How and Why Scripting Increases Practice Production

Roger P. Levin, DDS
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Most dental teams probably go through a typical workday saying whatever they want. And why not? It’s a free country, right? Sure. The First Amendment is great. But there is also something to be said for being more intentional about what we say and how we say it. This is especially true in a dental office.

Research from the Levin Group Data Center indicates that when dentists effectively implement scripting and make no other changes, production increases by approximately 7%. Stop and consider that for a moment. By just using the power of words, you can improve your practice.

Since 1985, Levin Group has led the initiative to introduce this power into dental practices. We’ve always found that proper scripting (ie, carefully crafted communication that helps to influence) helps to enhance communication, influence patients, and continually produce better results. When practices implement systems to improve production and performance, scripting will allow those systems to function exponentially better.   

Scripting Makes All the Difference

Scripting is the secret sauce that allows systems and everything else to work better. The difference between a successful salesperson and a mediocre one is scripting. The difference between a great front desk person and a so-so one is scripting. The difference between a terrific treatment coordinator and an average one is, you guessed it, scripting!

Relying on the natural communication skills of a person is usually a mistake unless the person is naturally gifted or professionally trained to always say the right thing in the right way. But how many of us can claim that? 

Most staff members have so much going on that they are just trying to keep up. Scripting creates focus. People who use the script no longer have to worry about what they will say. They can deliver it and focus on the patient. 

Make Scripting a Habit

Scripting is the foundation of any successful dental practice. It will help create outstanding patient relationships, five-star customer service, increased referrals, and, of course, increased production. So to ensure practice success, it’s not enough to just use scripting here and there. You must make scripting a habit. 

As scripting is first being implemented, the team has to work on it very consciously. When you consciously work on a behavior, it will gradually become natural. We have seen practices use scripting so phenomenally that they no longer even know they’re doing it. It becomes a natural behavior that they carry out without thinking.

When a behavior goes from conscious to unconscious on a regular basis, it becomes a habit. We don’t think about how we walk or talk. We just do it. A leading-edge practice doesn’t think about scripting as scripting. It is a normal part of communication that your entire team will feel confident about using. 

Scripts are created using extensive psychology and then tested in practices to determine the influence on production. The goal is to use the scripting to influence and motivate patients in the right way. Keep in mind that if you veer too far off the script, the meaning will be lost, and so will the influence and motivating factors.

A side benefit of scripting is that it doesn’t just work with patients. It can improve your confidence when communicating with everyone as well, and that spills over into every aspect of your life. Relationships with your coworkers, spouse, kids, and other people in your life will get better, you will gain more friends, and things will get done much easier. 

When to Use Scripts and What to Say 

Scripts can be used throughout the office for all conversations with patients. However, two areas where scripts will have the most impact are the new patient contact with the front desk and case presentation.

The goal of the new patient contact is to create value in the mind of the patient and begin to build a relationship. A script might include: 

“Mrs. Jones, I am delighted that you are becoming a new patient in our practice. We truly enjoy meeting our new patients. Let me tell you a little bit about our practice and what you can expect. Dr. Smith has been in practice for 17 years and attends regular continuing education programs that support the leading-edge technology in our practice. He is an excellent dentist, which I can personally attest to as my family and I are also patients here. We offer a full range of restorative and cosmetic services, as well as preventive services with our dental hygienists.”

Naturally, the script will go on to cover other areas, but as you can see we are building an excellent relationship and communicating the value of the practice to the patient.

Case presentation is also an area that can have significant impact on practice production. A script for introducing the financial options in the case presentation could be:

“Mr. Robinson, let me review our four wonderful financial options, and then we can select the one that is most convenient for you.“

Notice that we use the patient’s name because people like to hear their names and it shows a focus on the patient. We then inform the patient that there are four options so he does not have to worry about whether they can afford treatment or not. Finally, we informed the patient that we will find an option that works for him.

Summary

Scripting is meant to help influence patients in a positive way by communicating value, benefits and trust. Your number one practice goal is to increase practice production. Scripting is one of the most fundamental and important aspects of contributing to achieving that goal. Remember, as I stated above, a practice that merely implements scripts and does nothing else will grow by approximately 7%. Implement it, make it a habit, and watch your production soar.

Dr. Levin is the CEO and founder of Levin Group, a leading practice management consulting firm that has worked with more than 30,000 practices to increase production. A recognized expert on dental practice management and marketing, he has written 67 books and more than 4,000 articles and regularly presents seminars in the United States and around the world. To contact Dr. Levin or to join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Practice Production Tip of the Day, visit levingroup.com or email rlevin@levingroup.com.

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