Episode 78 – The Art of Patient Connection
“People who like and trust you are more likely to work with you.” ~ Dr. Victoria Peterson
In this episode of the Investment Grade Practices podcast, as we wrap up our exploration of the most vital metric in your dental practice, we invite you to delve into the importance of establishing connections with new patients even before their first visit to your practice. We’ll discover how to identify commonalities and shared interests to create meaningful bonds with your patients from the very beginning. We’ll investigate ways to achieve these connections, and also why doing so is crucial when working with new patients.
We will also summarize the key takeaways from the previous four episodes to ensure you are taking away obstacles to treatment acceptance, emphasizing clarity on who you are, what you do, and why you do it; financial options that overcome the money roadblock, and making sure you stay in connection with patients who haven’t yet agreed to your treatment plan.
EBITDA is vital to every Investment Grade Practice, but getting your patients to say “yes” to treatment is quite possibly the most important metric in every practice. If you follow the advice of these four podcasts (episodes 75-78), you’ll be on your way to better treatment acceptance percentages, greater productivity, and a healthier bottom line.
As you listen to this episode, we want you to think about:
- How can you create connections with patients you’ve never met before?
- Who refers more new patients than anyone?
- What obstacles can you remove to ensure your patients say “yes” to treatment more often?
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Victoria Peterson 0:46
Did you know that new patients refer more new patients than any other patients in your practice? Let’s say that, again, new patients refer more patients than any other patients in your practice. Why is that? So?
Welcome to Investment Grade Practices podcast where we believe private practice dentists deserve to get the lifestyle today while building an asset for tomorrow. Join your host, Victoria Peterson, who designed the practice of your dreams and secure your financial independence. Let’s get started.
Victoria Peterson 1:28
Welcome back to Investment Grade Practices. I’m Victoria Peterson and we’re going to finalize this patient-first metric conversation by saying okay, what about the patients who do schedule, what do we do to leverage that as part of our metrics? So remember, right off the bat, new patients are going to come in, you’re going to comprehensively diagnose and a third of them going to say, “I love you. I’ve been waiting to meet you. Thank goodness, I found a doctor like you.” Did you know that new patients refer more new patients than any other patients in your practice? Let’s say that, again, new patients refer more patients than any other patients in the practice. Why is that? So, well, first of all, regardless of how your patient came to find you, whether that’s Google search, word of mouth, social media, direct mail, flyer, radio, billboards, all the avenues that they could have found you, they have likely checked you out with friends, family and co-workers. “I’m considering going to see Dr. Smith, what do you know about him?” And oftentimes, conversations are started like, “Oh, I know him don’t know him, I’m looking for a dentist to let me know how they are.” So after that new patient visit, they’re primed to go back to that same community and say, “I did see my dentist, I love my new dentist and you ought to see them too.” So anticipate that and nurture that knowing that new patients refer more new patients than any other patients? What are some things that you could do to instill trust, even before they meet you? And here’s what savvy dentists do, they will get a list of patients every day that are scheduled to meet them for the first time in the upcoming days. So on Monday, they might get a list for Thursday on Tuesday, they’ll get a list for next Monday on Wednesday, they’ll get a list for next Tuesday, and so forth. So you’re going to call patients three days in advance four days in advance and just say, “Hi, this is Dr. Peterson, my team tells me that you’re scheduled as a new patient on Thursday at 10am and I have to say, I’m excited to meet you. I wanted to give you my cell phone number and if you have any problems or any questions between now and then please reach out and let me know,” and that’s it. It’s a simple message. I rarely have patients call and say, “Wow, you left a message.” What they do, though, is connect that you care. And they’re excited about meeting the person who would take the time to call them even before they came into the office. I have had clients tell me that new patients were referring new patients before the first patient came in, because of that one technique. So find ways if we say we genuinely care about people, find ways to show it, find ways that are tangible that don’t take a lot of your time you probably have your Open Dental or Dentrix or Eagle soft on your phone. They can identify that list, it’s right there. Your team can get that prepared. You can do it on the drive home. You can do it from anywhere, it’s one or two calls a day to welcome people to your practice before they even come. Your team can also send out links to videos of some of the frequently asked questions along with their information form, so as you’re preparing to come to our practice, here’s what other patients have asked, and here’s things that they’ve been concerned about. So having your team set up a drip campaign so that in the days leading up to their appointment, they’re educated on what the exam is like they’re educated on amenities of the practice, if you do paraffin hand wax or massage chairs, or aromatherapy, whatever you offer, you know, let patients know about it, help them get excited about it. Help them understand that you know, the cost of dentistry and that you’re more than willing to help them with that. Anything you can do to educate the clients before clients patients before they walk in the room, it’ll lower the anxiety and increase their trust and that’s step number one is people who know like and trust you will want to do business with you. So let’s be proactive before they ever walk in the door. At the morning huddle, say, “Oh, my goodness, I can’t wait to meet this patient,” and here’s why. Perhaps your team is gathering special details up front of there’s a wedding coming up or a birthday coming up, or she has two children, make it personal, really take a genuine interest in your patient and then when you meet them, it’s going to feel like meeting a friend, rather than meeting a stranger that you have to quote diagnose. So slowing it down, I know this sounds crazy, you really will only spend about three to five minutes in rapport and engaging. You know, “How long have you lived here, that’s amazing. I moved here, you lived here, we have golf in common. We have kids in common find those common links.” You know, social links, maybe three, maybe four of what you have in common with the patient, before you ever pick up an instrument before you ever start talking about treatment. So if I had to pick a metric that I would look at to predict the success of a practice, would it be EBITA? Well, that tells me the value today but I would start looking at the metrics that show me patient saying yes and I would start thinking about the obstacles that prevent them from saying yes. So obstacle number one, our own clarity about why we do what we do, and the services that we provide and who is, who it is appropriate for. Step two is have a, have financial options that take the money out of the equation, not completely, but it softens the blow so that they can see themselves following through with integrity on the treatment. Step three is if they don’t say yes, immediately, that’s okay. Don’t label them as bad patients or a low dental IQ, have compassion, and have a system for your team to reach out and share how they can help them remove the obstacles. Stay on that for 30, 60, 90 days, stay in relationship and ask permission to follow up and of course, with the patients who do automatically love you. You can, you can start to spark more of that happening by taking simple measures to welcome them in practice in a very personalized way before they ever step into the room. I hope this has been fun and engaging. Look at patient metrics through through the eyes of your patients. What does your practice look like feel like to them? And how can we remove the obstacles to saying yes
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