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Hygiene Tribune

HYGIENE TRIBUNE The World’s Dental Hygiene Newspaper · U.S. Edition g HT page 3C By Bridget Conway, BA, RDH Relationship marketing I bet when you first glanced at the title of this article, you might think… “Hygiene, relationship marketing? Help me connect the dots.” Espe- cially in our profession, developing a relationship — a rapport — is criti- cal to our success and our patients. Think about the definition below and extrapolate it to the operatory. The emphasis is on the connection, not the production. “Relationship marketing was first defined as a form of marketing devel- oped from direct response market- ing campaigns, which emphasized customer retention and satisfaction, rather than a primary focus on sales transactions.”1 In general, this type of marketing differs from other forms in that it recognizes the longitudinal value of customer relationships and extends communication beyond interruptive advertising and sales promotional messages. If you’re good at this, your patients will come back again and again and ask for you. Practiced correctly, relationship marketing creates an emotional bond, gener- ates a memorable experience and increases customer engagement and loyalty. In the dental office this might mean the extra time it takes to settle- in a nervous patient or help a mom distract her children so she can get an exam. Make an effort to maintain good notes that are not only clinical- ly correct, but have some personal detail that can demonstrate your interest and jog you memory so you can continue the conversation from the previous appointment. People want to matter and they want to be remembered. The genuine inter- est in your client/patient will help facilitate success on both your part and theirs. If your interaction stems from a place of curiosity and kindness, your day tends to go much faster and you feel more effectively energized. On the contrary, if you approach a patient with much anticipated dread or inactiveness, it wears everyone down. In essence, if you practice relationship marketing in your operatory, for example, when you have a mishap or are running behind, you are able to overcome these obstacles with a minimum of feather smoothing because you have established a positive connec- tion. This scenario is applicable from the moment a patient sits down in your chair. If all you do is proceed with the “robot prophy” and make no effort to talk to the patient and ask open-ended questions, you lose the opportunity to open the door to relationship marketing. When a patient does not under- stand a procedure or has a question regarding a specific product, you are the expert. This affords you a huge opportunity to be of service and also a source of information. This is an example of a moment where trust and rapport are established. Con- nection is a verb. Action is required. Demonstrate interest and curiosity and you may be surprised at the out- come. It really is in our DNA and- makes us happier. We’re hard-wired to connect Not only do we have an innate desire to relate to other humans, our DNA practically compels us to tell stories about them. People will spout end- lessly about who was on “American Idol,” should the government shut down, what’s happening with the royals, etc. Then there are people’s opinions about Tiger Woods. The Woods example is a strong one: Most of his sponsors pulled away because they didn’t want to be identified with his behavior and the fallout. Having a human identity that people can identify your brand with makes your products/services intrinsically more remarkable — that is, intrinsically easier to tell sto- ries about. On a smaller scale, your patients relate to you as the face of whatever you are representing. Most of all, you are representing yourself and the services you provide, and I urge you to do that with genuine authenticity. Create positive relationships to get ‘permission’ Let’s explore another example of relationship marketing in action outside of the operatory. Maybe you can relate to the following scenario. One of the most dreaded things for any sales representative is to enter an office and see people scat- ter like mice when the lights have been turned on. Wouldn’t it be nice if instead they came out from every nook and cranny to see you just because you were there? It is pos- sible that people will seek you out for information; however, you need permission. Is there any represen- tative that you are really happy to see when he or she comes into your office? If so, step back a bit and reflect on why that might be. My guess is that this person con- nects and enjoys it, and as a con- sequence of that effort, you feel appreciated and happy when you encounter him or her. This connec- tion gives you the “permission.” August/september 2011 Vol. 4, No. 8 Crest® Oral-B® continues to rec- ognize Registered Dental Hygien- ists who go above and beyond the call of duty every day with the sec- ond annual “Pros in the Profession” awards program. The awards distributed through this program acknowledge the essential role of dental hygienists and the important part they play in their patients’ lives. In fact, many of the practicing dental hygienists in the United States serve on the front line of oral care at the dental office, providing patients with recommen- dations and advice that promote good oral health. “With the success last year when we launched Pros in the Profession, we recognized the need not only to extend, but to expand our com- mitment to honor dental hygienists for their dedication to improving oral health care for the public,” said Wendy Bebey, RDH, BS, P&G Den- tal Hygienist Relations Manager.“In year two of the program, we will continue to honor distinguished pro- fessionals whose passion and com- mitment to making a difference in patients’ lives inspires us all.” Throughout the year, Crest Oral- B will reward six deserving pro- fessionals, as nominated by their peers, who truly make an impact on patients and for the oral-health cause. Winners will receive a $1,000 monetary prize, a plaque, an all- expense-paid trip and recognition CREST ORAL-B announces second year of ‘Pros in the Profession’ awards Year one Pros in the Profession winners, from left, Trudy Meinberg, Ann Benson, Mary Lynne Murray-Ryder, Sharon Stull and Linda Maciel (Photo/ Provided by P&G) g HT page 2C