This is the 3rd article in a 4 part series.
- Part 1 was What Do Failed Dental Practices Have In Common?
- Part 2 was 7 Dental Practice Case Acceptance Killers - Part 1
Hurdle #3: Lack of Believability
Key Patient Question: "Do I believe in the need or opportunity and your proposed solution?"
"But it doesn't hurt!" How many times have you heard that one?
Understanding your diagnosis and recommendations is one thing. But believing that the problem or opportunity is real, and then believing that your recommendations, if followed, will make a difference, is another thing entirely.
“The sky is falling! The sky is falling! We must go tell the King!” said Chicken Little to Ducky Lucky and Goosey Loosey.
...And so goes the story of Chicken Little.
We are all bombarded with false “the sky is falling” alarms, offers, or promises every day. In fact, the average American is exposed to up to 30,000 marketing messages per day.
Taking one of these offers won’t result in our outright demise, as Foxy Loxy’s offer of a safe shelter from the falling sky did for Chicken Little and his friends. But we’ve all been burned by advertising and salespeople before that overpromised and underdelivered.
So if we don’t believe the problem is real, better to conserve time and energy until we’re more convinced.
How can you respond to patients who tell you "but it doesn't hurt?"
One suggestion from practice management expert Steven J Anderson is to frame your questions differently during your exam. "Has this area started hurting yet?"
Word pictures are another effective way to communicate urgent need. "Your tooth is like a house and the infection is like termites. We can see it, and if we treat it now, we can save the house. Otherwise, if we wait too long, we will see the foundation crack and crumble, and the house will fall down painfully.
Yet another method is to let patients see the problem for themselves by showing them x-rays or images of periodontal disease and asking them what they see.
ACTION: How will you be more believable when making treatment recommendations?
Hurdle #4: Bad Fit
Key Patient Questions: "Is your solution a good fit for me? Are you the best provider for this solution?"
At this point, the patient sees you as credible. They understand the problem. They believe that what you are recommending will work, at least in general.
But now they are thinking, “Is this the right solution for me? And if it is, are you the best dentist to provide it to me?
These are “fit” questions. Clearing this hurdle is all about understanding what the patient wants and then communicating that you can deliver that (assuming you can!).
As the classic sales advice goes, “You don't buy a drill because you want a drill, you buy a drill because you need a hole.”
It’s not about the teeth, it’s about the result the patient wants. So what do your patients really want? Less pain? To look good for the class reunion? Confidence?
Preventing bigger future costs? Staying healthy? It’s about making sure your patients hear that you understand what they really want. And then it’s showing that you are the best choice to deliver it.
But how? We've found that the easiest proof is "social" proof. Before and after pictures, examples, positive reviews.... anything that shows how many other patients you've served successfully.
ACTION: What is your system to find out what's most important to the patient? How will you demonstrate that you are the best choice to deliver what's most important?
Read the rest of the series
- What Do Failed Dental Practices Have In Common?
- 7 Dental Practice Case Acceptance Killers - Hurdles 1 & 2
- 7 Dental Practice Case Acceptance Killers - Hurdles 5, 6 & 7