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Sales vs leadership approach to case acceptance

Here’s an important distinction in dentistry that many dentists and team members miss. That distinction is the difference between a sales vs leadership approach to case acceptance. 

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The worst example of offering care

I remember listening to a dentist present a treatment plan to his nervous patient. After he completed the exam he placed the mouth mirror on the bracket table. With his patient still in a reclining position, he pulled his mask down over his chin, pointed to the radiographs on the monitor, and said to her, “You need seven root canals and crowns.”

He spoke for another few minutes describing the procedures – accessing the pulp chamber and instrumenting the canals…you get the picture. Following this, he went on to emphasize the urgency in starting treatment today, warning her that if she didn’t, she’d probably lose her teeth.

This dentist knew his patient’s clinical needs. What he didn’t know was that after he left the operatory, his patient broke down in tears. During the twenty-plus years I’ve coached case acceptance this was the worst example I’ve seen of offering care.

Where is the distinction?

I’ve also witnessed the best examples. The differences between the best and the worst examples are rarely a matter of dentist’s clinical skill. Rather, it’s a matter of their point of view and their language skills. Dentists who are least successful with case acceptance solely see it as a sales process. The most successful dentists see it as a leadership process. Increasing transactions is the focus of a sales process. The more transactions the better. This ushers in a sales-like experience for new patients. These include:

  • Discounted fees to attract as many new patients as possible
  • Overemphasis on same-day dentistry
  • Overcoming objections
  • Closing the sale
  • Creating urgency where none may exist

Markers of a successful day

The sole marker of a successful day in the sales-oriented dental office is collections. Building quality relationships with patients and providing Standard of Caring experiences are the focus of a leadership process. This intention leads to more strategic marketing attracting manageable numbers of new patients, it establishes personal connections, it discovers benefits patients are seeking from care, and it seeks to understand how dentistry must fit into their lives.

There are multiple markers of a successful day in a leadership-oriented office:

  • Minimal stress
  • Sense of fulfillment
  • Robust collections

The irony here is although a leadership approach doesn’t focus on closing the sale, it in fact results in greater collections. The best dentists - the best practices - get it…better relationships lead to increased collections. 

To learn more about patient communication, join fellow Dawson Academy Colleagues in Dr. Homoly's online course, Making it Easy for Patients to say Yes! Join Here!