Whether patients are purchasing a service for $100 or $10,000, they will not pay for it if there is not enough perceived value. Everything involved in selling high dollar treatment plans boils down to creating value. In business, we use the following formula to calculate value: Value = Benefits – Costs. This means that as long as your patients believe the benefits they will receive from the treatment outweigh the associated costs, they will feel that they have received value and be satisfied.
Here are a few simple ways to help you create more perceived value in the treatments you offer patients:
- Ask the right questions. It is very difficult to create value for a treatment when you do not recognize the paramount importance of the procedure in the eyes of the patient. Ask open-ended questions to find out what they are apprehensive about. Some patients are more concerned with aesthetics while others fear pain. Those with medical conditions may have concerns about complications. What is important to one patient may not be important to another. You must find out what is most important to the patient in order to create value.
- Educate patients on their current clinical state. In order for patients to invest in a procedure, they need to be properly educated on their current clinical state and where they are heading. Consumers in general understand handling issues early to avoid major, long-term expenditures. If you can demonstrate that delaying treatment will cost them more money in the long run, your patients are more likely to get on board so use real life examples of other cases whenever possible to illustrate your points. If you tell them about another patient in a similar situation who postponed treatment and ended up losing their natural teeth, an alarm bell will go off in their heads.
- Check for comprehension and gain agreement. The same objections come up repeatedly from consumers. What differentiates the good practices from the great practices is the ability to actively preempt these objections and build value. By the time you reach the financial portion of the treatment plan, they should have no objections because you have addressed all of them directly or indirectly. Do any of these objections sound familiar?
- “I only want to do what my insurance pays for.”
- “I want to wait and start with ______ first and see how it goes.”
- “I need to talk to my spouse.”
- “I cannot afford it.”
- “I don't think the problem is bad enough.”
Be aware that your patients may have these objections, even if they do not verbalize them. One of the easiest ways to overcome these common objections is to address them in another patient’s circumstance. For instance: “Do you know that many people do not understand how dental insurance really works? They relate it to medical insurance, but it does not have the same limitations.” Instead of waiting for the objection, tell them about other patients. “It is very common for patients to come here and be concerned with how much their insurance will pay. But, usually after they understand that dental insurance acts as more of a discount than coverage, they feel much better. At the end of the day, the dental insurance is not concerned about providing you with a high standard of care, or making sure that you have a good quality of life.” “We will make sure the insurance benefits that you do have are maximized, but I have seen too many times where patients let their insurance dictate their treatment and end up paying for more procedures long term.”
- Preempt Objections. Be sure and give patients an opportunity to ask questions and interject. If you find dominating more than 75 percent of the conversation during a presentation or treatment plan with a patient, make sure to check for comprehension and gain verbal agreement. Use phrases like, “Does that make sense?” or “Is there anything that I can explain better?” Do not deliver the financial presentation before you receive confirmation that they understand their current clinical state, the consequences of delaying treatment, and all of the treatment options available to them. Until they fully understand those factors, presenting the financial requirements is futile because they will not have the assurance they need to proceed with treatment.
You should ultimately be preempting objections throughout the entire patient experience. Ideally, this begins with your website and continues with every other aspect of your practice. Remember that value is in the eyes of the patient. Since the patient doesn’t always look in the right direction, we need to find ways to help them see the big picture.