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And the fact checker says…

Fact checking! You’re hearing a ton about that these days.

It’s a political season. Go figure.

It’s also a healthy kick-in-the-butt to monitor what you say.

But also…

How you say it.

Treatment plans. Financials. And the stuff that makes-your-world-go-‘round.

The facts speak for themselves but your priority is to make sure they’re heard, understood, and even better…accepted.

Facts aren’t always a guarantee of compliance. You’re aware that patients can stare them (the facts) in the face and deny their reality.

That is, after all, the “political” thing to do. But we digress…

It’s not enough to diagnose a “bombed-out” tooth and inform your patient that their infection is spreading a fast as the latest political gossip. Why?

Two reasons and two solutions

Reason 1-Facts don’t always connect with emotions.

Your patients are no different than the general population when it comes to a buying…um… treatment decision.

Fact: “People buy for emotional not rational reasons.”

Reason 2-Facts come with a price – good or bad.

Your patients want to trust your diagnosis but the cost can outweigh their willingness to make a decision. (Sort of like having to choose between the lesser of two…we digress yet again…dang politics!)

Fact: “People need to justify their emotional decisions with logic.”

We promised solutions. And we do what we say we’re gonna do (take that fact-checker).

Solution 1-Tap into your patient’s emotion.

All it takes is one…emotion that is. Refuse to diagnose and treatment plan without knowing at least one compelling reason they would accept the facts.

How? It pays to listen.

Solution 2-Guide them to a logical outcome.

Not every diagnosis and treatment plan sounds logical. It’s clear to you – you’re the professional.

Patients see it differently. What they need is some logical justification for following their emotion to a, “Yes, take care of that tooth today…!” outcome.

How? It pays to be perceived as the provider of solutions to problems that only you can solve.

That will stand the test of time and any ‘ole fact checker.

“Hey – I heard flossing doesn’t do anything!”

You are probably aware that last week the latest dietary guidelines issued by the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services quietly and without notice dropped any mention of flossing . At the same time, The Associated Press reported that officials had never researched the effectiveness of regular flossing, as required, before cajoling Americans to do it.

Chances are your patients don’t read anything printed by the Department of Agriculture, but they certainly watch The Today Show and all of the other “light news” outlets that seem to delight in reporting the story. After all – everyone likes to think that their hocking hygienist was wrong all along.

This is just what we need – one more reason to get people not to floss!

A close look shows they are not saying flossing is not effective; just that there have never been any really good studies on the subject. But although this is anecdotal – as dental professionals we see first-hand the benefits of flossing every single day!

So how will you answer the inevitable question:

“Hey Doc! I heard that flossing doesn’t do anything! Do I even need to do it?”

Try something like this:

“Well Melvin, every day in this office we see that flossing does a great job in helping to prevent gum disease, and gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults. There is no question that flossing removes plaque and debris lodged between your teeth, and that is certainly good for your overall health.

It’s kind of like showering every day. There may not be any great studies showing that it’s good for you, but it should be part of your hygiene routine – and flossing should too! All of us do it, and we still highly recommend that you do too!”

Or you could just say:

“No problem – don’t floss. May we set up your denture appointment?”

How would you read this sentence: “I think you need that crown.”

We all love email. And we love social media! We have been recommending regular communication with your patients for quite some time now, right? One thing we never discussed is how careful you need to be with your words in an email or anywhere else online.

Question: Do you know how to read music? If you do, you know that when you’re reading music, you’re actually reading at least two things simultaneously. Written music tells you what note to play and when to play it.

Written language, on the other hand, only tells you one thing – what letter to pronounce. Of course, punctuation helps indicate pacing – pause at a comma, stop at a period (no one is sure what to do at a semicolon), but it’s still up to the reader to interpret how the author wanted the piece paced.

Look at the sentence below:

 “I think you need that crown.”

What does it mean to your patient?

Be careful, because it may mean different things to different people.

For example, read the following sentences aloud and place the emphasis on the bold-faced underlined word. You’ll see how the pacing and the meaning can change based on where you choose to place the emphasis.

I think you need that crown.

think you need that crown.

I think you need that crown.

I think you need that crown.

I think you need that crown.

I think you need that crown.

You see, written language does not retain the intonation or have the inflection that spoken language has.  That’s why sarcasm and irony seldom works well in print or static online advertising. (Be careful with your Facebook posts – we have likely pissed many people off without meaning to do so!)

It’s one thing for you to add your own inflection to a treatment plan presentation when you have the patient right in front of you. But if you are communicating in writing or electronically, please be super careful.

 

Don’t You Love It When…..

Don’t you love it when somebody points to their tooth # 8 and says “Just to let you know – this one’s a crown!”

Meanwhile, the thing looks like a piece of siding from an old barn, misshapen, five shades darker (or lighter) than the rest of their teeth, and protruding by at least five millimeters!

To us it is screaming “This is a horrible crown” – but to the patient they feel the need to warn us lest we can’t pick it up for ourselves.

There is no question about it – to many patients a crown is a crown is a crown. They can’t tell if has poor margins, fits like boots on a rooster, and is the fugliest thing this side of The Mississippi. So in a way, a crown, at least the way the public perceives it, is a commodity.

What is NOT a commodity is the experience a patient receives in your practice.

Was the experience of scheduling their appointment pleasant, or did they feel like a number?

Did you make them rot in the waiting room for twenty minutes?

Was their visit pain-free?

Did they leave the practice feeling like they had just encountered the most amazing and caring team and doctor ever?

Are you staying in touch with them between visits?

These are the kind of things patients judge, evaluate, and talk about.

If you think that the dentist down the street is more successful (even though there is no way they are as clinically gifted as you), they are probably giving their patients a memorable experience.

We all know that a crown is NOT a commodity. But most patients don’t and never will. The good news is, if you do everything else right, the dentistry will no longer be commoditized. (Is that even a word?)

Speaking of commodities, you may feel that your impression material, composites, cotton rolls, gloves, etc. are commodities. And let’s face it – whether you purchase them from Darby, Schein, Patterson, Benco or anyone else, your dental supplies will be pretty similar.

That’s why we created The M Club! There needed to be a way to make it so the dental supply buying experience is NOT a commodity!

We did it by demanding the best dental supply experience possible. This means things like:

The most aggressive pricing
Incredible rewards just for purchasing supplies – things like iPads, luggage, jewelry, electronics, cameras – you name it!
The best customer service with your own personal concierge
Unannounced specials for members only
Up-front seating at Madow events
FREE membership
And more!!
If you haven’t joined yet, now is the time!! Why?

Because for a limited time, we are offering twenty percent off your first order PLUS a free bag of 250 air/water syringe tips! Why wouldn’t you do it NOW??????

The M Club is powered by Darby, so you know that you are getting the best, freshest name brand and generic supplies.

So call 1-855-THE-M-CLUB now, get 20% off your first order and a free bag of air/water syringes!! What the heck are you waiting for?

Dental supplies will no longer be a commodity when you are a member of The M Club!!