A few weeks ago our trusty old washing machine, which had lasted us a good 10 years, finally tried its last cycle and failed terminally, meaning that we had to buy a new one. Now try as I might, I just can’t get excited about buying a washing machine, I compare it to putting new tyres on my car or renewing the insurance.
You can’t wear a washing machine, or eat one and showing it to your friends and family doesn’t really appeal, does it? So the thought of going down to the local retail park to look at these state of the art cleaning appliances filled me with as much excitement as a trip to the local municipal skip – in fact there’s always an outside chance that one of my chums might be at the skip for a chin wag, whereas they’ll all be avoiding the retail park?
So, we duly arrived at the shops and my wife was already chastising me for being so miserable and behaving like a sulky 10 year old. So I put on my interested face and asked her what features were a ‘must have’ and which were just desirable. Anyway, we finally decided on a robust looking thing, made with German engineering, with lots of interesting buttons and features that would probably never be used and chased down a sales person.
Something for nothing
Eventually we managed to prise a spotty youth away from his colleagues in the corner and ascertained that the price of the machine would be in the region of £500. We told him that we were going to pop to one or two more suppliers to compare price, upon hearing this he said: ‘You can purchase this unit on 12 months 0% interest-free finance if you buy today’. Let’s face it, most of us can find £500 but I found the lure of getting someone else to pay the interest on a loan compelling.
Needless to say we decided not to visit any more exciting electrical retailers and buy this machine there and then, which brings me onto the subject of offering your patients interest-free finance for dental treatment.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s not every day you are offered something for nothing and this is effectively what interest-free finance is, even though someone somewhere is standing the interest, whether it be the electrical store, sofas or you as the dentist. It is an amazingly powerful sales tool. It was without doubt the only part of the shopping experience I was even vaguely interested in and can be the same for you when you are promoting different treatments.
Make it a must-have
For instance if you are offering a patient whitening and you would normally be asking for £400-£500. This can be a real sticking point for a patient, remember whitening is a luxury, but if you say it will cost them £33 per month over 12 months, this suddenly becomes a ‘must have’. In sales, we refer to this as overcoming objections eg, you take the objection of the customer having to find £500 away.
And the more expensive the treatment, the more compelling interest-free finance becomes, just think how difficult a decision it is for a patient to have £3,000 worth of teeth straightening, but broken down into 12 payments of £250, or better still 24 payments of £125, it suddenly becomes very affordable and doable.
Don’t let the subsidy you have to pay the finance company put you off either, 12 months will cost you around 8.5%, which is very cheap and will almost certainly increase the amount of treatment you deliver.
There is something else you should all be aware of and that Trading Standards are getting very strict on, If you say something is interest free, it has to be just that, so do not offer to do the same work 10% cheaper if they pay cash as this is simply saying to the patient that you are really charging interest, you can get into serious trouble for this.
Neil Sanderson is a leading sales and marketing authority to the dental profession. He has been involved in the dental industry since 1992 guiding his original dental software company from scratch to a global company.
He is currently the owner and CEO of Dental Marketing Expert, a company solely focused on improving the turnover and profits of its clients by the implementation of specialist marketing and sales techniques. For more information, visit www.dentalmarketingexpert.co.uk, email
firstname.lastname@example.org or call Neil on 01767 626398.