Are you a temporary cost or a crucial partner?

A great question was posed in a recent Seth Godin blog post:

does your client see you as a temporary cost or as a crucial partner?

Switch the word client for patient and the same rationale applies.

A temporary cost is the chap who comes to fix the plumbing, a cab driver, the lady you hire for a one-off graphic design project.

A crucial partner is someone whose experience and expertise are recognised as unique and essential for your progress.

A dentist can be a crucial partner in a patient’s life, just as much as a business coach can fulfil that role for a dental entrepreneur.

It was my friend Colin Campbell who first commented that “we meet for 3 hours every month and there is always one moment when what you say justifies the investment – we just never know when that moment will be in each conversation but it always happens.”

The reality is that not all of our clients/patients see us that way.

Some regard us as a temporary cost and want to get the work done and then eliminate the expense.

It’s OK and necessary to work for those people and to do your absolute best for them.

Every now and then you are hired as a crucial partner – there’s no fanfare, it just feels different.

The client/patient relationship reaches a new level and every meeting leaves both coach/dentist and client/patient inspired.

You are motivated to go beyond the obvious and deliver your best ever work because you just feel so appreciated.

Little words like “thank you” appear in the conversation.

Being a crucial partner doesn’t happen every day but when it does it’s a wonderful zone to be in – enjoy the moment.

(composed with appreciation for the management team at The Scottish Centre for Excellence in Dentistry, who made me feel like a crucial partner yesterday)


Published by

Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.

One thought on “Are you a temporary cost or a crucial partner?”

  1. I think this very much applies to associates too. Like my friend, supporter and confidante Jame Nelson. Thank you Jamie couldn’t do it without you!

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