Simon Reynolds offers his top tips on how to become someone that people buy from.
Dental practices are healthcare establishments, there to provide a service to help people achieve good oral and overall health. However, they are also small businesses, and to survive and thrive they need to turn over a profit. For many practices, the stumbling block is in the ‘selling’ aspect. Sound familiar? Dental professionals are great at what they do – carrying out dental treatments – but selling often isn’t a skill that comes naturally to the dental team.
Selling within a dental practice isn’t about making people buy something they don’t need, it’s about offering a service that they will benefit from, and with this in mind you can always keep it ethical. There is no real secret to selling, and there is no quick trick to becoming a good salesperson, but I have put together a few tips to bear in mind that should, hopefully, make it easier for you and your team to effectively sell your dental services.
Listen and provide solutions
Once a patient is in your practice, you already have a captive audience. They have chosen your service out of plenty of others, and that fact alone usually shows they have a level of trust in you.
The great news is, providing further treatment or enhanced dental services shouldn’t be a hard sell.
If a patient shows interest in cosmetic treatments such as tooth whitening or orthodontics, or you feel they would benefit from further dentistry such as root canal treatment or dental implants, listen to their needs and explain the options available to them while they are in your surgery. Avoid using a rehearsed sales patter, but instead offer useful information about what is available and the effects it would have on their life.
By simply providing useful information not only will you – and your staff – feel more comfortable ‘selling’, your patients won’t feel like they have been sold to and that level of trust will remain in place.
Know your products
Any good salesman will tell you that one of the key secrets to selling is to know your products inside out.
Whether it is the brand of whitening you use, or the patient plan you provide, all members of staff should have received appropriate training on everything you provide so that they are all able to answer patient questions when required.
Taking this one step further would be to only sell items, or treatments that you have or would use yourself and have complete faith in. This helps to strengthen the trust your patients have in you – especially if you can show off the results of your short-term orthodontic system, for example, because your dental nurse had it and loved the results.
When selling a product or service, it is important to know when to stop! As people, we all have a point where we switch off, so it is vital to learn to gauge when your patient has had enough information – don’t overload or bombard them.
Not only will this vary from person to person, but it will also depend on the mood they are in, what time of day it is, and whether they’ve just had dental treatment carried out. Someone who is tired at the end of the day, or after a filling, may not want to hear in-depth information about dental implants. A simple short list of pros may suffice in this situation instead.
Back up your message
Once you have told a patient about a particular treatment that could potentially give them the smile of their dreams, they will probably want to discuss it with a spouse or close family member to help them decide whether to go ahead or not.
Ensuring that you have the right tools in place to back up your message is vital, such as patient packs that include relevant leaflets. This not only gives them the right information to take away, it also stops them searching online for material that may be substandard, or worse, points them in the direction of another dental practice.
Make it attainable
Being able to provide the treatments that your patients desire or require is all well and good, but if you don’t have access to services that can open the doors towards treatment take up, you could be doing yourself (and your patients) a serious disservice.
Some dental treatments may prove costly, which can be an off-putting factor, so having the means available to make them affordable is crucial.
If you don’t already have the systems in place, such as finance for treatments or dental payment plans, these are useful services to consider as they can make all the difference to whether patients are able to afford further dental work or not.
As you can see, being a successful salesperson in a dental practice often isn’t about ‘selling’ in the traditional sense as much as it is about knowing listening to and knowing your patients, and being confident to offer the treatments that they could benefit from. As a healthcare professional, you are in a trusted position, so always stick to your ethics, offer only what would be beneficial and that you have faith in, and you can’t go far wrong.
Having the necessary means to back this up, through relevant literature and practice-branded financing solutions can make all the difference. A dental plan from Patient Plan Direct is a great way of doing this as we’ll always brand your service with your logo, not ours, as we know this helps to boost patient trust. With our low administration fees of just £1.20 per patient per month, you will also be able to pass those savings on to your patients through lower monthly payments compared to other providers.
Patient Plan Direct offers a low cost, simple, flexible and practice-branded solution to running patient payment plans, with a focus on delivering first-class support and expert advice to ensure you reach your plan objectives. For more information, visit www.patientplandirect.com, email [email protected], or call 0844 848 6888.