Learning to sell patients on the treatment plan is an important part of being a doctor. If you want to be responsible for people’s health you’ve got to be able to get them to do what they need to do.
Whether you read the medical journals or just your local newspaper, you will find there are all kinds of diets, exercise programs and revolutionary treatments that would make people far healthier, if only people would follow their doctors’ advice. But you won’t read about how to improve your treatment plan acceptance ratio in the journals, and they don’t teach it as part of getting your professional certification. For that, you have to do Sterling’s Communication and Sales Workshop.
I have a two-doctor general dentistry practice in Mayfield, New York, a town of 6,000 in the Adirondack Mountains. I’ve been a Sterling client for the past twelve years, and have gotten good results out of the program. No, life is not always perfectly calm, but at least when problems do arise I have the tools needed to get things back on track.
Keeping on top of things, however, does require continuing training and practice. If Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods continued to practice even though they were the best in the world, it doesn’t hurt the rest of us to brush up now and then. So, I continue to drive down to Manhattan for Sterling’s weekend workshops and earlier this year flew to Glendale for the Communication and Sales Workshop. I noticed that I was getting a bit soft in my selling, and it was time to bring that up to snuff.
I had done the Communication Course years earlier, but I got a lot more out of it the second time around. One of the biggest wins I got out of it this time was not just becoming better at speaking, but better at listening. It is amazing how much smoother relationships can be when you can just sit there quietly and attentively listen to what the other person is saying without feeling you have to jump right in with comments of your own.
From there, it was into the subject of sales, learning from someone who has been using these techniques for decades. He’s the person who signed me up as a Sterling client back in the mid-’90s, and it was great finding out how to apply those same procedures to my own patients.
Since getting back home, I have been spending more time explaining to people what services they need, getting them to really face up to their dental problems and take ownership of them, rather than continuing to ignore them year after year. As a result, I have been much more successful with treatment plan acceptance. About half of those have been treatment plans that I had recommended in the past and have been recommending for years, but had never been able to close. By applying what I learned at the workshop, now I can turn those patients around and get them to accept the treatment.
That works out great for both of us. The patient feels better about finally handling a problem they have been ignoring for years. I get the satisfaction of fully handling my patients’ needs, leaving them with healthier teeth and a brighter smile. That is, after all, the reason why I am in this profession.
Bill Hassan, DDS