It’s one of the longest standing debates in the dental industry: is it unprofessional to sell dentistry?
Traditional schools of thought in the industry tend to cast a negative light on selling dental services, similar to the reputation that used car salesman always get for convincing customers to purchase something that perhaps looks or seems better than it really is. Yes, it is unprofessional (as well as unethical) to sell unnecessary dental services to patients. However, communicating to patients the value of the services they need to improve their oral health is exactly what you should be doing as a dental professional. After all, have you ever had a patient complain about root canal you recommended to eliminate their toothache? Not likely.
Selling necessary dental services benefits the patient just as much as it does your bottom line and there’s absolutely no reason to feel timid or unethical about doing so. However, sometimes it can be a challenge to convince patients of the value of the dental services you’re presenting to them as it relates to their oral health. This can lead to a higher number of missed appointments an uncompleted treatment plans. If you’re having trouble “closing the sale” and getting patients to commit to necessary dental treatments, here are a few tips to help:
It Starts with the First Impression
Selling the value of the dental services you can offer needs to happen from the patient’s very first interaction with your brand. If you’re hoping to sell your services to new patients (and not just existing patients), direct mail postcards are a great way to create a positive image of your brand’s value both with a combination imaging and sales copy. With the right type of campaign and design, direct mail postcards can start selling your value before patients even walk through your door.
Patients who understand why they need a specific dental treatment are much more likely to actually pay for it. Patients who don’t see the value in the treatment (and also don’t decide to pay for it) typically just don’t understand the long-term health consequences of avoiding treatment and how it will impact their smile. For example, when you recommend restorative treatment to a patient, do you help them understand that just continuing to avoid it can lead to the loss of the entire tooth eventually? Obviously, you shouldn’t resort to using scare tactics, but it’s crucial to help patients realize using simple terms that paying for treatment at their office really is more of an investment in their smile.
Trust is a big factor when it comes to getting patients to commit to paying for treatments. Have you given your patients a reason to trust your opinion on why they need a particular treatment? Sometimes just telling them isn’t enough to seal the deal, even if you are using simple language they can understand. This is where technology can be a big benefit. Tools like intraoral cameras and clear digital X-rays can help patients better understand and visualize why they need a specific treatment.
Presenting patients with options regarding their recommended treatment is a great way to increase trust by helping them realize that you really do have their best interest in mind. If there is more than one treatment option available for their restorative care, make sure you present both to them and not just the one that has higher margins. If there is only one recommended option for treatment that may be a financial burden for them, help them learn about payment options that can make this treatment more within their reach in terms of budget.
Just like with any business, to be successful it’s necessary to communicate with consumers the value of the service or product you provide. As a dentist, it’s no different. We hope these few tips help you communicate patients in a more effective way just how valuable the services you provide are for their oral health.