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How a $30,000 Ferrari Helps with Case Acceptance

How a $30,000 Ferrari Helps with Case Acceptance
Chris Moriarity

I was recently lecturing to a group of dentists in Chicago.  The topic of the hour was ‘value.’


I despise this word, but almost every doc I speak to believes they can create value through education. Granted, over a long enough timeline you can certainly do this, but in dentistry you have a handful of minutes to help.


To demonstrate my point I removed my watch and said: “I don’t own a lot of flashy things…but I do own this. I’m not the type of guy that would usually own a $5,000.00 watch, but this was actually an engagement gift from my wife.  Isn’t is gorgeous?”

I walked the watch the around the room and watched the heads nod in approval of the craftsmanship. Even heard a few people say “verrrry nice!”



I returned to the front of the room and I passed the watch behind my back from my left hand to my right while stating: “Now naturally I don’t wear this watch everywhere, so I also have this everyday watch worth about $50.00 bucks.”


I raised the watch in my right hand.  Now, I wasn’t trying to fool anyone. I needed them to see me go behind my back and clearly pull out the exact same watch. Needless to say, people were confused, and some a little embarrassed.


I explained that odds are, no one in this room has a clue what this watch is worth. I’d given them a range of $50.00 to $5,000.00 and we could probably debate both prices and convince ourselves one way or the other.

We’re simply not watch experts.


When is comes to dentistry, the patients have ZERO chance of understanding what quality dentistry ‘should’ cost, so we can’t benefit from traditional consumer conditioning.


If I pulled up in a new Ferrari and offered to sell it to you for $30,000.00, you’d find a way to do it. You may have no idea what a Ferrari may cost, but you know it’s far less than $30,000.00! All of a sudden the good deal makes a car you never thought you would own a possibility.


To use this phenomenon to your advantage, is to use what the PDA calls ‘Ball-parking.’


“Mrs. Jones’ I know you already knew this, but you have about 8-10 thousand dollars worth of damage in your mouth. Now, I don’t care if it takes us 4 months or 4 years, we’ll find a way to get you healthy.”



Now, we’re not trying to inflate the price, but we are trying to over-estimate. We want that treatment plan to show up being closer to $6-7,000.00. You need the initial reaction from the patient to be one of relief rather than…HOLY S&%!!!


An economist would call this anchoring, and believe me it works. Give your patients every opportunity to appreciate what you do.  Don’t talk about labs, materials or anything that will make them feel uneducated. Remember the watch. It’s up to you to establish what it’s worth and more importantly, how you’re going to get them healthily.

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