Christopher Phelps is an entrepreneur, general dentist, Cialdini Method certified trainer, and an Amazon best-selling author. Aside from providing his patients the best possible care and the latest technologies for their dental care, Dr. Phelps also offers coaching and consulting services to help other dentists achieve their career goals. Chris was awarded the Doctor’s Choice National Dental Award in 2016 and was chosen for the 2016 Doctor’s Choice Top 100.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
I grew up in a small town called Jamestown, NC. I had a great childhood. A kid of the ’80s. I do have one story about how my Dad forbids my Mom to buy my older sister a car for her 16th birthday. I was 9 at the time. Now, Dad never forbids Mom to do anything so right there I thought that was strange. He did so b/c he didn’t see a way we could financially afford that car. Imagine my surprise when my Mom pulled into the driveway a few days later with a new car for my sister. Wow. Definitely got some good lessons from this and what transpired next.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
The difference between a lifestyle vs an achieving entrepreneur and which category I fall into. Learned more about my conative strengths, how I take action naturally.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
To get people to say yes you have to just tell them to do it, assert your authority as a healthcare provider. You have to use empathy and instill emotion in people to get them to move in your direction. Fall back on the facts of your case and people will see reason. Once you learn about the science of persuasion and influence you quickly realize that the above statements rarely factor in or play a part in people’s decisions. In fact, getting a yes out of someone many times doesn’t even have to do with what you’re asking for. It’s about what you said or did before you asked that actually factored into their decision.
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
I sold my two most profitable dental offices and took over my two worst ones. One of which generated $35k/month in revenue but cost me $70k/month in expense. In essence, I dug myself a big hole and there were a lot of tight months financially. Months I was sure I had dug that hole for myself too deep this time and wouldn’t be able to climb out of it. Yet through this struggle, some of my best innovations and ideas blossomed. It helped me create something that I wrote a popular book on as well as starting two new companies to help Dentists with similar problems.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
Many times I’m like a dog with a bone. When I see a problem that has engaged me, I can’t shake it until I figure it out and really solve the problem. Once I do, that usually means I have a solution others are seeking and find value in.
What is your morning routine?
Probably anti-most successful entrepreneurs. I usually get about 7-8 hours of sleep at night. Wake up about an hour before I’m supposed to be somewhere. Since high school, I’ve never really eaten breakfast so I usually skip that or grab a Starbucks on the way to work or drink a glass of water if I’m at home that day.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
Being protective of my time. I have a tendency to be optimistic and say yes to every opportunity without realizing that everything I say yes to, means something else I’ll have to say no to. So by being more protective of my time, it gives me more control over my situation, allows more time for family, and keeps me sane.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
Scheduling it properly. Segmenting my days. Something I learned from Dan Sullivan at Strategic Coach. Focus days, Buffer days and Free days as Dan calls it. Ultimately it’s about limiting your tendency to multi-task. As the character Ron Swanson from Parks & Recreation once said: “Stop half-assing two things. Just whole ass one thing!”. There is a lot of wasted energy and opportunity when you are constantly shifting your focus between activities and tasks during your day. I have a great couple of videos I show in my Influence and Persuasion courses to highlight this blindspot effect.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. Changed my perspective on my career path and started me down the path to being an entrepreneur, instead of a worker. I love one of the first lessons in this book, make mistakes and learn from them. Why? Because I’m a trial and error learner. I don’t know till I try and this gave me the confidence to do this without being afraid of failing. Instead, I knew to expect it but learn from it while I continue on.
Influence: The Science & Practice. Dr. Robert Cialdini’s pinnacle book on the science of human behavior. Little did I know how much this book would shape my path. In life, in dentistry, and more. I’m now a Cialdini Method Certified Trainer and have gotten to learn invaluable lessons from him as a result that have benefited my practices and the dentists I teach/coach.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
“Never tell me the odds” Han Solo. “Never give up, never surrender!” Tim Allen’s character from the movie Galaxy Quest. I think most of the quotes I live by relating to problem-solving. No problem too big or complex, no problem that can’t be solved or worked around in some capacity.