When you are trying to talk to a patient about a dental procedure, there are so many things to think about. Assuming the patient doesn’t know what the procedure entails, you need to get your facts straight and your visual examples ready.
People like to be shown what they're buying before they buy it. They want to know how it works, how it looks, how it will hold up over time. Let’s look at the importance of sales tools when presenting the options to patients.
Understand the perspective of your patient
Your patient is sitting in the chair thinking nothing but “how much is this going to cost me?” Negativity already exists in his or her mind about what you are about to present. So, as all sales people know, make the pitch so the patient can’t say no. Always start out with the options available—such as an implant or a bridge. If it is those two options, go over the benefits of both.
Start with the bridge option, for example. Explain to the patient that the bridge doesn’t just involve the one missing tooth but all of the teeth surrounding it. The bridge will replace the missing tooth, but it comes with issues, such as bacteria buildup, repairs, decay of surrounding teeth, and eventual replacement after several years. The patient might see a lower cost now, but explaining the long-term cost is key to getting the patient to see past this option.
Then move on to the implant option. The implant only affects one area, not the surrounding teeth. Unlike the bridge, it causes no bone loss and is, for the most part, permanent. Implants last an average of two to three times longer than bridges and might even last forever. The initial cost is not much more than the bridge, and the long-term cost is much less. Even though the thought of shelling out $3,000 for an implant might seem daunting to the patient, the long-term cost of a bridge over the patient's lifetime can be double, if not triple, that.
Have your tools ready
Make sure you have a model to show how the implant works. Put it in the patient's hands so he or she can explore the device. Explain how things work in relation to the patient's specific case. This test drive is important because it lets the patient fully examine the look of the implant and how it will be in the mouth. Show animations or videos of how the surgery works. This will make the patient see the work that goes into the procedure and the effectiveness that it has. Make the patient's decision as easy as possible by letting your tools do the talking.
Train your staff
Your staff plays a very important role. Train a member or two of your staff in the presentation of the procedure. Besides you, there should be an expert in the office. Your patients will feel more confident in you and your staff if they get answers and explanations from more people than just the doctor. Some patients feel more comfortable talking to a dental hygienist they have a good relationship with or an office staff member. Relieve worry for your patients by letting them choose their comfort zone. If your office staff are your stars, let them shine. This will give you some of your time back, and you can be the backup if needed.
Keep your positivity throughout the process. Knowledge is power, and giving it to your patients will take you and your practice far.
Stacey Hunsdon is the email marketing specialist for Implant Direct, a Danaher company. She has more than 15 years of experience in the digital marketing field in the United Kingdom and United States, with a specialty in email. She has served on the Email Marketing Council in the United Kingdom and was an active contributor to the growth of the email data marketing efforts in the United Kingdom. If you would like to reach her, email [email protected] or call (661) 705-8308.