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Think about the last time you took your car to the mechanic. Whether you know a little about cars, or you asked friends or researched the problem on the Internet, you probably had some idea of what was wrong.
It always impressive when a mechanic tells you it was a less expensive problem than you asked about.
Has that mechanic cost himself money? In the short-term, yes. But in the long-term, he has kept you coming back and trusting that what he tells you is true.
What would have happened if you decided not to repair the car and took it to another mechanic who told you the cheaper problem? Think you would ever go back to the first mechanic?
Anyone who will cost himself money shows they want long-term business more than short-term profit.
There are ways you can put this into practice too. Reverse testimonials are a good example of this. Let patients say what their concerns were up front, because many of your potential patients are concerned about those same things:
- was the procedure really necessary
By addressing negatives right up front, you show that you are willing to talk honestly, and that builds respect.
The same thing is true if a patient with terribly crooked teeth comes in wanting Invisalign because he is embarrassed by his smile but otherwise not having any bite problems. If you perform Six Month Smiles, you might recommend it instead.
Same with veneers. If a patient comes in wanting veneers but has straight, well-shaped teeth, you might suggest teeth whitening instead.
In both instances, a statement like “I can give you want you want, but you really don’t need that. This other procedure is less expensive and will solve your problem” shows patients they can trust you (since you’ve cost yourself money in the short-term).
Doing so also means you likely have a patient who will stay, pay and refer. And the “staying and referring” will both bring you more than you lost on the initial transaction.
So you really are gaining long-term revenue by taking less revenue short-term. Of course, if the patient insists on using a shotgun to kill a fly on the more-expensive procedure, then so be it.
But you have ethically not oversold that patient despite his or her willingness to be oversold.
That is not to say tell someone they don’t need to whiten their teeth if they think they do, even if his or her teeth fall under normal color parameters.
You don’t give someone veneers to whiten their teeth when gel will do.
Don’t tell someone they don’t need to straighten their teeth if they think they do, even if you think their teeth are “straight enough.”
Don’t give someone Invisalign when Six Month Smiles will do.
In short, don’t dismiss their perceived problem. The patient is the expert in his or her SELF-perception. Don’t try to educate them about why your perspective is the right one. THEIR perspective on how they FEEL about their teeth is more important than whether your expertise says they need help.
Don’t unethically give a patient a procedure he or she doesn’t need.
And don’t dismiss someone’s self-perception about his or her own smile in favor of your own perception.