Seeing is Believing
Dr. Charles Gurney – Case Study #211
Dr. Gurney was concerned with an apparent plateau in practice production, no accountability for team performance and no systems in place to measure where the practice was heading. Dr. Gurney was averaging about 25 new patients a month but his production figures were not going up. With so many new patients, surely there should be higher production.
Like Dr. Gurney, most dentists are not trained sales people. The profession of dentistry is scientific and clinical in focus. It is assumed that patients will be motivated by the evidenced need and make appointments for the treatment. More and more dentists find out, once they open the doors to their practice, that there is more to it than that. The reasons a person may choose the profession of dentistry may entail the following:
“Selling” is not on the list. Dental school does not offer “Sales 101” in its curriculum. The assumption is that patients are shown what they need and they will then say, “I am sold--when can we get started?” Though some patients will respond this way, it is not the norm.
Much of dentistry is elective. Even a patient that visits the dental office in pain can elect to wait or choose to go elsewhere. Dr. Gurney was fortunate enough to be able to consult with 25 new patients a month but was not able to “close the sale.”
What does a patient consider when “buying” dentistry?
This article is addressing “perceived value”. After evaluating Dr. Gurney’s chairside presentation to the patient needing a crown, the follow-up conversation by the assistant and the exit interview by the Scheduling Coordinator, the following observations were noted.
His conversation with the patient went something like this:
Observations of Susan the Chairside Assistant:
Susan’s primary goal was to get Mrs. Jones out of the chair and up to the front desk as quickly as possible so she could seat the next patient.
Observations of Jill, the Scheduling Coordinator:
Dr. Gurney’s Case Presentation
The appointment did not get scheduled because the patient was not given a professional treatment presentation by the doctor or the assistant. It is not the responsibility of the Scheduling Coordinator to “sell” the dentistry. His/her focus is to schedule the appointment and discuss the financial arrangements. Let’s review what should have happened by the doctor and assistant:
Dr. Gurney’s Case Presentation:
You will be here about 90 minutes. I will make sure that you are comfortable at all times. When your new crown returns from the lab, we will call you and schedule about 30 minutes to remove your temporary crown and place your new crown on the tooth.
What questions do you have for me?
I look forward to seeing you soon so we can save that broken tooth for you. I will turn you over to Susan for any additional questions you may have.”
Patient Education and the “Close”
Seeing, hearing and feeling all increase the perceived value of any dental procedure, helping the patient to make an educated decision.
When your patient says, “I need to think about it,” to the Scheduling Coordinator, the doctor and the chairside assistant did not “sell” the treatment to the patient. The patient still has questions that have not been answered.If you would like more information on how McKenzie's Practice Enrichment Programs can help you IMPLEMENT proven strategies… e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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