Of course your life would be easier if you could easily spot the dentists who are going to cause headaches before you start working with them. While that's not always possible, there are steps you can take to increase the chances that you're recruiting the right customers in the first place.
First define what you consider to be a good customer. Think about who you consider to be your "favorite" customers; what is it about them that makes them easy to work with? What makes their personality and work style a match for you?
Once you've given that some thought, you'll have a set of red flags that can alert you to possible problems with a prospective client. "If a dentist starts off by telling me how great his work is and he seems full of himself, then he's not a match for my lab," says Brad Bond, owner of Bond Laboratories, Stuart, Florida. "In those cases, I won't follow up with him or I'll tell him that I'm too booked to take him on as a client."
Other things that should give you pause: if they say they've used a few different labs in the past year or when their first question is about your remake policy or price. "If a client asks me right off the bat about how much we charge or how fast we can get work done, then I know he's setting the stage for a non-relationship-based business dealing," says Chris Morris, owner of ADL Dental Laboratory, Louisville, Kentucky. "I strive for mutually respectful client relationships and a conversation like that tells me it's unlikely I'll have one with him."