is always polite to answer, but you must also have the skills to redirect the conversation back to the patient. This is done by finishing what you say with a question back to the patient that gets them replying to you again.
Be genuinely interested in your patients and what they have to say.
In doing this, each of these patients will find you to be a very interesting person…
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