Why Trust Matters (and how to build patient loyalty)

As you might expect, consumers are only getting more skeptical.  Of everything, every interaction, with everyone.  You can focus on many causes.  Social Media being one, regular (if you can call it that) Media being another, the internet in general another and too many other reasons to list.

This is our reality.  And we haven’t even begun talking about dentistry yet.  Just the nature of consumers’ mind and their lack of belief and trust over anything and anyone who is providing a service no matter how valuable.  They are taught to be skeptical and to believe that they are going to be disappointed, taken advantage of and let down in some way.

We have zero control over what people say and now anyone can make up anything they want and harm you, even if it is not true.

We do have control over what people believe about you though and that’s why building trust matters.  Because there is no belief without trust.  No trust without belief.  These things work together hand in hand and I gave you seven key ways to build both of them last week right here.

Let’s talk specifically about the up hill battle you face every day with your patients.

Aside from the fact that most patients would prefer to NOT need, let alone go to, the Dentist and they certainly don’t want to allocate part of their money, income, savings to dentistry either.  So, we begin with the deck stacked against us.

Now, more than ever before, you are susceptible to online reviews, social media posts, corporations, insurance and usually the combination of all of these things all at once.

Add on top of that the blanket of stereotypes that dentists receive because NOT ALL DENTISTS are created equal or CARE enough to practice with complete integrity.

Unfortunately, many patients don’t first find the right practice and have all kinds of bad experiences; whether that’s a problem in their mouths left to get worse by a bashful or unknowledgeable dentist, poor work that’s been done that has failed, or worse yet work that was unnecessary to begin with.

These are all things that patients have gone through before they get to you.  You know because you deal with this dynamic every day and often fix the leftover problems.

Now, I’m not here to bad mouth ANY Dentist, but I also know though that I don’t have any of ‘those’ Dentists reading this right now.

Here’s the point: you must approach your patients from their perspective and experience – NOT yours.

You will never achieve the greatest number of loyal patients that are committed to comprehensive treatment plans unless you commit to achieving the trust factor first.

And you can’t create trust if you don’t first understand where patients are coming from and what they expect from you, even if they can’t articulate it themselves.

Trust matters because it’s essential in order for a patient to open their minds to really believing you have their best interest at heart and that you are not just scamming them into treatment that they don’t understand.

Here’s the thing about all of this…

On top of societal problems,

On top of industry stereotypes,

On top of past experiences…

You also have patients who are knowingly incompetent about dentistry and therefore automatically skeptical about any and all of it.  At least until they have reason to believe otherwise and to trust you.

If you have not fully built trust with your patients and you were to proceed with telling them about problems and then asking them for money then you never really give the patients a chance to say yes because the little voice in their heads are saying “wait, stop, hold on, think about it.”

And you will immediately think they just don’t want it, but the reality is they just aren’t ready to fully trust you that it’s what they ‘need’ ‘want’ and ‘deserve’ – the three things that must past through patients’ minds before they are ready to believe and agree, own and commit, pay and proceed.

Now, please don’t take this next part personal, at least not yet.  Patients NOT trusting you BEFORE they engage and experience you is NOT your fault; patients NOT trusting you AFTER their engagement and experience with you IS your fault.  And that’s what we are going to fix.

Grow case acceptance by creating more trust.

Grow profitable dentistry by creating more trust.

Grow retention and new patients by creating more trust.

In order to grow any and all parts of your practice, create leverage for yourself and your team, and to achieve more with less – you must make every patient more valuable and the only way to do that is to increase the trust factor of your patients from start to finish and everything in between.

Of course, you also know, like any relationship, this never stops.  You can’t win me over today and let me down tomorrow.  Once trust is gained, it must be maintained.

We’ll start on the significant and advanced journey of doing just that with part one of our multiple Weekly Report Series on gaining trust.  Then we’ll continue on into how to maintain, sustain and further your relationship with your patients and you will see a compounding of results in your practice all through focusing on this very thing.

This will have a bigger impact on your practice than anything else you could ever do.  That’s because trust is a rising tide that lifts up every other part of your practice.

Next week: tangible, tactical and specific strategies to create a trust-accelerating experience every step of the way.

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