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  • Writer's pictureDr. Bette Robin

How to Look Like a Million Dollars


I’m going to tell you some of the Secrets of the Universe! Well, at least I’m going to teach you how to get treatment accepted almost every time.

I know some of you don’t like the word “sell” – but I think that’s what it is, however you can want to say it. But if you prefer, “present” treatment or just a just a simple “tell” the patient what they need.


This is SIMPLE. I mean it, SIMPLE. Once you learn it, you’ll wonder how and why you struggled. I am very confident that with a little practice, all of you can do it!

But, nothing is easy. Simple is different than easy. You have to make changes, habit changes. Don’t just read this. When you finish all these parts of this blog post, take it seriously and video yourself to practice - and please let me know how you are doing.

Selling treatment is SIMPLE, PREDICTABLE, AND YOU CAN DO IT. Some of you might not like all the steps, but just try it and I think you will have great success.


Today, the first part of how to sell treatment.

You need to LOOK like who you are. In this case, a doctor. So, look like a doctor.


All of you, male or female, must wear a UNIFORM.

Your uniform is that of a PROFESSIONAL DENTIST. You must look like a professional dentist, so you can sell professional, high end treatment. I mean, you know what you Fed-Ex driver wears when they make deliveries to you, you know what attorneys looks like – everyone has a uniform they wear to work that largely defines what they do.

The clothes you wear to work, should only be worn to work, because they are “uniforms.” If you worked for Fed-Ex, you wouldn’t wear your uniform out at nights or on the weekend. Neither should your work uniform be worn any other place. They are your professional dentist clothes. Your “monkey suit” as the saying goes. But you want to look like a professional dentist.


YOUR SHIRT: Your uniform consists of a white shirt, generally long-sleeved but short-sleeved is acceptable too, as long as you keep your lab coat on all day. You must get your shirt professionally laundered and starched after every wear. You probably should buy the highest quality you can afford, so it not only looks good but can be laundered many times before you have to replace it.

YOUR PANTS: Your pants must be slacks. Not jeans. Not usually khakis. I mean, if you saw an attorney in khaki’s, you wouldn’t think they are very professional – or as good – as someone with slacks. The color is up to you, but it needs to be a solid, basic color or a simple pin-stripe.

You also MUST get your slacks dry-cleaned after every wear. Even if they aren’t all that dirty, they will smell. Since your patients’ heads are almost literally in your crotch – you absolutely must get them dry cleaned every single time.

Next, most of you should wear a tie, but in very remote or casual locations, maybe not. I know many of you guys don’t want to wear a tie, but if you want to sell a $25,000 veneer case, I’d absolutely recommend a tie. You want to look professional. No one gives large sums of money for a professional service to someone who looks sloppy.

Let’s move on to the feet. Socks are a must, I don’t care if you are a surfer or think no socks is in fashion – wear socks. And, wear very good quality shoes. You need at least 2 pairs, and they must professionally be polished every single week. No scuffs, every. NO worn heels. You can usually get that done when you get your car washed or at Nordstrom if you don’t want to do it yourself – but there are also services that will come and get and take care of your shoes.

So, you are going to buy at least 8 shirts if you work 4 days a week and 10 shirts if you work 5 days a week, whatever, and the corresponding number of slacks and socks. I don’t care if you buy them at Costco or Neiman Marcus, but you buy them and wear them If you don’t buy good qualify, you’ll probably have to replace them sooner – but if you just want to try out this idea, then stick with cheap.

Now, if you are still mentally arguing with me – at very least – pick a uniform and stick with it, whatever it is. And don’t wear those clothes outside of the office and make sure everything is dry cleaned or professionally laundered every single time. No skipping steps with cleanliness.


Think of it! No more worrying about or thinking about what you are going to wear to work! It is going to be easy! You are going to have a uniform, and wear it to work and only to work.

YOUR TOP: A white button down shirt is the best, but if you are too well-endowed to make that work, find a plain and professional silk shell in a solid color. You are going to wear the same color every day if you pick a white button down, or a small variety of colors if you pick a silk shell. No cleavage at work, it definitely isn’t professional

YOUR BOTTOMS: Your bottoms can be a knee-length skirt or pants, whatever you prefer or mix it up. It needs to be plain colored, and again in a neutral and conservative color, like grey, navy, or black. If you pick a skirt, again, we aren’t out for sex appeal here – choose a plain, A-line skirt that is easy to sit in and doesn’t rise up.

If you wear a skirt, you need to wear something on your legs, navy tights with your navy skirt, or something like that. Bare legs are not appropriate for a professional nor do you want random saliva landing on your bare legs.

YOUR SHOES: Shoes are important for women. No tennis, no Crocs – nothing casual because it just sends the wrong message. Even if you are wearing $500 tennis shoes – they do not look like professional doctor shoes and should not be worn to work.

HEEL HEIGHT: It is very important and should never exceed 3 inches! Ferragamo brand low heels are the perfect look, or some kind of copy of that look. You aren’t going out to the club nor are you trolling for men –at least hopefully not at work. I know you don’t want to look like your grandmother, but you are playing the game here to get the big bucks – so dress the part. You can wear whatever you want when you get off of work. Believe me, I’ve broken all these rules. One of my consultants told me that “everything you wear is too tight, too short, and too low – go get new clothes. She was right and it helped immensely.

THE LAB COAT: Now that both men and women are appropriately dressed, both of you should wear a ¾ length lab jacket with your name embroidered on it every day. It must be professionally laundered and starched and you should change it every day.


Now you look the part, and selling a $20,000 or $50,000 or more case isn’t out of the question – as I think it is when you look sloppy or haphazard.



Grooming is probably the most important thing we are going to talk about today.

All of you MUST shower every work morning. Note I didn’t say night. If you want to shower when you get home, and you probably should – that’ great, do it. But it is NOT in place of a morning shower. you absolutely MUST shower in the morning of every work day.

Why? Again, because your patients’ heads are very, very close to you. Close to men’s crotches and close to women’s stomach’s and chest. Sweat is not a good smell, in fact, it is a horrible smell – which is why you must be very meticulous about being very clean in all respects – both your body and your clothes – because you are so very close to patients.

You want to sell your cases? Start with – don’t stink.

After odor is taken care of, don’t wear anything with any other kind of odor. Some people are allergic and some just don’t like the smell. All your grooming products, deodorants, lotions should be unscented.

Of course, all you men should shave every morning and probably should not have facial hair. There are numerous studies on facial hair – google it and read them. You want to sell your treatment? Be clean shaven. The women in your life will probably like it better too!

And men, you should get your hair cut every two weeks and get a manicure every two weeks Just put it on your calendar and do it. Look sharp and you’ll sell treatment.

Women, same thing – nails every two weeks and your nails should never be long and should barely extend beyond your finger tips and always be painted in a natural or clear color.

And women - get your hair done every 4 weeks, whether you think it needs it or not. Clean it up, make it look perfect. Never, ever have roots if you dye your hair.

All of this may not need to be said, but I go into a lot of offices and I think it does. I can also tell you that when I see doctors’ that are producing well-over a million a year – they look totally sharp, regardless of their age or location.

Looking good changes the way you present yourself to patients, the respect you get – you are a doctor, and you took a long time getting there - so look like one.


OK, lastly Make Your Office Look Like Million Dollars – well, at least extremely clean and extremely organized. You can always control that, even if you can’t afford a major overhaul. Cleanliness and organization, gets you around a lot. If you don’t own the office, control your own room – and I doubt people will complain if you tidy up the reception room.


Now, about that reception room.

Everything should be neat, clean and uncluttered.

You absolutely should not have magazines in your waiting room over 3 months old. I just called a doctor out on that, after I picked up a magazine over 4 years old and he told me patients “enjoy them.” No, I said - patients do not enjoy them – they might look at them not immediately notice the date or the old magazines might be their only choice. THROW THEM AWAY or take them home or donate them – do whatever you want with them but get them out of your office.

Your magazines are for the patients, not for you. If you like Car magazines and Golf magazines, get them at home. Pick 5 – or 6 magazines subscriptions that most people in your patient pool would generally like.

Think about your patients, and not yourself.

Absolutely everything in you should be completely clean. Baseboards, inside and outside of your front door, your windows, and of course your bathroom. Surfaces should be uncluttered and sticky notes should be hidden. Look professional, and then you’ll get higher end patients who accept more treatment.

Some of you I know are saying – OK Bette, I accept Denti-cal, so how does that work. I don’t care if you accept Denti-cal, HMO’s or whatever. No one wants to go into a dirty dental office and see a sloppy dentist.


OK, I’ll quit preaching for today – but that’s my #1 in 3 about how to get patients to accept treatment. LOOK LIKE A MILLION DOLLARS, AND MAKE YOUR OFFICE LOOK THAT WAY TOO – AT LEAST IN TERMS OF CLEANLINESS


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