The idea of selling can cause a lot of people to cringe. However, whether they realize it or not, everyone makes a sales pitch from time to time. For example, when you interview for a job, you’re selling the best version of yourself. Or, think about a time you had to persuade your partner, friend, or even yourself to try a new hobby or activity—you had to convince someone to try something different. You had to sell an idea. Everyone has a bit of a salesperson in them, and you’re subconsciously tapping into that part of yourself more often than you might be aware. Selling plays a critical role in managing a successful and sustainable dental practice. Case acceptance helps to bring in revenue and retain patients. Selling can be intimidating though. How do you take that idea and make it more approachable? In this post, we highlight three ways that Janet Hagerman, a practice management expert with over 15 years of clinical experience and 20 years of coaching experience with dental practices, developed for selling dentistry to drive case acceptance and increase revenue in a consistent and sustainable way. Interested in diving further into this topic?
Before you try anything outside your comfort zone, you need to establish the right mindset. Approach the task in a positive and open-minded way. It’s normal to feel uncertain and nervous, and those feelings are valid. Additionally with this mind shift, it’s important to recognize the difference between patient education and selling dentistry. Patient education is centered around providing information to help patients make an informed decision. Before you educate them, you need to start with making a connection to what matters to them. This is where the selling piece comes in. Asking open-ended questions gives you insight into the patients’ values, and you can use that information to guide the conversation and educate them along the way. As Hagerman points out, people buy based on emotions, and then they support it with logic. “Logistics is what we’re trained to do. We think in millimeters. We need to learn the emotional side of decision-making, and we have to find simple, quick and easy ways to discover those emotional motivators,” says Hagerman.
The other aspect of selling is to remember that you don’t need to change your personality to do it. You can be your authentic self when you’re having these conversations with patients. Whether you’re an introvert, ambivert, or an extrovert, you’re capable of selling treatments to patients. You do it in a way that fits your personality.
Think about your favorite restaurant or a place you visit quite often. What’s the experience like? Is it consistent on every visit or does it vary? Your patients should have a consistent experience every time they visit the practice. Depending on the type of practice environment you want to create, it’s also good to consider how the patient experience translates digitally and through other communication channels. A cohesive experience establishes patient trust and loyalty and helps motivate patients to take control of their oral health. Additionally, you should consider patient conversations and how you and your team discuss treatments. Are you asking open-ended questions to determine their values? Are you giving them the appropriate amount of information that connects with what matters to them? Or are you overloading them with information? When your entire team is conversing with patients by asking thoughtful questions and then speaking directly to what motivates them, then you’re more likely to move a patient towards accepting a treatment, scheduling an appointment, and keeping the appointment. Together, these three actions increase your revenue.
Your dental phone system is an integral part of your practice. Ideally, any phone call with a patient or prospective patient should be viewed as an opportunity. How do you treat it as an opportunity? One way is to have the relevant information in front of you the moment a patient calls. This way you can have a productive conversation instead of shuffling or clicking around to view a patient record. Features such as ScreenPop, mobile application, and two-way texting can help you make the most of every conversation. Even if you get off a call with a patient not interested in making an appointment, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen in the future. There are other opportunities to nurture that relationship so the next time you’re communicating with the individual you can move them closer to taking action. Selling dentistry won’t happen overnight. It’s a continual process that needs to be iterated. There are simple tactics you can incorporate into your daily routine to work towards improving treatment acceptance. And there are more strategic initiatives you can implement, too. However, before you roll anything out, you need to be open to changing your thinking and removing the stigma around selling.