Facing Objections and Rejection
It’s pretty common to find many dentists that struggle with objections in their office. Most of us are a little approval addicted, I know that I am. I want every patient to really like me. Knowing that, it’s just a small step to understanding why many doctors suffer with “assumed rejection” when patients don’t accept our recommendations. I can raise my hand here also. On the 180 Degree Dental Journey, we could see this rejection like being cut off on the highway or a hotel that really did not want you as a customer or a restaurant that felt you were not dressed properly. The next couple of steps in the journey are going to deal with interactions with patients, then move on to case acceptance. It doesn’t do any good to spend money on marketing to attract people who decide not to spend money with you for services and products.
It is only when patients feel that they can freely express themselves and ask you anything that they will open up and allow you to remove all their misgivings prior to accepting your treatment plans. Whatever they say, treat it as a serious and thoughtful observation on your treatment or service. The more relaxed your patients become with you, the more likely that they will eventually buy and follow through.
The very best dentists are those who have thought through the reasons their patients don’t buy what they have to sell. They are prepared to deal effectively with the most knowledgeable patient using the most difficult objections. There is a little poem that goes: “For every problem under the sun, there is a solution or there is none. If there’s a solution go and find it, if there isn’t, never mind it.”
This should be your attitude toward objections. Always begin your treatment presentation by assuming that there is a logical, workable answer for any reasonable objection that the prospect may have. If for any reason the objection is truly insurmountable, you should accept the situation gracefully and get on to the next patient. In any case, you should remain calm, positive, relaxed, and friendly throughout the conversation, no matter what the patient says. Your job is to “serve” your clients the best you can. Recommend what you would want and figure out a way for them to fit it into their budget. During this part of this discussion, when I use the word “you”, I am referring to your organization. Some times it is the doctor, but many times it is one of the team members that I am referring to. We will get more and more specific as we cover this area.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF YOUR OWN PERSONAL POWER
Dentistry is hard work. Patients vote with their feet and wallets. Consumers demand the right to choose who they buy products and services from. If you keep seeing the back of their heads as they go down the street to another dentist, you have got to make a quick and definitive change in your systems and culture. Selling, and dentistry is selling (Remember: Nothing happens until the patient says yes.), is not easy and it has never been easy. To be successful in dentistry you must be tough enough to deal with this reality.
THE SECRETS OF OBJECTIONS
- Understand that objections are essential to the selling process. This is called posturing.
- Know that successful dentists get twice as many objections as less successful dentists.
- Look at objections as a sign you have aroused a patient’s interest.
- Create an environment where patients feel comfortable expressing their reservations. It’s part of the bonding process that ensures treatment follow through, fewer cancellations, and future referrals.
Objections are good. They are essential to the selling process. There are few treatment plans closed without them. No matter how thorough your presentation, your patient will normally have unanswered questions and concerns that you will have to deal with before you proceed with your treatment.
TWICE AS MANY OBJECTIONS
Successful dentists seem to have twice as many objections as unsuccessful dentists. Sometimes people express their objections in a critical or dismissive way as though the shortcomings in your service are so obvious that no one could seriously consider buying. If you are not careful when you hear an objection, you will feel disappointed, angry, or defensive. You will feel that your treatment plan or service is being attacked by the customer and your natural instinct will be to counter-attack. But this is exactly the wrong approach.
When your patient begins to take issue with the treatment plan, you should give thanks silently that you have finally aroused some interest, that you have triggered an emotional response. The sales process has now commenced. You now have an opportunity to begin moving the sale forward.
REVEALING HIDDEN MOTIVES AND AGENDAS
Objections also tell you how well you are doing in the sales process. They are a form of feedback from the patient to you about your presentation and your treatment plan. They are signposts from the patient that guide you toward the issues you must resolve and the assurances that you must give if you are eventually to make the sale. Objections reveal the hidden motives that underlie buyer behavior. Additionally, the patient often objects to parts of your presentation to test the quality of the relationship that has developed between you.
MAKE IT EASY TO OBJECT
But just as customers ordinarily avoid complaining because they dislike the confrontation that complaining involves, patients usually dislike objections because they don’t want to antagonize your staff and get into an argument. It is important that you create the kind of psychological environment where patients feel comfortable expressing any of their reservations to you about your treatment or service.
In the next section we will break down every aspect of the case presentation process that will ensure an above 90% acceptance rate. Just remember that you need to be prepared to deal with customers using difficult objections. I will give you scripts and phrases that produce positive results. Perhaps for the first time, you will be prepared and confident when you interact with your patients. Assume there is a logical workable answer for any reasonable objection. There always is. But it is tied to the personality style of the person you are interacting with.
The 180 Degree Dental Journey is all about becoming unconsciously skilled at every aspect of the business of dentistry. Make this a fun trip, knowing that any improvement or change that you are willing to make means improvement over your current results.
Michael Abernathy, DDS