This week, we continue our month of Halloween spookiness with a simple premise… who does the influencing first determines who is influenced the most – which means you just might be under your patients’ spell.
The fact is what holds practices back from the higher-level achievements they are capable of and their ability to help even more patients is their preconceived ideas about what patients will or won’t do, why patients will or won’t accept treatment.
We see it all the time, doctors and teams jaded by their past experiences and conditioned by their patients to conform to a certain set of lower standards and diminished expectations often resulting in you actually facilitating the exact opposite outcome that you really want and know is best for your patients.
With these scary thoughts abound, like cobwebs in the brain, it reduces your ability to see clearly and lessens each patient’s opportunity to realize optimal health.
There are three specific spells patients cast that you can easily overcome with some magic of your own.
First, it’s the idea that they “can’t” afford treatment which really means they don’t value the benefits more than the money and they somehow convince you that their money is your problem, when it isn’t.
Their value perception is your responsibility; their money is not. Though you are to be a leader and guide to help them move forward no matter what stands in their way because what is in their best interest.
The spell is twofold, first that any answer is a final answer. When it is just talking out loud and trying to sort through it all in their minds. Often it serves as a challenge to you asking if you can help them make a better decision before they walk out the door.
Second, the other side of it is that money is an insurmountable obstacle whereas it is actually one of the easier problems to solve since there are a number of steps you can take to help patients financially.
Another spell patients cast is one of slight-of-hand where they distract you with insurance talk, indecision, or even appearing to be disinterested – all as a way of letting themselves off the hook of making a tough decision that will benefit their health. After all, if it was an easy decision, they would have made it long ago.
You counter a spell with a spell, of course. You don’t try to resist it, you embrace it by giving it an equal reaction of almost identical in nature. I covered this in a recent Monday Huddle on how you can use agreement to challenge a patient; almost in an “is this all you’ve got” type of response.
Don’t let them fool you. They wouldn’t be there if they didn’t want to see improvement in their lives. These are tricks they hope you figure out as their guide on a pathway to health.
The most convincing spell your patients cast on you is one you really cast on yourself. It’s all the things you believe will cause your patient to go somewhere else or not schedule treatment or be upset with you personally or object to your recommendations in some way.
Most of these scary nightmare scenarios actually don’t exist in reality or you will very rarely have to deal with them. Yet, we treat them like a constant threat and allow them to interfere far too often.
If you take control from the onset and you will have very little resistance along the way. That means…
Control the schedule.
Control the environment.
Control the experience.
Control the dentistry.
Control the flow of money.
Control all of it and you’ll have a lot less spells cast in your direction from your patients.
Most practices’ excuses about inconsistent performance or stagnant growth are all avoidable by being more proactive and less reactive – which requires you to make the first move.
You have the ability to have your practice preset with magic far in advance of your patients even having the opportunity to play tricks on you.
At the end of the day, no matter the time of the year, you make the choice to be at the mercy of the spells your patients cast or opt to be immune to their powers.
Last week, you took inventory of your magic. This week we’ve assessed some of your patient’s own. Next week, we’ll take a look at some often underutilized and even some unspoken spells you possess next week.
In the meantime, as a team talk about any spells you fall under from your patients and how you plan to counteract these tricks. Most of all, see how you are getting in your own way by believing preconceived ideas. Take a hard look into that “mirror mirror on the wall” to see if you aren’t being fair to yourself or your patients at all.