OperaDDS Blog

September 29, 2017

3 Active Listening Strategies to Increase Case Acceptance

If you’re filling up your calendar with biannual check-ups and other routine procedures, you may feel busy, but you are not maximizing your potential for growth. To get to a higher growth rate, you’ll need to increase your case acceptance rate for bigger-ticket procedures.

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How can you increase case acceptance at your practice? One key area to focus on is active listening.

You’re proud of your technical expertise - and rightly so. But for your patient, the way you present this expertise is often the deciding factor for whether they go through with your procedural recommendations.

Here are 3 steps to walk through the next time you pitch a follow-up procedure to a patient.

1. Make a good first impression.

How long does it take someone to form a first impression of you? There are different answers, ranging from seven seconds all the way down to a tenth of a second. The takeaway? Your time is limited.

To make a good first impression, walk in with a smile on your face, make eye contact, and greet the patient by name. If you need to, take a second to look at your notes in the hallway and brush up on this patient’s records and any procedures. It’s often tempting to look down at your records as your patient answers. Resist this reflex and maintain eye contact. You’ll have plenty of time to look at your notes after these first seven seconds are up.

Research shows that first impressions are incredibly difficult to change. The good news? Invest a little extra effort in your first few seconds with a patient, and they will be more likely to view the entire interaction favorably. You’ll also increase your chances for case acceptance by showing your patient that you care about them and have their best interests in mind.

2. Frame the procedure in terms of their needs, wants, and concerns.

As you pitch a procedure to a patient, it may be tempting to jump into a long list of technical specifics of how the procedure will work. Don’t feel the need to rush, though.

Instead, start off by asking the patient about their dental health concerns and goals for the future. Is there anything they wish they could change about their smile? Anything about their dentistry that is concerning them?

Remember, a good hygienist will have prepared the patient for your treatment recommendations. Your main goal should be to gauge what’s important to the patient, and show how the procedure can respond to these preoccupations.

It’s okay to go into depth about the procedure, its benefits, and logistics. Just make sure to keep your descriptions at a fourth-grade vocabulary level so that your patient will be able to clearly understand what you’re talking about.

3. Discuss logistics.

Many dentists feel uncomfortable discussing treatment costs. However, pricing is an important part of the consideration process for your client. Don’t apologize for your pricing, or hedge about total cost. Do make sure you discuss payment options. This way, your patient will feel empowered to take care of their dental health in a way that works for their financial situation.

Finally, it’s time to close. You don’t need to ask your patient for a direct “yes” or “no” to the procedure. Instead, ask your patient if there is any reason not to go ahead with this procedure, or if there is any more information you can provide that will help them make a decision.

By following these active listening tips, you can position yourself as an advocate for your patient, and dramatically increase your case acceptance rates.

Looking for other strategies to increase case acceptance? Our eBook provides a 4-step plan you won’t want to miss.

Stop the stress of "selling" your treatment plans. Download our Four Keys to Case Acceptance eBook now.