So, this is a controversial topic in dentistry. Words like ‘sales’ or ‘influence’ or even defining dentistry as a business can be polarizing. We’ll have people who agree and then others who disagree. So, I might upset 50% of you or more. Hopefully,less . Now, before you stop reading please give me a chance to explain why I believe dental practices are a business and furthermore why sales are absolutely necessary if you want your practice to succeed.
Lets start with some questions and definitions:
Question 1: is your practice a business?
My definition of a business: A place that offers a product or service that will enrich the lives of the customer (patient).
Given this definition I am definitely a dental business owner. Are you?
Question 2: Is sales unethical?
Well, Yes and No. It really depends on what your definition of ‘sales’ is, so lets dive into that….
My definition of sales: Educating a customer (patient) on a product or service that your business offers in an effort to enrich the life of the customer (patient)
Given this, sales is not something we do TO SOMONE, its something we do FOR SOMEONEONE!
Sales sounds horrible, especially when it pertains to our profession. We think pushy, pushy, pushy. We think about movies like “The Wolf Of Wall Street”… where you see the stockbrokers trying to convince people to invest money they do not have into the next best thing. Or perhaps like the car sales man who’s only objective is to get you to spend as much as possible today because they won’t see you for years….they are not concerned about long term reputation, simply the sale now….your money in their pocket, PERIOD.
I don’t know about you but I certainly couldn’t do that. That would feel ultra-awkward for me, it’s just not something I’m interested in doing and I don’t want to feel like I’m selling constantly to my patients. However, I do want them to do the treatment they need.
For me the “sales” process looks something like this:
- Take the time to understand the components of a world class patient experience and begin implementing them consistently
- Get to know your patients (genuinely and authentically not just so you can convert them on treatment). You either like people or you don’t….I happen to be the former.
- Present treatment confidently knowing that it is the same treatment you would do for your friends and family members (case acceptance has a lot to do with mindset and beliefs)
- Present treatment in simple, easy to understand language (use the PCSS treatment presentation technique….we teach this to all of our team members and HPP clients. Problem, Consequence, Solution, Stop Talking)
- Do not judge patients for rejecting treatment, simply support their decisions and recognize today is not the right time for them. Give them another opportunity to change their mind in the future.
- Be ok doing one tooth dentistry from time to time (not everyone can do all 4 quads or multiple crowns in a sitting): Phasing treatment and customizing treatment plans is important.
- Contradictory but needs to be said: Do not be fearful of presenting comprehensive treatment plans. They will not all get accepted and points 5/6 above will apply often but you must do this otherwise you will miss opportunities to treat patients that want it all done at one sitting)
- Implement payment plans in your practice. Without this your conversion process is at high risk of failing (especially comprehensive treatment plans that are costly)
Intention is the most important factor here. IF your intention is the enrich the lives of your patients with your products or services then you must begin to sell using someone of the tips listed above.
Look, this is not intended to be a comprehensive list or treatment acceptance presentation. I am simply hoping to give you some perspective on areas that most dentists can improve. I hope this has helped you think or perhaps begin acting differently towards “sales