Saturday, December 27, 2008

Why are you so expensive?

You have likely faced that question more than once from a patient. If it has ever caught you off guard or if you have ever wondered the best way to respond, here are some thoughts:

First, what is expensive? How do you arrive at a conclusion that something is expensive or inexpensive? It is usually by comparison. You compare the price of one item to the price of another item of similar “value” to arrive at your conclusion. But what if there is nothing against which to compare? Then about the only conclusion you can come to is that…it’s expensive!

To what do people compare the price of dentistry? Let’s face it. It is pretty hard to shop the price of a crown, a bridge or anything else unless you take the time to have an exam. Most people do not have the time to do that multiple times. Most people don’t “shop” for a dentist. So lacking a real comparison, the average patient comes to the conclusion that it is expensive. Even if you do crowns for the cheapest price in your area, it is not likely that a patient will exclaim with delight, “That is a deal!” when presented the fee for their work.

My late business partner, Walter Hailey, loved to say, “If you are going to be accused of being expensive, you might as well be it!”

So quit worrying about your fees. They are not the problem. Perception is! You’ll gain far more ground by working on your patients’ perceptions than you will fretting over your fees.

But before you start looking for the quick fix, the silver bullet, or the magic phrase that will resolve someone’s questions about what you charge, remember that we often move too fast to solve patient problems that we really don’t understand. Maybe it is the scientist in us that looks for the perfect material, procedure, or instrument to treat the clinical problem. We have been trained for the “quick fix.” But people/patients are not problems to be fixed. Just consider if someone says you are expense, is it because:
  1. They have not been to the dentist for some time and are comparing today's fees to outdated fees?
  2. They have never had a lot of dental work done, so they don't know what it costs?
  3. They are having some financial stress so everything sounds expensive?
  4. They are surprised because they thought they were just going to have to pay for a routine cleaning and then discovered that there is more work to be done?
  5. They have never placed that much value on their mouth or their health and have not considered what is was really going to cost to stay in good shape?
  6. It is the first time someone has had a conversation with them from a “comprehensive care” point of view instead of just trying to maintain the status quo?
  7. They just say that about everything to try and get a better deal!

The list could go on. The point is that you have no more idea of how to answer that question without additional information than you would know how to treat a patient who calls up and says her or she needs a filling until you did an exam personally to see the real condition.

Every patient has a unique situation…a story. Until you really understand them, their story, and their reason for asking, there's no quick fix verbal skill that will answer their question. It's about the relationship first, not the case or your fees.

So the next time you get the “Why are you so expensive?” question or one similar to it, just stop. Take a deep breath. And listen as you ask…”Tell me more about that.” You might be surprised to hear what comes next. The reason behind the question will most likely be something you had not considered.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

No More New Patients!

We are looking forward to the Crown Council Annual Event in Las Vegas, February 5-7, 2009. ( On Thursday, I will be facilitating a first of its kind session with our ToPS Team centred around a tried and true method for team work and team communication that promises to change the way your interact with your team. Get ready to think differently, act differently and interact in a whole new way that will positively change the results you achieve with your team.

On Saturday I will be presenting a workshop entitled "No More New Patients!" In this one session, you will discover the unspoken secret of which many are not aware that is eating away at your new patient efforts. In order for the preactice to really progress, it must be stopped NOW! Come discover the benefits and the increase in production and profits that results when you know what to look for and how to really manage your practice for REAL growth, not just activity.

We hope you will join us in Feburary. For more information, just go to Have a great week and a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Give me a break

A well-known dental magazine announced this week an "Economic Impact Survey" wherein they are inviting dentists from around the country to submit their answers to some questions to determine the impact the economy is having on their practices. Survey data will then be compiled and offered to the dental industry at large. Translation: "Will all the loser dentists who are sitting around with nothing to do please take a survey detailing their sorry status so we can accumulate their 'data' and infect the entire industry with a 'woe is me' report on how the 'down' economy is to blame for their poor results." If you have the time to fill out the survey, you must not be doing much in your practice. Get the picture? Give me a break!*

It is human nature to want to blame poor results on factors outside of ones self. It is easier to take the victim role rendering ones self helpless because of "uncontrollable, outside forces," than it is to wake up, be proactive, and make something happen. You decide: Will you act or be acted upon?

So, if you want to be a loser, go ahead and take the loser's "Economic Impact Survey" and then read about your sorry state in the report that comes back. If you think you feel bad now, just wait until you read about yourself in print! Surely we have better things to do than to drag each other down with the doom and gloom that results from inactivity.

A better use of time might be to take a survey of your own. Sit down with your team and brainstorm all the ways that you can take advantage of a market left wide open by your fellow dentists that have gone into retreat because they believe in a bad economy. The playing field is clearing. The losers are in retreat leaving more room for the real winners to succeed.

The choice is yours. To let the economy "impact" your practice or for your practice to have an impact on the economy. Our survey make an impact.

* For your FREE copy of "How to Thrive in a 'down' Economy," the 12 page special report with ideas on how you and your team can succeed despite the negative news in the media, just give the Total Patient Service Institute a call at 1-877-399-8677 or e-mail