Six months out of dental school, I discovered that at least 8 out of 10 patients had the same six objections on going ahead with their treatment plans:
- “I’m only doing what the dental insurance covers.”
- “I have no money.”
- “File a predetermination of benefits for me.”
- “I need to talk to my spouse.”
- “I have to think about it.”
- “I’m too busy right now and need to wait.”
Dental school didn’t prepare me for this. Despite years of trying everything I could to overcome these “thorns” in the road, nothing seemed to work. It could be frustrating – you want to help your patient but would hit one of these objections and that was that!
Meanwhile, my practice was rocked by an economic recession and competition from eleven other dental offices in my Indiana farm town of 10,000 people.
But when I came to MGE for case acceptance training, I got exactly what I needed to improve case acceptance and get most of my patients to start their comprehensive treatment. With a little bit of training, I mastered the art of addressing these common objections, and my practice was never the same.
How Can You Address these Objections?
There’s no single “trick” or “gimmick” to addressing these objections, and we dive into this in great detail at MGE (come to the free seminar we deliver around the country, The Effective Case Acceptance Seminar, to learn more), but here’s a few quick pointers for you to keep in mind:
The treatment consultation should be a conversation between you and the patient – not a lecture from you to the patient. Make sure you explain the treatment plan in a way that they can easily understand and encourage them to ask questions and express any concerns. That is, let them talk to you to find out what their viewpoint is on the treatment at hand.
2. Recognize that dentistry is not a pleasant experience for most
I don’t know of any patients who actually want needles and drills in their mouths, so here’s the major conflict: they really need the dentistry but they don’t want to go through the procedures. In fact, they are likely to throw out a fictitious objection to postpone the discomfort! This shouldn’t surprise you. Know that you are not going get everyone to go ahead with full comprehensive treatment. That is hard to accept, but it is a cold hard fact.
Look at treatment presentations like a REAL business owner.
Not everyone wants what you have to offer, and you will never be everything to everybody.
For example, let us take the subject of coffee. Not everyone likes coffee. I have surveyed large audiences, and surprisingly enough, only 50% to 60% of the audience likes coffee. I personally don’t.
So if you own a Starbucks franchise, you aren’t going to appeal to half of the American adult population. Starbucks also charges more for a cup of coffee than just about anyone else in the country. With a slow economy and a bunch of other coffee shops (or places to buy coffee) in your town, how does Starbucks stay open? The truth is, a large enough segment of the population values what Starbucks has to offer and pays a premium price for its products, which in turn keeps the large franchise open, expanding, and profitable.
Starbucks competes with McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts, and others who try to copy what Starbucks does and charge 75% less for it.
What does this have to do with dentistry?
There are people who value their teeth and are willing to spend their hard-earned dollars to keep them. On the other side of the coin, there are people who couldn’t care less about their teeth and will either want it all for free/cheap or just want them all pulled.
Addressing the most common barrier to case acceptance
“I only want to do what my dental insurance covers.”
Now you won’t know which side of the coin your patients are on until you ask them this one simple question (or some variation of it):
“Do you want to keep your teeth?”
The answer to this question will establish what you are dealing with—do they want to keep them or don’t they? About 60% to 70% of the time they will say “Yes.” Now you’re in business. You could then say:
“The problem here is that you need about $5,000 worth of dentistry. If we only do $1,000 per year, then we will never catch up and you may lose the teeth you could otherwise save. Let’s forget about what the insurance covers and talk more about what you need to do to keep your teeth the rest of your life…”
Or some version of that. This will open the door for a real conversation about a comprehensive treatment plan.
Of course, you will get patients who say they don’t care if they keep their teeth or not. You need to do your best to change their mind; but if they really don’t care, then help them as best you can within the parameters of their plan to prevent tooth loss as long as possible.
This is so simple to do yet so effective. Try it for yourself. Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t always work. This is the real world – not Disney World. Not everyone wants to buy what you have to offer; but just by trying, you will get more people to opt for what they truly need instead of only what insurance covers. By doing this, you can have a much more rewarding career.
This article is just a taste of what we teach at MGE. Come to The Effective Case Acceptance Seminar and we will show you how easy it is to get the patients to want what they need. Do them and find out for yourself. Feel free to call and talk to an MGE consultant personally at 800-640-1140 if you have any questions.