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410: Enhancing Communication

Are you like Kiera, who sometimes struggles to see the return on investment of relationships with others?

Or are you like Tiff, who thrives on friendships?

Today’s episode has the pair sharing their experiences of communicating with others, including how an investment in other people is actually an investment in your business, what having a solid relationship actually means, and a month-long challenge for your team to take on!

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Podcast Transcript:



0:00:05.8 Kiera Dent: Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Dental A Team podcast. I'm your host, Kiera Dent. And I have this crazy idea that maybe I could combine a doctor and a team member's perspective, because let's face it, dentistry can be a challenging profession with those two perspectives. I've been a dental assistant, treatment coordinator, scheduler, filler, office manager, regional manager, practice owner, and I have a team of traveling consultants where we have traveled to over 165 different offices, coaching teams. Yep, we don't just understand you, we are you. Our mission is to positively impact the world of dental, and I believe that this podcast is the greatest way I can help elevate teams, grow VIP experiences, reduce stress and create A teams. Welcome to the Dental A Team podcast.




0:00:51.6 KD: Hello, Dental A Team listeners, this is Kiera. And, who else is here today?


0:00:55.5 Tiffany: It's Tiff. I'm so excited.


0:00:58.1 KD: And Tiffany. [chuckle] Kiera and Tiff, I wanted to have like... If any of you watched Community, they had Troy and Abed in the morning, and I wanna do, Kiera and Tiff on the podcast.




0:01:10.1 Tiffany: Do it, make it a thing.


0:01:11.3 KD: Don't worry, guys. My second job is singing, in case you haven't... I'm just kidding, I'm just kidding. But if you guys wanna come up with a witty for Tiffany and Kiera when we podcast, let us know. But definitely, I love having Tiff podcast with me. It's been a while since we've podcasted. So Tiff, how are you? How have things been for you, consulting-wise, life-wise? How have you been?


0:01:30.1 Tiffany: Yeah, consulting has been fantastic. I've been super crazy busy, honestly, the last year, but the last six months has been a lot of travel. Sorry, jam-packed a ton of offices in there, and then now I'm back to a more normal schedule. So it's been fantastic. I love what I do, I love our practices and my clients, and yeah, life has been good.


0:01:51.9 KD: Good.


0:01:53.2 Tiffany: I think our travel has been great, it picked up a ton since March, so airports are a little crazier, so we have to remember that for timing-wise.


0:02:00.3 KD: Seriously, they're nuts.


0:02:02.1 Tiffany: 'Cause we just slide in there. [laughter] Yeah, it's been fantastic. How have you been?


0:02:05.7 KD: So good, so good, I agree with you. It's almost like the world went to sleep for a year, hashtag COVID, and then everybody decided to travel at the same time, hashtag feels like Christmas and a holiday travel. Tiff and I always feel... And it must be how people when you're religious gym worker-outers, which I'm not. Like January, we're like, "What the heck, where did all these people come from? Go back home, give up your New Year's resolution, and let our gyms be normal."


0:02:29.2 Tiffany: Absolutely.


0:02:29.8 KD: I feel like that's how we are with our airport and travel. I'm like, "Where did all these people come from? Go home. You don't need to travel right now." And Tiff, I think you will agree to this, I feel like I'm a pretty nice person, generally speaking, until I get to TSA and I'm like, "Get out of the way. You don't have to take off your shoes, you're in precheck. Stop taking your shoes off. No, you can go through with AirPods on, guys. If you're girls, pop those air... " I'm probably gonna get alerted by TSA pre. I definitely have done coaching calls through airport security. I've talked to Tiffany through security. Just pop the hair down, headphones do not go off, in case you wanna know, and your phone will go right on through, and you can just keep on that coaching call. So definitely have to maximize sometime, try not to do that very often, but fun airport tip for you guys. But, Tiff, onto our Dental A Team topics for you guys.


0:03:17.5 KD: Today, Tiff, I wanted you and I to podcast on this, especially because I feel like you do an incredible job, and that's on communication and building relationships. I feel like it's so important in offices, because we're in the relationship-building department, and I will say, I think, Tiff, when you and I go into consulting, I'm very numbers-driven, I'm very tangibles, I want people to see ROI. And you, on the other hand, do the exact same thing, but you also focus heavily on the relationship of people. And not to say I don't focus on it. I just know, if we were just sitting there, your flavor of choice would be relationships, my flavor of choice would be ROI. And so, I have to work hard on building relationships, and I know you have to work harder on the numbers side of it, because that's just not our natural flavors that we would go to. I'm not saying that either of us don't do well on it, but it's a natural by-product of who you are, it's in your DNA, you bleed it, you drink it. Talk to me about it, 'cause I know you've also taken a lot of courses on communication and building relationships, so let's just dive into some tangibles for our listeners of how to just have better communication and building relationships.


0:04:25.5 Tiffany: Yeah, absolutely agree, and I think too, right? I know I gravitate towards relationships more; I always have my whole life. I'm very, very invested in the relationships in my life and just what it provides for me. So I know I do gravitate towards that, but I also think, like you said, taken a lot of courses in communication, a lot of really heavy material, so I think it also pushes me to be in that mindset a little bit more. My thoughts and ideals behind the relationships within the practice is that, if we have high communication, we have higher relationships. So if you can be in communication with someone, which means the full cycle of communication is complete every single time, there's a response, there's acknowledgement, there's love there, and there's knowledge. If you can complete that communication cycle and be in good communication with someone, your relationship is better with that person. And my theory is that if we have a team built on communication and relationships with one another, it cycles down and it falls into your practice and into your patients.


0:05:29.1 Tiffany: I truly believe with all of my heart that people buy not for me, but for wants and desire. That's why marketing works. That's why Target will do better every single time than Walmart because you feel better in Target, even if you're gonna pay more money for something that you could get for less at Walmart, just because you feel better being there. So I truly believe your patients are coming in and they're buying from you because they have a relationship with you, and if you don't have a relationship and communication but with your team, it's gonna be very difficult for you to build that relationship or make the patient feel comfortable in your practice. So I think mine trickles down. You're hard and fast in numbers, and I always look at numbers and I do value them, but I think my natural tendency is like, "Okay, well, let's fix the communication in our relationships," because the byproduct of that is that your patients are gonna accept treatment better, and they're going to pay for the services, so that's where your money comes in, so it's kinda full-circle.


0:06:24.1 Tiffany: But, you know what? Everything we talked about earlier on a different podcast that required collaboration, and each person brings something different to the table, and so, my style works for a lot of practices, but it may take a little bit longer even maybe to see people who don't fit. So Kiera, sometimes you go in and people are like, "You know what, I don't like talking about numbers, I'm not gonna do this." And so you can weed out sometimes team members who may not work for the practice, maybe even quicker than I do.


0:06:52.8 KD: For sure. I think that there are pieces there.


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0:07:43.9 KD: But I wanna dive into this communication and I think it's great. One thing I actually love when I podcast with you when you and I do events is, you and I are, I think we are a really adorable coin and we're two sides of the coin and I have a very outgoing, bubbly, on top of this world, and Tiff is more like cool, chill, sunset. And we blend insanely well. When we're together I'm a little more chill, you're a little more pep and I think it's great 'cause offices can see two sides of the coin, and I think most people fit in either more of a Tiff category or more of a Kiera category. So with this communication and building relationships, there might be some listeners that are like, "Tiff, I'm your girl, I'm your guy, I got you. I am so about the building relationships."


0:08:24.3 KD: And then there's people that might be like, "Uh, I'm in the Kiera bucket." Where I'm like, "Okay, number one, what's the point of building relationship? There's no ROI on this relationship so why am I even doing this?" Genuinely, that sounds so trashy to say out loud, but I wanted to bring this up because I'm gonna be honest, one reason I haven't built relationships is because I don't see the ROI on it. And number two, and Tiff you know this about me, and you and I worked on this a ton, which is why you're one of my best friends beyond just business, but in personal, you helped me realise that building relationships adds fulfilment in life and also people can like me and I can have a relationship that I don't have to buy.


0:09:04.1 KD: A lot of times I feel like in order for team members to like me, especially as a boss, as an employee, I've gotta give them a job, I've gotta pay them, I'm always seemed to take them to dinner or send them thank you's so that way they like me. And I think it's 'cause I don't value myself and realise that I bring something to the table of this relationship beyond just being a boss, beyond being a job, beyond being a paycheck. And that to me, has been a game changer because then I feel like when I start to see myself as a contributing piece and really focusing on the relationships with my team members, then it becomes synergistic, then I feel like it's an investment beyond just the paycheck of like, "Oh, well, we have a boss-employee relationship, which is, yes, I pay you for your time." It becomes more of an invested into the practice, into the business. People want to grow the business. They want to grow and Tiff, I watched you do that and I would say and you say it as well, your point of it. My thought is, we took the time to build a relationship, we took the time to invest in it, have hard conversations, grow, develop.


0:10:03.7 KD: I found out what you were looking for, found opportunities within our work to give you the opportunities for your life and focus more on the relationship versus just the ROI, really focus on that communication, and in turn, I feel like you believe that Dental A Team is your business as well, you are highly invested in it, you grow this better than I could ever motivate you with money or gifts or anything because you're bought into it. But I don't feel like I'm explaining this very well, I feel like I'm actually really good at explaining things, but this is a weird world for me to try and explain, so take it away from here and see what you think on your side. Hopefully, it's all making sense for everybody listening, and if not, it's cool guys. Tiff's got the communication down. She'll podcast this solo next time.




0:10:42.5 Tiffany: No, I think that you did hit it. I think that you don't trust that you actually know it, right? And so you feel like you're getting confusing but I don't think you are. I think that you nailed it. I am invested in this company because I'm invested in us as individuals and our relationship together as well. I know also, just like I said earlier about the team and the financials and all of the pieces of the puzzle will come there later. I know that by having a heavy investment in our company and feeling, being able to feel like, "This is my company too. I helped build this. This is so amazing, and I get to be a part of this every single day." In turn, financially, personally, I'm gonna make more money. I'm gonna get to take more money home because I'm invested in the growth of this business. And I'm gonna be able to see the business growing, I'm gonna see the numbers come because of the relationships that we have, and just like anything, if I don't have relationships with my clients, they're not gonna see ROI, and I'm not gonna see ROI. I'm not gonna continue to get referrals, I'm not gonna have clients who stick with me long-term because if I don't have that relationship with them and they're not seeing the positive differences that we can make in each other's lives, there's no reason, there's no point.


0:11:52.3 Tiffany: We as human beings were put on this planet to be in relationship. We're in relationship with everything we do. We're in relationship with the animals that we have, the plants that we have, everything is a relationship, and we were literally born to be in relationship that's why we were put here. So if those relationships aren't one of the top things that we work on, we become very... I don't know how to say this. We just become very sad. That's where depression comes in. When you don't have relationships with other people and you're not... People aren't able to add massive value to your life by just being a piece of your life, you're gonna struggle finding what it is that's gonna make you want to be in that place. So if you're not in good relationships with the people that you work with, or loving your patients and having fun with your patients, laughing and joking, that's one of the biggest things that I miss about being in practice; it's the conversations and just pure laughter with patients over something so silly and building relationships with the patients who come in, I miss that the most out of anything.


0:12:55.7 Tiffany: And in practice, I push my practices to have really strong communication, have the hard conversations. I use you and I as examples constantly. Four years ago, we did not communicate like we do today. It was a work in progress and we literally work on it every single day. You have to call me out on things, I call you out on things, we know our strengths, we know our weaknesses. I know what drives Kiera, I know what holds her back, I know the intricacies, and it makes it easier for us to work together in our company because I know I can help in the areas where she's a little weaker, and that's fine. If we were all strong in everything, we wouldn't need each other, that's not why we were put here. We were put here to need one another, to need the relationships and to help fill the pieces that we're not stronger at.


0:13:48.8 KD: I love that.


0:13:49.5 Tiffany: So we come in with our strengths and our weaknesses and we just fit together, it's like a puzzle piece. And without that and without the communication to learn that about each other or be able to have those relationships, your business is not going to thrive in my opinion, because you can't do it all by yourself. It could thrive, you could thrive, you could be exactly where you are today and stay there forever, growth comes with growing people.


0:14:15.3 KD: Agreed. And as you were talking, Tiff, I was thinking, there is ROI that's intangible that becomes tangible, and I think that that's a communication in the building relationship. So to your point with team members, I would say that it needs to come from a genuine space. [chuckle]


0:14:33.7 Tiffany: Yeah, I would say that.


0:14:33.8 KD: I've definitely faked it. [chuckle] And I'm like, "Alright, I wanna have ROI, have a better team, better culture, better patient, better case acceptance," so that means I've got to do relationships. Okay, fantastic. So I just asked the very generic questions like, "Oh, how was your day? How was your weekend?" But I don't care, I'm just trying to put deposits in the relationship bank and people feel that. So I think first things first, decide that you actually want to build the relationship, and I would say we're gonna start with team and then we'll move to patient of, build the relationship with your team, communicating with them, having the hard conversations. And I genuinely have found I've changed my mantra about hard conversations of... I have hard conversations because I care about that person. If I don't care about them and I don't believe they can change, I'm not going to have a hard conversation with them.


0:15:15.2 KD: So to me, I'm like, "Oh, I'm so glad somebody had a hard conversation with me," because that genuinely means they believe that I can change. So I think that communication, having a very open, very fluid, is one of the key pieces of building a relationship because I know if I go to Tiff on any issue, she's gonna listen. Sure, she may have her ego bruised, I might have my ego bruised, at the end of the day, I know we're gonna hash it out, we're gonna work it out and we're going to come up with a solution; and with practice, I feel those conversations become easier and easier and easier and just become part of your relationship, versus it being a piece you have to work on and add in all the time. So that's what I'd say for teams and to me, that's the ROI of trust in your company, long-term longevity, not having turnover because you have these relationships that weave and entwine each other together. So to me, that's the communication in building relationship ROI, if you guys are on the business side. If you're like Tiff and you're just like, "No, I wanna be with people and relationships," I think that it's just that makes fulfillment in life as well.


0:16:16.5 KD: So there's also that piece of ROI as well by having these relationships, and then on the other side of patients, when you genuinely care about your patients, I will say I could close cases so much better when I genuinely cared about those patients and wanted to ensure that they got the best care for them. Like you said Tiff, I've missed so much having patients that I would laugh so hard with and we'd have the best time, and I genuinely wanted them to have the greatest success. I didn't care if I was closing cases or not. I just knew they needed to get the dentistry done, my job was to help them get it done and having that relationship with my patients, caring about them, treating them like people, being interested in them, that to me was how I was able to build relationships with my patients was by genuinely caring. Tiff, I know we'd had a podcast before I did it solo, it came from you of being interested versus being interesting to build that relationship with your patients. So those are my ROIs, how to do it, some tangibles, any other thoughts you have on building relationships and communication?


0:17:16.6 Tiffany: Yeah, I actually love that. Being interested and so being interesting, I say that all the time and that's something that I learned a lot in the communication courses that I did. And just to hit on that real quick, it's like the key to communication and we've all been there where we've had some... I had my neighbour this morning, randomly came up to me this morning and it's like, we've all been there, where you're having this conversation with somebody and they just keep asking you questions, and he just kept asking me questions this morning about me, about my dog, and about my work and he was generally interested in me, and it's shocking to us. Every time that happens, we're like, "Wow, that was really cool. He really wanted to know about who I am." Because we're invested and interested in ourselves that we forget to be interested in other people. Human nature is that we want to show how interesting we are. We wanna be the best, we wanna be the top, we want everyone to pay attention to us. Even if you're highly introverted, you still want to be interesting to other people, that's our satisfaction in life, but when we're in a position in the dental field with our patients, we need to be more interested in them than we are interesting.


0:18:32.2 Tiffany: They may care, I've had plenty of patients that wanted to know what I did on the weekend or wanted to know what my life was like, but that's because we built the relationship based off of me being interested in them. So, relationships, communication, all of that is built on asking questions, being interested in someone, learning about someone else, and then in turn it happening to you, that's communication; asking a question, getting a response, they ask you a question, you respond, that's the cycle of communication. So I love that you brought that up because it's literally one of my favourite things in life, it's one of my favorite things that I ever learned, and it is by far in a way, the easiest way to get case acceptance. If you pop into a treatment plan and you're trying to be more interesting, you're trying to be the smartest person in the world, you're trying to tell them why they need the treatment, why their tooth is broken, what's gonna happen when it breaks further or if they don't get the treatment or explaining SRP again, you're trying to be interesting, you're trying to give them all of the information that you have because you want them to know it, yes, but because you're like, "I'm the professional, this is what you need," rather than just asking them questions like, "What's holding you back from getting this treatment scheduled?"


0:19:39.6 Tiffany: We have no idea why they don't wanna get it scheduled, we're just assuming that we do and throwing out all of the information. We're vomiting information all over them, trying to be interesting. Well, be interested in the patient, like maybe it's a cruise, "Oh my gosh, where are you going? Tell me about your cruise, tell me about your vacation." And you're gonna get more information out of that conversation and be able to sell that case better than if you just kept slamming them with facts. You're gonna find out when are they leaving, when are they coming back, how much money are they spending on it, and you're gonna have a solution for them by the end, like, "Great, fantastic, maybe we schedule it three weeks when you get back," to meet on their paycheck. Like, if you're just interested on the person that you're talking to, everything around you changes and that's communication, being genuinely in relationship, being genuinely interested in the person that you're sitting there talking to.


0:20:24.8 Tiffany: If Kiera never became interested in me as a person, in my growth, in my family, in my home life, in my work life, in my path, she had never became interested in me and asked the questions, we wouldn't have communication like we do, especially because we live in two different states, we hardly ever see each other, but you would never guess that. You would think that we were together all the time. I actually have offices that are constantly shocked to find out that we don't live in the same state, we don't talk together all the time. They're like, "Wait. I thought you guys lived next door."


0:20:55.0 KD: Surprise.


0:20:56.0 Tiffany: Yeah.


0:20:56.1 KD: One would think.


0:21:00.1 Tiffany: But it was really, we put in the effort. We had the desire to put in the effort to build the relationship that we have, and it changes the game.


0:21:09.2 KD: I love a lot of the pieces you said on there, Tiff. I'm always trying to pull like, okay, you know me, my mind's always like, "Okay, how do I implement this? How do I become the best at this?" I'm very, very competitive and I like to take information and then simplify it and digest it. And so I would say a good tangible for you guys is number one, decide as team members that you genuinely want a relationship with the people you work with. You can keep it on a very professional level. It does not mean you have to be hanging out, going to drinks, anything like that, but genuinely decide, "I'm going to have great relationships with every person in my office," and then find little ways. I've found compliments, I've found asking questions, like Tiffany said, and then also bringing something to the table. You can't always be mooching off of everyone else. You've gotta be bringing value to the relationship as well.


0:22:00.3 KD: But I would say just ask questions of your team members and genuinely put it in your heart that you genuinely wanna have a great relationship with your team member and just see what happens as a culture. If all of you guys take this on for the next month as, we're genuinely going to care about each other and we're gonna build relationships that are strong relationships in our practice, I promise you, your practice will grow in numbers that you have never ever, ever imagined, but it has to be genuine. So that would be number one tangible.


0:22:23.2 KD: Number two tangible would be with your patients, genuinely ask questions. Doctors, don't panic. It will not take you a long time. I have found that it's actually just really fun to find a way to connect. I've got a client right now who's getting ready to sign up for platinum, shout out to them. We connected over a truck, and honestly, I just talked to him about his truck. He inspired me to go buy a truck, and we just giggle and geek out and it's fun. And so him signing up for platinum wasn't even a decision, it was the natural next step, because obviously, we wanna work together. I don't care if he does or doesn't. I think we can genuinely help him, but we had a relationship because I genuinely care about him and I asked questions not because I wanted to close a deal, but because I genuinely cared about him.


0:23:06.3 KD: So I'd say doctors, ask questions because you genuinely care. Same thing with treatment coordinators, ask questions because you genuinely care and you're interested in these people because you see them as people, not as patients just coming through your practice, and I think that mindset shift will change your communication and you're building relationships. Your practice will thrive, you will be happier, things will flow easier, it won't feel as hard to get patients to say yes, and you'll just see a magical change.


0:23:30.5 KD: So I would say take the challenge on for the next month with us. I think it'd be really fun. I'd love to hear you guys' journey. I know Tiff would too. So email us [email protected] Tell us if your team is gonna take this challenge on or if you're personally and privately going to take it on, and then let us know your results. We're all about results. We're all about seeing that you guys change, and I promise you, I've taken the challenge on myself, of really investing more in relationships, and my life has become more full, more rich. I feel like I've got greater relationships with my team members because at the end of the day, I genuinely care about these people and I see them as people, not employees, and I think that has made all the difference. So those are my last two cents, Tiff. Anything you wanna add as we wrap up today?


0:24:09.3 Tiffany: No, I think that was fantastic. I would say all the same things and take the challenge, and in the moments remember too, we're not all perfect, and it's not gonna be perfect every single day, so in the moments when you mess it up, it's fine, don't overanalyze it, move on. Not everyone's always gonna love you so be okay with that too, and just take the challenge on because you're gonna be a happier person too.


0:24:29.9 KD: I love it, I love it. Alright guys, that was a fun podcast, so thank you again for just being amazing with our clients, being an incredible person in my life and in our company. I appreciate you and value you so much and it was just fun to podcast with you, so as always, thank you.


0:24:44.5 Tiffany: Thanks for having me and you always know the right words, right? You're so incredible, so thank you. Thank you for being you.


0:24:50.9 KD: Absolutely. Alright, you guys as always, thank you all. Truly, thank you all for being listeners of the Dental A Team podcast and being part of our family. It's really, really fun to know that so many of you are out there listening, celebrating with us, going on the journey with us, celebrating in your own ways. So thanks for being a part of our Dental A Team family, and as always, thanks for listening and we'll catch you next time on the Dental A Team podcast.




0:25:13.6 KD: And that wraps it up for another episode of the Dental A Team podcast. Thank you so much for listening and we'll talk to you next time.




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