You Can Do It
You’ve educated patients with brochures. You have high tech equipment. But even with pictures, patients aren’t following through with the treatment recommendations you’ve made. It’s the beginning of a new year and your goal is to sell patient treatment more successfully. Influencing another person to take a course of action, especially one that costs them money, is a difficult task…one that takes patience and perseverance. Let’s look at the following scenario.
Imagine that you are scheduled to meet with a new patient. He/she tells you that their last dentist said “everything was okay”. However, on examination you discover the need for several thousands of dollars of work, from deep root cleaning to restorative procedures.
For many, this situation triggers discomfort at best. The patient believes they have no problems. Regardless of whether this is denial or misrepresentation on the part of their previous dentist, this patient is not expecting or wanting to hear the bad news you are about to deliver. When patients are in pain, they are highly motivated for treatment, at least in the short run. But convincing the patient in the example above is another story - they don’t have a toothache and they believe their teeth are fine.
For you the dentist, there are two primary and sometimes competing factors involved: 1) providing good dental care and 2) overcoming financial resistance. Assuming that your intentions are noble - you are recommending treatment that is necessary, appropriate, and in the patient’s best interest - the real issue is money. More specifically, how you feel about money. Before you overcome the patient’s concerns about cost, you need to check your own beliefs about money and its place in your life.
Most medical professionals enter their respective field because they want to help people. It’s likely that you saw dentistry as a way to serve others and to make a good income. Yet how you feel about the financial aspects of your practice is a key issue in your ability to sell treatment to patients. To understand your beliefs about money, pay attention to what you say to yourself when financial matters arise with patients.
Another way to recognize your view of money is to free associate to the word ‘money’. That is, quickly name the first five things that come up in your mind when you say ‘money’. Notice whether your associations are positive and income-enhancing. If not, objectively challenge your negative ideas about money.
Financially successful people have positive beliefs about prosperity and abundance. Expand your mental frame around money. Operate from the perspective of “what’s possible”. Remove the limitations and barriers in your thinking.
The same holds true for patients. Their resistance may be fear-based. By achieving a peaceful state of mind about your own views of money, you will be more capable of reassuring patients. You’ll also be more convincing when you present a viable dental plan to them. After all, you are only advising. It’s up to the patient to decide. Remember that people respond more to what they are going to lose than to what they are going to gain. And money is one of the strongest motivators of human behavior.
To learn more about how your thoughts, feelings and attitudes contribute to or interfere with your financial success, contact Dr. Haller at email@example.com.
Dr. Haller provides training for leadership effectiveness, interpersonal communication, conflict management, and team building. If you would like to learn more contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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