Today’s modern and successful dental practice succeeds because of the entire team that is in place. The dentist, the hygienist, the dental assistant… everyone who interacts with the patient plays a significant role, and everyone works together to ensure that more patient case acceptance happens and profits soar. I know you have heard this and it is too many a concept that we say “ yep, of course”… in other words, lip service. However, what does this mean in reality and action to the growth of the practice?
Here is the answer – everyone is in sales. (Breathe). I know that the word “sales” is anathema to so many people. That’s because we suffer from the negative stereotype of salespeople that have been perpetuated by our experiences as consumers being victimized by bad salespeople pressuring us into something. The fact is that sales are a mindset and behavior. “Every conversation is a selling moment.” This means with every interaction we leave an image in the patient’s mind that leads to a buying decision. This is vastly different from being “sold something.”
So, let’s try something new. Instead of running away from the notion of sales as a bad thing, let’s redefine it and make it immediately usable in your practice every day with every conversation.
Allow me to introduce E.L.S.A.
E is for Engage. Every interaction with a patient is a perfect opportunity to be present and involved with the patient (and each other). In other words, presence sells.
L is for Listen. As you are engaging, ask questions and listen to what your patient is saying. Build the relationship and trust. Ask open-ended questions and find ways to build rapport.
S is for Suggest. Every time I have decided on some dental service or products, its because my hygienist has suggested it to me and we talked about, and it and I said yes. In other words, she was selling and doing an excellent job at it. If I told her “you are a great salesperson,” her response? “I’m not a salesperson, I’m just the hygienist.” And that’s how the stereotype rears its ugly head.
A is for Ask. If you have the trust of your patient, you have earned the right to ask for him or her to accept the treatment plan. The patient is expecting you to ask and if you don’t because you don’t want to feel “salesy.” Get over it. You have earned the right to ask for them to accept your suggestion. Your patient is waiting.
Selling is nothing more than embracing the fact that with every conversation we are selling. If you are breathing, you are selling.
We are leaving strong images in the minds of patients, colleagues and the community you serve, and those images stimulate buying decisions. Don’t over complicate the process. Stop thinking of sales as the next flavor of the day in practice management or dental business development. Stop thinking of sales as a wicked thing or “we don’t do that.”
Your ability to secure new patients, retain existing ones, and increase case acceptance depends on every member of the staff to see that they influence the patient every day to decide for their oral health and subsequently for practice profits.