When dentists think about recommending treatment, it's natural to focus on the technical aspects. When presenting recommendations to patients, however, it's important to consciously shift the focus from clinical details to benefits.
Develop a script to project a strong benefit message. To ensure that you will not lapse into what, for patients, would be boring or confusing technical details, prepare and become comfortable with a simple script. Include a description of the dental problem and the recommended procedure in terms a layperson will understand. Explain why you're recommending it. And, most important, emphasize the benefits. Mention them enthusiastically not only once but three times. Why three? Psychologists will tell you that, to make a point clearly and memorably, it should be repeated at last three times.
Don't feel that you're being unprofessional. Dentists who hesitate to urge patients to accept the recommended treatment, feeling that they are "selling," should look at the situation differently. Patients look to you for expert oral health guidance and care. If you believe patients will truly benefit from the treatment you are recommending, making that clear to them is, in fact, highly professional on your part.
Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the chairman and CEO of practice management consulting firm Levin Group. You can connect with Levin Group on Facebook and Twitter (@Levin_Group) to learn more strategies and share ideas. Also, check out Dr. Levin's free practice management videos at www.levingroup.com/gp.
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