Avoiding the Number One Killer of Case Presentations
By: Fernando Diaz-Lundstedt
As you know from experience, the worst enemy of a successful case presentation is a patient's earlier than anticipated question, "How much is it going to cost?" or "Could you give me a rough estimate?"
Some patients start asking these questions even before their X-rays are completed. In such cases, the front desk person often feels the pressure, and sometimes mistakes are made by reviewing fees prematurely.
While cost may be a real concern, the premature inquiry is a technique some patients use to discourage the dentist from obtaining full value for his or her services. By putting pressure about cost on you or your treatment counselor from the outset, the patient may be trying to reduce the "perception" of value. If you cave in, he or she gets the upper hand and the whole process becomes defensive and minimally goal oriented.
How to Respond to the Killer Question
Although prematurely answering the question about cost can derail your presentation, just ignoring the request for information is unacceptable. However, by anticipating the question and preparing an appropriate response in advance, you can provide a win-win solution for both you and your patient.
If you're not ready to discuss cost, the best way out of this predicament is to delay the discussion until the right moment during the case presentation, after you've had an opportunity to explain the value and benefits of a proposed treatment plan.
You can effectively accomplish this task by using any of the following responses with your patient:
- "There is a range of fees from A to Z. Obviously your case will fall somewhere in between. We first need to determine exactly what you need. Only then can I help you select the best treatment option for your situation."
- "Let me ask you a few questions so I can understand what you are trying to achieve. Then my treatment counselor can give you all the information about the fees."
- "Quoting a fee without having all the facts in front of me could be a grave mistake and a source of misunderstanding between you and our practice. Let's wait for the proper evaluation of your needs, and then we can review all your options."
By reassuring patients that you have their best interests at heart and will address the question of cost after they have been properly evaluated and you have had an opportunity to present a treatment plan, you can avoid the number one killer of case presentations.
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