Ashley Latter is at the forefront of this year’s Practice Plan Workshop Tour, sharing the secrets to ‘Perfect Communication’. The tour kicked off in Manchester with an audience of over 130 delegates. Heather Podbury, Managing Editor at FMC, was one of the lucky people to have attended the event. Here, she shares some of Ashley’s top secrets to ‘Perfect Communication’.
- Don’t be scared of the phone
Do you have a strategy of ringing patients after their treatment to check how things are and if they’re happy? You shouldn’t worry about doing this; it can be a great relationship builder for you and your patients and they feel like you really do care! It can also positively impact your recalls; patients are more likely to return for future check-ups if they feel they have a relationship built with the practice.
- Being able to sell something depends on the way it is communicated
The single most important factor of selling your services is how the patient’s initial call is answered. Although, it’s also key to remember every member of the team is involved in selling and this should be reflected in his/her working attitude.
- Why do patients say no?
It could be one or a mixture of the following:
- Little rapport and trust – not got enough time to work on this? Think about extending your appointment times by 10 minutes. Simple!
- Talking about a solution before you’ve established what the patient wants/needs – don’t just assume, ask your patient questions to find out their needs!
- People who are not good at talking money – price is always an issue but it isn’t the only factor. The person who has the biggest problem with the price is usually you.
- Lack of commitment – don’t give your patient chance to mull over their decision! You’ll both lose out if you don’t seal the deal – ask them there and then!
- Talking too technically – most dentists are guilty of this; your patients simply don’t understand you.
A key thing to remember is we always find money for the things we want.
So, never judge what you think a patient can, or cannot, afford. Also remember that not everyone wants to buy what you’re selling – don’t take it personally.
- Your time to shine
Treat every day in the practice like it’s an event – always remember that you are in show business!
Ensure that you always maintain a consistent performance from morning until evening, day in day out. You never know which patient will be the one who needs you to change their life, so you can’t afford to put on a less than perfect performance.
You must believe in the product you are selling; keep the mindset that it has a significant benefit to the patient. When presenting it, it’s show time, every time! Even if the last patient said no, get over it and move on to the next show.
- Business essential
Attitude is the most important factor in business, it’s essential to keep it consistent, practice-wide and daily.
- The key skills and attitudes for successful sales
- Good communication.
- Confidence in the product is crucial.
- Outstanding listening skills.
- How to build a rapport with your patients
Sometimes it can be difficult to remember the key questions to begin a good introductory conversation with a new patient so try remembering this little story to help you…
You’re a postman delivering letters. You walk up to a property and notice a big brass name plate on the house. All of a sudden, two children run outside and you look up and notice the chimney, which has a work glove sticking out of it, holding a model plane and instead of propellers it has tennis racquets.
This story includes all the elements you need to make a good introductory conversation:
- What’s their name?
- Where are they from?
- Do they have children?
- What do they do for a living?
- Do they have any holidays planned?
- Do they have any hobbies?
By showing a genuine interest in people, they are more likely to be interested in you – this is rapport building.
- The biggest mistakes you could make
Patients don’t buy the product, they buy the benefits – instead of explaining the features of that titanium crown, discuss the positive impacts it will have on their life instead.
Not listening to your patients – ask questions to find out what they want and the concerns that need addressing before you start discussing treatments.