The consultative selling process is invaluable. It can benefit you in just about every area of your life. It will make you a better communicator, a more confident leader, and a better dentist, parent, partner, and friend.

DSM is rife with acronyms, and it’s time to introduce a new one to represent this proven process. There is no debate or controversy as to its efficacy, like there is with AHI or STOP-BANG. This acronym and the process it represents are irrefutably effective, period. Full stop (bang).

You’ve heard someone say you should “read someone’s body language” or “read the room.” Let’s consider how to READ your customer. In this case, your customer can be a patient, a potential referral source, a team member, or one of your wayward kids.

When following this process, you must follow the steps in order:

Relate: People prefer to do business with those they believe have their best interests in mind. If they relate to you, trust you, and feel comfortable with you, they are more likely to open up and share their needs and goals with you. This level of trust, candor, and vulnerability opens the doors to further exploration.

Explore: Patients know what their problems are, what keeps them up at night. They know what they want their future to be like, and yet they don’t always know what they need to do to achieve it. Explore their needs and goals, ask the right questions, and actively listen—these steps can help you help them, and by helping them, you’re helping yourself.

Advise: Only after relating to build trust and exploring to understand the person’s problems and ambitions, can you recommend a solution. This solution probably won’t be the canned speech you prepared about how, “The mandible is repositioned during sleep to maintain a patent airway, blah, blah, blah …” It will be a co-created solution between you and your patient.

Deliver: If performed properly, the steps taken up to this point will deliver the ever-elusive, but oft-sought win-win solution. There will be no buyer’s remorse, requests for refunds, or nebulous legal threats. You say what you’ll do and do what you say. This will lead to five-star Google reviews, more patient referrals, and a sense of purpose that infuses every area of your life.

When meeting a new patient, referral source, or general contractor, we’re starting at a high level; we’re 30,000 feet up. As we move through the process outlined in the following section, we gradually bring this baby down for a successful landing together. Descending too rapidly can cause vomit bags to come out and unnecessary turbulence for everyone. Hell, you can bring it straight down if you want to, nosediving into a terrific crash and burn.

You can also spend too much time and overshoot the runway, forcing you to loop back around. This is what happens when we educate endlessly without connecting the dots and advising our counterparts what to do next. Unfortunately, sometimes we run out of fuel or get redirected. This results in patients deciding to “think about it.”

If you want to learn how to take these concepts and apply them to your dental sleep practice for maximum benefit, you’re in luck. I actually wrote a book on it, and you can order your copy by clicking link: TRANSFORM DENTAL SLEEP: The Step-by-Step Guide to Doubling Your Sleep Patients, Increasing Physician Referrals, Simplifying Processes, and Improving Your Life.

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