Find a mentor and get out of that rut!

Cosmetic Dentistry 2001, sponsored by Dental Economics, is history. More than 600 people came to Las Vegas to learn more about integrating esthetic dentistry into their dental practices.

by Joe Blaes, DDS

Cosmetic Dentistry 2001, sponsored by Dental Economics, is history. More than 600 people came to Las Vegas to learn more about integrating esthetic dentistry into their dental practices. Eighteen speakers and 70 exhibitors provided the latest and best information available. The Las Vegas strip provided the fun and relaxation after a day of learning. If you missed us this year, plan now to be with us for CD 2002 next February in Las Vegas!

After two years in the Navy, I came back to St. Louis to start a scratch practice in a growing suburb. I was on the tail end of the "Golden Age of Dentistry," and, within a few months, my practice was busy. I had attended a couple of practice-management seminars and learned some rudimentary case-presentation skills. As I began presenting all of these wonderful dental solutions, I found that everyone did not share my enthusiasm for dentistry. Many people would simply say, "No." Since I had no experience in sales, I found this very hard to take, and I began to personalize this rejection.

Fortunately, I had a wise mentor in St. Louis - Dr. Roy Wolff. Whenever I would get lonely and depressed in my solo dental practice, I would drive over to Roy's flourishing pedodontic practice. My practice growth had begun to slow and the rejection was getting to me. One day, during a visit to his office, I said, "Dr. Wolff, I am losing it. I am presenting quality dentistry to my patients and they are rejecting it. I just can't deal with all the rejection. Maybe I should go to work for another dentist."

Roy grabbed a piece of paper and a pen and said, "Let me show you something that I learned from my mentor." On the paper, he wrote five things: SW-1; SW-2; SW-3; SW-4; and SW-5. He then turned the paper so I could see it and said, "If rejection is your problem, you need to know the SW-5 rule for overcoming it. Everyone in dentistry deals with massive amounts of rejection. But here is the thing - the real pros don't drown in it; they learn to surf on it."

Then, with his pen, he pointed to SW-1. "You can be the world's worst case presenter and there will always be SW-1s - Someone who Will buy from you." (It could be your Mom.)

His pen moved down. "Now even the best dentists have lots of patients who still won't buy from them. We will call these patients the SW-2s - the Some Won'ts. Now here comes the secret." I leaned in closer. "How do the great dentists deal with all those SW-2s - the Some Won'ts? They know SW-3 stands for So What. How can you say 'So what?' to someone who says 'No' right to your face? You can if you know SW-4 - Someone's Waiting. There is always another patient out there waiting to buy some dentistry from you. That's why you have to SW-5 - Stick With it." Roy smiled at me and said, "Try it; you'll like it!"

I picked up the paper and looked at it. I really did not fully understand how this would solve my problem, but I was determined to try the SW-5 rule. After all, everything else that Roy had told me to do had worked in my practice - why not this rule as well? I carefully folded the paper and put it in my pocket. I thanked Roy and drove back to my office, thinking about all he had said. So simple but so true.

Years later, after the SW-5 rule had become part of my life, I was attending one of Walter Hailey's Boot Kamp programs in Hunt, Texas. Part of the program dealt with rejection, and, right before my eyes, Walter described his version of the SW-5 rule. I knew that I was in the right place. Don't miss the Boot Kamp experience; it will change your practice and your life. You will come away a different person! Call (800) 266-8526 for more information.

I recommend that you do two things this month. First, find a mentor! I would not be the dentist or the person I am today if it were not for Dr. Roy M. Wolff! He died a young man nearly 20 years ago, and I have missed him every day.

Second, if you are in a rut, do something positive to make a change in your life. Don't stay stuck in that rut!

Joe Blaes, DDS, Editor - e-mail: joeb@pennwell.com

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