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How to Sell Hygiene or Any Other Treatment


One word is that almost universally hated by dental professionals is the word “sell.” You do not like to consider yourselves sales people – you see yourselves as service people. No one likes salespeople and probably people whose actual job title is sales do not like the pressure and sleazy image that the word selling connotes.

But your patients are consumers and what they do is buy dentistry. So, in that sense you are selling. But what I teach dental teams is that we can reframe all our conversations about scheduling and paying for treatment not as sales conversations where you push patients to buy but as “I can make a difference” conversations where you invite patients to enroll.

Here is a truism about selling anything to anyone: if your target audience doesn’t perceive a need for your item or service, then they are not going to buy it regardless of the price. On the other hand, if your audience has an urgent pain point or a desire, then they will convince themselves to buy regardless of money or time obstacles.

The key is that people sell themselves. Your job is to enable patients to see how the benefits of treatment will match their perceived needs.

This is Why You’ve Been Selling Hygiene Wrong

My guess is that you’ve not considered that you actually need to sell hygiene treatment before. And no offense, but this is the real reason you’re experiencing holes in your hygiene schedule that no number of quick-call lists can fill. One reason patients cancel hygiene appointments rather than restorative appointments is that your patients are literally not buying what you’re selling. This is because:

1. You haven’t much effort to sell it
2 Patients don’t know what they’re supposed to buy
3. Patients don’t see any benefits of hygiene beyond a biannual cleaning

Your patients are not going to line up for hygiene appointments if the only thing they think they’re getting is a routine cleaning. Patients only want things that make them feel better physically or emotionally. A “cleaning” doesn’t have much emotional currency. Therefore, you need to make an explicit connection between what your patients want for their dental health and what they can get through hygiene treatment at your office.

Your next conversation, with every patient you have in your practice has to anticipate and answer this essential question:

Why would I want to come to this hygiene appointment?

What This Sounds Like

Here is the conversation you should be having with your new patients to enroll them into hygiene:

Hey patient, I hear you saying that x and y are really important to you. This is important to me and my team too. We’ll accomplish much of that through your appointments with me. And where you’ll really get the most benefit is through your hygiene treatment in our office. Let me explain a little about what you’ll get through those appointments and how that will help you specifically with your situation. We’re going to put you on a hygiene schedule that is customized for you. It’s crucial that you keep to this schedule.

And you need to have similar conversations with restorative or cosmetic patients:

Hey patient, we accomplished a lot today and I know you’re going to feel so much better/love your new smile. Because you invested so much in this treatment, it is especially important that we get you into the right hygiene schedule. Your hygiene treatment is going to capitalize what we did today by… It’s now more important than ever that you keep to this schedule.

Tying it Into a Bow

By naming the benefits of hygiene treatment you can “sell” patients into wanting these appointments. And patients who WANT to come are less likely to cancel and less likely to argue about insurance benefits.

Your Next Action

Your next step is to train your team to adapt a new mindset and the accompanying new verbal skills. I train dentists and teams on this topic. But if you don’t have the time to create this training, I can help. Let’s chat on a call. Click here and transform hygiene.

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Inspired Us to Dream Bigger, and it Works

“As an Office Manager, I’ve seen a great difference in my practice since starting with Sharyn. Three years ago our staff was in turmoil with a lot of infighting and gossip and some jealousy directed towards me.

I had given up because everything I did was judged. Now I have learned to have more one-to-one communication and by being more vulnerable with individuals I found my leadership voice. As a team, we’re all focused on the same goals.

Last year, in August we produced $88,000. This year we’re on track to produce $111,000 this month. I know it’s because we learned how to follow through with patients and communicate our expectations while building our systems.

Sharyn has gotten us out of our comfort zone and inspired us to dream bigger and it works.”

–Sharon St Pierre, Sperbeck Dental Care

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