Objections are a normal part of your practice. They are also opportunities if you change your mindset! To help you reframe objections and see them as gifts, Kirk Behrendt brings back Miranda Beeson, one of ACT’s amazing coaches, with advice and strategies so you can overcome the most common objections you hear in your office. Help more of your patients stay in your chair! To learn how, and to hear more about Miranda’s dental administrator’s course, listen to Episode 545 of The Best Practices Show!
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Links Mentioned in This Episode:
Miranda’s course March 16-17, 2023: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/act-dental-administrators-live-course-march-16-17-2023-tickets-347257716177
Reframe how you think about objections.
Train your team to build trust with patients.
Identify what a patient is actually objecting to.
Create a welcoming space for patients’ objections.
Use “Feel, Felt, Found” to affirm your patients’ feelings.
“We want to shift our mindset around objections and consider them a gift. So, instead of being afraid of an objection, how can we create an environment where our team welcomes objections? When we have a patient who is interested and they’re still engaged and providing us an objection, we have to look at that as an opportunity to present them with the information they need to help them make a decision.” (4:03—4:27)
“When we look at objections as gifts, it’s really a request for more information. And so, that means they still want more. They’re still in it with us. They haven’t written off the idea of moving forward with that recommendation just yet. So, if we can shift our mindset — and part of that is building the skills and having some verbiage to feel confident so that we can approach it in a way that is welcoming. We’re actually going to be inviting objections in instead of running away from them as fast as possible.” (4:28—5:00)
“A lot of times, a patient is just really nervous about telling you what their objection is. Maybe they’re embarrassed because they’re afraid it’s going to hurt. Or maybe they’re self-conscious about other people knowing that they’re doing this treatment. Maybe they know someone that works with them in practice. Maybe it’s about their finances. And then, again, that makes them feel a little shameful or embarrassed, and they don’t want to bring that up. And so, we have to create a space that’s very welcoming of an objection.” (6:15—6:44)
“Imagine that you’re putting a pillow out on your desk, a nice, soft pillow. A nice place for that objection to land. You’re going to welcome that objection. You’re going to invite it in. You might even encourage what that objection might be if they’re not saying it out loud. Use the words, “it sounds like”. I love saying, ‘It sounds like you might have some more questions around the finances. Tell me more about how you’re feeling about that,’ or, ‘It sounds like you’re curious how your insurance benefits are going to play into this. Let’s talk about what limitations there may or may not be.’ So, you can put the objection right on that little pillow for them, welcome it, invite it, and create a safe space where they’re like, ‘Okay, this person is on my side. They’re going to help me through this.’ Because until they can build trust with you, they might feel that shame or that guilt and they don’t want to put the objection out there. So, sometimes, we have to pull it out of them a little bit and welcome that objection.” (7:10—8:12)
“If you’re taught how to make the transaction when you’re brought on board, like, ‘Here’s how you open the treatment plan. Here’s how you print it. And here’s how you post the payment,’ it’s very transactional but there isn’t focus on that relational aspect of that role, then you’re not going to be able to openly build that trust. They’re not going to feel as comfortable inviting that in.” (9:42—10:04)
“If you’re talking about your patient needed fluoride, you know why they need it, you’ve talked to them about why they need it, and they’re still not sure, they’re still creating some objection, don’t immediately take it personal or get upset or defensive. Now, you’re visually sitting across the table from that patient looking at this problem. Slide up next to them, figuratively, sitting at the table. Be shoulder to shoulder looking together at the same problem on, how can we solve this? How can we push through this objection? How can I help you to understand the value in what we’re talking about? So, a big part of it is getting your mind wrapped around, we’re on the same team. You’re not objecting to me. You’re objecting to what I’m offering in this moment. Let’s figure out why. How can I help you?” (10:42—11:30)
“A big piece of motivational interviewing and changed behavior is affirming the patient or your client. So, their feelings are valid. Their feelings are their feelings. We need to acknowledge and affirm the validity of that.” (13:03—13:18)
“Any one of us has been in a situation where we are in a consideration phase of a product, a service, a trip, a car, anything, and we have to really contemplate, ‘Can I do this? Do I need this? Should I do this? What are all the other factors going on in my life that this could impact?’ And so, that’s real. It’s real when [patients] are having those thoughts and feelings. And so, yeah, we have to tell them, ‘I completely understand where you’re coming from. If I was in your situation, I may be having the same questions. Would it be okay if we take a few minutes to talk that out?’ Again, it’s going to build little pieces of trust every time you open up and have those conversations. So, acknowledging and affirming that their thoughts and feelings are valid, even when you don’t know what they are yet. They don’t always tell you what the objection is. But even acknowledging, ‘I can sense some hesitation. I feel like you have some thoughts around this. I feel like you have some feelings around what I’m recommending. Would you share those with me so we can work through that together?’” (13:20—14:24)
“I love the [Feel, Felt, Found concept] for two reasons. One, it builds in that affirmation. It builds in that concept of, we’re on the same side. But it also provides the person who has to approach that objection with a little moment to create clarity in their mind . . . Feel, Felt, Found is basically saying to someone, ‘I understand how you feel.’ Maybe you’re going to say, ‘I have felt the same way before,’ or that social proofing, that herd mentality, ‘Many of our patients have felt just like you. What we have found is,’ and then you can go into your “so that,” your why. And so, when you have the “feel” and the “felt” always the same, ‘I understand how you feel. Many of our patients have felt the same way,’ those three to four seconds of verbalizing that, in the background in your mind, you can be decompressing, taking that breath, and formulating the “found” and what’s going to come after that. It gives you a pause. Even though you’re speaking, it’s a pause in the background to, ‘Okay. Now, I can approach this “found” and I can handle this objection with this patient.’” (14:48—16:00)
“A significant amount of our population is S [personality] style, 69%, I believe. And then, we have our I-style, which are also very people-oriented. That’s about 11%. So, we’re at well over the majority of the population who have an attachment to being a part of something and that people connection. And so, if you can help people to understand, ‘You’re not alone in this. There have been plenty of other people,’ many other people, most of our patients — you can phrase that however you want — then they feel like, ‘Okay. I’m not standing over here alone on this island with this objection. They’ve encountered this before, so they can probably help me. I don’t need to be ashamed. I’m not the only one.’” (16:35—17:19)
“There’s also the factor of how many more people could we help. So, how much money walks out the door every single day if we have team members who aren’t confident with handling objections? And in the same breath, how many people are losing the opportunity to be healthier and to be built into this trust environment with us if we’re not approaching those objections in a healthy way? And I promise you, I didn’t. For years, ‘Please don’t ask me any questions. Please don’t ask me any questions. Just do what I’m asking you to do,’ because I didn’t feel confident as a clinician, early on, to really handle those things. It takes practice and it takes time.” (22:11—22:54)
“I always say, any time a patient is in my vicinity in a practice, ‘I am working towards your agenda, not mine. Now, I may have things that I’m looking for, and checklists that I’m following, and all of those things. But ultimately, you chose me to serve you, and this is your body, and it’s ultimately your decision. Now, I feel like it’s also — because you chose me to serve you — my responsibility to be equipped with the communication strategies, the knowledge, the experience and skill, to then provide you with the best benefits when you’re here.’” (24:52—25:25)
“There are going to be people that still need to go home and process. They can’t make a decision on the fly. Fine. But if you take that opportunity, if we had that conversation and you still said, ‘I think I’m still going to pass,’ they’re going to be more likely to at least look a little deeper into that subject or consider it a little bit more the next time when their teeth are sensitive. When they’re eating ice cream at home, they’re like, ‘Hmm, I wonder if that fluoride would’ve helped.’ It doesn’t mean they’re ever going to change their mind. But they may. And they definitely trust you more and respect you more for validating their feelings and having that open conversation. So, next time they have a concern or a question, they will be so much more likely to bring it to you than they would have if you had just shut it down or shut down yourself.” (26:01—26:46)
“A lot of times, patients will say, ‘I mean, that’s a car payment,’ when you really break down financing or something around a large case. And I love it when they say that because I agree with them. I tell them, ‘You are exactly right.’ It may be $400 or $500 a month. These large All-on-X cases, this could be $800, $1,000 a month, if they’re financing the whole thing. So, I tell them, ‘You’re exactly right. It is. However, you would get that car and drive it for about five years, two hours a day. You could make the same investment in yourself and in your health, and you’re going to use it 24 hours a day, possibly for the rest of your life, at least for the next 20 years. You could decide which you’d rather invest in. But you’re exactly right. It is.’” (29:05—29:53)
“If a team member is listening to this, a front office team member, a clinician, and they say, ‘I tried that Feel, Felt, Found. I did it one time. It failed terribly. It felt horrible. I’m never going to do it again,’ no! You have to keep trying. You have to try again because the more you do it, the better you’re going to get. And you will start to see the change in the relationship and in the conversations you have with your patients. You just have to stick with it, and you have to keep trying.” (30:43—31:10)
“Often, the first objection that someone puts in front of you may not even be their true objection. So, work with open-ended questions as much as you can . . . ‘Do you have any questions?’ That’s a closed question. You’re not going anywhere with that. But if you ask your patients, your clients, open-ended questions, what I mentioned earlier, I said, ‘Tell me more about your feelings on that,’ or you can ask someone, ‘I sense a little hesitation. What would be helpful in you making this decision?’ So, again, you’re creating an open paragraph form for them to fill in the blanks with something other than a yes or a no. And a lot of times, people will lean into, ‘That’s a lot of money,’ as their first objection because it’s top of mind. But there’s something deeper. So, even if you figure out the finances, if they’re still wanting to think about it, the value is not there, or they’re afraid of the pain, or they know someone who has done this before. So, you do have to keep asking those open-ended questions to really uncover the true objection.” (33:16—34:22)
“How often do we acknowledge the things that our team is not doing well? And I say this both ways. The team has to acknowledge and celebrate their leaders too, when they see them making change or making progress. As a team, we have to celebrate each other. If you overheard someone use Feel, Felt, Found and make some change with someone, shout them out at huddle the next day, or in the moment. You have to celebrate each other as you’re working through these challenging concepts. If it’s just the negative all the time, we’re going to give up. If we can be positive and celebrate each other, that’s when everybody really rallies and gets motivated.” (35:55—36:31)
2:33 Miranda’s background.
3:35 Why it’s important to reframe objections.
5:40 Identify the true objection and use the “pillow”.
8:12 Train team members to build trust.
11:31 Acknowledge your patients’ thoughts and feelings.
14:30 Use the Feel, Felt, Found method.
18:30 Patient objection example: “I don’t want to do X-rays.”
20:03 Create anchors and talking points.
23:31 Patient objection example: “I don’t think I really need fluoride.”
27:19 Patient objection example: “I want to go home and think about this.”
28:41 Patient objection example: “It’s too expensive.”
30:01 Keep trying Feel, Felt, Found.
31:12 About Miranda’s course for front office administrators.
33:04 Last thoughts on why objections are a gift.
35:02 Celebrate when you or your team does well.
Miranda Beeson, MS, BSDH Bio:
Miranda Beeson, MS, BSDH, has over 25 years of clinical dental hygiene, front office, practice administration, and speaking experience. She is enthusiastic about communication and loves helping others find the power that words can bring to their patient interactions and practice dynamics. As a Lead Practice Coach, she is driven to create opportunities to find value in experiences and cultivate new approaches.
Miranda graduated from Old Dominion University, and enjoys spending time with her husband, Chuck, and her children, Trent, Mallory, and Cassidy. Family time is the best time, and is often spent on a golf course, a volleyball court, or spending the day boating at the beach.