5 Reasons You Stink At Treatment Plan Presentation
I’ve watched dentists propose treatment in every way possible, and have come to a conclusion; some just suck. They write scripts and rehearse their pitch. They buy chairside explainer cards and subscribe to cute videos. They hire treatment plan coordinators, and yell at staff. But, in the end, they end up closing about the same crappy percentage.
The good news is, just a few slight changes in perspective and approach, all FREE, are all it takes to go from sucky to successful.
Have you ever been to the physician who blows in, apologizes for being behind (or doesn’t), rambles about how busy she is while looking at your chart the entire time she’s with you, makes a quick diagnosis, smiles, makes momentary eye contact, says something friendly like “thanks for coming in today,” and efficiently hands you off to staff for processing and billing? You feel like an interruption to her day, not a paying customer responsible for the very existence of her business. Maybe your patients feel the same way. The smile they leave with is the one you gave them, in every sense these are the people who will pay for your mortgage, kids education, YOUR education, and that new boat you want. Take time, focus, engage.
Don’t you love when the mechanic tells you about all the technical sounding stuff that’s wrong with your car, when all you wanted was an oil change, and all you hear is, $$$? That’s what your patients hear when you talk “clinical.” They already know you’re a really smart dentist, with a legit dental school diploma. What they want is for you to talk about their long-term health risks and solutions. You’ll be surprised how small a factor cost really is when they see you as their lifetime oral health professional, who REALLY cares for them now, and as they grow older.
NEVER EVER talk money with patients…your job is to diagnose, and propose treatment in a confident, sympathetic manner. Staff talks money. And NEVER EVER offer to discount treatment. It sets a bad precedent and undermines the value of you work to patients and staff. What would you think if your physician offered to knock 20% off the cast for your broken leg? Patients and staff will respect your time and talent as much as show them you do.
YOUR OWN BIAS
Don’t assume your patient can’t afford treatment…that’s their decision. Treatment plan what they need, present multiple ways to manage and pay for treatment, follow up at reasonable intervals, and let THEM decide. I’ve had offices grow production 25% the month after they stopped deciding what their patients could and couldn’t afford without asking them.
YOU’RE JUST NOT GENUINE
I’ve watched countless dentists work hard trying to be funny or engaging, when they’re just not. They’re good clinicians, awesome people, and great dentists, but they just struggle at connecting with patients. I coach them that they’re stuck with their personality, and to make the best of it. Don’t try to make jokes if you’re not funny…and be honest with yourself if you’re really not funny.
I once watched a dentist ask a patient about her mother, only to see the patient remind him she had died, and he had sent a card. He blamed the staff for not updating his notes. The notes weren’t the problem.
I told him to STOP trying to remember so many excruciating details about every patient, and not to work on his “system,” but rather to relax for a moment, make eye contact, and simply ask, “So, what’s going on in your world right now.” Then, SHUT UP and let the patient talk! Even if you’re a jerk, patients appreciate you asking…and listening.
Finding your own personal style for proposing and closing treatment takes time and focus. But when you do, you’ll find patients respond more positively, you’re more relaxed, and even your staff has an upbeat vibe.