Time to chat?

A dentist told me of a patient who was a long-distance lorry driver and who had visited her for many years. During this time, she had done routine check-ups and treated the odd filling here and there.

However, on this occasion she spent more time building rapport and asking questions; a lot more time than she would normally do.

As a result, the patient informed her of a few changes he wanted to make to his appearance that included replacing two gold fillings, tooth whitening and filling a gap.He told her that he had never been happy with his smile and wasn’t aware of all the things that could now be done. In fact, he had hated his smile most of his life.

The dentist, of course, shared with the patient what she could do and a large treatment plan was accepted and taken up by the patient. The dentist, who rang me to tell me this story, was amazed and obviously delighted. She had never realised this was a problem for him.

This story outlines the importance of spending time with your patient and asking them lots of questions about what they like and don’t like about their smiles. By the way, I hear stories like this about 5-10 times a week on my travels.

My favourite story was from a dentist who told me he once treated a traveller to two implants after he lost two teeth in an accident and, by the way he was dressed, he didn’t think he had two pounds in his pocket, never mind over £4,000.

Moral of the story…
There are a few lessons; you can take away from these real-life stories.

There are probably many patients like this in your database; all you need to do is spend more time building rapport and asking questions and you just may discover more opportunities. By extending your appointment times by just five minutes – and spending more time really getting to know your client – you could possibly uncover thousands of pounds worth of new opportunities.

A great lesson for us all and a constant reminder of the importance of rapport building. We are in tough times – the chances are they are here to stay for a while.

However, there are still many opportunities out there; you just need to have some good conversations with your patients. Who knows? You may just uncover some more treatment plans.

Ashley Latter specialises in coaching dentists and their teams to develop ethical sales and communication skills, customer care and high performance practices. He is the author of Don’t Wait for the Tooth Fairy – How to Communicate Effectively & Create the Perfect Patient Journey in your Dental Practice. To learn more about his programmes and also to sign up for his free email newsletter, visit www.ashleylatter.com.


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