Dr. Bette Robin
How to Get Patients to Accept Treatment (Part 2)
The Secret of Selling Treatment
I am telling you here the “Secret of Selling Treatment.” So, before you spend tens of thousands of dollars, or hundreds of thousands of dollars on, consultants – whom I certainly believe in – get as far as you can yourself – and try starting here.
I have done this. It works. It is simple. It is basically free, you just have to do it.
What Not to Do!
First, I’m going to tell you how not to present treatment to patients – because I’ve seen all of these things way too many times - sometimes it is a wonder anything is scheduled.
a. Do not present treatment while washing your hands, getting something out of a drawer, checking your text messages, or doing anything else at all.
b. Do not present treatment while standing.
c. Do not present treatment while behinda patient.
d. Do not present treatment while walking out of the operatory.
e. Do not present treatment to your staff member – this is your patient’s treatment and not a staff member’s. They can be there to take notes, but must be very unobtrusive.
f. Do not present treatment in a complicated and confusing way, using lots of dental terms the patient does not understand.
What to do!
1. Stop all interruptions. The world must stop and you must be focused; Concentrate on the patient in front of you, and that’s all.
a. No cell phones. In fact, no phone at all in the op, ever, in my opinion. No phone in your pocket, no phone on the counter. If you are too plugged in to your phone to leave it on mute in your office, you’d should pretty much give up, you are too busy to work.
b. No interruptions by staff, by buzzers, by lights, by television. It needs to be just you and the patient. One and one. And perhaps your assistant sitting quietly and unobtrusively behind the patient.
c. Also, the music in your office shouldn’t be too loud. Speaking of music, like magazines, it should be what your patients would generally like and tend toward “elevator music.” Mundane, boring, background.
2. Sit the patient upright. Who likes to be told anything while flat on their back? No one can listen that way.
Your patient must be upright, must have rinsed out their mouth, or fixed their hair, or checked their phone – whatever they need to do. They need to be ready for a conversation and to focus on that conversation.
This conversation is about their health, about them. Trust me, they are interested.
Then, you’ll sit at their level, basically knee to knee.
3. You will have completely reviewed the patient’s file, x-rays, models, whatever you have, before you enter the room.
If you are doing the exam the same day the patient got their x-rays, then do the review in your office. You can’t be casual or off-the-cuff with health care, even if you can technically do it – it does not present a good image to the patient. At least look like you studied their x-rays and now know the issues before presenting treatment.
4. Treat every patient like they are your mother or your spouse. Which means, prioritize correctly, be honest, be straight forward, tell the truth, speak clearly.
5. Make Eye Contact. This is a huge thing - probably the single biggest thing. Look your patient in the eyes. Make a connection, build trust. Look them in the eyes, and keep looking as you go through the conversation.
6. Say less words rather than more. This is not a social conversation now, as you may have on other visits with the patient. Use clear, concise words.
7. Speak approximately as fast and as loud as the patient is speaking. This is important, totally tune in to them.
8. Never use technical words, like distal, mesial, RCT – whatever.
9. Usually, one or two sentence will do at first. Write it out if you need to, and practice with one of your friends and video-taping yourselves if it is a big case.
Selling Treatment and Getting it Accepted is Really Not Hard!
Again, this isn’t hard, but you need to have a plan and be clear and concise on what needs to be done so the patient can understand and make a decision.
In the next part, we’ll talk about money and closing the sale.