Treatment Planning — Presenting Your Plan to Earn a New Patient
If you’re looking to increase your treatment plan case acceptance rate, your solution might be simpler than you expect.
Accepting treatment is a big decision for any patient, especially when high-value procedures are involved. No matter how much we want our patients to move forward with the care they need, many don’t.
When they don’t, we often assume it's because they either don't value the treatment or can't afford it. Some dentists double down by going in greater detail into the problem we are looking to solve. Others cut their fees or try to help patients secure financing. That can help but only goes so far.
If after all that you are still not seeing the treatment plan case acceptance rate you want, it’s like that you are using the wrong language when presenting your treatment plan. By eliminating these four words from your vocabulary, you can see an instant boost to your acceptance rate.
Stop using the word “maybe” when presenting your treatment plans.
Stop using the word “maybe” when talking with patients about the care they need. It conveys a lack of confidence. It conveys a lack of urgency. So, if a patient asks whether they need to address an issue, answer confidently.
Similarly, when suggesting something to a patient, be clear. Never say, “Maybe we should fix this issue.” Instead, say “We should fix this issue” or “Yes, fixing this issue will improve your health.”
Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine you’re at a dermatologist, and after examining your skin they point out a mole. Which statement would make you more likely to get it removed:
- “Maybe we should remove this mole,” or
- “We NEED to remove this mole. It poses a threat to your health.”
Be clear. Be confident. Your patients need your leadership to achieve optimal health and move forward with treatment.
Stop using the word “cheap” when talking about price with patients.
When you tell people something is cheap, there are usually two thoughts that will go through their head. The first is that if it’s cheap, then it shouldn’t cost a lot of money. This is especially important when talking about good deals on high-value procedures. The second is that if it’s cheap, then it’s low-quality.
Instead of saying something is “cheap” or “cheaper,” say it’s a ” good value.” That conveys it as being more affordable but without the negative connotations. The procedure could still cost a lot of money but be a good value. And it can still be high-quality but be a good value.
When your discussion is on the “value” of the procedure, your patients also think about your treatment plan as an investment in achieving an outcome they desire. For example, you might say “The real value is you’ll be able to eat what you want. You won’t have to remove your dentures anymore. And you’ll be able to avoid large expenses that come from your teeth shifting or bone loss.”
Reminding patients of the value of your treatment plan and the outcomes they will receive, helps them better appreciate the benefits of moving forward with your plan.
Stop using the word “cost” when discussing financial terms.
Speaking of low-cost, avoid saying the word “cost” at all when discussing treatment with a patient.
For example, if you tell a patient that getting an implant is going to cost them $5,000 and leave it at that, they will immediately think about how much money they have in the bank. If they don’t have $5,000 in the bank (or a credit card with a high available credit that they’re willing to tap into), they are less likely to move forward.
Instead, provide three payment options and them patients how other patients like them are able to fit dentistry into their budgets. When discussing monthly payment options, let them know how much the minimum monthly investment would be. Then ask if that would into their budget. If not, you can come up with another plan, such as to phase treatment to fit into their budget.
Stop using the word “problem” when talking with patients about their oral health.
While it might seem logical to use the word problem because people generally “solve” problems, the reality is more people try to avoid problems than solve them.
When you describe something as a “problem” to a patient, many patients will instinctively push back or procrastinate. “Problems” feel big and expensive.
Reframe your presentation using the word “issue” and position your treatment plan as the solution. It’s a gentler way of saying there’s a situation with their teeth but that you have a plan. Your patient is much less likely to push back when you present the issue rather than a problem.
Have you been using these four words when presenting your treatment plans to patients?
Consistent case acceptance can make or break your practice. And while word choice might seem like a nuance that doesn’t amount to much, patients are much more likely to move forward with treatment plans when you avoid these four words.
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