Just when I think I’ve heard it all.
I met a new patient in our reception area who said she wanted to be able to chew again and didn’t like the look of her front teeth. Add to the mix the fact that she hadn’t been to the dentist in over five years. Petrified, she could hardly bring herself to walk back to the operatory.
After a full clinical exam and a review of the pictures, I knew I was in for a long conversation with her. At that moment, I knew I didn’t have the time or emotional energy for this, so I kicked the can down the road. I asked her if we could schedule another time to discuss my thoughts after I’d been able to thoroughly consider her best options.
A week or so later, she and her husband joined me and my treatment coordinator for a long winter’s chat. I restated her original desire for chewing and improvements to look of her front teeth. Then I began laying out some treatment proposals. It was at this point that she began going toe-to-toe with me, firing off objection after objection.
When I stated that the only way she could comfortably make it through an appointment was through sedation, she abruptly asked me how long I’ve been a dentist and how many of my patient’s have died from sedation!
Wow. Where do you go from there? Fortunately, I could answer honestly, “Over 35 years and zero!”
We went back and forth for a little while longer, but how does one follow a comment like that? Meeting objection after objection, I had almost given up out of frustration. Still, I continually circled back to the two concerns she had outlined during our first meeting, reassuring her that I was listening and that we could offer an appropriate solution to her main concern.
I was looking for a closing when her husband said, “We’re going on vacation soon. Can this be finished before then?”
Hallelujah! I had my out. “We can complete the upper teeth before you go and the lower after you return,” I suggested.
“Oh, no. Doctor, can you do the lower first? I really hate this lower yellow tooth,” she replied.
Bingo. We had drilled down to the real objection. “Yes, of course we can do the lower first,” I assured. And now my treatment coordinator could segue into a discussion of cost and appointment time.
When the patient finally got to her actual main concern—in this case the look of one of her lower teeth—and we were able to offer a solution that worked for her, the case was closed.
Well, almost closed. Now I actually have to treat her! ; )