Recently I was in the Los Angeles area to deliver one of the free 1-day seminars we offer around the country, the Real Solution to Cancellations and No-Shows Seminar to a variety of business owners (dentists) in that area.
A couple things I observed there got me thinking:
1. Many dentists don’t realize that when they decided to open their own practice they were at the same time deciding to be “business owners.”
2. Helping patients to decide to pursue their needed treatment plan is getting them to take responsibility for their oral health.
Now, in order to make a decision, the person doing the deciding must – to some degree – admit that he or she is responsible for the consequences. Of course, as we go through life and we make some bad decisions and see ourselves and others cause bad consequences, we get a little gun-shy. We start to put off making decisions and become more indecisive in our actions.
But decisions are what lead to action. People who can make decisions and act on them right away are the people who get things done.Dentists who can make decisions and act on them right away are the people who get things done.Click To Tweet
As a dentist, it is your job to help your patients to make the right decision. It is your job to take responsibility for their oral health. So first, you must make the decision yourself that you are going to take responsibility for this patient’s health and help them overcome any barriers they might have to receiving the treatment plan that they need.
So let’s address some other reasons that might make someone a little gun-shy on making decisions.
Know-How as Business Owner
As a business owner, many of us were never issued a User’s Guide to navigate that end of it and so don’t feel comfortable making many decisions outside of the operatory. That’s one of the early challenges we address with our clients at MGE. Getting trained as an executive and business owner is the answer for that.
Practice What You Preach
Next, you should make sure that you’ve taken care of your own dental health. Is your dentistry current? Are you putting anything off or on wait?
(Related: Is Your Dental Office Location a Problem?)
I’ve seen many dentists trying to educate their patients on why they need their dental care immediately, while in the back of their head they’re thinking that they’ve been putting off their own care for months. When this happens, it waters down their resolve to help the patient receive the treatment they need. It’s detrimental to case acceptance.
So be a dentist and get your own dentistry done. Then make sure your patients do the same!
Present the FULL Treatment Plan
I personally don’t agree with the concept that you shouldn’t present full treatment plans, but instead only what insurance covers or only what the patient mentioned that he wants to fix. YOU know what’s best in regards to their dental health. You know better than the patient and the insurance company. So take responsibility for them.
If they don’t think they are in a financial position to pay for it, or they are deathly scared of root canals, or have some other reason not to do treatment, help them work out how they can overcome these barriers and receive the treatment they need. Your patient will respect you and they will get healthy because you will actually do the dentistry they need right now, not “just what their insurance covers.”