Episode 205 – Dentistry = Relationships
“Sometimes I’m so go, go, go, go that I forget to be in relationship with people. But, when I go back to basics, I am here to serve others.” ~Regan Robertson
Today we’re talking about an Everyday Practice that any dentist can do and become more productive with a loyal patient.
This is Dental Business 101. It might seem very basic, but you probably know dentistry is all about relationships. But it’s so easy for that to fall by the wayside as we focus on all the things we need to do, or all the technical aspects of dentistry.
Co-host Dr. Chad Johnson recently had a long-term loyal patient show up for an appointment. This patient lives an hour away, but chooses to drive a long way to see Dr. Chad. She was already extremely nervous about her appointment, and was then faced with an additional procedure.
As he was getting prepped to talk to this nervous patient, Chad’s PDA Business Coach, Joanne Miles, asked him to do something different.
Join Regan and Chad as they dig into what Joanne asked Chad to do with this patient, why, and what the result was, including:
- Where your focus should be with patients
- What you should discover about each patient
- How to apply this practice in your daily work to increase productivity
Hi, Doctor. Regan Robertson, CCO of Productive Dentist Academy here and I have a question for you. Are you finding it hard to get your team aligned to your vision, but you know, you deserve growth just like everybody else? That’s why we’ve created the PDA productivity workshop. For nearly 20 years PDA, workshops have helped dentists just like you align their teams, get control of scheduling, and create productive practices that they love walking into every day. Just imagine how you will feel when you know your schedule is productive. Your systems are humming, and your team is aligned to your vision. It’s simple, but it’s not necessarily easy. We can help visit productivedentist.com/workshop that’s productivedentist.com/workshop to secure your seats, now.
Dr. Chad Johnson 0:47
How do you drop topical when you don’t even have, you know, you’re not even on the same page and if you did, are they ever going to come back? Because they’re just like, “This guy wasn’t even listening. He just give you know, and then did they questioid I even need the tooth removed?” So you kind of have to I hate to use this word because it sounds negativeut you’ll get what I’m saying audiences but you have to coddle the patient until they’re willing to take the next step and then the next step.
Welcome to the Everyday Practices Podcast. I’m Regan Robertson, and my co host, Dr. Chad Johnson and I are on a mission to share the stories of everyday dentists who generate extraordinary results using practical proven methods you can take right into your own dental practice. If you’re ready to elevate patient care and produce results that are anything but ordinary, buckle up and listen in.
Dr. Chad Johnson 1:49
Hey, everybody, welcome to Everyday Practices. It’s Chad Johnson, and we have an extra special guest. That is moi Me, myself and so we’re just gonna hop into where we started recording Regan and I were talking about a special patient that I saw recently. So let’s let Reagan get us started off, you’ll hear the podcast just get started. Here we go.
I adore Joanne to know and I love what she sees. She makes me stop and think at a deeper level and she and you and I are both go go go people that sometimes I forget to stop and get in relationship and it’s like the 101 that we always teach. And yet why is that so difficult for me sometimes and there’s lots of reasons why I mean, I have I’m on the go, I’m the blue. Right, right. And we know what’s going to solve the problem and move us along. But when we go back to basics, and we’ll make go back to remembering that being in relationship is the most important. Productivity will increase, you will get more from that interaction and in the long term be more successful. Yeah. So Joanne shared with me a story when she was in office with you just a little bit ago, about you going in and helping an implant patient.
Dr. Chad Johnson 3:18
And, and when we were in the Dominican Republic, you told me that you stopped counting how many implants you’ve done, or was it extractions after 10,000?
Dr. Chad Johnson 3:20
Yeah. Yeah, extractions at 10,000 mean, you know, like, at that point, I was just like, I don’t care at this point, you know,
Right. It doesn’t matter. So So an implant and I don’t how many implants? Do you do you count your implants?
Dr. Chad Johnson 3:34
Um, I haven’t. But I’m not like a gazillion kind, some, some people, whether they’re telling the truth or not, I don’t know but like, some people say that, you know, they’ve done 10,000 of those and they might be to tell the truth, some of them. Some of them, I would like to see their actual data sheets to see if that’s the truth in plants, let’s see, I’ve been doing it for 15 years. And the problem is until I got my cone beam in 2014. So that’s seven years ago, at that point, I started doing let’s say a couple 100 a year for seven, so that would be 1400 and then the but the first 10 years were it was probably like 10 implants a year you know, so let’s just say that was 100 So I’m at like 1500 Something like that. That’s fantastic. So but nothing you know, nothing ridiculous, no, but
No, but enough that you that you know what you’re doing, you’re very proficient in it and it is not something that’s going to present a lot of surprises after 1500 I would imagine you’ve seen a pretty good scope of what can happen during an implant and so it’s kind of like a bada bing bada boom experience. That’s okay. That’s how I picked
Dr. Chad Johnson 4:53
There comes a point, whether it’s five years out or one year out, or 10 years out there like that, instead of it being excited and you’re kind of nerve-wracked, like, “Okay, how is this appointment gonna go?” You actually kind of just step into the appointment and you go. “Alright, so like what we’re placing implants are cool, like, let’s take a look here and you know.” I, I actually talk out loud with implants. I know I do that with extractions too I go, “Alright, so we’re extracting 1, 16, 17, and 32, got it, you know,” and stuff like that and I’m just kind of almost going through the checklist, the pilot checklist? Yes, absolutely. Yeah, it’s not a real detailed pilot checklist. But you know, for example, with the implants, I like using surgical guides and so I’ll look at the surgical guide, I print on it, you know, whether I’m using the, the 1620 or 24, millimeter length, implant, or drill and am I going to use the one or the three-millimeter stop? And so I’m just thinking, okay, the on strommen Key guides, it says, you know, like, whether it’s, whether it’s one dot and three long and so I actually say that out loud. “Okay, number four, 1.3 long,” and then, you know, and I’m just thinking that stuff out loud, but it is it is mindless, but I’m making sure that I don’t get too mindless.
I love it when you talk Dental,
Dr. Chad Johnson 6:21
school nerd stuff.
Well, this Is actually a perfect example, because I didn’t understand anything that you just said. Because it’s technical
Dr. Chad Johnson 6:29
If you have anxiety as a patient, it might as well be Greek to them. It makes no sense. It means something to you. It means you’re doing your business, you’re doing your job. I mean, I guess it’s boring or sedated. You know, so so they don’t even hear it. Here. All right. So what? So Joanne mentioned to me this patient that when she was in office with you, you were about to go in and consult or hopefully do an implant that day with a female patient. Do you remember who I, who she, who she was referencing?
Dr. Chad Johnson 7:00
You do? Okay. Wonderful.
Dr. Chad Johnson 7:02
I, I’ve had plenty of text follow ups with her.
With the, with the patient.
Dr. Chad Johnson 7:07
So let me set the stage and I would love for you to walk us through it. I mean, not a super long podcast today but I feel that this is an example of an everyday practice that any doctor can do, and become more productive with a loyal patient.
Dr. Chad Johnson 7:28
Well, I’ll set it up like this. Let’s just, I mean, let’s just call the patient, Denise, it’ll, it’ll help because the name is somewhat, you know, similar, but it’s enough of a change that no one will know, but she drove an hour to get to our appointment. It might have been 50 minutes or so but you know, it was shy of an hour that she was driving and in Iowa time, like that’s a long distance drive. I understand in LA that might be five blocks down or something
like an hour really, isn’t that long. Is it? Is it a long time in Iowa?
Dr. Chad Johnson 8:07
Well, I mean, you know, like, she was like, it’s down the highways. I bet. You know, I bet it was 50 miles. So I mean, you know, like to other people, 50 minutes might mean 15 miles and stuff like that. So I just want to put in context. in Polk County, Iowa, for example, you can get from one side of the county to the other, like one side of our biggest town in Iowa, Des Moines, with 500 ish thousand people you can get from one side to the other in 25 minutes. So I mean, you know, like so that when I think Man, that patient came along ways to me, you know, 50 mile drive, they can Yeah, it’s 50 miles. She passed plenty of dentists, let’s just say to get to me. And it happened that my coach Joanne was visiting the office. She’s newer to coaching me so she normally sees and knows me as a tornado and I think, does she
Does she call you tornado?
Dr. Chad Johnson 9:08
No, but I call myself that
Regan 9: 11
I’m gonna call you tornado from now on, new nickname.
Dr. Chad Johnson 9:14
Don’t know if it’s almost self-aggrandizing? Yes, I’m quite a tornado. I think of it as a good thing. I don’t know.
We can call it confetti. So if you think about a tornado and confetti, that’s some pretty good brand representation.
Dr. Chad Johnson 9:27
Yeah, yeah. It’s like one of those party poppers. Yes. Yes.
Yes, yes. Okay. Anyway, continue.
Dr. Chad Johnson 9:34
She was I think she was shocked to see me get into a different role than what she’s seen before and that’s why it was noteworthy for her to mention to you and that’s how it’s ended up on this podcast is one of the I tell you what, I actually, so I went into the appointment, and I think she’s thinking, “Okay, Chad’s just going to be scatterbrain and stuff,” and a lot of times I am, you know, not as much in appointments as much as you know, in daily chit chat. So if you ever meet me at the, the PDA workshop or something like that, you know, I’m animated and, you know, engaged with conversation and boisterous and fun, and we’ll all those words like that. But with this patient she needed for me to tone myself down. Interestingly, the night before, when we had gone out to dinner, Joanne had mentioned, she’s just like, “You know, what I’d really liked for you to find out from the patient is what’s most important to you,” and, and I was like, “You know what, I’m like that.” So it happens that when this patient, Denise, came in, and she was nervous as a wreck, I mean, you know, like, just,
She was an hour to think about it driving to the practice, yes,
Dr. Chad Johnson 10:57
If not, if not, a week before thinking about, like, I probably should call the dentist. This is I mean, she’s just in that quintessential 99th percentile of nervous, I mean, looking for reasons to just jump out of the chair and just leave, I mean, that type. So I’m not talking about the top quarter, or the top 10%. I mean, she’s the top 1% of nervous Nellies and so I went in and just toned my energy down, toned my volume down, brought in good eye contact, and made it a point, it was a different kind of Chad than, than a lot of patients are used to, just on their recare exams, or that Joanne is used to seeing, you know, that it’s just like, “Hey, how you doing, you know, and let me sit you back while I wash up my hands and let’s take a look inside your mouth. You know, just making sure that like the last 10 times you’ve been here, there’s been nothing. So I’m imagining this 11th time is just going to be the same,” and it’s just becomes, you know, blah, blah, blah, chit chat, that hers was need any eye contact, eye contact eyes the same level, you know, and almost, you know, quieting my energy soul down to her level to be like, so how can I help? And I think Joanne was impressed that then I brought into that conversation. “Hey, so, you know, we know this tooth needs to be removed what’s what’s most important to you,” and just letting her talk and there’s part of me that knew, you know, what, from an objective standpoint, what needed to get done and procedurally I would have been there a lot quicker than the patient, but the problem is, if you drag someone, you know, if you whip them too hard to where they should go, that you have then broken that contact, you know, you’ve, you’ve, you’ve destroyed your case, acceptance, because you haven’t built that relationship with the patient for them to trust for you to move on to the next step, how do you drop topical, when you don’t even have you know, you’re not even on the same page and if that’s you, are they ever going to come back? Because they’re just like, “This guy wasn’t even listening. He just give, you know,” and then even question, “Did I even need the tooth removed?” So you kind of have to I hate to use this word because it sounds negative, but I, you’ll get what I’m saying audiences but you have to coddle the patient until they’re willing to take the next step and then the next step. So, Regan, that’s kind of the roundabout story. She came in with a really bad hurting tooth number 19 for the you know, and, and, and we needed to remove it, and I wanted to place the same day implant and we ended up doing all of that, in fact, we ended up she was just like, ” just, I’m so nervous about this,” and I said, “Here’s the deal, the pharmacy across the street at the grocery store will just have you get a sedation. So we’ll go through a sedation screening and you go across the street, pick up your house on medication, bring it back in and we’ll let that sit.” Now normally I’m done, you know, by noon, she came in, let’s say at one o’clock or it might have even been two o’clock, something like that and then we, we talk for half an hour. Then she goes across the street and brings the sedation back and we’re waiting 40 minutes for that to work. This was a six o’clock kind of night when we got done, you have a driver and that you would need for the medication. I said, “Well, here’s the deal. We’ll just get you you know, up to a hotel nearby,” and she said, “Actually my vehicle has capacity, like I have a small bed in the back and because sometimes I travel and I just had that kind of the Subaru type, you know,” and, and so, so when we got done, she just hopped in her backseat and went to sleep in her car and but, you know, I just I told her I was just like, you have to have a driver to, you know, to get going and, and stuff like that, but at the same time, you know, aside from, you know, hope hoping that I can trust you to, you know, just to stay put while you’re still feeling sedated and everything like that this will save you another trip from having to come in. So, you know, listening to the objections, and then also being willing to kind of work with that. And that helped reduce hate her anxiety. I don’t want to say it eliminated it.
Well, I was going to say was this patient coming, so she drove the hour in, was it already a foregone conclusion that she was going to take an implant? That did she drive there? Okay, so, so none of that. So she could have gotten in the chair and then just said, “You know, I don’t even want to do this anymore. So it wasn’t it wasn’t a sold case.”
Dr. Chad Johnson 16:05
No, it for a while. So this was a limited exam with a Peri apical that we simply were looking at the tooth and I just said, “I hate to tell you this, but I think this tooth is a goner.” Now, here’s the thing, “I’m at your service. So if you want to have this tooth removed today, I’m glad to do that. If you would like to think about it, there’s no reason to make a hasty decision, you come back, and we’ll take care of it another day. That said, I do understand that this tooth is really bothering you and I think you know that it’s inevitable that you need it done. So the question then that you have to answer is, is this something that you want to address today? Because if so, I’m at your service, you’re not here to serve me, I’m here to serve you. What do you want?” And furthermore, you know, like, like I said, with that question with Joanne’s prompting the day before and I really liked it, what’s most important to you and, and that really resonated well with her because listen, after 10,000 teeth, I know what you need to do you know, what’s most important to you get out of pain, never see me again and, you know, stuff like that. That’s, that’s, I can almost answer it, but if I went in there and just flippantly said, “Listen, I know what you need and the fact is, I’m gonna get you to do what I want you to do. Can you just open up real quick and let’s just move on?” That’s not gonna go over so hot. Some people it might, you know, some people are ready. They’re just like, let me just open up rock and roll. Man, you know, you
have to build that trust, because they’ve never done it before.
Dr. Chad Johnson 17:38
I mean, some people are like, you know, I’ve looked at your Google reviews, let’s rock and roll get this tight.
So back it up, Chad. So that means that you establish trust through through remarketing two years before we’ve even begun yet, right. So either way, you have to establish trust with the patient before they are willing to let you go and perform the service for them. You can cut this part out of the podcast if you want, but you just hit me with something that’s really authentic to you when you said I am in service to you.
Dr. Chad Johnson 18:13
I love saying that.
Well, but it’s in you and you live that out. So you you told me that when you married Sarah, didn’t you wash her feet?
Dr. Chad Johnson 18:18
And said that you were in service to her?
Dr. Chad Johnson 18:20
Yeah. Yeah, it’s it’s a, you know, it’s something from the biblical gospels, where Jesus washes his disciples’ feet, and his disciples say, “I don’t want you to wash my feet, I should be washing your feet,” and he says, “If I don’t wash your feet, you can’t be my disciple,” and, and so then I think it’s Peter, he says, “Well then wash my head to wash all of me, you know, like, if that’s what it has to be, then then wash me.” And so it basically was symbolism that actually, unbeknownst to me, meant a ton to Sarah, that, that she would have a guy that was willing to serve her and, and so oh, boy, yeah, you know, she was she was all crying and stuff and little did I know that she was, you know, even when, let’s say that she was reading through those passages by herself that she was just like, God, if I could just find a guy that could do that and without any prompting of that, that I did that just symbolically to let her know and, you know, some church bodies, you know, some groups actually regularly do that is they wash each other’s feet in a symbolic way to say I’m, you know, I’m I’m willing to serve you as Christ served you and me and stuff like that. So yeah, that’s something that that I did and, and it was the same mentality that you know, that of, you know, “Listen, I could let you wash my feet, but I’m here to help serve you.”
Do you feel like you do that with every patient?
Dr. Chad Johnson 19:49
I actually use that not every patient I wouldn’t say but the demeanor probably comes through but whenever I present a treatment plan to someone I make a point to say Ah, a lot of them, especially if I read them, right, you know that it’s like, I don’t know if they’re quite mad, because if they’re just like nodding their head and they’re like, yeah, let’s get started right away, then I’m probably less apt to say it. But when if I feel any resistance, I’ll say, “Here’s the good news. You don’t have to decide today, there’s no pressure on your part to have to make this decision today as though it’s a hasty decision, I want you to be confident that you’ve made the right decision. I’m giving you the details so that way you can make what’s best for you. As far as decision, I’m just here to serve you. If that means that we take care of it today, then so be it,” and I normally joke around at that point, I have to be here either way. “So I’m glad whether it’s you or someone else, I’m glad to help you out, but if, if you were thinking, You know what, this afternoon, I’ve got a meeting and there are circumstances that are playing through your mind that you need or want to hold up, then hold up.” What do I mean? I don’t mind and normally the actually that undersell is what gets people to go, “No, no, I, I came this distance and you know what? You’re right. It would be smarter if I removed that tooth, and did the implant today. I just wish that I had sedation for it.” Well, then that’s what we’ll do. If that’s your, but then let’s work over that obstacle and get you sedation from the pharmacy right across the street, and all wait around and, and we’ll wait for that sedation to take place and we’ll get you numb and comfy and you know, stuff like that. So.
So what was the result? How did the patient feel afterwards? You said you’ve been on text, text messages with her back and forth? Is she was she satisfied?
Dr. Chad Johnson 21:38
Yes. So we’ve got a good review from her. We didn’t even actually ask for one if I were, Yeah and we do we normally ask, but she’s a work in progress so far. So we haven’t quite, you know, sealed that deal. But yeah, and then she Yeah, she’s written a lot of follow up questions, you know, “I feel a piece of bone sticking out,” or “I, you know, I’m concerned because, you know, should the GM still be tender and stuff like that,” because just because I’ve pulled 10,000 teeth doesn’t mean that I can do it painlessly or that she’s not going to experience any pain afterwards. Guaranteed. That’s Crame you might, and you might not, you know, that kind of outcome. I just can’t promise that. So we’ve had a lot of follow-up. In fact, she’ll send messages on Facebook to us, and, and I’ll respond and she’ll say, “Is this robot or whatever, you know,” because she’s thinking it’s AI? And I’m just like, “No, it’s Chad,” and really, and then she’ll say, “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to bother you on the weekend about this,” and I’m like, “Denise, it’s okay. Yes. Like, it’s okay. It’s, I’m glad that you’re getting in touch with me because I didn’t want this, you know, concerning you all weekend.” She’s a school bus driver. And it she has time to take off but she also you know, like, she it’s not like she’s retired or, or in a position where she can just take off a ton of time to work. That’s why I thought you know, this would be really awesome if we could pull this grafted with PRP put in the implant already.
Yeah, fantastic. Well, thank you for sharing that I got a lot from that. You know, great for, for dentists and team obviously, as a as a business leader, though, I mean, to be able to mirror to slow down and mirror that person get like you said eye to eye on their level, you know, walk them through the educational components of it and really listening. So it’s interesting, you listen for words, but what I heard most from that is you actually listen for body tone and tempo with how she was speaking. So like you said, with some patients, they’re just like, “I’m ready to go, let’s go,” and you mirror that and you’re like, “Alright, let’s go. Let’s do this. Like, you know,”
Dr. Chad Johnson 23:57
I know that I’m an expert in my field. Let me explain to you that the 100 different materials and why you shouldn’t choose the other ones and turn on that part of the brain. No, I mean, that’s a Doctor Bruce’s, but it makes total sense.
Well, thank you for sharing that. I think it’s a great piece of advice and a great reminder on how to work smarter, not harder, takes a little bit of commitment to it, and you’re going to have a loyal patient for life and a review to boot and probably referrals.
Dr. Chad Johnson 24:25
Well think about this in general terms to by slowing down, even though it was beyond my typical hours, I was doing great patient care. And as you know, I mean an extraction and an implant, you know, bone grafting and all that stuff, that was 1000s of dollars that we were able to, to receive by by performing a great service for the patient. Same-day sedation with extraction and same-day implant. It’s like you’re welcome. Yes, we got paid handsomely for that, but it wouldn’t not have happened aad I just said, “Hey, can I I just sit back and do what I know I need to do because you’re wasting my time by talking too much and you really need to like quit being so scared like a little paper shaking in the wind.” I mean, really she was a wet puppy dog you know, kind of fearful. Yeah. So being able to slow down really did everyone a good service you know it did our office good to be able to have that production, it did hurt and good to be able to come in and have that all done at a comfort level that she was willing to, you know, proceed at.
Dr. Chad Johnson 25:39
Yeah, Thanks, Joanne for the idea what’s most important to you?
That’s right. Well, thanks for the episode. It was great to have you on it’s just our personal guest Chad. excited to hear everybody’s thoughts on this. Write us write us an email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org We are coming up on the end of our year and putting together our podcast episode ideas, what do you want us to cover?
Dr. Chad Johnson 26:11
What types of you want to come on any minds that listens to this that? Are here like I am on? Yes to the audience. If you if you’re a dentist that you would like to be on our episode. Maybe just, maybe we could get in touch with you SEO Chad at productive dentists.com Regan at productive dentist.com Get in touch with us.
We look forward to hearing from you and if you have enjoyed it, we wouldn’t mind if you left us a review on well as well on iTunes anywhere you can find everyday practices, we would appreciate it. Thanks so much. Thank you for listening to another episode of Everyday Practices Podcast. Chad and I are here every week. Thanks to our community of listeners just like you and we’d love your help. It would mean the world if you can help spread the word by sharing this episode with a fellow dentist and leave us a review on iTunes or Spotify. Do you have an extraordinary story you’d like to share or feedback on how we can make this podcast even more awesome? Drop us an email at email@example.com And don’t forget to check out our other podcasts from Productive Dentist Academy at productivedentist.com/podcasts See you next week.