No matter how skilled you are, no matter how clean and organized your office is and no matter how good the services you offer are, a lack of professionalism will surely spell the end of your business.

Professionalism applies to every part of your business–the way you interact with your staff, the way you interact with your clients (both in person and over the phone or web), and how you present and brand your business. Professionalism gives you the credibility needed to attract and maintain a loyal clientele and, most importantly, maximize your profits. Here are some areas to focus on.

People-centered model

The key to professionalism is ensuring that your business is people-focused, and by “people,” we mean both clients and staff. When you and your team are interacting with clients and with each other, there should always be a standard of politeness, fairness, kindness and mutual respect. This will all lead to a healthier, happier work environment that will translate to better performance and higher revenue.

When it comes to your clients, professionalism is the key to making them feel comfortable. This is of utmost importance in a dental office since it is a medical setting. Your client’s health and well-being is literally in your hands, so making sure they are as comfortable and taken care of as possible is vital. Even if you are dealing with a client who is “difficult” or having a bad day, still treat them with utmost respect and kindness and do not be defensive or rude.

System of courtesy

Much of professionalism has to do with the specific words you use when communicating with your team and clients. Words hold a lot of power and if you’re speaking overly casually, not saying “please” and “thank you,” or not being clear with your words, it can come across as lazy and unprofessional.

This “system of courtesy” applies to everything from simple interactions, like asking your dental assistant to pass you a tool, to long-form conversations during meetings or consultations.

Below are a few communication guidelines to consider as a business professional. These guidelines and more are discussed in Scaling Up: The Business of Dentistry, Dolphin Development Group founder Karen Ergus’ new book.

  1. Speak very politely, using a person’s name and don’t forget please and thank you.
  2. When you talk about a person who is not present, speak as if they are there listening to your conversation.
  3. If you have a problem with someone, talk about the problem only with them and in private.
  4. Apologize and make restitution if someone is upset by your actions.
  5. Greet everyone by name and make eye contact whenever possible.
  6. Blame a system not a person.
  7. Tell the truth.
  8. Use positive conversation.

For more about professionalism and maximizing your profits in the dental field check out Scaling Up: The Business of Dentistry– the new book by Dolphin Development Group founder and lawyer Karen Ergus. The book is available for purchase now, in both physical and digital format, here.

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