Stephen Covey said, “The way we see the problem is the problem.”
And most often he is correct. Another way of saying it, said by one of the great philosophers is, “The quality of your answers will be determined by the quality of your questions.”
Here’s the point that I brought up last week and it is worth deep and deliberate study within your business, your own personal performance, and in life in general – that which is on the surface is seldom where you will find anything of substance and only substance will lead you to the real story.
I will walk you through it right now.
A doctor or team member sees the problem as…
“My patients don’t have any money.”
We know this already to not be true because unless they are living on the streets (a truly sadly reality for some), then it requires money to live. They have money.
Some have less than others, but generally people have money. They just choose to do different things with it.
This doesn’t mean they all have ‘enough’ money to do what you think they should. Still, this excuse doesn’t work. It’s not that the patient doesn’t have money; it’s that at the current time they value using that money on something other than dentistry. The way we see the problem with patients and money is the problem.
Yesterday, I spoke to a wonderful Doctor who is relatively new to ‘my world’ whose team is having great success. By the first of the year I’d expect they will have consistently doubled their average monthly collections. He said to me, “I never admitted this to my team but I wasn’t sure patients in my city would willingly prepay for dentistry… and we are getting money up front like crazy every single day. It’s amazing.”
When you see it differently, you get different outcomes.
We see insurance as a problem. I see insurance as evidence that they must have a job or be married to someone with one. Hooray, we just ruled out the single biggest objection. If you have insurance, then you have income, it doesn’t come for free no matter what you think.
I can give you a dozen different examples and specific “problems” that most practices see and believe that are simply NOT true.
If you want one of the greatest and most powerful lessons in life it is this one:
Seeing problems is the surest way to manifest those problems and to keep them in your life. What you believe and think will be true. For better or for worse.
Changing your perspective is the best way to identify greater opportunity, overcome problems, and to ultimately discover solutions.
Now, let’s go one level deeper and talk below the surface.
Our practices track future-focused numbers. Most importantly, that includes diagnosis, accepted treatment, and scheduled to goal days out into the future.
Of course, there are historical numbers of past production and collections – though I am more concerned about how much production is on the schedule in the future and how much money did we collect today for dentistry not yet delivered.
Looking at these numbers will give us insights; it does not give us details. It will give us surface view but not substance view. You must go deeper. You must find out what the conversations are like, what the process is, how the experience is unfolding, how the patient is being engaged.
So often I see big dollars of diagnosis but small case acceptance and I see schedules plateauing at levels below where they should be. Usually this is because of how treatment is presented.
If we diagnosis big picture but then present only small steps or we use insurance as a baseline, we limit the amount of dentistry being done at any one visit. Therefore, we see diminishing results because the available time gets used up and now we put a ceiling over our heads on daily numbers.
But it could be the result of ONE small problem that can easily be fixed. That is how the discussion of “getting the treatment done” is explained. In as few visits as possible based on the doctor’s philosophy should always be the mindset and then you help to facilitate the patient’s ability to pay.
If you want to go even deeper than that, if patients still object then there is a problem on understanding, there is a lack of value, or they have not committed to the outcome.
Money will ultimately be the final decision maker of HOW FAST the treatment gets done but it should not be deciding IF treatment gets done (assuming someone truly wanted the outcome in the first place). It is your responsibility to influence patients to want more for themselves and to see the vision.
We are going full circle here right back around to “the way we see the problem is the problem.” And the same goes for your patients too…
Throughout your entire experience, whether new patients, emergency patients, or patients of record, it is vital that you are taking the lead and shaping the perspective of how patients see their problems. It requires you to be very intentional to help them see their reality, why it matters, the value of the outcome, and then to motivate them to want to get it done in a timely manner.
The action plan for this Weekly Report is simple and powerful. You should, along with your team, make a list of all the things you believe to be true that are holding you back (schedule, patients, money, insurance, time, whatever), and then you should challenge yourselves to see the problems differently by looking at them in a way that leads you to solutions.
Begin by questioning the problem. Most roadblocks in life are illusions we’ve accepted as reality.
Now, if you want extra credit, the real magic will happen when you play patient and write down all the problems they see and all the excuses they make. Then work backwards to give them a different perspective on this.
When you master this whole ‘seeing problems differently’ concept, you will be able to move the patients away from resistance of accepting dentistry.
Go beneath the surface, discover things as they are not just as they seem. You’ll find incredible breakthroughs in the most obvious and yet subtle ways whether word changes, process adjustments, or simply by modifying your perspective.
See what magic you can make happen and what problems you can turn into solutions.