What's Your Elevator Speech?

Around five years ago, I was at a dinner party with some friends and acquaintances, and a lot of other people I didn’t know. As the people around me made small talk and snacked on appetizers, I could feel anxiety building in the pit of my stomach. As usual at these types of events, people were talking about their careers, and at some point I knew someone would ask me the question I dreaded most. And of course, someone did ask me exactly that:

“So what do you do?”

“Well, um…” I fumbled nervously, “I’m a dental hygienist.”

I was very aware that my answer wasn’t exactly true. I had quit clinical hygiene over a year ago, and had started a fledging myofunctional therapy practice that had transformed my life and career into something completely new and different from dental hygiene.

One of my good friends knew this too, and after the party, he pulled me aside and asked “Why don’t you ever tell people what you really do?”

“It’s just too difficult to explain.” I responded. “No one understands what myofunctional therapy is, and it’s much easier to avoid the explanation and funny looks.”

His reply stunned me: “But don’t you understand that you’re completely undermining yourself and missing opportunities by doing that? If you can’t even talk about what you do, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it. You should be proud of the business you’ve started, and the help you offer people. That’s something to shout about, not something to hide. You just need to come up with a good Elevator Speech.”

I was taken aback by my friend’s brutal honesty, but I knew it was true. I needed to be able to tell people about myofunctional therapy in a simple, concise but effective way. I decided to look into his advice.

So what exactly is an Elevator Speech?

An Elevator Speech is a short, carefully planned, and well-practiced description about yourself, your career, or your business that you could easily explain to anyone in the time it would take to ride up an elevator. 

It’s almost like a commercial about who you are, what you do, and how you can benefit a company or organization – in my case a potential patient or referring doctor.

I believe a good Elevator Speech is crucial for every myofunctional therapist who wants to have a successful career. Think about this example:

You’re at the airport and you suddenly run into a dentist you used to work for. After exchanging pleasantries, she asks you where you’re working these days. You open your mouth, and then pause because the answer isn’t so easy. Where on Earth do you start?

Then, as you try to organize your thoughts, her flight is called, and she's on her way. If you'd been better prepared, you're sure that she'd have stayed long enough to exchange information and organize a lunch meeting to learn more about myofunctional therapy.

This is just one situation where having a prepared response could have led to a potential new career opportunity and business connection.

Now, this time, imagine having an Elevator Speech about myofunctional therapy ready to go. You might respond this way instead:

“I’m actually not doing hygiene these days, I’m now a myofunctional therapist. I work with patients who have health issues related to mouth breathing, tongue-tie and tongue thrust. I teach them swallowing, eating, drinking and breathing exercises, and the results I get are pretty amazing.”

“Have you ever heard of myofunctional therapy?”

“Let me give you my card. I’d love for you to check out my website, or maybe we could meet for lunch sometime if you’d like to find out more about my practice?”

Now that you can understand how an Elevator Speech might sound, and you can see the reasons for having one, it’s time to come up with an Elevator Speech of your own. I’ve broken it down into three components for you:

1.     Make it interesting and clear – define what you do in your own words

2.     Keep it simple but precise – make sure that you explain how you add value and benefit others

3.     End with a question and a call to action – always try to exchange information

A good Elevator Speech is one of the key components to a successful myofunctional therapy career. How many business opportunities are you missing because you don’t have a prepared response to questions about your practice or career?

Elevator Speeches are just one of many components to success that I cover in my mentoring programs, so I’m hoping that the information in this article will be beneficial to you as well. Now get out there and make some new connections! :)



The Easy Path to Getting Referrals

Hiking has always been one of my favorite pastimes. I love being out in nature and experiencing the quiet beauty, and the birds and animals while getting some exercise and fresh air at the same time. On my most recent hiking adventure, my thoughts drifted towards my business as I panted and puffed to the top of a particularly steep section of the trail. The topic of referrals came to mind, and an interesting comparison began to form – hiking, just like the way I receive referrals from dentists and orthodontists can be an quite an uphill battle!

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park

I’m not trying to be negative by any means – I believe it’s important to identify any bottlenecks and problem areas in my practice in order to keep things running smoothly. Any entrepreneur – from the hair salon owner across the street, to a Fortune 500 CEO –will tell you that the key to success for any business is to generate new leads and increase sales. This is true in the dental office as well. We all understand the importance of “production” and the scheduling priority that is often placed on a “New Patient Exam”.

In my case, my new business leads are patient referrals, so I depend a great deal on the doctors and dental offices that I work with. Without them, Faceology cannot exist. So yes, it can be an uphill battle!

The thing is, I’ve learned over the past five years that it doesn’t have to be that way. Just like hiking, with a little research beforehand, a map, or maybe even an app on your smartphone, you can choose the paths that are flatter and easier to navigate, so that you don’t end up sweaty and exhausted by the end.

Here are three strategies that I have developed to stay on the easy path when it comes to getting referrals:

1.       Do the work for them. Every hygienist knows how busy a dental practice can get! I put together mini information packets that the dentist or a front office person can simply hand to their patients. The pack has everything they need to know about me and what I do. I like to include a brochure, a referral form, and a questionnaire so that the patient has easy access to the information, even if there isn’t time to explain everything in the dental chair.

2.       The front office is your friend – these ladies are just as important as the dentist. If you aren’t on the same page as them, the dentist and patients may not even know you exist. I try to keep them in the loop with my latest patient information, business cards, and referral pads. These relationships are more valuable than you know!

3.       Keep doctors up to date with the latest research on myofunctional therapy. Dentists and doctors are busy, and they may not have time to read all the new studies on everything that’s happening in the entire dental field, so help them out a little. I like to keep it casual by sending articles via email and saying something like, “Hi Dr. Smith, I thought you may enjoy reading this – it looks like myofunctional therapy can help with snoring”.

The path to getting referrals doesn't have to be steep and difficult. It’s my goal to make referring easier for the doctors I work with, so that things are easier for me as well. It doesn't have to be difficult for you either if you just build your network and work on your relationships with key people. I cover the referral process, and many more tips on how to be successful in this area in much greater detail in my mentoring programs.