Planting the seed

I am constantly amazed by the number of clients who tell me that their regular patients have recently had whitening/implants/veneers etc done elsewhere. “They didn’t come to you?” I ask. “No, they thought I only did check-ups and fillings” comes the reply. An opportunity well and truly missed.

Anyone who is not listing their services on their website, welcome pack and signage clearly has some catching up to do, but what if you have communicated your services visually and are still wanting greater uptake?

Listing treatments is one thing, but it pays to find out what your patients are really looking for. What is it about the appearance of their smile or about their oral health that they are concerned about? Are there any cosmetic issues they would like to address? Remember, people invest in the things they want more readily than those they need, so invite your patients to tell you what it is they would like from you.

Individual wishes vary so a simple checklist of statements provides the perfect tool. A Smile Check/Smile Analysis form comprises a list of no more than 10 statements, along with tick boxes, that fit neatly onto an A5 sheet. When a patient ticks that a statement is true for them, they take ownership of the idea of treatment and you will know what to provide. For example, anyone who ticks ‘I wish my teeth were whiter and brighter’ indicates an interest in tooth whitening. Similarly, a tick next to the statement ‘Some of my teeth are chipped or misshapen’ paves the way for a dialogue about veneers. The tricky subject of gum disease can be eased if a patient simply ticks ‘My gums bleed when I brush them’.

A Smile Check form isn’t a pushy sales technique, more an effective shortcut to patient satisfaction. You simply plant the seed and wait for the idea to germinate. Your patients then establish for themselves what it is that they want and know that you are the one who can deliver it.