Greg Winteregg, DDS on How to Effectively Handle Patient Objections - The MGE Blog

(Note: This is part two of a two-part post about overcoming patient objections. To read part one, click here).

In last week’s post, (click here to read), I covered the basics of effectively handling patient objections. Specifically:

1. the first rule to handling any objection,
2. “Faulty” versus “real” objections,
3. My “top-six” list of patient objections (including how to handle the first one on the list).

In Part II of this post, we’re covering how to handle the rest of the objections on my list along with how to really tell the difference between a “faulty” and “real” objection.

As I mentioned in last week’s post, I’ve personally found that the most effective way to handle patients’ objections is to ask questions and get them to open up about what’s really on their mind. To this end, you should come up with questions you are comfortable with.

Here are a few examples, using numbers two through six from my top-six list of patient objections:

“I only want to do what the insurance covers.”

Ask them, “Do you want to keep your teeth?” If they say “Yes,” then it probably has nothing to do with what the insurance will cover.

“File a pre-determination of benefits for me”

“Do you want to keep your teeth?”

“I need to talk to my spouse.”

You could ask something along the lines of: “What do you think they will say about it?” You could also ask: “If it were only up to you, would you go ahead with the treatment plan?” If anything, you’ll get some indication as to where they are at with regards to moving ahead.

This is one of the trickier objections because you’re not just dealing with one person. In some cases, it’s the real deal: the patient has to speak with their spouse before going ahead. In others, it’s the patient not wanting to be “sold.” Every relationship is different; some people have an agreement that they make no major purchases without a discussion. Some have one person in-charge of the finances and the patient in the chair may not be the one!

Greg Winteregg, DDS on How to Effectively Handle Patient Objections - The MGE BlogIf you run into a scenario where a spouse needs to be consulted, the patient may wish to give them a call or better yet, I’d recommend having the patient back in WITH their spouse for a free consultation. Why? Your patient just sat through your treatment plan presentation and understands why they need the treatment along with the cost. Their spouse doesn’t. When your patient goes home to explain it – the one thing you can guarantee the spouse will understand is the cost! But not having seen why the treatment is needed, they won’t be able to make an educated decision.

Bringing the spouse in for a consult to explain it again will allow them to see why it is needed. Worst case scenario, you’ll meet the spouse and it will still be a “no.” Best case, the spouse may not already be your patient – so you could not only “close” the treatment plan, but also end up with a new patient in the bargain!

And as I said, relationships are different. You may ask for the patient to come back with their spouse and they reply, “It’s not a problem – he/she won’t have any problem with me doing it,” or something like this. They go home, discuss it and schedule the next day.

In any event, the key is communication. The better the quality of the communication with your patient (meaning they are asking questions too), the easier it is to determine the right way to go about handling this objection.

“I need to think about this.”

“Is there something I didn’t explain very well?” You may also ask: “Is there something about the treatment plan that you have a question about?”

“I’m very busy right now.”

“Do you want to keep your teeth?” You could also ask “How important is it to you that you keep your teeth?”

Real versus Faulty Objections

How can you definitively tell the difference between these two types of objections? A couple of points that can steer you in the right direction:

1. A patient will “bounce around” with faulty objections. They’ll tend to “stay put” with the real one.

With a faulty objection, the patient will tend to offer it up, you’ll handle it and then they’ll use another. Example: Patient says they need to think about it, then after talking to them a bit more, they bring up that they’re very busy right now and so on. This person – most likely just doesn’t want to be “sold” and you haven’t found the real reason they don’t want to proceed.

If it’s real, they’ll stick to the same one more or less. If they tell you they want to think about it, you might ask about this and they’ll tell you that they never spend more than $2,000 (the treatment plan is, let’s say, $4,000) without at least 24 hours to think about it or “cool off.” Talking to them some more, you might find that they have done this every time since making a purchase they regretted 20 years ago. And while (believe it or not) we can teach you how to handle this too, for the most part, you’ll have to give the patient their 24 hours to think. If it was the real thing, they’ll probably call 24 hours later to schedule.

2. A patient will open up about a real objection. They won’t with a faulty one.

Faulty Objection:

Doctor: I’d like to get this treatment started as soon as possible.
Patient: I can’t afford it.
Doctor: We have some excellent financing options available
Patient: I don’t have money right now. I’m also very busy.

In this case, the doctor hasn’t discovered WHY the patient doesn’t want to proceed. It may be the needles and drills I mentioned in my last post. Use what I posted last week as a guide to what you might do next if you find yourself in this scenario (i.e. review the treatment plan – the patient isn’t closed).

Real Objection:

Doctor: I’d like to get this treatment started as soon as possible.
Patient: I know I need it and wish I could, but I can’t afford it right now.
Doctor: We have some excellent financing options available
Patient: Yeah, I was thinking about that, but I’m in the middle of refinancing my house. I can’t spend money or apply for credit. I have it available on a credit card, and I also might take you up on your financing, but I have to finish the refinancing first. We should be done in a month.Greg Winteregg, DDS on How to Effectively Handle Patient Objections - The MGE Blog

Do you notice how in this example the patient is TALKING? Informing you of what’s actually going on? That’s real! While the patient may have to wait in this scenario, I can more or less guarantee they would be more likely to follow through than in my first “faulty” objection scenario!

Remember one thing – you’re not going to “close” them all. If you’re running at around 80% “close” rate – that’s just fine. Some people are ready to go right away – others may have to wait. It all depends on the person. Although if you know your business with treatment presentations, I’d bet you’ll find that many of the people who would have put treatment on “hold” in the past (for no good reason) will decide to move ahead. If you want to master this skill – as I mentioned in my last post, attend the MGE Communication and Sales Seminars!

I know some of what I’ve written about in these posts goes against what you’ve heard from seminar speakers and consultants. We are taught to be cautious and afraid and never do anything like this. I say BE BOLD! Engage the patient so that they communicate with you.

As dentists we have a valuable service that people NEED. It’s time we bring our communication skills up to be more in line with our clinical! Patients need to understand what’s really going on. And what you’ll find is that when they do, most are happy to get their treatment done!

I hope you found these tips helpful. And again, there are enormous amounts of information on the subject of case acceptance. Most of which I don’t have the space to cover here. And if you really want to achieve a stellar success rate with your treatment presentations, come to the MGE Communication and Sales Seminars. You’ll learn how to get your patients to want the treatment that they need! Call (727) 530-4277 or (800) 640-1140 to register!

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  1. How to Effectively Handle Patient Objections – Part I

    […] (Note: this is part one of a two-part post about overcoming patent objections. Click Here for Part Two.) […]