Many have an image that pops into our head when we hear the word salesman. They may envision a greasy-haired, cheap-suit wearing slickster, smacking a worn out piece of gum. The taboo associated with the word sales can be extremely debilitating, especially when it comes to business growth, change and success. But those who understand the value of professional sales and service skills are finding unprecedented success in their dental businesses as well as unparalleled patient satisfaction.
The process is like an onion. The many layers (or processes) we peel away such as education, presentation, listening, guiding, diagnosing, and the list goes on and on, in the end we get to that very center part of the onion, which is scheduling the treatment. How one goes about the process determines whether their patients will conjure up the image of a pushy slickster or that of a caring, knowledgeable and skilled dental professional with their best interests at heart.
As healthcare providers, we like to think we make recommendations and give information so our patients will make the great choices to choose our course of treatment. I hear it all too often, “My dentistry sells itself!”, or “I’m a healthcare provider NOT a salesman”! Well what if our patients don’t have the information they really need? What if we haven’t created value in the eyes of our patients to help them want the two crowns on the upper left and the anterior composite fillings replaced? Well you know exactly what happens. Our patients say, “I’ll have to think about it”, or “I’ll have to call you when I check my calendar”, or worse yet, “My insurance won’t cover that so I don’t think I need it”. And off they go, to be lost in the Unscheduled Treatment Report.
This is NOT what is best for the patient and it is not what is best for your dental business and proves the very point that our dentistry does NOT sell itself. Yet as dental professionals we often allow our patients to determine their course of treatment without doing our part to create value for our services and help each and every one of our patients receive five-star comprehensive care they deserve.
This is where our communication and service skills are very important. As ethical dental professionals, we know our recommendations will only improve the lives and health of our patients and it is our duty to help the patient value and want the treatment. Here are some simple starting points to begin the ethical and necessary process in your offices:
- Customer Service (selling yourself)
Without exceptional customer service, your patients will be hard-pressed to place value on the services you provide. What are you doing to make your patients feel as if they are your most valued guest? PS: Watching dentistry may win the hearts of your patients in the short term, but it’s a recipe for long-term disaster, as we point out in “Ban the Band Aid Dentistry”
- Comprehensive Dentistry (Building value for your services)
Provide consistent and thorough care. This includes things like implementing CaMBRA into your hygiene processes, use of the intra-oral camera, new technologies and products. Create scripts and analogies to apply to different types of treatment recommendations. This helps the patient differentiate the value of one treatment over another. Example: Large composites vs. CEREC. An analogy might be re-tread tires vs. Michelin’s.
- Team Calibration
Take the time to meet with your team and go over procedures so that everyone is on the same page. We want our patients to be hearing the same information from whomever they may ask.
- Patients Do Not Leave Without and Appointment
The hand off process is important. Be certain every patient leaves with an appointment. Even if they do not schedule the entire treatment plan, schedule something! At a minimum, they need to have their next hygiene visit on the books.
Hopefully many of you are already familiar with high touch service and are doing it every day. Embracing service and perfecting the associated skills is a win for everyone. Success in your dental business, success personally and patients receiving the five star comprehensive dentistry they deserve. What could be better than that?
You…are the expert in your field! You are my caring, informative, knowledgeable, provider of state-of-the-art technologies, thorough, ethical dental professional
Now let’s go create value for our dentistry!
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