First things first. If we are going to talk about case
presentation, we have to deal head-on with an issue that makes most dentists wince. What is this dreaded issue? The idea of selling. ‘I’m a dentist, not a sales person,’ goes
the common response. That’s fine. But please answer this – what happens when you walk into a case presentation? What exactly are you doing? Aren’t you trying to convince patients to accept a procedure that you think they need for their oral health or a procedure that will give them a more beautiful smile? It doesn’t sound so horrible when you think of it that way, does it?
Superior case presentation is more than just explaining procedures. Case presentation depends on good communication. Understanding and responding to each patient\’s specific needs will help you increase case acceptance. When you can communicate, educate and motivate effectively, congratulate
yourself. You have acquired superior case presentation skills. And those skills are going to grow your practice over the length of your career.
Five steps to better case presentations
Based on 22 years of consulting to thousands of practices, Levin Group recommends the following steps to help create a higher level of interest and motivation on the part
1. Educate patients. Some dentists are surprised that most patients are not aware of the comprehensive services available in dental offices today. Don’t assume patients know about your services. The dentist and the team should educate patients about all services that your office provides. Use hygiene visits to teach patients about all the services in the practice. Naturally, these conversations should be scripted to ensure that consistent information is conveyed to patients.
2. Emphasise benefits. Simply describing the type of treatment does not motivate patients to say ‘yes’ during case presentation. Many dentists have a tendency to over-emphasise the clinical details of recommended treatment. This would absolutely be the right thing to do – if all of your patients were fellow dentists. Patients want to know how they will ultimately benefit from
treatment, and it is up to the dentist and dental team to highlight all the benefits provided by treatment.
3. Use internal marketing. Have supporting educational materials, such as brochures, available to reinforce services discussed during the appointment. Levin Group believes that brochures alone do not motivate or influence patients, but that they reinforce what has been discussed and can increase the patient’s level of motivation.
4. Follow-up. Many cases are lost every year simply because practices leave it up to patients to follow up on their next appointment. By having a front-desk staff member schedule the next appointment before patients leave, there is a much greater chance that treatment will take place. Remember that patient motivation doesn’t last long. Strike while the iron is hot.
5. Offer financial options. To help make dental procedures more affordable, practices should offer patients a variety of financial options. Levin Group recommends four options:
• 5% discount for payment in full
• Half up front and half before treatment is completed
• Credit cards
• Third-party financing.
This last option allows the patient to accept recommended treatment without the practice having to play ‘banker.’ The practice receives payment for its services upfront while the patient receives recommended treatment. A variety of options should be offered to all patients regardless of their perceived financial status. This strategy will significantly increase the level of case acceptance and practice production.
Don’t be shy about enhancing your case presentation skills. Your practice depends on them. Case presentation involves more than simply educating patients about their dental condition and laying out the different treatment options. Persuading patients during case presentation requires a comprehensive strategy.
By using the five-step approach discussed above, you can more effectively motivate patients to accept treatment.