Lesson #1: CORE Lesson #1 – The WHY of this session
About This Lesson
Instructions coming soon..
- Review the slides provided on my format for the possibilities appointment.
- Make sure your New Patient flow chart includes an initial possibility appointment and use this often.
- Create a sample ROF document (look at office manual provided for guidance), and use this to further patient education.
Hey, what is up everybody? This is Dr Steve Schluentz and I want to welcome you back. We are on to module number six, which is all about the possibility session and I'm just so excited to be able to go through this with you. This is by the time that you're getting into this segment of that new patient process, you should have some bond and rapport with these patients and now it's all about closing them, right? It's all about getting them on the same path as you.
When I started learning training and in this mode of dentistry, what I found was a lot of people were scared about this particular session and they didn't know where to go. So they could lay out a perfect interview, they could lay out a perfect guided tour and they got to this appointment and they were completely lost.
And that's just not where you want to be. I've learned one thing about sales. If your process is clearly defined and you're confident in what you do, your prospect will be much more naturally inclined to follow you. And so you have to understand that as open-ended as this is and giving patients choices and they get to choose, these things are vitally important. But you still have to have a process in place. And I found that most times where this fails is by the time the patient gets to the possibility session, the doctor is so open-ended that they say, "Well, what do you want to do?"
The patient's not going to know exactly what needs to be laid out. That's why they're asking you. Right? So you've got to make sure that this session is clearly defined, clearly laid out and there's steps for everything.
We are going to have seven tenants on the possibility section. And so each one of these core videos is going to have these seven tenants. We are literally starting with the why of this session. Okay? And then as we go forward, you're going to learn more about how to create a very concrete decision for the patient. So they might not have the entire treatment done at this possibility session appointment. The treatment plan may not be laid out. The master plan may not be laid out. None of that stuff may be laid out. But you're asking for one fundamental choice. Either they're going to choose a healthy state or disease state. Are they going to go on a path to health or are they going to stay in that disease state? And that's simply it. And so this possibility session is all about how do you make that choice?
And so let's dig into the why of this session. This is purely a natural extension of the interview and guided tour. It's a three part process so to speak. It's a triad. Interview, guided tour, possibilities appointment. And I've talked about this before. If you're listening and you have a more PPO based practice and you're moving to a more a wellness relationship oriented practice, you're going to have to modify some of this. You can't have three separate appointments. You can't draw the process out too long because you won't stay profitable during that transition.
But you have to think there's three parts. Interview, guided tour, possibilities and I've seen it work many different ways. You could have the interview and the guided tour at one appointment, and the possibilities another appointment. You could have all three in one appointment. You could have the interview in one appointment and the guided tour, possibilities in another appointment.
I've done them all. And some work better than others. For me, interview, guided tour as one appointment, possibilities is second appointment is always the best one for me, but it doesn't always have to be that way.
But you have to understand when you're going into the possibility session, you have to clearly define why it is you're doing this. This session is all about helping patients better understand where they are, what will happen if they do nothing versus something. They need to clearly understand the two pictures that you're painting. If you do nothing, this is what will happen. If you do something, this is what will happen. And then you give them the choice. And like I said earlier on this video, the most important thing honestly, is I want the patient to make a commitment to being healthier at this appointment.
They don't have to do it all at once. In fact, I don't want them to do it all at once. It's a common misconception. I don't want them to be saying, unless it's a very specific type of patient, I don't want them to say "I want to do it all right now." That usually gives me pause. What I want patients to say is, "I'm making a commitment to getting healthier. Where do we start? What's the first step?" Okay the first step's perio. We're going to get you healthy. We're going to have no gums that are bleeding, solid bone levels and then we're going to start to take care of decay. I want that type of commitment. I want them to tell me the level of health they hope to achieve and then my job is to help them get that.
Treatment plans are not the goal at this possibility session. It's a number one mistake that I see dentists make. They immediately throw a treatment plan at somebody. A, you can't understand a treatment plan. That's like asking your accountant for in depth financial metrics of your practice and then they give it back to you and you look at it, you're like, "What is this? I don't even know what this means." If they don't know what it means, they can't move forward.
So treatment plans are not the goal here. Path of agreement is. They need to make that fundamental choice to be healthier and they need to know that you're the person that's going to help them on that path. And then from there we can offer treatment recommendations based on working up the pyramid. If they say, "What is my first step?" You can make a treatment plan in regards to perio now. You can say, "This is the first step. We're going to take care of the perio. We're going to get you healthy. Let's start on that path. I'm going to have Janet work up a plan for you in terms of what I'm initially seeing, what's going to get you healthy to where you said you wanted to go from a perio standpoint. If you're were in yellow or orange, and you wanted to get to green. This is what's naturally involved and so that gives you an idea of where we're going to be at in this pyramid. And let's get you healthy here and then move on to the next rung."
Now, obviously perio, tooth decay and protecting your teeth at night. Those are the three pillars. If you can do these three simple things, no bleeding gums, no holes and cracks in teeth and protecting your teeth at night.
I'm telling you guys, if you did those three simple things, your practice would be so busy you don't know what to do. You would have no time for anything else. We make it way too complicated. We immediately want to talk to them about restoring them to this optimal state and we want to do this and we want to do that. Patients aren't ready to go there, most likely. Now, if they've had a lot of problems before in the past and they're fed up with it and they're ready, it's a totally different type of patient.
But I'm talking about the patients that come in that are just looking for a new dentist. Those are the majority of the patients you're going to see in your practice. You can't blow them away too fast, but you can set this session up in a way that you're going to get them to move a lot faster than they would if you leave this open ended or you don't have this appointment at all.
As this session goes, this is really an intro possibility session and honestly you could have multiple reviews as you're going through this process. You might have a review, a short 10, 15 minute review with the patient at the end of every rung of that pyramid. "Okay, this is what we've accomplished so far. This is the next step. Are you ready to go to the next step?" "This is what we've accomplished so far. This is how far we've come. This is what the next step is. Are you ready to go to the next step?" And every one of those stages could be a short review. It doesn't have to be an hour, it doesn't have to be 45 minutes, it could be just a 10, 15 minute review. "Hey, this is currently where we're at. This is what's next. When are you ready to move forward with that?"
Does that make sense? Hope that makes sense. The action steps on this video, honestly review the slides provided on my format for the possibilities appointment, so that's in dental sales secrets. If you can't find that, please let me know. There's slides that are laid out exactly how I put this possibilities appointment together. You don't want to necessarily copy those slides, but use those as a basis for your own presentation. If you're using slides and PowerPoints and videos and things like that, make sure your new patient flow chart includes an initial possibility appointment and use this as often as possible.
Listen, you have to sell this just like you have to sell anything else in your practice. I hope at that point you've understand. If you're this far in and you don't understand how vital sales is to the success of your practice, you need to go back to step one and start all over.
You need to sell this appointment and when I first started, I didn't sell this appointment and a lot of patients said, "Well, do I really need that?" And then I didn't know what to say. The way I say it now is literally at the end of that guided tour, I tell patients "What I have found is this. The most important thing I can do next for you is as opposed to treating you immediately, is sitting down with you and clearly defining where you're at and where you want to go and how I can help you get there."
That short appointment will save you hours and hours and hours of time on the back end and more disease and more disease. So I highly encourage every one of our patients to come back with me and we're going to do a short possibilities session just to see where you're at, where you want to go, and how I can help you get there in the most convenient manner necessary. Is that okay with you?
You know patients don't say no to that now? And why is that? Because I'm selling it and I'm confident in what I'm doing. If you don't believe in this process, it will not work for you. You have to wholeheartedly believe in this process. And when you do, magic happens. And then you can create a sample review of a findings document or a possibilities document. You can look at the office manual I provided for guidance and use this to further patient education. I've seen some amazing ROF documents.
You want to keep it simple enough so that you can do this every time and you may want to delegate a team member. Once you clearly define this process and have this packet, this document in place, you can have a team member do this for you. They can craft this based on the guided tour appointment. They can fill it in for you. You shouldn't be doing this all the time. You need to get a process in place first though. Learn how to do it yourself and then be able to delegate it to a team member. It's absolutely phenomenal what can happen when you do that. So hopefully you got value out of this one. I'll see you at the next video.