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Kristin Pelletier's career in dentistry encompasses a broad range of experience in all aspects of managing a successful dental practice, from assisting to office management to software training. Today, as a dental management consultant, her comprehensive services are bringing success and transformational change to a long list of clients who are benefiting from her expertise and results-driven consulting style. You can learn more on her website at www.KristinPelletier.com or by contacting her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Case acceptance is one of the biggest challenges for dental practices. You can be equipped with the latest dental technology, have top-notch skills, and an experienced, dedicated team, but still not produce to your goals. Changing the way you approach case presentation can immediately remove the barriers to your treatment presentation and have your patients saying “yes.” Follow the tips outlined below and you’ll be on the road to healthy patients, a happy dental team, and improved profitability.
The first step to improving your case acceptance is to track your case acceptance statistics and understand the reasons why patients are saying “no.” You may be surprised when you look at this data. Many offices assume that patients are saying “no” due to financial reasons, but there are several other reasons that cause patients to decline treatment, including:
Patient wants to “think about it.”
Patient doesn’t see the need for the treatment
Patient’s insurance is maxed out
Once you have a good idea of why your patients are saying “no,” you can pinpoint what area(s) in your process on which you need to focus.
Patients don’t buy a root canal or a crown. Instead, they buy dentistry that ensures they’re not waking up with a toothache, or a procedure that improves the way they look or gives them better self-esteem. Help your patients see why it’s important that they invest money in the dental procedures that improve their oral health. Using the powerful three-step formula below will have more of your patients saying, “When can we get started?”
Step 1 is CREATE AN AWARENESS, using tools like an intraoral camera or, at a minimum, hand mirrors. During this awareness phase, use phrases such as, “Do you notice?” “Do you see?” and/or “Does this bother you?” Use these phrases as you’re looking at the condition together.
Step 2 is to make patients aware of the OUTCOME IF LEFT UNTREATED. Tell patients the risks if they delay treatment. Make sure you take a pause during this phase to give the patient time to respond.
Don’t be surprised if, before you get to step 3, which is PRESENTING THE SOLUTION, the patient is already asking you, “What do we do about this?” or “How do we fix it?” If your patient is asking those questions, then you know it’s time to make your treatment recommendations.
There is one question that can kill the entire case presentation: “Will my insurance cover this?”
I recommend to my clients a very simple way to approach the insurance objection.
Question: “Will my insurance cover this?”
Answer: “With any insurance, it is a possibility that a necessary treatment may not be covered. However, the cost of not getting treatment will be much higher.”
Tell your patient, “Insurance is designed to maintain a healthy mouth. If you need a restorative procedure like a root canal, insurance only provides a minimal cushion to help. Once your mouth is healthy, your insurance will help you keep it that way.” When the doctor says this, it is so powerful.
Each of these tips gives you easy-to-implement, no-cost, quick ways to dramatically improve your case acceptance. Focus on one tip each month and, when you’ve mastered that one, add the next tip. Within a few months, you should see an increase in patients following through with your recommended treatment plans.
Editor's Note: For more information on the Academy of Dental Management Consultants, please click here.