ASKING FOR A DECISION: THE CLOSE ON CASE ACCEPTANCE
Surprisingly, many offices present cases but fail to ask for closure. Whether it’s from fear of rejection, fear of confrontation or just fear of offending someone, they just don’t ask! To be effective you need a great closing question and this is a perfect example where a scripted approach will be most effective. To close means to get the patient to say “yes” to what you prescribe. We don’t call it closed until four things have happened.
The patient has:
- Committed to the full comprehensive dental treatment plan that the doctor has recommended.
- Arranged a payment plan to cover all the finances related to his or her optimum dental health.
- Scheduled an appointment for his or her first treatment.
- Left the office with a smile, glad to pay you for providing the service.
Other closes you may consider are:
The Assumptive Close: Simply requires you to speak as if the decision was already made to proceed. This is done to save time and can be effective for routine, everyday procedures. Since this close basically eliminates the decision, it should not be used for anything beyond routine.
“Mrs. Smith, It’s been over a year since your last x-rays, I’m going to go ahead and take some bitewing radiographs for you. Are you OK with that?”
Notice how permission can still be asked, even though by being assumptive the stage has been set for an obvious “yes” answer.
The Choice Close: involves offering choices to the patient. Many people suffer from “decision-paralysis” – a strong aversion to making any and all decisions.
People, perhaps because they don’t want to be caught in a bad decision, will often choose a non-decision, a “wait and see” approach, whereby the situation is left in limbo.
When it comes to dental care, a non-decision is not a great option. Only 1 of 4 people can decide to proceed without some consultation to assist them. Why not eliminate the need to make a decision by instead offering choices. People dislike making decisions, but they don’t mind choices; offering choices side-steps making the actual decision.
“Mrs. Smith, you have two choices, we can take care of the whole thing for you or we do the bottom teeth only this year and take care of the top teeth next year. What would be better for your?”
Notice that both choices were variations of the “yes” decision.
The Question Close: is a very effective technique that should be employed frequently and is a technique that involves answering a question with another question. Questions are one of the best tools in your tool bag. This technique draws out more information and potential objections. This technique can also be used to sidestep potential trap questions such as:
“How much will this cost?” The Question Close is used to clarify their question and any related hidden messages. It is important not to come across as being evasive when direct questions are asked.
Consider the following example:
“So, can I pay for this work over an extended period of time?”
Without thinking most people would jump in with answer such as:
“Yes you can Mrs. Smith”.
However, you don’t want your yes, you want the patient’s yes. The patient’s “yes” will move you further toward the final close.
A more effective response would be:
“Would that be more comfortable for you?” or “Is that how you would like to take care of this?”
The Yes Close: involves asking close-ended questions that get the patient saying yes. Yes is a positive uplifting word, while NO is negative.
Prior to asking people to make a big commitment, get them used to saying “yes” to small questions. Try to use questions that align with their values and where the obvious answer would be “yes”.
Coordinator: “Mrs. Smith, does what we’ve discussed make sense so far?”
Mrs. Smith: “Yes”
Coordinator: “Mrs. Smith, You stated you wanted to keep your teeth healthy and avoid painful emergencies, is that right?”
Mrs. Smith: “Yes”
Coordinator: “Mrs. Smith, do you see how this treatment can help you?”
Mrs. Smith: “Yes, I do”