The Audition Series – Installment One

Amy Stafford

The Treatment Coordinator: 21 Tips to Stage Your Success

At Ortho Infusion, we recently performed our routine secret new patient calls. These calls evaluate team members on the effectiveness of the new patient call experience. I’m always amazed at how few follow the recommended scripts that set the stage for success. I’m further amazed at how few take control and lead the conversation to ensure a successful first impression.

This got me thinking how similar the entire new patient process is to an audition, specifically the exam. It reminded me of an article I read that outlined audition tips for actors. These are so easily applied to orthodontic treatment coordinators who are on stage every day, ‘auditioning’ their orthodontic practice in front of new patients all day long. This is the first installment in our new “Audition Series” for the orthodontic office. Enjoy!

New patients are waiting on the other side of that door – the door that you can see as a gateway to success or a roadblock. It’s your stage. This is your time, your opportunity to do exceptional work, and win!

  1. Accept the audition invitation with grace and enthusiasm. It IS an invitation. Your new patients have a choice of providers, and they chose YOU. They may have found you online, or maybe someone referred them because they had a wonderful experience. YOU were requested, and now it’s time to show them why. The spotlight has never been brighter.
  2. Show up to work and not to please. There is a difference. Learn it. Work to win.
  3. Enter the exam room with certainty and confidence. SMILE. Don’t let go of your power as soon as you open the door. Remember the 3 C’s. Be comfortable, charismatic and confident.  Command attention. Be someone they want to get to know.  You also have to listen, and get to know THEM. It’s a balance.
  4. Play on a level field. It is likely your new patient may have no idea what is going on, and could even be nervous. Start with a clean slate, from the very beginning in every exam. Stage the experience for success, for everyone.
  5. Make no excuses whatsoever. Leave your baggage outside. Better yet, leave it at home. Perform at your best, no matter when, no matter what.
  6. Make the exam room your own. It will make everyone so much more comfortable. Own it. It’s your stage.
  7. Ask questions only when it’s appropriate, and when you truly need answers. Don’t use “Do you have any questions?” as silence filler. Be prepared with the right answers if you ask. Especially don’t ask if treatment has already been accepted, and they are ready to move forward. Be careful not to talk yourself out of a win.
  8. Know your words and material. Understand what you’re talking about. You don’t need to memorize everything, but you do need to follow a script. But also, be prepared to improvise based on cues from the patient and responsible party. Know who you’re talking with, all names, ages, and their history.
  9. Do your homework on your patients. This includes knowing all the players! Who are mom and dad, where do they work, where does the patient go to school? Who do they know? Who referred them? What is their insurance coverage? What is their chief concern? All of these details set the stage. Read all the material you can get your hands on.
  10. Make excellent choices and take responsibility for the choices you make. Image is important. First impression is everything. Dress for success. Start your day with success. That means get plenty of rest, stay hydrated, and well nourished to avoid feeling hungry, tired, or cranky during an exam.
  11. Don’t apologize. For anything. Why? Because you don’t put yourself in a situation where you would need to consider apologizing. The new patient exam is not the time for apologies. Run on schedule, and deliver on your promises.
  12. Know what you want to do, what you need to do, and do it. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Rehearse and review. Leave yourself available to make discoveries. Know that your homework is done. Confirm. Follow-up. Now, let your preparation meet the magic of the moments.
  13. Don’t mime or busy yourself with unnecessary props, activity, or strange blocking. Don’t make nervous chit chat. Keep it simple. No nervous ticks or taps. Everything should have a purpose. Use your props wisely, when needed. Use videos and pictures that matter.
  14. Don’t expect to be directed, but if you are, take the direction, no matter what it is. You take control and lead from the beginning. Keep control of the appointment. Understand how to translate results-oriented direction into action. Listen, and pick up on the right cues from everyone. The same goes for criticism.
  15. Don’t blame the patient. Make the patient the star of the show. You should fully engage the patient no matter who else is in the room, no matter whom they are, no matter how or why they got there. Share the stage.
  16. Make specific, personal choices, and follow-through. Don’t second guess, and don’t give too many confusing options.
  17. Stillness is powerful. Understand how to move and work in your exam room and on your office tour. Understand how to listen. Control the stage.
  18. Require no stroking or coddling. You’re there to work. You don’t wear a crown, and you don’t need an ego boost. You’re in the TC position for a reason, and don’t need a constant reminder. No one else needs a reminder, either. Demanding divas really aren’t respected, and they aren’t cool.
  19. Understand that you’re there to collaborate. You’re being evaluated in terms of how you serve this role and represent your practice. You are part of a big picture that includes an entire team of talented professionals. This one moment is not verdict on your personhood.
  20. What you bring in reflects how you’re received, so bring in joy, convey confidence, and put your patients at ease. Showcase your best, bring your best, do your best. Do this for every patient, whether it’s the first exam, or the last exam of the day.
  21. Share and empower your doctor’s passion for orthodontics and his or her care for patients, above all else.

Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage.” But, it is important to remember that we’re all human, and you have the power to influence and connect on an emotional level. That’s your job. That’s how you win. You being fully present, truthful, and personal, in addition to providing education and value, is going to give your new patients what they need to choose your practice. Show up and do your fullest, best work, and perform your best for every patient, and they will say YES to your practice. You have the power, the talent, and the ability to make that happen.

At Ortho Infusion, we provide customized orthodontic consulting services that focus specifically on the new patient process. We combine years of orthodontic experience with the fun and magic of the stage through our Ortho Theatrics program. Working with your team, we develop the best systems, skills, and scripts to win new patients. Our approach is different. Designed by lead consultant, Amy Stafford, we use techniques based in theatre to engage your patients from the moment they first contact your practice on the new patient phone call. We provide proven scripting and verbal skills that work. Perform at your best! Call us now at 855-476-7846 to stage your success!

Amy’s 20 years of experience working for orthodontists nationwide as a certified orthodontist assistant, clinical and software trainer, treatment coordinator and marketing coordinator give her a unique well-rounded perspective for your practice.