4 Tips to Instantly Increase Dental Treatment Acceptance
Getting patients to accept treatment is a real challenge for most dental practices. Dentists typically explain to patients why specific treatments are needed and are then puzzled when patients don’t move forward with the treatment they should have to maintain their oral health. The reality is that getting patients to commit to treatment takes much more than merely providing a logical explanation of why it’s needed.
You and your team will need to establish a strong rapport with patients, really tune in to each patient’s style, and tailor your approach to meet each patient’s needs. To build rapport, you can borrow a few techniques that successful sales professionals have been using for decades. If this seems a bit distasteful to you as a healthcare provider, consider the fact that you’re helping to propel patients toward optimal oral health.
When you or your team members establish things you have in common with a patient, the patient feels closer and more connected to you. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use the “Oh, me too!” approach. Here’s an example:
You see that the patient has a Kindle with her.
Dentist: What are you reading?
Patient: A Jo Nesbo book
Dentist: I love his books! Which one are you reading?
Something that can help is to have all dental staff document in patient records any details about the patient’s life (e.g., their kids, hobbies, career) and any medical concerns (e.g., bad dental experiences in the past). That way, other staff can leverage that information in the rapport-building process.
Match & mirror body language and tone of voice.
People generally relate better to and feel a stronger connection with people they perceive to be more like them. Matching and mirroring another person’s body language and tone of voice is a long-standing sales technique that strengthens the perception of similarity. If a patient crosses their legs, you do the same. If they fold their hands, you should as well. By copying a patient’s body language, you make patients feel, on a subconscious level, that you’re tuned in and paying attention. It would be best to adopt a similar speaking pace, volume, and tone of voice. If the patient is fast-talking and bubbly, use the same style.
Match & mirror using language.
When responding to patient comments, questions, or concerns, repeat the terminology they use. For example, if the patient says, “I have a throbbing pain on the right side of my jaw,” you should respond with, “We want to make sure we eliminate that throbbing pain on the right side of your jaw.”
Avoid overwhelming patients with too much detail or overly technical language.
Some patients need and want more details than others. If your patient is an analytical engineer, she’ll likely want many details about a procedure. Be prepared to provide that information. If your patient is a chatty salesperson who isn’t detail-oriented, he’ll probably be bored by details, and you may lose him by burying him in too much information. If you’re not sure what the patient wants, ask questions such as, “Would you like me to give you more details about the procedure?” Don’t just yammer away. Also, using overly technical language is not helpful with most patients. So if a patient understands “deeper cleaning,” use that term instead of SRP. Using the more technical term might confuse the patient and disrupt the connection with him.
When the entire dental team has received training in and has mastered techniques that promote treatment acceptance, you’ll see a significant uptick in treatment acceptance rates for your practice. And more of your patients get the treatment they need.
About NGT Academy
We are one of the very few turnkey-Learning Management System providers that specializes in the dental industry. Currently, with a library of more than 30 courses created for dental teams, our eLearning platform is one of the easiest to use. Simultaneously, eLearning typically costs at least 30% less than conventional training making for a truly efficient solution for your dental organization.