June 13, 2021
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Finding good employees is harder than ever.  Every business is suffering and every business owner is complaining. 

How are you to find excellent employees?

Nancy had an ebullient personality;  friendly and smiling and warm.  She might have been our server at a local burger joint in a resort village we were visiting, but she would have been a great addition to any dental office team.

 We always hire for outgoing personality, positive, can-do attitude and cultural fit.  It’s why we recommend always having a business card on hand to whip out and give to a “Nancy” you come upon.  

Recruiting should be a 24/7/365 activity.

When Nancy came back to our table with our drinks to take our food order,  she did something, though with the best of intentions, that was a MISTAKE.

It seems as if the Joint used to serve their “famous Parmesan Truffle French Fries” as a side, with all their burgers.  For some reason (I’m sure financial), they stopped, and now charge separately for the fries.

So, when we ordered burgers, she asked us if we wanted any sides such as their FAMOUS fries.

Then, she said something terribly incorrect.  In fact, what she said made us feel badly.

She said; “the reason I’m asking is that the burgers don’t come with fries ANYMORE.”

She said it with the best of intentions.  In fact, she was attempting to do something really positive; UPSELL.

Upselling in your practice occurs when a team member, other than YOU, sees an opportunity for a patient to benefit from an additional product or service.  It’s being proactive in the quest to help others.

But what Nancy inadvertently did by using the word ANYMORE, was to sour the buying experience.  What she was, in essence saying is that; the price has just gone up…sorry folks!”

Bad, sour taste.

Not being shy, and interested as to her motivation for using the word ANYMORE, I actually asked her WHY she said it that way.  Her response was that she didn’t want people who had been there before, to expect the fries and be upset when they didn’t get them.  

She was trying to fend off a “situation”.  Instead, she caused another, unwanted emotion.  Nancy really cared about people.

So why would a person who obviously loves her job and loves people do something like that?

No one taught her otherwise.  This well-intentioned act had a negative effect that could have been anticipated through better verbal skills preparation, or TRAINING.

Was there a better way?

When the MENU changed, a meeting of the team to discuss how to avoid disappointing, valuable, repeat customers should have been held.  

A TRAINING SESSION was all that was required.

In this instance, Nancy could have asked; “have you been here before?”

If the answer is NO, then brag on the amazing food and the special of the day.  

“OMG, I love working here because people just LOVE OUR FOOD, and I love seeing people happy and smiling.”

Has anyone in your practice said that to a prospective patient?

Set up a positive expectation.

If the answer is YES, and the patron had been a return customer;  Thank you so much for returning and being a loyal customer.  What do you usually enjoy when you’re here?


Then, if they order the burger; “I’m not sure that you know, but in order to keep the prices reasonable, and continue to use the finest ingredients like American Wagyu beef, we’ve had to make some changes.  One of them is to charge for the sides.  We didn’t want to skimp on the size or quality of the burger.  We thought this was the best compromise.  Wouldn’t you agree?”

Would your team members come up with such a conversation on their own?

What would they say when your prophy fee goes up or some other “expected” service, process or fee changes?

Have the team been trained on what to say?  Probably not.

Neither would new employees at Chick-fil-A.  That’s why they get trained as rigorously as they do.

Having periodic “fire drills”, where such issues are discussed and responses practiced, is the only way to encourage a culture of obsessive patient-focused care and caring.

Proper training and constant maintenance thereof is the missing link in most practices.  So why would you think that hiring someone from another practice would mean that training would be unnecessary?

Don’t make that mistake.  Always train.  No one has a culture exactly like you do.  Don’t assume that the “Nancy” on your team won’t say ANYMORE.

Do you even have a “Culture Guide” to your practice?

I will be giving a copy of our Culture Guide to people who schedule a 20-minute strategy session to discuss our new HOW TO FIND THE BEST EMPLOYEES system.


Never be caught empty-seated.  Schedule your session now and receive the Culture Guide as a gift.


To your excellent clarity and success,


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Dr. Michael Goldberg is one of the leading educators on dental practice management in the United States.

Michael ran and sold a prestigious group practice in Manhattan and has been on Faculty at Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian Medical Center for 30 years including Director of the GPR program and Director of the course on Practice Management.

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