There is a simple yet powerful question that can instantly and dramatically improve your case acceptance rate... I call it "The Golden Question." I will tell you what The Golden Question is shortly but please allow me to set it up. The Golden Question is something that seems too basic upon first inspection. However, I promise you that when you start using it you will have one of those "a-ha!" moments that we all crave.
We all get frustrated when we spend time discussing treatment with patients, only to have the patient decline. It can sometimes feel like we are beating our heads against a wall. All dentists have a different propensity for eliciting treatment acceptance from patients. Some dentists seem to have a knack for "selling" dentistry while other dentists can barely "sell" a root canal to a person in pain. Regardless of your current level of success with case acceptance, The Golden Question will undoubtedly make your conversations with patients smoother, shorter and more fruitful.
Are you ready for The Golden Question? Well, here it is! The Golden Question is this - "When you think about proceeding with treatment, what are your main concerns?" I know, I know, it seems too basic. I told you it would! Allow me to explain how it works.
The Golden Question must be asked before you present the recommended treatment to your patient. The answers that the patient provides to us after we ask the question give us the ability to powerfully tailor our case presentation so that it fits that patient. This ability to customize the discussion is absolutely paramount for regular success with case presentations.
Imagine that you are presenting a treatment plan that consists of some fillings and a few crowns. Now, imagine that as you begin your presentation, you falsely assume that the patient's primary concerns revolve around cost. As you discuss your recommendations with the patient, you repeatedly tell them how reasonable the costs will be and how you will be using the most cost-effective materials. Well, what if this patient's primary concern is about how long the recommended work will last? You missed the boat! While you were blabbing about cost-effectiveness, you missed your chance to connect with patient in terms of what is most important to them. This is the kiss of death and a surefire way to send a potential case directly down to Davey Jones' locker, never to return.
In my practice, I focus almost exclusively on Short Term Ortho for adults. Every consultation begins with The Golden Question. Asking "when you think about proceeding with cosmetic orthodontic treatment, what are your main concerns?" allows me to understand clearly how I can best present treatment to this patient in a manner that will hit the right buttons. My acceptance rate is fantastic, but it hasn't always been like this - I learned the hard way. I did hundreds of consultations before I started asking The Golden Question and most of the conversations were laughable.
I used to feel as though I needed to address every concern that the patient might have during the discussion. So, I rambled on and on about everything under the sun. Then, after I was done with my monologue I would then ask the patient if they had any questions or concerns. Well, by that time I had overwhelmed them with so much information and brought up so many topics that they never even considered, their heads were spinning! I think most of us have been guilty of "blabber mouth syndrome" during our presentations. The beauty of The Golden Question is that it allows us to cure ourselves of this nasty syndrome and move on into fresh new territory. If we understand our patients' concerns clearly and address them succinctly as we discuss treatment, our case presentation conversations become amazingly effective.
When we take the time to understand the plight of the patient, we begin to see trends in the way that our patients think. There are really just a handful of concerns that are typically expressed by our patients. Very quickly we can learn how to effectively address each of these concerns and how to cater to the types of patients that typically have a particular concern. It feels like cheating, but trust me, it's not. As long as the treatment we are presenting is truly going to benefit the patient, everyone wins when the case is accepted. So, next time you sit down to discuss treatment with a patient, remember The Golden Question and never look back. You, your staff and your patients will be glad you did!