3.25.16 Issue #733 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Laurie Hardison
Senior Consultant
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Get New Patients to Accept Treatment
By Laurie Hardison, Senior Consultant

You’ve noticed case acceptance is down in your practice, especially with new patients. This of course is hurting practice production and your bottom line, which means it might be time to take a new approach to case presentations.

When presenting treatment to patients, remember that it’s not about what you want; it’s about what the patient wants. Focusing on their wants and needs is the best way to get more new patients in the chair and raise production numbers. Here are a few tips to make sure that’s how treatment is presented in your practice.

Don’t overwhelm them
When patients visit your practice for the first time, often all they want is a cleaning. If you present thousands of dollars of treatment to them before they leave, chances are you’ll never see them again. Not only will they be overwhelmed by the large dollar sign, they’ll think all you care about is selling big, expensive cases. This is not how you grow your patient base and get patients to accept treatment.

Here’s an example of how not to present treatment to new patients:

“Kate, it looks like you need a few ceramic crowns and composite restorations. I also want to replace that missing tooth on the lower right side with either an implant or a bridge. Sound good? Great. Let’s get you on the schedule.”

From there, many doctors would have their hygienist enter this information into the computer, print out the treatment plan and then go over that plan with Kate. The result? Kate is looking at a bill of $7,800 for dental work she had no idea she even needed. Her head is spinning before she even gets to the Financial Coordinator, who is tasked with helping Kate find a way to pay for all this unexpected work.

Not surprisingly, Kate doesn’t agree to any treatment. Why? It’s a lot of money and she needs to discuss it with her spouse. At least that’s what she tells the Financial Coordinator. She leaves without scheduling and with no intention of coming back to your practice. That means Kate doesn’t get the treatment she needs and your production continues to suffer. 

Get more patients to say yes
Most patients aren’t going to accept thousands of dollars in treatment the first time they visit your practice. You need to spend more time educating them, earning their trust and developing a connection. But if you break the treatment up into smaller pieces and start building those relationships, they’ll feel more comfortable moving forward. Here’s an example:

After your hygienist spends time educating Kate about the benefits of maintaining her oral health and showing images of her mouth taken by an intraoral camera, it’s time for the doctor to come in and start talking about treatment options. This is what the doctor says:

“Kate, as you can see, you do have some areas of concern. I understand you travel a lot for work, and I’m sure you wouldn’t want those broken down silver fillings to crack while you’re on the road. With your permission, I’d like to start replacing those two old fillings here (as he shows Kate the image) with two beautiful porcelain crowns. That work can be completed in the office in just one visit, so you won’t have to make multiple trips to the office. From there, we’ll discuss the other areas that need to be addressed. How does that sound to you?”

In this scenario, Kate doesn’t feel nearly as overwhelmed. The treatment presented is manageable, and will only cost $1,900. She knows she can get the initial work done in one day and then move forward with the rest of the treatment plan when she’s ready. Guess what? Kate books the appointment and you’ve managed to grow production and your patient base.

Keep working with them
Now of course even when you recommend smaller treatment plans there’s a chance patients like Kate still won’t say yes right away. Maybe it’s still too expensive (offering third party financing through companies like CareCredit will help) or she’s not sure when she’ll be able to fit it into her schedule. When this happens, break down the treatment even further. Propose replacing one restoration instead of two, for example. If this still doesn’t get a yes, have your Financial Coordinator try this approach:

“Kate, our goal is to help you receive the dental care you want and deserve. Will you be available later this afternoon or tomorrow? I’ll discuss your concerns with the doctor and get back to you with other options. How does that sound to you?”

Remember, something is better than nothing. You don’t want to lose first-time patients because you didn’t offer a treatment plan they’re willing to consider. Even if they don’t want to go forward with any treatment now, if you keep them as a hygiene patient and continue to educate them about the services you provide and the possible consequences of not going forward with treatment, they’ll eventually opt to schedule that appointment. When you offer alternatives, more patients will say yes, ensuring they get the treatment they need while also boosting practice production and your bottom line.

If you would like more information on how McKenzie's Consulting Coaching Programs can help you implement proven strategies, email info@mckenziemgmt.com

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