Before you present a large treatment plan to a patient, make sure the problem they want to solve, and the emotional connection to the problem, is clearly communicated.
It’s happened once, if not a dozen times. Mr. Toothacher patient comes to you as a referral from another patient, and knows that they have neglected their dental health, but are not sure how bad it is. Mr. Toothacher knows they need to get some dental work, and heard that you treated their friend well. You’re thinking to yourself “this is going to be a slam dunk!”
You and your staff roll out the red carpet; you put together your treatment plan, which totals $6000.00. You present it to Mr. Toothacher, and he has no questions, so you send him up to the front desk to schedule. Time goes on, and you never see Mr. Toothacher again.
What just happened here? The patient sought you out, came into your office, but did not buy. Why? For many people it boils down to TRUST. Think about it, would you spend thousands of dollars with someone that did not trust? Of course not! Well you thought this patient would trust you because he a great patient referred them to you. But that sometimes is not enough if the patient does not understand exactly what treatment needs to get done, and why it is a problem for them, if they do not understand exactly how they are going to benefit.
Just about every dentist or doctor that I have ever coached has the same issue when it comes to large cases. They present the treatment plan, without taking the time to ask the right questions of the patient to get their needs, wants, fears, and concerns clearly communicated by the patient.
For example, a patient is missing 18 & 19 and you recommend a bridge. The bridge is $5000. You discussed with the patient that they have missing teeth, and the space needs to be filled, and they agreed. Once they found out how much the treatment cost, they told you that was a lot of money, and they need to think about it. Never to be seen again.
Missing teeth are not necessarily a problem to this patient; otherwise they would not have the space there to begin with. What could be a problem, with an emotional connection, is stress fractures on other teeth, drifting teeth, more tooth-loss such as the breakdown of anterior teeth and bone recession, or improper digestion of food leading to excess weight gain. Now, this is of obvious concern to you, but probably not to them. Unless you ask, and if you do, you may just find out that they just want to be able to eat steak and nuts again!
Make sure you have the patient voice exactly what their concerns are, and WHY they want to get the recommended treatment done. If you want to have better case acceptance of larger cases, make sure before you present a large treatment plan to a patient, that the problem they want to solve, with an emotional connection, is clearly communicated.