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How frustrating is it to give a patient the perfect recommendation to solve their dental problem, only to have the patient hem and haw about whether they want to take your suggestion? You are the expert.You have the solution to their problem. You are who they came to see, and now they’re not sure they want to do what you recommend.

Of course there are myriad reasons. The recommendation may be scary to the patient. It may be more than they can afford. They may even question whether it is really necessary.

Or, just maybe,youweren’t convincing enough in your presentation of the solution.

Sally Hogshead, a former advertising creative director who has worked with Coke, Nike, Target, Godiva, Rolex and MiniCooper, is a hall-of-fame speaker, an international author and a researcher into how to sell your ideas.

Her work supplements the work of Dr. Robert Cialdini, who has been referenced in these posts numerous times.

She calls what she is talking about “fascination.” That may be a cheesy term, but she has surveyed more than 160,000 people and found that the brain is hardwired to focus on seven types of messages.

Ms. Hogshead says the 7 triggers that cause people to buy into your ideas are:

  • POWER: Find one aspect of the idea about which you feel very strongly.
  • PASSION: Before you present the idea, help your audience warm up to you and your idea.
  • MYSTIQUE: Give a calm, unruffled analysis of why this idea makes sense.
  • PRESTIGE: An idea is only as valuable as its ability to solve a problem.
  • ALARM: Safe, boring ideas rarely get traction in the marketplace.
  • REBELLION: Make it clear that your idea does not follow the usual path.
  • TRUST: Help your idea feel less unfamiliar by providing as many familiar reference points as possible.

Why does this matter to you?

Your patients are coming to you with a problem and may not have any ideas, or at least the most current ideas, for a solution. So when someone comes to you wanting a few teeth pulled and what they need is a full mouth reconstruction, you are going to need to get them to buy in to your ideas.

Let’s look in more detail at three of the seven factors.

First on the list is power.

Power means finding one aspect of the idea about which you feel very strongly. You don’t have to promise it as the best thing since the toothbrush, but you must show that you are fully invested in the idea. After all, how will a patient who only wanted a few teeth pulled ever believe they need dental implants unless YOU really believe they need dental implants and say so?

Obviously, there will be more than one reason for most of your recommendations. But focusing on one – the best one – will help convince some patients.

Next is passion.

Hogshead recommends that if you want someone to buy in to your ideas, don’t start

Build some sort of rapport so they can make an emotional connection with you. So, for instance, if you had a bad dental experience that caused you to get into the practice, share that with patients who also may be afraid of going to the dentist.

The third trigger is mystique.

To hit this trigger, Hogshead’s research shows you should give a straightforward explanation of why the suggestion makes sense. Some people are motivated by candor. So don’t exaggerate.

If someone has gnarly, discolored teeth, tell them they should get them straightened and whitened because their mouth will be healthier, not because a new smile will change their life. For this type of persuasion, you want just the facts.

In my next post, I’ll discuss the other four triggers and how to use them with your patients to sell your ideas.


Written by Smartbox

SmartBox employs the best minds in dentistry to help you grow your practice. Our Practice Growth System™ is proven to help dentists in every market area across the country achieve predictable year-over-year growth.

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