“People who learn to communicate will always have an advantage in business.” ~Dr. Bruce B. Baird
Raise your hand if your patients ever stress you out.
I’m guessing most of you are raising your hands. As you know, when stress goes up, productivity goes down.
The fact is, no matter how much we care about our patients, they cause us stress. They walk in with preconceived ideas. They are stubborn. They are fearful. They think they know best. They say “no” to care they need.
How do you get through to them so you can keep a low-stress, high-production dental practice?
I’ve found in my career that the secret to reducing patient-centered stress is through communication, by handling their objections before they become objections.
I’m committed to helping independent dentists like you reduce stress and build practices that will give you a life you love today, while creating value for your future. Join me for a conversation today about how to:
- Set yourself up as the hero with your patient
- Leverage your team to reinforce what you tell patients
- Take control of the situation when things go sideways
Dr. Bruce Baird
Hi, my name is Dr. Bruce Baird, and this is the productive dentist podcast we’re going to talk about reducing stress and handling the objection before it becomes an objection. That’s some of the I mean, what happens to productivity when you’re stressed out what happens to productivity when you’re you know, I mean, I think I’ve told the story that when you’re the smiley face or frowny face in the break room when you walk in, and you’re not in a good mood and the stress that that puts on the entire team. I’ve talked about being the hurricane and the practice. Probably last year sometime but this is more about understanding what bothers me. What bothers team members and what bothers patients. Let’s talk about the first things that bother me.
You know, used to I would again, roll my eyes and be upset and now I look at those things like a training opportunity that would be with a team member. What things happen to me with patience, and how do I handle those objections? Well, one thing would be patient walks in and have a sensitive feeling. When when you start talking about handling objections before it becomes an objection, I want you to really understand it crystal clear, because I tell every patient, you know, Bob, this is a little deeper than I thought we’re going to have to keep an eye on that and I don’t think it’s going to need a root canal but let’s keep a watch on it.
What happens is that 99% of the time, you’re not going to have sensitivity. So the patient thinks Wow, that was a deep one. Dr. Baird prepared me for it and wow, it doesn’t even hurt at all. So now I’m the hero, not the Z Eero, you know, and they have a lot of faith and trust in me. If let’s just say it’s one of those that did have sensitivity, then usually what you do is you’re going to adjust the bite, you’re going to look at the bite carefully, then you’re going to look at, and I don’t care if these are occlusal pits, I sell them, it’s a little deeper than I thought, I’ve just never seen a shallow filling as far as me talking to a patient because I want to prepare them ahead of time. For them not coming back to me and saying, Well, this thing wasn’t sensitive before you worked on it. I’m going to tell them exactly why. So I want to prevent that statement from ever happening to me on a day-to-day basis with dentures.
This is a great one, you know, with dentures, you know, how hard is it for somebody to learn to eat with dentures with no implant support? You know, some patients say, No, I don’t want implants, I just want my teeth taken out of just one dentures, and I tell the patients straight up, here’s what happens to you when you get dentures. Right now you have teeth, even though they’re bad, even though we know that you’re going to lose your teeth. What happens is right now, you probably have a bite force of somewhere between 125 and 200 pounds per square inch, meaning you can still chew, you can still bite down. Now when you get dentures, now you’re going to have two pieces of plastic in your mouth and when you bite down, you’re only going to be able to bite within a year, you’re going to be biting maybe 10 pounds per square inch.
So where you used to tear food up, now all of a sudden, you’re able to eat, but it’s gonna change your diet, you’re gonna have to learn to eat all over again. Now, you can be stubborn, and you can wear these things, and you will learn to wear them there are literally millions of people out there that are wearing just answers with no implant-supported, but it’s going to be how you deal with it. So when you bite on the left side with a pencil, the right side is going to drop down. When you bite on the right side with a pencil, the left side is going to pop up, you know, so I’m handling that objection when they come back and so think about any time a patient complains about something, what would be the solution that you could give that patient before you ever do the treatment.
Another time I did a perfect fitting overdenture and I’ve talked about this in my seminars, there was a bar overdenture on the low end that denture snapped in and it was beautiful and the patient says You told me it was gonna be removable. I mean, it was going to be fixed and I said, No, remember, we talked about taking it in and out, and how you’d be able to clean around the bar. Now you told me it was gonna be permanent patients lose it, you know, they’ll lose maybe what you talked about, or maybe you’ve talked too much and they were confused but what that leads me to have to do is I’m going to remake the case, a joke during the seminar saying I filled it up with vitreum here and just cemented it on his head there it is permanent but I didn’t do that but what I want to do is every time I do a bar overdenture now I tell the patient, you realize you will be able to remove this, why am I doing this because I don’t ever want that particular thing to happen again.
Okay and so I do this throughout the day, with the team, you know, in hygiene, you can handle a lot of things as a hygienist or as team members, you can handle a lot of things before it happens. Remember, Bob what Dr. Baird said, you know, this is going to be, you know, it’s gonna be very hard to get used to, they’re going to be sore, you’re gonna get sore spots, you know, I’m talking about back with the dentures. I want you to let us know if you have any sensitivity. In other words, taking care of that patient ahead of time. If you have a problem, I want you to personally call me here is my cell number, and here is my card. All my team has their own business cards. Why? Because you know, I want the patients to have access to it. What are some other things you know, when team members?
You know, when somebody’s upset when team members are upset at each other, or somebody we talked about abundance and scarcity mentality a few episodes ago but when I look at that, I say here’s how you can handle those issues, because I’ll see somebody that’s struggling, frustrated and I said, and as the leader, I’m saying so Mary, what’s frustrating you? Well, you know, seems like I’m doing everything here. You know, I’m the one who’s doing this, and I’m doing that, and I can’t get anybody else to help or whatever. I said, Okay, let’s step back, and let’s talk to everybody in a different way.
You know, let’s point out, you know, and doing it in the right way by saying, For instance, you know, Shannon, you are awesome, you’re running around, and you’re always helping out here and there. Would you mind helping me with these particular things when I need help, I’ll help you when you need this. In other words, it’s opening up the lines of communication, and the one who’s frustrated, unfortunately, is the one oftentimes who is the one that needs to come up with a solution and if you’ll handle that solution, as you’re bringing on new team members, look, I’m always going to help you, and I’m going to expect the same in return. That’s the quid pro quo, you know, a common term being used right now but that’s the quid pro quo that so I’m going to help you, you helped me, let’s handle these, these negative things that happen in the office, let’s happen, let’s help them now.
Another example would be a patient who comes in that is just a butthead patient, you know, and they come in and there are two kinds of patients, there are some that are irritated about a specific thing in your business and that very well could be something that is a system breakdown in your system. There are others that come in, they’re just about it. You know, they’re just people who just are not really fun to be around. Let’s, let’s differentiate between those two, the one who, for instance, comes in with a business card, and says, it’s, you know, 10 o’clock, here’s my appointment, I’m here and they have the little card says 10 o’clock and on the chart, or on the schedule, it says 11 but yet somebody wrote 10, that’s a breakdown in our system, I would be upset about it also. So if you have any issues with that, and it happens from time to time, what I always do is I tell the patient today, you know, your next cleaning, there’s going to be no charge for your cleaning, I am so sorry but we will see you now, we’re not going to wait till 11.
I don’t care what the schedule looks like. Now, if you’re in a one-off office, he may have to pull some strings and figure out what you’re going to do but in my office, I can always bring them back. I can always visit with them, I’m going to get their work done and we’re going to do it in a timely manner. That way, I’m handling something that was a breakdown in our system to help patients because I used to think well, they were just griping to just be griping. There are also those patients that come in, and they are their butt hits. You know, they grab grab grab to the team, and the team that stresses the team out. Yet when you walk into the room, they go Oh, Hi, Dr. Bruce, how are you? It’s so nice to see you and that’s tough.
I mean, it’s tough on the team, especially if you push it to the side and say, Oh, I’m doing great and then you just look at the team and laugh. You know, and I used to do this. So I learned how to handle it differently. So that my team would not be stressed out and I would simply say, you know, Mary, my team, they love you but you know what’s happened, they tell me that you’re, you know, you’re kind of angry and mean when you come in and you’re never that way with me and I just want you to know, these gals are like my family, I don’t let the patient in a rough. So these are this is my family here, the patient will always apologize, I am so sorry, I didn’t even realize I was doing it and I said I know how I’m gonna hack it. I know how it is, you know I do, and said I just want you to be aware of it. Mary, I just want you to be aware so that we can handle that.
So I’m handling an objection before it becomes the objection next time. You following me, I know you probably already knew this and I use that a lot but you got to do it, you’ve got to stand up for your team, and guess what your team will stand up for you all day long every day. But you also have to be able to differentiate between that patient who is an amazing patient that just had a problem with something that happened. Oh, the lab didn’t get the case here on time. You know, if I’m handling, I’m actually handling it after the objection, in some cases, because, but I want my team to know that the case hasn’t been here, or there’s not here yet. For instance, let’s just say it’s Tuesday morning that we’re going to put the case in at 10 o’clock and the case is not here on Friday afternoon, my team better have already realized that they better have called the patient to apologize, handled the objections and said look, I’m going to need to move you to the lab needed some extra time, whatever the reason, but be honest, be truthful. Don’t allow it, you know the weather must have just told them the truth.
You know, if one of your team forgot to send something out, that’s okay. I’m going to stand by it and I’m going to say we’re going to give you a free cleaning for you and your husband. When you guys come next time I’m gonna make a note of it. I’m just so sorry for the inconvenience. Just be honest. Guess what those patients will stay with you forever and ever and ever. They’ll love you because you do the right thing. You always do the right thing and so by handling the objections, and let’s talk about our kids, you know by handling objections before it becomes an objection when I would hear mica she’s I know what Mike is planning. She wants to go somewhere.
She’s 16 and now and going to be 17. She wants to go out with her friends and she’ll make a little hint about you know, on Thursday, a bunch of my friends are going here. I said, Okay, well tell me more about it and if it’s something that I feel like, is okay, I’m gonna say it’s okay. If I feel like it’s not okay. I’m going to handle it by giving her all the reasons why now, it’s 17. I may not. She may not want to believe any of them but I said, I, my preference Micah would be to have those friends come over here to the house, I don’t really want you to go into their house and I said, you guys can have fun. You can, we can order pizza, you can do those things.
So I’m actually making a situation where we’re taking control of the situation and I’m going to make sure that, that Micah has that ability to have that out to where now we can do something in our house where I can keep it a bit more control over them and I can help in whatever way that may just stay in your room and watch, you know, watch TV or do whatever and you girls have fun, go down to the Cabana and you guys can have fun but I’d rather him do it here with me and otherwise, if I had no option, I would just say no, you can’t go, Well, why can’t I go and all these things I’m given, I’m handling that objection. Before that objection happens by giving her alternatives of things that she could do if I truly believe that’s not going to be a good situation for him.
So we do that throughout our lives and I’ve really, you know, I told you the first 20 years I was so bad at communicating and I feel like I’ve gotten better. I’ve got a lot to learn still to this day and I want to keep learning and I keep reading books about communication and I’m, I just I think people who learn to communicate and that can talk to people and that can handle objections before their objections are always at an advantage for those who can’t do that and I hope it’s been helpful for you. Please send me questions at firstname.lastname@example.org We’d love to hear from you and sign up for the Productive Dentist Podcast, and I look forward to seeing you on the next one.
Thank you for joining me for this episode of the Productive Dentist Podcast. If you found this episode helpful, make sure you subscribe and pass it along to a friend. Give us a like on iTunes and Spotify. Or drop me an email at email@example.com Don’t forget to check out other podcasts from the Productive Dentist Academy on productivedentistpodcast.com Join me again next week for another episode of the Productive Dentist Podcast