The Secret to Building Lasting Client Relationships

What makes patients stay with you for a long time and refer others to your practice?

The ability to connect with your patients is key to lasting relationships.  If you get along with more people, you probably have a higher case acceptance.  If you can mould your personality to more people, you will be more liked, more respected, and more accepted. 

Many dentists struggle with creating that connection – rapport.  They can get it with a person like them but they loose it with everyone else.  So that’s very limiting. 

Many people think that you can build a connection by simply talking or asking questions but the reality is, there is a lot more to it than that. 

There are some important keys to building rapport:

  1. Matching and mirroring
  2. Creating similarities
  3. Voice – including tonality, speed, and volume
  4. Physiology – body language

The reality is that physiology is actually the biggest piece to forming a connection.  It makes up 55 % of all connections.  But most people don’t value it enough.  There are many parts to body language including posture, gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, breathing and proximity.  We discuss this in the Rapport program at and for those of you who want to go deeper, we also discuss communication styles, which include visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and digital.  Presenting treatment to those different types of people needs to be done in a specific way in order to get the most value and respect. 

Now, some people say that this type of communication is manipulative.  I am told that you should be who you are and that’s it.  But I find that disrespectful.  If you can be more like the person you are speaking with, you are being more respectful, more aware of their needs, and you are building a true connection by bending to who they are.  It’s about entering their world. 

Imagine if you go to another country with a different culture, you want to go there and do what they do, behave like they behave.  That’s respect.  The same goes for your patients.  So building rapport is about giving this person what they need.  Creating comfort for them, creating an environment where they feel understood, where they feel cared for.  This makes you a better dentist, a better person, so you can help more people.  And that is being a true professional.

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