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Dental Conversion Dynamics

Course Details
Length: 3.75 Hours
Modules: 24 - View Modules
CE Credit: 3.75 CE

Basic Member Price: $897.00
Included with the Business Track

Value: 1,497.00

Course access is restricted to FGD Members only. Enroll in membership today to gain exclusive access.


This comprehensive course equips dentists and dental team members with the skills and strategies necessary to excel in patient communication and treatment acceptance. Learn how to better understand patient behavior, master the art of empathetic sales, and script communication strategies according to the various patient types.

Throughout the course, emphasis is placed on understanding the balance between empathy and confidence, and how active listening skills help build trust and rapport with patients. You will be guided through frameworks for effective negotiation and overcoming common objections with finesse and professionalism. 

Complete this course to gain a profound understanding of the psychology behind patient decision-making. On completion you and your team will have acquired practical tools to navigate the complexities of running a successful and patient-centric dental practice.

Course Details
Length: 3.75 Hours
Modules: 24
CE Credit: 3.75 CE
Basic Member Price: $897.00
Included with Business Track

Value: $1,497.00

Course access is restricted to FGD Members only. Enroll today to gain exclusive access.



1. Myths In The Dental Industry Two common myths pervade the dental industry, shaping how dentists view their profession and their approach to patient interactions. The first is that dentists can delegate the business aspects of their practice to others. While the primary focus of dentistry is indeed improving oral health, the reality is that dentists, especially those owning practices, also need to manage business operations effectively. The second myth dispelled is the negative perception of sales in dentistry. The lesson emphasizes mastering the art of 'prescriptive sales' which is an approach that involves understanding and addressing patient concerns, displaying empathy and confidence, and guiding patients towards accepting beneficial treatments. The module encourages dentists to embrace this dual aspect of their role, combining clinical excellence with effective patient communication and business acumen.

2. How to Read Your Patients: Part I A system to better understand patients in dentistry is presented with the aim of optimizing the use of a dentist's time and enhancing patient care. The strategy divides patients into four types (A, B, C, D) and focuses on how to recognize and respond to each category. Type A patients are aware of their problems and actively seek solutions, requiring little education but rather guidance and reassurance in their decision-making. Type B patients are often unaware of their dental issues until diagnosed and need more explanation and reassurance. Both types require a dentist's empathy and confidence to effectively guide them towards the best solutions. The module emphasizes that not all patients are the same and that recognizing this can improve patient interactions and treatment outcomes.

3. How to Read Your Patients: Part II This second part of the training on reading dental patients focuses on the challenging patient types C and D. Type C patients are often unaware of their dental health status and place comparatively less importance on professional advice, typically acting on dental issues only when driven by pain or significant life changes. These patients may only accept treatment covered by insurance, attempting to transfer responsibility for their problems to the dentist. Type D patients are characterized by a complete disinterest in their dental health and a tendency to blame others for their problems. They are known for neglecting dental advice and treatment, often missing appointments and disrespecting practice policies. The module emphasizes the importance of identifying these patients and understanding the way they make decisions for and against dental treatment.

4. Stop Trying To Make People Something They Aren't Some people lack internal motivation for dentistry and there's little that dentists can do to change that. It's essential for dentists to focus energy on those who are internally motivated and respect the dentist's expertise, thereby creating a more effective and fulfilling practice. This approach not only aligns with professional goals but also ensures a healthier and more sustainable business model.

5. The Psychology of Sales Many dentists are "reluctant salespeople," because while professional practice demands aspects of performance and persuasion, there's an internal conflict due to societal perceptions and personal misconceptions about sales. The module emphasizes that effective sales communication in dentistry isn't about coercion; it's about guiding patients to make informed decisions that improve their lives. By embracing a consultative and prescriptive approach to sales, dentists can more effectively guide patients towards beneficial treatments, enhancing both their practice and their patients' health outcomes.

6. The Doctor's Framework for Case Acceptance Developing a systematic approach to consultations and patient interactions allows the dentist to move away from the traditional method of patient education which often leads to confusion and indecision. Instead, it advocates for a framework based on simplicity and effectiveness, drawing from negotiation principles. This framework is designed to be easily understandable and effective, aiming to enhance case acceptance rates by engaging patients in a more empathetic and understanding manner. Dentists are encouraged to shift their mindset about sales-oriented communication, viewing it as an opportunity to provide valuable solutions.

7. Patients Want Results, Not Products Understanding how patients make buying decisions in dentistry inevitably steers dentists away from product-focused presentations towards solution-oriented communication. The lesson underscores that patients seek solutions to their problems rather than specific products or brands. Dentists are advised to simplify explanations and focus on addressing patients' pain points and emotions rather than overwhelming patients with product details or choices they may be poorly equipped to understand.

8. Empathy and Confidence Empathy and confidence play an important role in dentist-patient communication, impacting on patients' perception and decision-making. Many patients often feel unheard in dental settings, leading to frustration and a lack of trust. Dentists need to listen actively, validating the importance of issues brought up by patients, even if they seem trivial from a clinical perspective. Then, dentists must take care to make clear, assured recommendations rather than presenting a confusing array of options. Overwhelming patients with too many choices can lead to indecision, while a confident recommendation helps them understand and trust the proposed treatment plan.

9. Lead the Conversation A structured approach to consultations includes techniques such as ‘Authority Introductions', the 'Power Question,’ and 'Setting the Agenda.’ This structured approach aims to make patients feel understood and valued while positioning the dentist as a capable and trustworthy provider.

10. Asking the Right Questions (Are You Really Listening?) Asking specific, direct questions aimed at uncovering patients' dissatisfaction with their smiles can enhance dentist-patient communication by providing a structured approach to consultations. The conversion questions are designed to open a dialogue and gain insights into the patients' concerns and desires.

11. Introducing the Cast of Characters A trip to the dentist does not have to be an unpredictable affair. Every practice has the opportunity to put on a finely tuned performance, where each member of the team plays a crucial role. However, unlike the cast in a Broadway play, dental teams often lack extensive training, relying on brief morning huddles for coordination. This training stresses the importance of every interaction being important, with the dental practice seen as an ensemble where each role contributes to the overall patient experience. Special attention is given to the front desk role, likened to a conductor or film director, vital in maintaining order and efficiency. The concept of synergy is introduced, suggesting that understanding and respecting each other’s roles leads to a more united and effective team.

12. Self-Discovery and the Dentist's Cure A trip to the dentist does not have to be an unpredictable affair. Every practice has the opportunity to put on a finely tuned performance, where each member of the team plays a crucial role. However, unlike the cast in a Broadway play, dental teams often lack extensive training, relying on brief morning huddles for coordination. This training stresses the importance of every interaction being important, with the dental practice seen as an ensemble where each role contributes to the overall patient experience. Special attention is given to the front desk role, likened to a conductor or film director, vital in maintaining order and efficiency. The concept of synergy is introduced, suggesting that understanding and respecting each other’s roles leads to a more united and effective team.

13. Selecting the Solution (with your expert guidance) While almost every dentist claims to listen to their patients, it’s evident from the movement of patients between providers that not all do. Listening to understand patients' concerns, rather than just waiting to interject with one's own thoughts is an important component of a patient-centered approach. Once patients recognize their problems, the dentist's role is to listen to their frustrations and goals, guiding them towards a solution that aligns with these. The process ensures that the patient is emotionally invested in the solution, rather than simply being told what to do by the dentist.

14. Using Trends in Technology to Sell Cases Modern technology has the potential to greatly simplify communication in dentistry. When used as part of a broader strategy, imagery can be useful in gaining emotional buy-in from patients and enhancing the practice's profile online and on social media. Similarly, the use of online reviews as a tool for reputation building and increasing organic visibility in search engine results is encouraged. Dentists are advised to take a proactive approach, utilizing technology and imagery not just as tools for diagnosis and treatment planning, but as essential elements in creating a modern, patient-centric dental practice.

15. Don't Miss the Signals Patients often exhibit both buying signals and objections, and discerning these is key to improving conversion in the dental practice. Buying signals are indications of a patient's interest in treatment, while objections are expressions of lingering doubt. Dentists and dental team members are wise to pay attention to these signals, as they represent real opportunities for engagement. Ultimately, the aim is to guide patients toward better decision making around dental treatment by identifying their interest and alleviating their concerns.

16. Body Language and Mirroring Alongside verbal cues, non-verbal signals play a vital role in patient communication. Dentists are encouraged to be aware of their own body language and to mirror patients' communication styles to establish rapport. Patients' body language, such as arm crossing, nervous gestures, or avoiding eye contact, are indicators of their comfort level and sometimes even of their openness to treatment suggestions. Understanding these cues can assist in categorizing patients (using the ABCD system) and focusing on those who are genuinely interested in treatment. The overall message is that effective case acceptance and conversion involve not only addressing who to include but also identifying who to exclude, thereby investing time and effort in patients who value the dental solutions offered.

17. Closing Cases Like a Seasoned Pro In a collaborative negotiation, both the patient and the dentist achieve desirable outcomes. Negotiation focuses on aligning the parties involved, their respective interests, the available options, and the success criteria. This approach helps in establishing the patient's emotional connection to the problem and the solution, thereby strengthening their commitment to the treatment result. Dentists and dental teams are advised to practice with role-playing and refine their approach over time as part of integrating an improved system of communication in the practice.

18. Overcoming Common Objections Beyond the requirements of clinical competency, a dentist's success lies in superior communication skills. This lesson identifies common objections such as cost concerns, the need for more information, seeking a second opinion, finding cheaper alternatives, and discussing treatment with a spouse. It provides strategies to address each objection, underlining the need to view objections not as rejections, but as opportunities for deeper engagement and reassurance. By understanding and addressing these concerns, dentists can help patients overcome indecision and commit to treatment.

19. The Doctor's Prescription: Always a Next Step Not all treatment recommendations will be accepted. This is especially true as the case complexity and case related fees grow in size. However, these occasional “defeats” do not equate to overall failure. Dentists are encouraged to accept that some patients will not commit immediately, and to adopt a long-term approach that includes follow-up consultations for patients who are uncertain. This approach helps maintain the value of the practice and keeps patient acquisition costs low.

20. The Hand Off Handoffs in the dental practice contribute to operational predictability and enhance the patient experience and case acceptance. But what is a proper handoff and who is responsible? Handoffs are defined as the transfer of patient care and responsibility between dental team members. Well-executed handoffs are not merely internal staff communications but play a crucial role in providing predictable and reassuring experiences for patients. Recognizing that many dental patients feel out of their element and anxious about procedures, providing clarity and predictability in each step of their visit can reduce anxiety and improve case acceptance rates. In contrast, poor handoffs can result in missed steps, lost patients, and declined treatment recommendations.

21. Training a Sales Coordinator on Fee Presentation Presenting fees to dental patients is one of the more delicate tasks in the dental practice. There is a need to balance sensitivity to patients' financial circumstances while maintaining real and perceived value of the dental solutions. Professional dental fees are compensation for access to highly developed clinical skills, and expressions of sympathy or justification are generally counterproductive. Instead, these unhelpful sentiments are replaced with empathy and confidence.

22. Strategies for Staff to Overcome Objections A common issue in dental practices is the struggle to effectively handle patient objections. Dental team members often mistake "not now" for "not ever," missing the opportunity to follow up with interested but uncertain patients. Dental teams require proper training and an understanding of who, when, and how to engage patients in dialogue. Viewing objections as challenges rather than rejections is helpful in encouraging a proactive approach that meets people where they are and gets all patients what they want.

23. Your Fortune is in the Follow Up Despite technological advancements in administrative functions, the manual labor of follow-ups remains essential. Follow-up is distinct from mere appointment reminders, requiring specific, relevant, and timely post-consultation communication. Effective follow-up is noted as a key factor in improving case acceptance, yet it is often overlooked or inconsistently executed in dental practices. Quality communication through follow-up is shown to increase patient acceptance of treatment recommendations, enhancing profitability and patient satisfaction.

24. Action Verbs Action verbs are pivotal in dental communications, and when judiciously used, can create urgency, build value, and clarify benefits and features. Additionally, action verbs play a crucial role in closing discussions with patients, encouraging them to take decisive steps. The strategic use of action verbs in dentistry not only aids in effective communication but also in making interactions more engaging, potentially leading to better patient outcomes and increased practice success. However, their overuse must be avoided to maintain their impact and effectiveness.

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