Brett Churnin, November 2017
These days, most dentists and practices are keen to explore ways to get new patients through the front door. It’s now commonplace to spend big dollars on advertising and marketing your services, boosting SEO, running special offers on various platforms, or working out ways to encourage existing patients to refer their family and friends. And yet it all goes down the drain if you and your team are not properly equipped to make a good first impression.
If you think about it carefully, your New Patient Examination is really like a first date - isn’t it?
And like a first date, what you are hoping to get out of it is a second date a.k.a - a second appointment.
Consider the dating process… you’re with a new potential mate; the patient is checking you out – do they like you, can they trust you? Will they see you again? Will you be ‘the one’ (who takes care of their oral health, today and for the rest of their life even?).
And like most first dates, your patients are probably experiencing a raft of emotions – they’re anxious, they’re nervous and apprehensive, maybe a bit suspicious, and perhaps some of them may even be a bit excited.
The problem is though, that this ‘first date’ isn’t on neutral turf. The practice is your home zone, but it’s not theirs. And to make it more challenging, you’ve usually got a different agenda to the patient:
- At the very least, you want that new patient to come back for a second appointment. At best, they’ll be a patient for life. Yet most patients are hoping they’ll never have to see you again.
- You want the patient to like and trust you. Yet most patients are looking for every reason to prove why they “hate going to the dentist”.
- You want them to choose treatment options that will be in the best interests for their oral health, regardless of the cost. Yet most patients are praying you won’t find any problems and if you do, they’re hoping the solution will cost as little as possible.
So, how do you bridge the gap between these different agendas so that the outcome is a win for all? The answers is simple. Sort of…
YOU “BED” THEM ON YOUR FIRST DATE. And then you keep BED-ing them... (not literally of course!)
Exposing conditions in the patient’s mouth
Deepening the patient’s concern and awareness of the damaging consequences of the existing conditions.
Of course, if only it was that simple.
There’s a world of tools, techniques, and strategies in the Primespeak toolbox that enables dentists to BED their patients over and over again. The bigger the gap between what the patient thinks they need and what you as a dentist know they need, the more strategic you’ll need to be with your communication skills.
But do it well, and your patients will feel empowered with the knowledge required to make an informed decision about their oral health. And the whole ‘first date’ will be far less stressful, less confronting and more comfortable for everyone.