by JoAn Majors
When it comes to delivering an implant treatment plan, remember that the question is not just the answer; the question is the cure. This topic is one of my favorites from my implant workbook. Whether you are presenting treatment options to a referral base or implant treatment to a patient, keep in mind that the one asking the questions actually controls the conversation. Find out early if the person you're speaking with can actually choose any of the services you seek to provide.
Many people simply cannot make a definite choice on their own, they must go to someone else, such as a practice partner or a spouse. Rather than dismissing a person as immature, irresponsible, or a colossal waste of your time, understand that your judgment is getting in the way of giving them what they need. Instead, treat these individuals with great care since they are no doubt uncertain. In this increasingly complex world, many people practice a division of labor, especially when spending money is involved.
Let's imagine a scenario. Maggie, your patient, has been listening to the options you have outlined, and says, "That's a lot of money. I need to speak to Harry about it."
In this case, an actual objection is stated. Maggie also tells you she needs help with the decision. Knowing the objection AND that another person is involved in the decision makes it much easier to proceed. We will continue in hopes that you already have outside financing with Care Credit available so we can cover the "true" issue.
Our concern is how to encourage the person who is not present to consider your plan. Your job is to give Maggie the opportunity to send a beneficial message to the person who may make the decision.
So what do you say?
One example is, "Besides you, is there anyone who might be interested in the plan we're discussing?" The question won't demean Maggie or exploit her indecision. Your neutrality assumes a simple reality that someone else might be involved. What might the patient say?
"Yes, Harry will need to understand more." Your reply is easy. "What might his concern be?" Then you can speak directly to that concern instead of continuing down the wrong path with the patient. Maggie is going to leave and be your walking, talking marketing tool, and she needs to know the answers to questions in patient-savvy terms to influence Harry. Spend time offering information (in the manner the patient needs it) to the person who can say yes.
It's quite a time saver if you can ask at the beginning of an appointment or in an early visit, particularly if the treatment still comes with some uncertainty. Realize that the more information you can find out about the patient's concern (her husband) or objection, the more material you have at your disposal. The art of persuasion is nothing more than building a roadmap that establishes value and integrity to the service, and results in what we call "destination known."
This simple communication tool can change those people who drive us nuts because they "just cannot decide." Many individuals simply cannot say yes to anything. Should that stop them from benefiting from your best treatment option?
Structure your presentation so that you can make it easy for indecisive people to do what you want them to do (tell me about Harry) and hard for them to do what you don't want them to do (go home and present treatment as if it were Maggie making the decision). Making it easy for them to get what they need means involving the decision maker in a respectful and encouraging way. When it comes to getting a patient's concerns out in the open and knowing the decision makers, don't be afraid to ask!
JoAn Majors is a professional speaker, published author and RDA. She is the program creator of The Million Dollar Manager and The Significant Spouse workshops. To have her speak to your group or learn more go to: www.joanmajors.com or call (866)51-CHOICE.
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