Everyone needs to understand the rules of the game. What does it take to score? What can and can’t you do? Where are you now? Without these fundamentals you walk onto the field in a daze and probably will never succeed. These are short but very important. I touched on them in earlier articles but I want you to take a look at these as stand alone foundational building blocks to case acceptance success.
- Never lose a patient: We are back to the Platinum Rule of doing unto others as they would be done unto. It boils down to understanding the four personality types, their traits, and likes and dislikes. This is the only way to communicate with a patient. Listen, determine what they want, and what they can afford. Then and only then, take the time to help them want what they need. You have to be able to morph your presentation style to fit the patient that is in front of you. Keep the goal of never losing a patient at the center of everything you and your staff does with each patient. (We have a very extensive report that you can order. Just see the “PS” below for details.)
- Never be perceived as “selling”: We are back to never crossing the line of wanting the dentistry more than the patient wants it. This is tough if you are excited about your clinical skills or worried about paying your bills. Don’t look needy or seedy. There is no selling in dentistry. We are just having a discussion on the way(s) to help patients keep their teeth for a lifetime.
- Always be confrontationally balanced: Remember the definitions of assertive and non-assertive doctors? We have to overcome some of our default tendencies to be perceived as more balanced rather than moving either direction to the far left or far right of being too assertive or too non-assertive. It takes constant vigilance to balance your approach by adapting to the patients own personality. Partner with your staff and let them do some of the heavy lifting. When hiring staff, you need to surround yourself with people who both compliment your strengths and compensate for your deficiencies in communication.
- When presenting needed treatment, keep in mind that it is always worse than they thought: If you find anything, the patient will be concerned and surprised. This reaction is normal and should be expected in a profession where most of what we correct really doesn’t hurt. Remember that the patient in front of you is not expecting you to find anything and when you do, the investment to fix it will be more than they are prepared to spend and will not fit their budget.
- You must become an expert at helping patients afford what they want and need: This comes down to becoming an expert at phasing treatment while starting with what the patient wants. Your expectation should be that it will often take years for most of our patients to complete their cases. This is OK. Your front desk will have to become experts at reading patient’s personalities and body language as they use outside financing and staging the treatment to fit the patient’s budget. This may be one of the most important staff positions and maybe the last chance for you to catch something that has not gone well and correct it.
Case presentation should be intuitive and logical. Putting yourself in the patient’s position insures that your suggestions will not overwhelm them. Be patient, go slowly, and make sure that you hire and retain the right staff who understand your case presentation protocols to insure a 90%+ success rate. This is how you Summit.
Michael Abernathy, DDS
PS.We regularly receive questions about case acceptance, indicating that there is a lot of confusion in dentistry about the subject in general. It seems to mean different things to different people. If you attend enough continuing education courses, you never seem to discover a common consensus about how you define or measure it. In this document and accompanying audio, we are going to answer these questions and give you everything you ever wanted to know about case acceptance. I call it my “can’t miss, shooting dead fish in a barrel with a bazooka strategy to 100% case acceptance”. Just click the link to order and download.