Golden Phone

Three simple tips on handling tough questions from potential dental patients

Feb. 21, 2013

There are a ton of tough questions out there. I am sure I have not heard them all, but I hear the same tough questions botched over and over again. A lot of calls go downhill when the caller asks for a price quote. I heard a call today where the receptionist stuttered through the sentence, “I’m not supposed to give out prices on the phone.” Yikes! The caller hung up within five seconds.

How much better does this sound? “There are so many variables for each patient because no teeth are the same. Because of this we just cannot accurately quote a price. That procedure usually starts around $X and goes up from there. I would love to schedule you a time with our dentist so you can meet and go over your different options.”

Nailed it, and attempted for the appointment at the same time!

Here are three quick ideas to think about the next time you are stumped with a tough question.

1. Be the authority
Take control of the conversation right from the beginning. This is your dental office; you know the answers better than the person calling and you should act like it. Talk definitively every time you respond to their question. If you sound confident, they will be confident in your dentistry.

2. Get back on the right course
Your goal is to get the patient in for an appointment, where you can focus on the patient’s individual concerns and answer all of their questions. Don't shy away from asking for the appointment, even when you are faced with a tough question! Offer for the patient come in for a consultation to talk with the dentist and go over their individual situation.

3. Prepare a solid response for next time
The next time you are stumped with a tough question, write it down and share it with your team. Perhaps someone else in the office has a great way to respond to that question or the doctor may have some information to shed light on the situation. Don’t be afraid – own your phone!

In summary: Be the authority, get back on the right course, and prepare a solid response for next time.

Please reach out to me if you are interested in hearing more about how I help dental offices completely grasp what is happening on their phones. You can go to if you want to learn more about improving your phone skills. I am here to help dentists increase the number of new appointments by creating better habits on the phone and making marketing decisions easy.

Keaton Marks is the Dental Marketing Consultant at Century Interactive. He helps dentists understand which marketing tactics are driving patients and what happens on the office phones. Keaton grew up in San Diego, attended Cornell University, and now lives in Dallas. He can be reached at 214-377-0704 or [email protected]. Check out his blog.