Case presentation is essentially a sales process. Every business has a sales function. Some businesses have a large sales force, others sell online and others, like dental practices, sell by explaining the different services that they offer to patients (customers) who have a need or desire. Understanding case presentation through the window of sales is very different than the approach taken by most practices.
Most practices focus on simply letting patients know what they need or possibly what services are available and giving them an opportunity to accept or reject treatment. This approach has numerous factors that prevent patients from fully understanding the motivation and benefits of having treatment. There are three factors that should be considered regarding case presentation that can be added, practiced and learned by almost any practice.
1. Case presentation is like sports
Unlike any other function in the dental practice, case presentation is like the world of sports. Sports are different than most other businesses in that athletes must perform every day and they get measured in their performance in numerous ways and there will always have some level of failure. The person in a practice, whether it is a doctor or treatment coordinator, is like an athlete. This individual will have failure on a regular basis (patients not accepting treatment) and should measure performance in terms of numbers of cases presented and accepted. This dynamic should drive them to become continually better in their presentations and how they relate to patients.
Most doctors do not think about working on their case presentation skills as if they were an elite athlete honing their skills. They feel that it is sufficient to simply explain cases to patients. The downside of not working on improved performance is that some patients will not make a decision to accept treatment that is in their best interest, and, from a business standpoint, practice production will be lower.
2. Measure, measure, measure
One of the most brilliant expressions in the business world is that what gets measured gets done. After years of evaluating thousands of practices we have no question that measurement is often a key to success. Those areas that are not measured are often ignored or underperformed and case presentation is one of those areas that is rarely measured.
One suggestion is to measure certain areas continuously. These would include:
• How many cases are presented?
• How many cases are accepted?
• How many cases require follow up?
• How many cases are closed on follow up?
• What is the level of production that has been presented?
• What is the level of production that has been accepted?
• What is the level of production that has been rejected?
• What is the level of production that needs follow up?
• What is the level of production that is closed on follow up?
This is an excellent starting point. It gives the practice a snapshot of how it is performing and can be extremely motivating if the practice is not performing at the desired level. Once the measurements are put in place the practice can continually work to improve performance. Like an athlete, the goal is always to perform better today than yesterday.
3. You will fail
Just like an athlete any function of sales in a company will have regular failure. Failure is simply patients rejecting treatment or not deciding to accept treatment at the current time. Patients reject treatment almost every day. The goal is to perform better and better regarding patients accepting treatment. In our experience we also find, and this seems logical, that the larger the case is the higher the level of rejection. Practices not only want to improve performance in case presentation overall, but also in different segments of case size. There are practices that are excellent at case acceptance for small or single tooth cases and then have a raped drop off as the size of the cases grow.
Understanding that there will be failure is important because it keeps the doctor or treatment coordinator from simply ignoring measurements of case presentation or finding the situation depressing. Failure, for athletes, is a motivating factor. They study their failures, analyze performance and work to be better. The same approach should be taken by dental practices.
Case presentation has many factors, but the above three will help any practice to begin a process of improvement. It only takes a mindset and desire for continual improvement for practices to start to make progress and continue that path. Most practice improvements are not overnight gimmicks, but short and long-term ongoing progresses. Just like an athlete.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Roger P. Levin, DDS is the CEO and Founder of Levin Group, a leading practice management consulting firm that has worked with over 30,000 clients to increase production. A recognized expert on dental practice management and marketing, he has written more than 60 books and over 4,000 articles and regularly presents seminars in the U.S. 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 www.levingroup.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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