Garage Sales are Like Bad Patients

A few weeks ago our neighborhood put together their semi-annual garage sale. I’m not a big fan of garage sales, at least not being the one selling things out there. Some people get a thrill out of selling and buying old stuff. I see it generally as stepping over dollars to pick up pennies. For me, why spend half of my day to make a few bucks and miss out on biking or hiking or activities with my kids, or enjoying my Saturday?

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been reorganizing the kids bedrooms in our house, so we are getting rid of a bunch of big stuff like beds and furniture. So, somewhat begrudgingly, this time I joined the garage sale to get rid of some of these big items.

On the flip side, I love seeing my kids work their entrepreneurial spirit and learn the importance of hard work. So anytime they want to run their lemonade stand I’m happy to facilitate it however I can. It’s a great way for them to boost their allowance, and it teaches them social and sales skills as well as the value of providing a good value product or service to their customer.

Let me continue by saying I don’t really believe there is such a thing as “bad patients.” But I do believe there are bad systems and practices that create problems with patients.

Is it wrong for us to judge someone on their character or who they really are based on how they approach their dental care. That’s just one small piece to a much bigger pie. That being said, what you allow, and what you reinforce is how your patients will behave in your office. People need to be told what to do, and often more so than you probably think. They need to be given advance notice as well.

For example, if you want to practice to run on time, patients pay on time, people to wait in their cars or in your patient lounge, not to bring family members when they have long appointments, etc. you need to have handouts, remind them on the phone and see it in person.

It takes 7 to 21 times for someone to remember something, so certainly just saying at once is enough and you can’t be frustrated with your patient if I forgot.

What gets reinforced gets done.

As for the garage sale lemonade stand, my kids did great! I think they made about $60 each for four or so hours of work. Much more than I made per hour at that age. Plus much of the time was sitting in the late summer sun and laughing and conversing with their friends who came to buy their drinks and sweets.

Remember to always find ways to turn lemons into lemonade in your practice, and most importantly, don’t waste your time on trivial things that have a low return unless you absolutely love doing them. Don’t be the dentist who insists they do all of their own lab work just to save a few bucks, when really you could be missing out on prepping more crowns, placing more implants, or starting your next cosmetic case.

Have a fantastic week!

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