How to Sell Dentistry When No One Wants It
Selling a beautiful piece of jewelry or a vacation in Hawaii is a lot easier than selling an implant supported bridge, right? The jewelry makes you feel beautiful and rich. The Hawaiian vacation is an opportunity to get away to an amazing place with great weather, wonderful food, flower scented trade winds and breathtaking beaches backed by the greenest of tropical mountains. How can a dental bridge top that? It can’t - at least not at the same positive emotional level.
When there is need for dentistry or a perceived value of the service, the ease of patient acceptance is much higher. Need is triggered by pain, a broken tooth in an unsightly location, or an uncomfortable feeling that something unhealthy is imminent because of bad breath or bleeding gums. Once need is established, the patient must accept the fact that there will be a process to go through to get rid of the pain or other problem. There is emotion attached to this process and it is usually not positive. This is where selling dentistry is challenging - because no one wants the process of delivering care, no matter how good it is going to look in the end.
Fear of more pain, needles and other sharp instruments in a very sensitive mouth all create emotions not akin to a nice piece of jewelry or a tropical vacation. If the Hawaiian vacation was contingent upon you rowing to Hawaii in a small boat, it would not have the same positive emotion connected to it. Presenting treatment to patients with the thought of planting a seed for when there is need is more realistic than trying to create a need where, at this point in time, there is no want or desire for procedures that the patient thinks they can have a normal life without.
Focus on the emotion attached to the purchase of dental care. Think of the patient’s emotional state when thinking of the process, not the outcome. Sooner or later everyone needs a dentist and that is when you become a want or a dire necessity. If you have communicated positive information in a caring way to your patient, they will want you.
So how do you market to them prior to that triggering event? How do you ensure that when the dental event occurs or they decide it’s time to get that implant supported bridge, they know about your practice and your services, and you are on their short list of potential dentists?
Marketing is everything you do. Your knowledge, experience, empathy, fairness, professionally trained staff, dedication to customer service, track record of satisfied patients who have received the same type of treatment proposed, excellent media reviews, patient centered hours and financial options are just a few of the components of your brand. Be someone who is hard to forget because of the extra kindness and concern demonstrated. In other words, create a positive emotional connection to your patients. Envision how you will help your patient get over the very thing they’re afraid of. This means truly understanding the psychology of your patients at the time of presenting treatment.
Sit down with your team and focus on how you deliver dental care. Discuss what each of you can do to make the process more comfortable, emotionally calming and positive for the patient. Everyone has their own ways of achieving relaxation and comfort, and these ways can be shared to create a standard of care for patients that is offered at the time the treatment options are being discussed.
Years ago I worked in a practice for a very kind and thoughtful dentist. Many patients would literally fall asleep in the dental chair during procedures because they were so at ease. When it came to wanting the dental care there was no hesitation based on the process, as they knew they were in good hands.
If you want to explore better ways of presenting treatment to patients and learn what you can do to gain more treatment acceptance, sign up for the Treatment Acceptance Course or the Front Office Business Training Course.Forward this article to a friend
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