There is nothing like the feeling you get when you explain to your patients what they need to have done and they understand it. It feels awesome! They nodded their head, they said yes at all the right times, they grasped the concepts, they seemed engaged. You feel like you stepped up to home plate, swung for the stands, cracked the bat, and knocked it out of the park. And the crowd goes wild,… or do they? Was it really a homerun? Did the rest of your team deliver? The truth is that dental case acceptance is a team sport, and having a star hitter does not guarantee the game. Unfortunately, many times the dentist gives a stellar case presentation, but the front desk or treatment coordinator fails to close the case. It is heartbreaking! You did everything right and they still did not schedule. Even worse they probably went down the block to your competitor’s office and the work done there. What is happening with your case acceptance? Most of the time it boils down to lack of training and lack of comfort with the financials. In the game of case acceptance having the right team members, with the right training, playing the right positions on your team makes all the difference.
Every team member has different strengths and weaknesses and knowing when to play the right team member makes a big difference. Have your newer team members, the ones that have less experience, present the smaller treatment plans so they can build up their people skills and fine-tune their presentations. Reserve the heavy hitters, the team members with more experience, to present the bigger, more complex cases. These team members can also mentor less experienced team members and help them improve their skills. Whenever possible and have newer team members sit in on the more complicated case presentations. Also have the more experienced team members sit in on the simple case presentations so they can help coach the less experienced.
When presenting the financial portion of a treatment plan, many times it boils down to comfort. Every team member has a different personal relationship with money, personal finances, and the way they view money. Usually, the more comfortable the team member is with the subject of money and finances, the better their financial presentation skills. The better the presentation, usually the higher their case acceptance rate is. The trick is, how to get your staff comfortable with the subject of money? First, make sure that they understand that you are comfortable and proud of your fee schedule. Don’t be apologetic about your fees. They must understand that you charge more because you deliver better service than the average dentist. They must understand that the quality of care in your office is first class, and that demands higher remuneration. Remember, if you believe, they will believe. Another way to ensure that your staff is comfortable with finances, is to make sure that they are comfortable with the basic math skills necessary to calculate and present a treatment plan. When your staff is uncomfortable with the basic numbers, the presentation is more tense. Your staff will focus more on the numbers that are not fully clear to them, rather than on enjoying the process and really connecting with the patients. Make sure your experienced staff take the time to train new employees on the basic skills of calculating a new treatment plans. Never assume that they know. The sad part is that most people that have problems with basic math skills will not admit it. However, if you make a part of your routine training then it will not be a big issue. This way nobody gets offended. I have personally seen a few minutes worth of basic math training have a significant effect on the presentation skills and the confidence of staff members.
The first time to catch the ball or swing the bat is not during the game, it’s during practice. Repetition and practice is a great invaluable in improving case presentation, and ultimately your case acceptance rate. Practice, practice, and practice more. Have regular case presentation role-playing sessions where your staff can practice with each other and sharpen their skills. These practice sessions prove to be vital in to case acceptance. It is in these practice sessions where the quality of your staff’s presentations will increase by leaps and bounds, and their comfort level will grow. How much should your staff practice? Practicing one time will not make much difference. We have found that consistency is more important in the long run. Have multiple training sessions per month and don’t practice only until they get it right, but rather practice until they can’t get it wrong. In the game of Dental case acceptance teams that work synergistically make it to the playoffs, and individual superstars only hit a few home runs. Make sure your dental team is always at its best by giving them the proper training and investing in the future of your practice.