A common discussion that I am having whilst out and about visiting my customers is how they should go about increasing treatment uptake.
In my experience, the reasons for lack of treatment uptake can vary, ranging from the dentist being scared of treatment rejection or looking pushy, to simply the whole team not being taught how to confidently talk about treatment options with patients.
But, at the end of the day, vast clinical knowledge can mean very little if patients are not able to build rapport and trust with their dentist.
So some dentists seek support and Ashley Latter has a reputation for supporting dentists with ethical communication, which results in more treatment plans being accepted and achieving the income their services deserve.
Enhancing your communication skills and confidence is something that Ashley supports dentists with over two days, so here is a snapshot of eight tips I share with my practices on how to perfect communication in your dental practice so more of your patients say yes.
1. Open for business
The principle is quite a simple one, but it’s surprising how many practices don’t do it.
Firstly, be available – make sure that you are open the hours that your patients want and need you.
Most people use the internet in the evening and those who are prospective patients may want to speak to someone; advertise that you are open and get a telephone company to cover the calls – be available.
Secondly, if you receive any enquiries, respond to them as soon as you can.
Thirdly, don’t put up barriers by charging for consultations.
2. Be interested
Your patients are waiting for you to demonstrate that you are genuinely interested in them.
If you want them to listen to you, you will need to listen to them first.
So, invest time to bond with your patients.
3. Listen to what your patients want
The biggest communication mistake is to just talk at people and not listen.
Always ask questions to find out what your patients want and need. Don’t make assumptions about what it is; ask them ‘If you could wave a magic wand, what would you like your teeth to look like?’ Then listen.
4. Your language
When you are presenting dental solutions to patients, please limit the technical jargon – it’s not exciting and your patients won’t understand it.
Remember that patients buy a treatment based on the emotional benefit to them and you have to talk to them at this level for there to be any interest.
Back up what you are telling your patients with success stories – use before and after pictures on your website and in presentation books in the practice.
Ensure you have video testimonials showcasing happy patients who are describing the major benefits they gained by having your treatment.
Stop discounting the cost of your treatment in your head; the only person that knows that a discount has been given is you and your nurse. It is a massive myth that patients buy on price.
Discuss your fees with self-confidence and reassurance.
‘Your investment for the treatment is £X, and this will include Y, Z, etc’ and describe everything that is involved – the appointments, the stages, the care.
7. Allow your patient to buy from you
The crux is this. Once you have proposed the cost and the description of what their particular treatment includes, check how the patient feels by asking them ‘how does that sound?’.
The likelihood is that they will confirm that it’s exactly what they were looking for and you have set the preferred scenario – where the patient is buying from you, rather than you selling to them.
8. Ask for commitment
Once a patient has confirmed that they are happy, ethically close the deal by asking them if they would like to set the wheels in motion and make the first appointment.