I haven’t yet met a dentist that wasn’t looking for some way to improve their dental case acceptance success rate with their patients.
Going Deeper with Dental Case Acceptance
In this episode of Dental All-Stars, host Alex Nottingham sits down with Eric Vickery, President of Coaching at All-Star Dental Academy. Eric is a respected expert in practice management and dental case acceptance and has been delivering keynotes and training events all over North America since 2001. Tune in to gain insight from this veteran of the dental industry!
Patients avoid or step aside, cancel just flat out don’t schedule because they’re not really connected to the plan from an emotional state. People buy with emotion justified with logic. Not understanding this leads to diminished dental treatment acceptance. Eric Vickery, President of Coaching, builds on his prior podcast where he discussed the 95-5 rule to case acceptance. In this podcast, you will learn how to connect emotionally with your patient. You will discover their why, and thereby become the logical choice.
The 5 Steps to Improved Dental Case Acceptance
The answer comes down to knowing and implementing a systematic approach to treatment presentation. All-Star’s system is the “5 R’s of Case Acceptance.” These five elements will help you keep your patient as the focus of your dental case acceptance:
1. Build Rapport
Building rapport with your client is the first crucial ‘R.’ People often confuse being friendly with a patient as having rapport. However, you must make sure you take the time to build a strong relationship beyond just a simple, “How are you doing?” or “How’s work treating you?” Investing time and energy in the relationship is essential to ensuring that your patients feel comfortable and valued. That is the foundation to build enough trust so your patient is excited to move forward with the recommended treatment plan.
One of the most important concepts to remember is that your patient has no intention of becoming your friend. After all, why would they? To you, you’re their dentist. Because of the nature of the relationship, it takes extra effort and smarts on your part to build up the relationship. Dale Carnegie wrote in his book “How to Win Friends & Influence People” that to be interesting to others, you need to be interested in them. That essentially means really listening to what your patient is saying. This is key to building the trust that will truly help you on your way to dental case acceptance.
Watch Alex Nottingham JD MBA, Larry Guzzardo, All-Star’s Head Instructor, and Eric Vickery, All-Star Coach, discuss Case Acceptance and the 5 Steps…
2. Review Findings
The first of two “reviews” is reviewing your findings. When you walk your patient through your findings and recommend treatment, you must do it in the right way.
Dentists often fall into the trap of using jargon and inadvertently become long-winded in their explanation. This can negatively impact their dental case acceptance rate. Hearing technical terminology or dental jargon affects the patient’s understanding os what’s going on with their mouth. An explanation that’s too long or too detailed often means that the patient just tunes out, making later steps of the case presentation much more difficult.
Be succinct and compassionate, and ensure that the patient understands what you are telling them by checking in often. A simple “Does this make sense?” goes a long way to ensuring good communication. Underline the impact of the issue, not just in the moment, but look to the future and talk about the potential consequences of not addressing their problems.
3. Review fees
Money, money, money. This stage of case presentation is often the biggest hurdle for dental treatment acceptance. Fixing teeth is pricey, and most of us would prefer not to talk about money. Yet, when it comes to reviewing fees with a patient, most of the time it is an issue with the method of presentation more than anything else. One trap for dentists is, again, defaulting to technical terminology or jargon in an attempt to minimize the severity of the patient’s issues while they reviewing fees. The problem, though, is that if patients are told they have just a “small cavity” or “a little bit of bleeding,” but then are shown a big bill of course they’re going to push back and object to the treatment plan.
Be mindful that you are honest and transparent with your patient as you review their case. It is also important that you “test the waters.” Gently bring up the issue of fees early in your work with the patient. Check in with them and look for ways to discuss the financial implications of their treatment. Doing so will eliminate (or at least minimize) the chance that the patient is surprised by the scope of treatment and its cost. Surprises are a great way to kill your chance that the patient accepts treatment recommendations.
4. Respond to Objections
When patients begin to object to a treatment plan or fees, dentists often react in two ways: agreement or arguments. Both reactions often create issues for dental case acceptance. Agreeing with the patient happens because dentists don’t want to engage and communicate with the patient about uncomfortable issues. Arguments occur when dentists confront patients about the reasons behind the issues.
Instead of doing either, stop and acknowledge the issues at hand. Engage in conversation about the objection(s). Help your patient by aiming for open communication throughout the process. This will allow you to both work towards a solution.
5. Receive Payment
And we’re back to money! You can’t do business without appropriate compensation for the work you do, but without the right approach, collecting fees can be awkward or uncomfortable. Start by giving your patient a choice on how to pay for their treatment. Ask them how they typically like to pay for things and do everything you can to accommodate them. Do what you can to help your patient feel in control. This will help them object less about payment, and instead, stay focused on treatment. This is the best way to achieve dental case acceptance.