7 Dental Practice Case Acceptance Killers – Hurdles 1 & 2

The 7 Trust Hurdles Every Patient Must Clear Before They Can Accept Treatment

This is the 2nd article in a series.  For the introduction, see: What Do Failed Dental Practices Have In Common?

Before accepting treatment, returning, or referring, every new patient you work with must pass a predictable set of “hurdles.” These mental hurdles are a predictable mental process, and must be cleared any time anyone makes a buying decision.

If you aren't making the right "deposits" into your patient’s “trust accounts,” they won’t have enough lift to clear the hurdles.

They'll crash and burn before you can help them with anything they need or want.

Today we will cover hurdles 1 and 2:

Hurdle #1: Lack of Credibility

Key Patient Question: "Why Should I Listen to You"

The Cop and the Chief


I’m driving west on I-15 from Las Vegas with my wife and daughter, cruising a little bit too fast (ok a lotta bit too fast) down the freeway.  I come over a hill, and what do I see?

A Highway Patrol car, laser gun and all.  I'm pulled over within minutes, and next thing you know, I'm getting a lecture a ticket, and a “have a nice day.”  I am supposed to feel grateful because he got me going “way” over, but “only wrote the ticket for 5 over.”

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Flash back a few years...  when I lived in northern Canada for a few years, I did some service at a local nursing home. One of the residents, Fred, was the Chief of Ft. Chipewyan, a native village part of the Cree nation.

One day Fred was in a particularly good mood, and officially named me as his successor, the next Chief of Ft. Chipewyan.

So who is more credible? The cop, or me as the new “Chief”?  

Well, you can imagine what would have happened if I would have shown up in Ft. Chipewyan claiming ruling rights.  I would have been run right out of that town. I don’t look like a Chief, sound like a Chief, and my credentials to be a Chief are dubious.

But the highway patrolman, well, he’s got the car, the badge, and most importantly, the gun!  He has the moral authority, and the real credentials.  Which is why I pulled over, submitted to his lecture, and paid the $195 ticket a week later  :(

Patients are asking themselves, "Why should I listen to you?"  Do you have a good answer? (Hint: "Because I went to dental school is WEAK, dig deeper!")

ACTION:  Audit your practice, your team, and yourself.  Do you look and sound the part? What could you do to increase credibility? 

Hurdle #2: No Understanding

Key Patient Question: "Do I Understand the Problem or Opportunity and Your Recommend Solution?"

Here’s the ultimate secret to life and happiness.  Ready?


There you go! That’s all you need to know!

Now if you don’t understand Russian, you probably don’t know what that says. Sorry...

In the same way, if your patients don’t understand you, it’s going to be very difficult for them to trust you enough to move ahead with treatment.

Speaking “dental” instead of “English” is one way to confuse patients. Most of your patients have the equivalent of a 3rd grade comprehension of dental topics.

So make sure you are speaking the same language so that your patients understand what it is you are recommending.

Important: Patients won't try to understand what you are recommending (solution) until they truly understand why you are recommending and why they should care (problem.)

ACTION:  How will you increase understanding?  What questions can you ask to make sure they are "getting it?"  How will you replace dental jargon with simple word pictures or analogies? 

Read the rest of the series: 

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