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Learning how to effectively discuss treatment options with patients is key.
Dentists are geeks…at least when it comes to dentistry. We love all the minutiae about different treatment modalities, and we love to show off our knowledge to patients, especially if we’re recommending a complex procedure. Yet the details aren’t what sell the treatment to patients-it’s the benefits!
While a certain amount of “talking shop” is necessary when discussing treatment, too much can undermine the presentation, leaving patients overwhelmed and unpersuaded.
When presenting cases, you have to find that sweet spot that’s part education and part motivation. It’s going to differ based on the complexity of the procedure and the personality of the patient. But no matter the treatment, there should always be a concerted focus on benefits. Whenever consumers purchase anything, they’re doing so because they perceive the product or service will ultimately benefit them in some way. As you go about presenting cases, always remember patients are asking themselves, “What’s in it for me?” If you don’t fully address that question, it’s doubtful that you will be successful in convincing patients to say “yes” to your recommendations.
More from the author: The biggest mistakes dentists make: Doing the same thing and expecting different results
Here are four things you should do during every case presentation:
1. Hit the top benefits early and often
Whether it’s relief from pain, a more beautiful smile, improved functionality, or a combination of these and other advantages, make sure patients understand everything they will gain by having treatment. During the presentation, mention the top benefits throughout the discussion-beginning, middle and end. By reinforcing them throughout the entire consultation, you are continually reminding patients why they should move forward with treatment.
2. Don’t wait until the end to mention patient financing
Dentists don’t like to talk about money, and that reticence could be costing you big time. One way to get around the cost conundrum-especially for larger cases and elective treatment-is to frame it more as an affordability issue. Hardly anybody buys a new car without resorting to financing. It’s not the sticker price that matters as much as the monthly payment. When you’re presenting treatment that will require out-of-pocket costs over $300, mention the availability of patient financing-and mention it early in the conversation. Because if patients think they can’t afford the treatment right from the get-go, they will tune you out right away. If they know the treatment won’t bust the bank, they’ll be listening intently to your presentation, which means you’ll be more likely to convince them to move forward with treatment.
Related reading: 4 reasons patients don't go forward with treatment
3. Personalize the presentation based on who you’re talking to
Make it about the person in the chair, not the patient with a similar issue two days ago. Sure, you want to reference patients who have undergone the same treatment and experienced great results. But don’t make the leap to other examples until you’ve listened and responded to the patient in front of you. The case may be similar, but people are different. Do what you can to individualize your case presentation. Scripts can be extremely helpful, but they need to be personalized for each situation.
4. Ask them point blank if they want to receive the benefits of this treatment
Too many dentists will make a great case presentation, but then they fail to close the case. The reason? They never ask their patients if they want to move forward with treatment. They want their patients to voluntarily state, “I would love to have this treatment,” without being prompted. That’s a mistake.
Remember, you are the expert, and you are in charge of the case presentation. Don’t get cold feet when it’s time to ask for a commitment from patients. Be direct. Say to them, “I recommend you have this procedure. Would you like to receive the benefits of this procedure?” The majority of patients will say “yes.”
Case presentation is a balancing act between multiple moving parts, including education, motivation, financial discussion, relationship building, customer service and selling. Use the recommendations in this article to improve your case presentation skills and increase treatment acceptance.
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