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4 Ways to Help Your Patients Value Your Dentistry

It’s easy to get frustrated when patients don’t want to pay your fees—after all, without those fees, your hard work goes to waste and your practice cannot function. However, I worked with a team member who once told me, “Without value, there’s only price,” and that’s stuck with me. Patients get hung up on price all the time, but that’s a result of you not creating enough value for the treatment. If you take price off the table and look at whether you have built value through the whole process, then price really isn’t the problem anymore. Building value for what you do is the key to getting patients to accept treatment and pay your fee, and with a few simple steps, you can show your patients why your treatment plan is important.

1. Believe in What You Do

If you want others to value what you do, then you yourself must first value and believe in it. Kirk often says that “Money spent on dentistry is one of the best investments a person can make,” and it’s something that every dental professional should take to heart. If you operate from that mindset and live it, then it’s going to be easier to demonstrate that value to others. No matter where you are in a practice, you’ve got to believe that what you do is adding so much value to your patients’ lives.

2. Rely on Your Verbal Skills

Dentistry is sales in its own way, and that sale starts from the first “Hello.” The person who answers the phone doesn’t represent your business—they are your business, and from that initial interaction, everything you do either builds value or reduces it, which is why it’s incredibly important to learn to use great verbal skills. Check out our free webinar in which Lead Coach Jenni Poulos shares her knowledge on the importance of language and download the free Say This, Not That tool in order to really take your skills to the next level. 

One of my favorite techniques to build value using only words is the “So that” concept. Patients often come in under the assumption that you’re just trying to sell them something, but when your mind is conditioned to explain they need the treatment “so that” it will benefit them, it lets you put out the information and preemptively respond to objections. Instead of needing X-rays, the patient needs X-rays “so that we can see the areas of your mouth that we can’t see just by looking with our eyes to make sure they’re healthy.” It’s a simple concept, but incredibly powerful.   

3. Talk Less, Listen More

While verbal skills are crucial, it’s also important to know when not to talk. If you’re doing most of the talking during your co-discovery, you’re doing it wrong, because you’re going to sell more dentistry with your ears than with your mouth. Give them the space to share with you what they’re thinking or feeling and to ask you questions. I like to incorporate photography, because it’s powerful to bring up a picture, ask the patient what they think about it, and then open up space for them to talk as much as possible. That’s when you learn their motivations and values, and gives you the opportunity to listen for change talk:

  • I really should…
  • I wish I could…
  • I want to…

These are indicators that the patient is open to your treatment, and if you can build up the value, they’ll most likely accept it.

4. Work as a Team

One of the crucial components to building value is making sure that everyone is working together to do so. The whole team needs to work together to orchestrate and collaborate on conversations so the messaging is the same, no matter who the patient speaks with. The handoff between clinical and administration is critical, so everyone must be on the same page. Kirk’s recommendation is to write your top ten procedures on 3”x5” index cards, and then list out the “so that” component on the back. If you list out three benefits for each of your top ten treatments, suddenly you have a system to help everyone use the same language. It’s a system to collectively work on building value, and it will have an incredible result. 

If your patients don’t see the value in the service you provide, they’re going to get hung up on price every single time. When that happens, collection becomes more difficult, and it adds a degree of unpredictability into the practice. You need to know that patients are going to accept treatment and pay your fees without objection, so set a plan and be deliberate, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Getting a coach will provide you with an expert you can talk to about all of your practice problems, so schedule a call with the ACT coaches and let us help you build a Better Practice and a Better Life!


Miranda Beeson is a Lead Practice Coach at ACT Dental


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