How great would it be to have patients coming through your door, unsolicited, ready to move forward with treatment? What if it happened with virtually no expense to you and resulted in a robust and continuously expanding patient base?
As a coach and marketer for Sleep Medicine Dentists, one of the biggest objections I get to promotional discussions is, “I’m not a salesperson – I can’t sell – I don’t want to sell – I hate the idea of selling!”
No kidding? You mean you went to college for dentistry, graduated, pursued additional education, grew your practice and didn’t find time to moonlight as a salesperson?
Well, you’re not alone. Selling isn’t all about used cars, unsolicited product demos or any of the other stereotypical images most of us carry. In today’s world, information is the new “pitch”– and offering information can be as easy as having a discussion. If you have added Sleep Dentistry to your practice and still treat other patients, screening each patient with an Epworth Scale or Stop Bang form is a great start. BUT, without a relevant follow-up discussion as to ‘why?’ the new form, or a conversation regarding the implications of untreated sleep apnea, the form is a missed opportunity to engage and share information. And that missed opportunity to inform becomes a missed opportunity for your patients to start conversations with their friends and family about the benefits of sleep dentistry – (for those of you playing along at home, this is how you create unsolicited patients actively seeking your services and products!).
Conversations can start by patients filling out a survey on your website, with your staff during a phone call, or while the patient is standing at your reception desk. They can happen in a hygiene chair or during a chart review. Being aware of patient appearance, mood, complaints or other audible or visible signs of sleep debt is another opportunity for you and your staff to inquire about how patients are doing. In-office signage that informs about the link between chronic disease and inadequate or interrupted sleep can even prompt a patient to start a conversation.
A patient in conversation can be heard. They can be given information so they can make an informed decision about getting a diagnosis for themselves or for a family member. At that point, they no longer need to be sold your services or products, they are empowered to make informed choices based on their own insight.
Bottom line, all this discussion starts with a solid education about snoring, sleep apnea, the importance of sleep, and treatment options. You, your staff and your patients, together in this discussion, fosters trust and builds long term relationships.
Training yourself and your staff to discuss sleep apnea treatment matters to patients; it means better health, feeling and looking youthful, improved functionality, a return to “the big bed.” Everyone in your office the opportunity and responsibility to be part of the patient care team. Give away information freely. Have information readily available for your staff to give away.
Patients not only walk through the door of an office where they trust the provider – they also refer their family and friends, and that is invaluable!