12.26.14 Issue #668 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

How to Improve Case Acceptance in 2015
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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As you reflect on how your practice performed in 2014, you know you can do better. Strike that. You know you have to do better if you’re ever going to own a successful, profitable dental practice. One way to get there? Focus on improving case acceptance in 2015.

Improving case acceptance will do wonders for your bottom line. Not only that, your team members will be happier, you’ll be performing the dentistry you love and your patients will receive the care they need. Sound good to you? It’s going to take some work, but I know you’re up for the challenge and I intend to help you get there. Here are my tips for improving case acceptance in 2015 and beyond.

Hire a Treatment Coordinator
I touched on this in last week’s article, but it’s important enough to mention twice. You simply can’t take on treatment presentations yourself. Unless you want to sacrifice production numbers, you just don’t have the time to sit down with every patient and go over every aspect of every treatment plan. And let’s be honest. You’re likely only spending five to 10 minutes going over treatment with patients anyway, and that’s not nearly enough time. Patients can tell you’re in a hurry and won’t ask any questions. So even though you think they understand the benefits of treatment and are ready to schedule that first appointment, they probably won’t, even if they tell you they will before you rush on to the next patient.

Now don’t take this the wrong way. Building trust and establishing a rapport with patients is vital to improving case acceptance. Patients need to know you care, and that means you should make yourself available to provide much needed education and answer any questions they have. But you’re not the one who should walk them through their treatment plan. That responsibility belongs to the Treatment Coordinator.

Hire a Treatment Coordinator with a sales background and task this person with presenting treatment plans for every producer in the practice. Your Treatment Coordinator should go over every aspect of the plan, from how much it will cost to how long it will take. This ensures every patient receives detailed information about the treatment they need to make an informed decision about their dental care.

It’s also important to set up a comfortable, private place for treatment presentations to take place. This will help put patients at ease, making them more likely to ask questions and giving your Treatment Coordinator the opportunity to address concerns and encourage patients to accept treatment.

Follow-Up with Every Patient
It’s pretty rare for patients to say yes to treatment right away. They often want time to talk over their options with their spouse, or simply think about what was discussed. Before the patient even walks out of the office, your Treatment Coordinator should schedule a time to follow-up. If that isn’t possible, armed with a well-written script and notes taken during the initial presentation, your Treatment Coordinator should follow-up within 48 hours. This helps keep the conversation at the top of the patient’s mind.

If no one follows-up and the patient is still on the fence about accepting treatment, you can bet that patient likely won’t call your office to schedule. But if your Treatment Coordinator follows-up, addresses concerns that were discussed during the presentation and reinforces the importance of treatment, you’ll be much more likely to turn a once hesitant patient into a patient excited to move forward.

Find Out what Motivates Them
Patients have many reasons for saying no to treatment. Maybe they don’t have the time or the money, or they don’t realize how much a little cosmetic work will improve their smile. When patients say no to treatment, don’t just shrug your shoulders and hope you’ll have better luck next time. Ask them why. If money’s an issue, tell them about financing options like CareCredit. If they don’t understand the benefits of treatment, educate them. Find out what their concerns are and address them, and you’ll soon have them reconsidering.

It’s also important to know what motivates them from the start. Conduct new patient interviews to find out oral health goals, and repeat these interviews with current patients every 18 to 24 months. If you know what their goals are, you’ll have a much easier time recommending treatment they’ll want to accept.

Take the Focus off Money
When talking about treatment options, don’t start off with the price tag. Patients will find this off-putting and may feel like all you care about is selling them something, not providing them with the best care possible. Not only that, if your Treatment Coordinator is presenting a $5000 case, that number will be all the patient can think about during the presentation.

Instead, focus on the benefits of treatment. Educate your patients so they understand exactly what’s going on in their mouths, and why this treatment is so important. Make sure your Treatment Coordinator goes over all the important details and answers all their questions before throwing out a large price tag. When it’s time to talk about cost, let patients know about any financing options your practice offers and remind them how much money they’ll save if they take care of the problem now, rather than waiting until they have a much worse, more costly problem on their hands down the road.

If you want your practice to thrive in 2015, you have to improve case acceptance. Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to a profitable practice in the New Year.

For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side

Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com
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