You must tell the patient the cost

Patients cant decide to go ahead with a treatment plan unless they know how much they need to pay. I once asked a dentist what he says to patients when they ask how much the bill will be. He told me he never tells patients the cost. He says, “I don’t know. My patient coordinator works that out for you. She will give you all the details.” Wow, that’s all I can say. Good luck!

If dentists tell patients they don’t know how much the treatment will cost (at least more or less), they think the dentists are lying or have no idea what they are doing. Either of the two options does not exactly inspire confidence. The chance that the patient is excited to say yes to the treatment plan will hit rock bottom when they hear such an answer.

Always tell patients the cost. Do not hand that responsibility to anyone. Don’t ask anyone to give patients the “bad news.”

Sometimes dentists need to stop thinking and acting like dentists and become sales professionals and Human Behavior experts. You will only “sell” your treatment plan through ” relationship development.” Of course, there will always be patients that say yes anyway, but if you want to increase your case acceptance rate, you have to go the extra mile.

Take things a little further and discuss with the patient how payment can be made and what finance options are available. You don’t have to go into all the details; provide a brief overview of the alternatives – before leaving it with your Financial person in your office or your Treatment Coordinator. For example, if the fee for your treatment plan is $4,000 – you talk about how the patient could pay for it (check, credit card, patient financing, and so on).

There are good reasons why you should take note of the points below.

1. The dentist’s “word” has more weight than anyone else in the office. Patients tend to be more receptive and compliant when they hear it from the dentist.

2. When you address the financial issue, you get an accurate picture of the patient’s mindset concerning the treatment. You see how serious or not the patient is in moving ahead with the treatment. With that knowledge, you can better handle the objections and address the situation appropriately.

3. Patients often say, “I can’t afford that,” or something similar. They might want to hide their fear of drills and needles. It is better to deal with that situation with the patient in the chair in front of you.

4. Finally, You may not like it BUT you are the “salesperson” in your practice. A salesperson’s job ends when payment is received, and treatment has begun. You can never be effective at this job if finances are not discussed.

The hard fact of business is this: “It’s not sold until it’s paid for.”

Dentists might have become too casual regarding treatment acceptance and payments. In reality, dentists do thousands of dollars of dentistry, bill the insurance, and then bill the patient. Often you don’t get paid for sixty days, and sometimes, you have to wait even longer. That is crazy and bad business. The biggest complaints often come from patients whose cases have not been paid.

You could get the patient to deposit, say, 30%. At least you know that you have a good chance that they will come and see you and start the treatment. You and the patients must agree on how they will pay before you hand the patient over to the person who can wrap up the details. If you want to see your case acceptance rate increase, you need to follow the steps. You must become the “Salesperson.” Nobody in your office can do that part better than you. Besides, it’s your money, your practice, and your success. You hold it all in your own hands.

Next week comes the final part of “How to increase treatment case acceptance rate.” See you there, and thank you for your time.

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