Creating Trust With Patients [Part 1 of 7]

As you know, if you have been paying attention, I am extremely excited about this series of Weekly Reports that we are going to explore and discover together.

The reason is simple because MONEY moves to TRUST and TRUST begets LOYALTY and LOYALTY brings COMMITMENT and those are the things most often missing in dental practices.  Patient loyalty and commitment not only to You – Your Practice and Team – but actually to completing treatment.

You can look at it any way you want but the bottom line is: if patients aren’t saying yes and going out of their way to invest in your services (and their health and overall care) then there is a break down somewhere of value.  Usually, since you and I both know the value, you are failing on only one of two fronts.

First: the demonstration, illustration, full on representation of value that the patient is believing and perceiving.

This could be that you just are selling yourself, the treatment or (even worse) the patient short and not doing a complete enough experience.

We will work on this throughout this series.  However, the value proposition of all treatment is NOT hard to deal with and create as long as you follow the key principles that I teach and tools I give to you.

More often than not it’s the next issue…

Second: your patients lack trust in what you say, do and exemplify because of major issues that they encounter (that you might not even think about) along the way.

Done properly both of these issues – TRUST and BELIEF – are conquered together at the same time if you go through each of the Trust Factors during the patient engagement points you have.

I promise you this, if you commit and dedicate yourself, your team and your practice in all ways to focusing on the Trust Factors with your patients at each stage of their experience, you will win more case acceptance more easily than you ever thought possible.

Remember this: patients want to say yes.  That’s why they are there.

And I’m not talking about ‘just’ NEW Patients.  This is every patient every time.  Think about it, with any relationship, is trust earned once and given forever?  NO, of course not.  It is earned again and again and again.

Trust is ongoing.  However it must be built on a foundation that is established from the beginning and then everything you do you are either building it and reinforcing it or you are doing the opposite.

With that said, we move into Trust Factor #1: Explanation of “The Visit”

Explanation is so important because of one most critical principles that applies basically to all of humanity… PATIENTS HATE SURPRISES.

Of course, we all like ‘good’ surprises, some anyways, but even then it builds anxiety and many people respond negatively even to positive intentions because they were not expecting it.

Patients, on the other hand, always start skeptical, cautious and concerned.

You have to ask yourself WHAT ARE YOU DOING to counteract all three of those words.  How are you reassuring them?  Making them comfortable?  Putting their minds at ease?

This is what must happen to even begin the trust building process.

This is why I don’t like trickery on the initial phone call or vague explanations or NO explanations about treatment or next steps.

The number one reason given (other than the normal 3 excuses for delaying treatment) for NOT moving forward with treatment is LACK OF UNDERSTANDING – no clarity about what is actually going to happen or what’s going to be done.

Funny thing is, I’m NOT talking about clinical descriptions.  Rather we are talking about experiential explanations.

Patients want to know what, why, when, where and who.  Go figure.  You just can’t ever escape those things can you.

Now, we are going to tackle inside the office and the treatment part as we move through the series.

Today, I want you to focus on walking through your patient interactions and outline what explanations should be given on the phone, on the confirmation call, in the interview, even during the exam, treatment conference and coming back for treatment.

You can also ask yourself, “WHAT DO MY PATIENTS NEED TO KNOW?”  That answer can even be put on the website or in the welcome materials.

The reason explanations are important is because we can control what the patient is thinking.  So much of trust is creating a trusting environment, being proactive and telling before being asked.  This way, you are not leaving it up to the patient to assume (never a good thing) or to be so overly paranoid that they can’t even allow themselves to settle into being present with what is going on.

We must have present patients; mentally, physically and emotionally.

Imagine that.  Trust is only built from patients who are present in all ways.  The first step in making that happen is to provide clear, exciting, directive explanations of what they are going to go through, both their part and yours.  This is advanced stuff, as promised.

Here’s the magic, when you give them the explanation you are also shaping in their minds what it is supposed to be.  You are helping them to live into the future and experience in advance what is going to happen and that is the best way to control expectations and condition your patients for success.

And that’s where we’ll be going next week… in Part 2 of our special series about the most important thing that you can possibly focus on with your patients…

Trust.

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