One of the highest-impact changes we can make in our dental practices is improving the way we discuss treatment plans with our patients. If we present treatment plans well, more patients will say yes to our treatment plans and get the care they need. If not, they won’t get the care they need and everyone loses.
I know how frustrating it can be to put your heart into a treatment plan you know the patient needs only to have them not move forward. It took me a while to learn how to get patients to accept treatment consistently. I learned quite a bit through trial, error, and investing a lot of time and money to become better at case presentation. Here are three simple principles you can use to see an immediate improvement in your case presentation skills.
Offer services you believe in.
This one’s easy but very important to keep in mind. As a dental boss, your priority is the health of your patients. That means you never recommend a treatment you don’t totally believe in. It also means making sure your entire team is on the same page when it comes to how you care for patients.
When everyone believes in the services they’re offering patients, they can talk about them with integrity and not a salesy tone. This goes a long way in giving patients confidence that they’re in good hands.
Bring that enthusiasm to your conversations with patients. Discuss all the wonderful things that will happen to them if they move forward, emphasizing the lifestyle changes they can expect. For example, explain how getting implants will give them the beautiful smile they want so badly. Explain how much it will impact their confidence and benefit all aspects of their life. In other words, share your enthusiasm about the treatment within the context of how it will benefit them.
Encourage but don’t pressure patients.
Before the whole world shut down IN 2020, you might remember heading to the mall or Costco and walking by people offering free samples. Maybe they held a tray of teriyaki chicken pieces with toothpicks sticking out. When you got close, they’d ask, “Hey, would you like to try this?” And, if you’re anything like me, you took them up on their offer for some free chicken pretty much every time.
No matter how hungry (or not hungry) we are, we often take the free sample, not because we feel pressured but because we’re encouraged by something we’ll enjoy. They don’t force us to take the sample. They’re happy to answer questions about the product. And they make it very easy for us to say yes by happily offering the tray with a napkin and the piece of chicken ready to grab.
The same is true in restaurants when a talented server guides us through ordering drinks, appetizers, entrees, and, of course, dessert. We order more than we likely would without that encouragement but we don’t feel pressured. In fact, we often feel well taken care of when we experience tasty food we never would have ordered on our own.
That’s the way you want to present treatment to your patients. Encourage them by using a positive tone and guide them through making a decision that will benefit them. Show them how much of a difference getting treatment can make in their lives. But don’t pressure them to move forward. We’re healthcare providers, not salespeople, after all. If we encourage them by confidently presenting the treatment we suggest in the context of the benefits they will receive, more patients will say yes and move forward.
Speak in conversational terms, not in “Dentalese.”
We know more about dentistry than our patients do, no doubt about it. So, when we’re presenting them with a treatment plan, it’s up to us to explain things to them in words they understand. Don’t talk to them like they’re also a dentist—discuss the information they need in a way that they can easily understand. As my good friend Dr. Bowman says, don’t speak “Dentalese” to them.
Also, remember that you’re only presenting treatment you wholeheartedly believe in. When you explain the positive results patients will receive by accepting treatment in ways they can understand, they’ll trust you more. They’ll know you’re not trying to manipulate them with fancy jargon and frightening medical terms.
Provide a simple explanation. Bring up any potential objections and explain why most patients move forward despite that objection. When patients can wrap their head around what you’re saying when presenting your treatment plan, and they can see the value in saying yes to that treatment plan, they’re more likely to say accept treatment.
Are you struggling to get patients to accept your treatment plans?
The simplest way to increase production is to get more patients to accept your treatment plans. These three rules can help you get started doing that right away.
If you want more help Delivering WOW in your dental practice, we are helping hundreds of practices during this time through our Practice Accelerator Program and offering special value for you and your teams!