5 Proven Ways For More Patients Say Yes To Treatment Plans
No of us one likes to hear the word “no.”
And no matter how fancy your treatment presentations are and how much you wow your patients with great customer service and your technical knowledge and charismatic personality – you are still going to have a lot of patients say no.
The problem is the more times we hear no the more likely we are to feel they are saying no to us, that its something personal and that we are being rejected.
Being rejected feels awful and eventually it seems easier to only present the small obvious stuff to get the yes rather than risking another no.
The issue with this is, you can trick yourself that you have a great case acceptance rate when in truth 10’s of 1000’s of dollars in undiagnosed and undiscussed dentistry is walking out the door…
And there goes another patient thinking they are in pretty good shape with their dental health when the truth is they have a disaster zone and a dental emergency just waiting to happen!
The reality is that patients are reluctant to say “yes” to larger treatment plans.
They come in thinking they just need a check and everything is ok and the next minute – wham you’re hitting them between the eyes with a list of problems they must get fixed and pay you top dollar to do it.
40% of adults will not go ahead with dental care purely on cost alone. How many times are we sure this one is going to book only to find out they told front desk they will think about it…
The key to getting higher acceptance rates lies in how you and your team approach the treatment plan presentation.
You and the whole team need to believe in what you are recommending, know that its in the patients best interest and find ways to help them see the benefit of saying yes now rather than waiting for that tooth to split or abscess before you see them again.
Five Ways for More Patients To Say Yes
Here are five of my proven techniques that you can apply to have more patients saying “yes.”
1.Listen and learn
Did your last case presentation seem a little one-sided? Did the patient nod as you talked, then leave without committing to the procedure? Often, patients don’t fully comprehend what you’re proposing, or how they can afford to pay for it. It’s even harder to focus when their mouth is full of equipment.
I recommend to my clients that they modify their consultation process.
Start by conducting the usual exam, but pause before delivering the diagnosis and what needs to be done.
Ask patients about their goals and their overall health, not just their teeth. Then, just listen. Let patients tell you what they are feeling, what they hope you can do and what has lead them to be sitting in your chair right now.
You want to avoid simply listing “what you’re going to do.” Too much dental speak, procedural or technical information is confusing and off-putting.
You don’t need to teach them dentistry 101 – keep it simple and use plain easy to understand English.
You also do not need to talk at them for hours on end, boring the pants of them because you think the longer you talk the more likely it is they will say yes.
Active listening allows them to put it in their own words and tell you what they want. It becomes two-way process where you get to be the one helping them get the results.
This leads to joint decision making about the plan and what patients will accept.
I’m not saying to sugar coat it or withhold the truth about the state of their mouth and dental health – what I’m saying is approach it in a way that shows you care, you want to help and that you understand their outcomes and concerns.
When patients feel understood and heard they are much more likely to say “yes”.
2. Show, don’t just tell
Showing your patients what’s going on inside their mouths is more powerful than simply telling them.
One of the best and most under utilised pieces of kit in the dental practice is the intro-oral camera.
Get photos – take them on a tour of their mouth. Get them to tell you what they see.
Point out problem areas and make it clear through a picture telling a thousand words what is really going in on their behind their lips.
3. Success takes teamwork
No matter how great you are as a dentist. You are nothing is you don’t have a good team that backs you up and supports your treatment presenting.
You need a friendly but firm person to be your “sales’ arm of your dental practice. A person who’s role it is to discuss and work out with the patient how they are going to go ahead with treatment and pay for it.
I also need you and your whole team to remember that you are all in the business of sales – you are selling better health, better looking teeth, confidence to smile and longer life.
You are helping them – not “selling” to them. No one likes to be sold to!
What I’ve found in my dental practice and in those of much clients is that many patients are way more comfortable and at ease talking to one of your team than they are to you. (Don’t take that personally and feel rejected here!!).
It’s because they see your team as more equal to them. Your team are set to gain by them agreeing to say yes to treatment. Your team will more naturally use lay terms and be ease talking financing options.
Also my dentist friends your time is more valuable spent drilling teeth and adding to production dollars than it is spending hours on presenting treatment.
4, Education is key – for everyone
I insist my clients educate their whole team on every aspect of their dental office from frequently performed treatments, scheduling, regularly used terms, finance options and practice protocols.
That way, no matter who interacts with the patient, everyone is on the same page and singing the same tune.
Do this through weekly team training, emails, YouTube clips, office-wide communications, or an in-house newsletter.
Make sure everyone is up-to-date and telling your patients what you want them to hear.
5. Make it easy to say “yes”
OK how many of us feel comfortable talking about money? Yep it’s that awkward moment when the patient asks ‘so how much is this going to cost me?’
It can often feel like time just ended and the ground is about to open up and swallow you as you scramble to work out the best way to respond.
I find the easiest way is to be direct and upfront.
You don’t have to say oh $20,000 – you can say well from what you’ve seen and we’ve talked about you need several crowns and fillings. A ball park figure for a crown is $X and fillings approximately $Y.
Let them do the maths!
I then add – what I’ll do now is work out a plan and my fees for you based on what you’ve told me and what is happening in your mouth. I will have my treatment co-ordinator run through this with you in detail.
This is when I stand up and let them know that either myself or my assistant will walk them down to the front and they will help they get started on their plan.
Let your team help you get the Yes. Make it part of their job make it easy for the patient to say “yes” to your treatment plan.
Putting it into (dental) practice
At first it is going to take time, persistence and self-awareness to develop the needed muscles to improve the number of yeses you get to treatment.
The key is not to give up but to keep reassessing where you are doing well and where and how you and your team could do better. Commit to improving and training yourself into the new ways of presenting and encouraging the yes.
Imagine how successful your practice would be if just 50% more of your patients actually scheduled their treatment.
This level of conversion rate improvement is doable when you follow these five easy steps, especially once you have your verbiage and systems in place,