Help recent graduates nail a job interview with cosmetic dentistry services

May 25, 2012
Renee Knight
Issue 5

Now that their college days are behind them, recent graduates are ready to shift their focus to the job market. But interviewing can be stressful-especially in today’s economic climate-and these new grads need something to boost their confidence as they meet potential employers.

Now that their college days are behind them, recent graduates are ready to shift their focus to the job market. But interviewing can be stressful-especially in today’s economic climate-and these new grads need something to boost their confidence as they meet potential employers.

Enhancing their smile, whether it’s through whitening, alignment or a gum lift, can give them the boost they need to land that first job. But if you and your staff don’t market your practice’s cosmetic services to these young adults, they may not even realize how much a change in their smile, whether subtle or dramatic, can help.

Get them into the office

The first step is getting these patients in your chair so you can have a conversation about whitening, veneers or any other cosmetics they might need. Chances are these patients aren’t going to come to you; you need to do some external marketing.

Show them what it can do

If a patient isn’t sure about going through with a procedure, Penny Reed Limoli, owner of the Reed Limoli Group, suggests showing the patient what he or she can look like once the procedure is done. Take a photo of the patient and send it to smilevision.net, a dental lab that creates before and after cosmetic simulations. Patients can see what they’ll look like with veneers or a whiter smile, and they can take the photo home to show family and friends. And a lot of a lot of practices don’t charge for this service because its considered a marketing expense, which is another benefit for your patients.

Limoli suggests starting with radio and Internet ads. Find out what stations that age group listens to in your area and develop a commercial about beautiful smiles and job hunting. Put local ads on Google or post something on a local university’s Web site. Placing a classified ad in an area newspaper is another option, although Limoli recommends concentrating your efforts online. Make sure any ad you place focuses on improving smiles and confidence, and consider offering a free new patient exam.

“Once you get those patients in the chair, you have to think about what they are looking for,” Limoli said. “A healthy smile conveys hey, I’m healthy and I’m not going to miss a lot of work. There are all sorts of things that go through the employer’s mind as far as is this is somebody I want to have work for me. People get judged at different levels based on appearance. If you show up wrinkled or if you’re embarrassed of your smile and your hand is covering your mouth, those things really do count.”

Once they’re in the office

If you find a recent college graduate in your office for a hygiene appointment, take the opportunity to have a conversation about smile-enhancing cosmetic procedures, Limoli said. Start by congratulating the patient and asking how the interview process is going. Ask about procedures such as whitening to see if there’s any interest, and talk about other patients who have opted to go that route.

Why they might say no

Dr.Brian LeSage and Limoli agree that one of the main reasons a patient decides not to go forward with a cosmetic procedure is money. And if the patient isn’t working, cost becomes even more of a barrier. Talk to these patients about CareCredit and flexible payment plans. Concerns about pain and time commitment are other reasons these patients may decide to hold off on improving their smiles.

“Internal marketing with nice, friendly dialogue with the patients can make the difference,” Dr. Brian LeSage (cosmetic-dentistry.com) said. “Having photos of your patients throughout the office can make a difference.”

Have your team members ask these patients if they’d like to know about options that can enhance their smile, or if they’re happy with the way their teeth appear in pictures. Get them thinking about the possibilities.

If this sparks interest, bring out books with the practice’s before and afters of successful whitening, veneers, alignments and other cosmetic procedures. If the patient is ready to try whitening, bring out the shade guide, Limoli said. Let the patient hold the mirror and really see how white his or her smile can be.

It’s also a good idea for these patients to do some prepping for the interview on their own. Have them take a good look in the mirror or a close-up digital photo to check for obvious bleeding gums, stains and broken or chipped teeth, Dr. LeSage said.

What they want

With this age group, whitening is the most popular choice, Dr. LeSage said. It’s relatively inexpensive and patients see results right away. Alignment and veneer restorations are also on the list, but remind these patients to think about fresh breath before answering that first interview question.

Bad breath can be offensive, Dr. LeSage said, and is probably the first dental-related concern to consider when interviewing.

Cosmetics and cigarettes

If a college grad is coming to you for cosmetic advice and you know that patient is a smoker, take the opportunity to talk about throwing out those cigarettes, said Penny Reed Limoli, owner of the Reed Limoli Group. Remind the patient is does cause stains and smelling like smoke during can interview can be off putting.

“Some people don’t realize their breath is not so great,” Limoli said. “Dental offices can do tests on whether breath is fresh. If somebody has bad breath, an employer usually doesn’t think I’m not going to hire that person because of it, but it doesn’t count as brownie points. Fresh breath can help build confidence.”

Understand their needs

Whether it’s a porcelain veneer restoration or composite bonding the new grad wants, Dr. John Calamia, Director of Esthetics at New York University College of Dentistry, said talking honestly with your patients and really addressing their needs is the best way to get them excited about cosmetic procedures.

“I listen very carefully to any patients who come in asking for those types of treatments and try to discern what it is they’re trying to accomplish,” Dr. Calamia said. “I give them the treatment that’s going to take care of their needs and be the least invasive. I’m truthful and honest with the individuals, and they know I’d be doing the same thing if it was my daughter or wife sitting in the chair. I have respect for what they’re trying to accomplish and I make sure we’re on the same wavelength.”

And that includes letting your patients know when their expectations aren’t realistic, Dr. Calamia said. Sometimes these patients want something that just can’t be done, and when that’s the case, it’s your job to let them know.

Reap the benefits

Dental offices are busy places, so it’s easy to forget your patients’ accomplishments whether it’s a college graduation, wedding or milestone anniversary, Limoli said. When these occasions come up, take the opportunity to send the patient a card and offer a free cleaning or whitening.

What a new smile can do for your patients

A study conducted by Beall Research & Training indicates that a new smile will make your patients appear more intelligent, interesting, successful and wealthy to others. Dr. Anne Beall, a social psychologist and market research specialist carried out the study on behalf of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

If you’re acknowledging a college graduation, you may have given that patient a reason to stay with your practice after he or she does find a job and leaves mom and dad’s house. And it may remind the parents that it’s time to focus on their smile and go forward with those cosmetic services they’ve been thinking about.

“Giving a personal acknowledgement to the family can have many rewards,” Limoli said. “It’s a great opportunity to appeal to a once child patient as an adult. And when those patients do get jobs they’ll have co workers, which can begin a whole new crop of patients and referrals.”

And the confidence boost you’ve given that patient will extend well beyond their next job interview, Dr. Calamia said.

“It’s a tremendous difference. It’s fascinating to me how many patients almost seem to change in personality when they have that self confidence,” Dr. Calamia said. “I have individuals who are shrinking violets and don’t want to say anything and don’t want to smile without a hand in front of their mouth. Once they go through a procedure and see the results, they have a lot more confidence in their personal appeal.”