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10 tips for improving your communication skills

June 1, 2008
Everything you do as a salesperson involves communication. Think about it.

By Roger P. Levin, DDS

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Everything you do as a salesperson involves communication. Think about it. You&rquo;re on the phone with customers, you&rquo;re visiting dental practices to make a presentation, or you&rquo;re exchanging e-mails with a customer or the home office. Almost every facet of your job entails some form of communication.

No one is born a great communicator. It takes time and practice to get better. And even though we may be strong in several areas, there are usually one or more areas that need improvement.

By improving your communication skills, you can become a more effective salesperson and help your clients achieve greater success. The following 10 tips can help you be a better communicator.

Speak clearly

This seems simple enough. Enunciate every word you are saying. Some people have a tendency to finish their sentences weakly with their voices trailing off. Others are naturally soft-spoken, and there are those who speak incredibly fast with one word blurring into the next. Whatever your speaking style, if dentists or office managers have difficulty hearing what you&rquo;re saying, you can be sure your message is not getting through.

Make eye contact

Look at people in the eye when speaking to them. This shows that you stand behind what you say and that you take an interest in your audience. If you avoid eye contact, you&rquo;re giving your audience a reason not to pay attention.

Address people by their names

Everyone likes to hear the sound of his or her name. When you&rquo;re addressing a dentist or team member one-on-one, use that person&rquo;s name during the conversation. When you&rquo;re speaking to two or more team members, try to mention the names of the people you&rquo;re addressing. The best way to grab someone&rquo;s attention is to say his or her name. If you don&rquo;t know who someone is, ask that person or another team member. With a large client base, it can be difficult to remember everyone&rquo;s name. Update your client database with the names of new team members, especially those with whom you will be interacting.

Be an active listener

Listening involves two things – hearing what is said and what is not said. Often the most important message being communicated is what has been omitted. As renowned business guru Peter Drucker once said, “The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn&rquo;t being said.”

Stay focused

The hectic pace of business can cause salespeople to become distracted when speaking to dentists and their team members. Stay focused on the subject at hand. Remember, no one is more important than the person you are speaking to at the moment.

Be empathetic

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in the shoes of another person. Looking at events from another&rquo;s perspective can give you a better understanding of dental staff and their concerns.

Use scripting

Scripts can help you improve your verbal skills. Take your three common sales scenarios dealing with client objections, reluctance, and hesitation. Write down several approaches on how to handle each situation. Consult with more experienced salespeople to learn how they deal with similar scenarios. Once you have created your scripts, review them a few times a week.

Have a sense of humor

An element of fun is critical for any workplace, even if your office is on the road. Laughter is often the best antidote to stress. The ability to laugh at oneself puts others at ease. A sense of humor keeps things in perspective, especially during stressful times.

Follow through

If you say you&rquo;re going to do something, do it. Follow-through establishes your credibility. If you make a promise, keep it. It&rquo;s that simple.

Be positive

A positive attitude is infectious. It inspires others. People tend to place more trust in positive people, and trust is a critical factor in selling to clients.


Enhancing your communication skills can give you the edge you need to exceed your goals and win over new clients. Communication affects every aspect of the client experience, from meetings to lunch-&rquo;n&rquo;-learns to sales presentations. By following the tips in this article, you can become a more effective communicator. You will reap benefits for yourself, your clients, and your company.

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Roger P. Levin, DDS, is founder and CEO of Levin Group, a leading dental management consulting firm that is dedicated to improving the lives of dentists through a diverse portfolio of lifetime services and solutions. Since the company&rquo;s inception in 1985, Dr. Levin has worked to bring the business world to dentistry. Levin Group may be reached at (888) 973-0000, or at