Shift to a Consultative Approach

Meeting patient needs by building rapport and establishing trust

The traditional models of the dental industry must change to keep in line with the wants and needs of today’s consumers. In order to keep your practice modern and attractive to patients, a shift in thought must be made. Reinvent your practice in a way that creates value for your services and allows you to become more attraction–based.

Who would you rather do business with: Someone who takes the time to talk to you about your needs in a genuine effort to help you get what you want, or a pushy salesperson?

Businesses are shifting from what they call a “push model” into more of a “pull model,” and you can see why the shift is happening.

What do these terms mean, and how are they different?

Push marketing is an active sales approach. It usually involves the process of heavily promoting your products and services directly to your patients and prospective patients, under the assumption that the more you market, or “push” your practice and your services, the more likely they will buy what you have to offer.

Pull marketing takes a more consultative approach when it comes to connecting with customers. It’s all about building a long-term relationship, and that involves patient education and creating demand for your services over time so that patients want to find our more about what you have to offer, and ultimately, to proceed with treatment. But for patients to ask for your services, it’s important to recognize that it’s your responsibility to fully educate them about their options and the type of treatment you can provide.

Applying the Pull Marketing Process to Your Practice

Consumers want to buy from people who understand them. Understanding builds trust between the consumer and retailer (or dentist) and reassures them that you can actually deliver what they want.

Take the time to talk to all of your new patients and really get to know them on a personal level. Make note of personal details such as children’s names and their favorite sports team in their patient record. It will allow your team to refer to these details later, giving your service a more personal touch.

When it comes to treatment, clearly explain their options and your recommendation. Don’t just explain what the treatment is – tell them why you recommend it and how it will improve their function or their aesthetics.

Avoid clinical language. And more than anything else, resist the urge to push. If you want a patient to elect a porcelain inlay, but they seem to be leaning toward the more affordable composite, explain the reasons why you prefer the porcelain, but be honest about the composite as well.

Reaching the End Goal – Practice Growth

You’re building a relationship for life here, not a quick sale, and if you come off as a salesperson, your patients are going to trust you about as much as they trust salespeople. Which is not at all.

Becoming your patients’s dental health consultant will work to establish a foundation of trust, build rapport and ultimately work to increase new patient flow and treatment acceptance within your practice.

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