I am told that dentists are cheap. When I speak to salespeople or anyone who does business with dentists, I often hear that “dentists are cheap.” This got me thinking, why do dentists have a problem spending money?
I feel we get a lot of pushback in our practices – many patients saying no to recommended services. Being told no all the time can be contagious, spreading from patient to dentist, then from dentist to supplier.
When you look deeper into this question, dentists are not cheap, we just want the same things from our salespeople as our patients want from us: value for money, trust in recommendations and reliably consistent services.
Value for the money
Patients want a return on their investments. How often have you been faced with the complaint that veneers are ‘just too expensive?’ But when you reinforce the benefits of how they will last them decades, their function in chewing, 24/7 durability in saliva and that they will change the patient’s life in the process, how quickly their minds change for the better.
When we forget to mention all of the benefits that follow a procedure, it’s no wonder patients don’t see the “value” in what we are recommending and we hear “no!” In the presentation process, it is critically important to remember that it’s our job as dental professionals to teach our patients that there’s value in the money that they are spending with us. We need to make sure they know that what they are buying goes beyond today and understand the value of what it will bring in a year or 5 years. It’s not about the return for “today” but rather the long-term value.
I think that’s what the salespeople who say that “dentists are cheap” need to realize. We need to understand the value of what is being offered and the long-term benefits of that product or service BEFORE we invest our hard-earned money into it.
Trust is a two-way street
Trust is an essential factor in all business exchanges. Think about it. If you present a $25,000 case to a new patient that just walked into your practice, most often you will get a no. But when that patient has been in your care for a couple of years and you’ve formed a relationship by addressing their challenges or the changes they would like to see in their smile, they become far more receptive to accepting your case. Trust has been developed and that trust creates value in what we are presenting.
In the end, as much as we have to develop trust with our own patients, we need to learn to develop that same trust with outside suppliers. Together, we must be committed to doing what we say, setting and meeting expectations consistently.
Consistent service demonstrates value and earns trust. A reputation of consistent service is critical to building a business. In our practices, ensuring that patients know what to expect from every interaction they have with our practice, from booking appointments to their time in the chairs, keeps them coming back and trusting our recommendations.
For suppliers, it is the same thing. Dentists need to know that the supplier is dependable that their products are reliable and their recommendations are sound.
As dentists, we’re not cheap. We’re faced with many financial decisions every day and patients that are resistant to spending their money on recommended treatments. When we learn to explain the value in our services, to take the time to build trust and to offer a consistent service that nurtures return business, we’ll find that resistance drops away. If our suppliers and salespeople learn the same lessons, they may see ours drop away as well.