Successfully & Ethically Recommending Products to Patients

One of the conversations we have quite frequently throughout the day with our patients is a recommendation for a specific procedure or product.

As dental professionals, we all know that very few patients follow through with recommendations once they leave the office.

WHY IS THAT?

We need to make it as appealing and easy as possible for the patient to want to use the products you are personally and professionally endorsing.  They want to know what our preferences and routines are.

The first step to success is stocking the products in your office. I have participated or initiated this in every office I have practiced in.

Most companies offer practices a bulk order discount or online ordering memberships that are significantly less than retail pricing. Getting started is easy. Invite your local company sales specialist to provide a lunch and learn for your team to investigate the products and pricing options that would be the best fit for your practice. They usually have unique marketing ideas for you to implement as well.

CAUTION: MIND SHIFT AHEAD: THE “COURAGEOUS CONVERSATION”

Many dental professionals tell me they do not want to ‘sell’ to patients.                     

We are providing patients with choices every day that will improve their oral/systemic health.  The bottom line is, from presenting treatment plans to product recommendations, we are advocates continually partnering with our patients to achieve the best possible outcome.

THAT… my friends is ethical ‘selling’!

NOT WHAT, BUT HOW WE SAY IT

Throughout the appointment, we build trust, respect, and relations.  When the patient education time is right, HOW we initiate the conversation is key. If we start the recommendation with a negative statement, we often create an awkward conversation. For example:

“I’d like to show you a new product to try at home that could help you with your problem areas.”

TIP:  It’s all about me and what I want you to do.

It’s a little messy but you’ll get used to it after a while.”

TIP:  The patient probably won’t be very enthusiastic about trying it.

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On the contrary, if we ask the patient for permission to show them a new product that you have had great success with other patients, they will be more accepting of the new information.

TIP:  We are expressing concern and respect.

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Intentional communication might look like this.

“Jerry, you’re doing well removing plaque from your front teeth, your smile is beautiful!” “You do have several areas that concerned the doctor and me on your back teeth.

TIP:  You have vs. we found, or I see puts the ownership on the patient

“Can you tell me more about your daily routine for taking care of your mouth?”

TIP: Open-ended questions/answers can reveal patient habits and challenges which you can address with your recommendations.

“I have been using and recommending a new power toothbrush and love it.” 

“I have recommended this product to several patients with similar areas of concern to yours and they have had great results.  Can I share some information with you about it”?

If you are interested, I will be sure to give us enough time before you leave for me to demonstrate, in your mouth, how you would use it in specific areas to decrease the inflammation/hemorrhage areas that you have.

TIP:  As a convenience for you, we have this product available for purchase at the lowest retail price.

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By using this communication strategy, you will find that your patient compliance improves which positively impacts their oral/systemic health.

I encourage you to partner with your patients and give it a try. 

You won’t be disappointed with the results!

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