193 What to Say to Your Dental Patients if the COST is Too High
Hi everyone, and welcome to another episode of the Delivering WOW dental podcast. Today we're talking all about what to say to your dental patients when they say that the cost is too high. Now I don't know about you, but inside of my practice, sometimes we have people that come in that are saying, "Wow, that much for an implant?" Or, "Wow, I didn't know that Invisalign would cost so much." And so I wanted to share with you, because I'm sure I am not the only one that has patients saying that inside of our practices. And so one thing that I want you to really think about before we start thinking about even verbal skills, is really understanding the actual cost, the actual fee, your profit margin, what it actually takes for you to be able to run your practice and to be able to deliver services.
One thing that's really interesting is over COVID, with our mastermind, we started to have a lot of marketing intensives, and practice growth intensives, and business intensives, and numbers intensives. And so one of the intensives that we did was looking at making sure that every owner knew what their profit margins were. So profit margins are the actual cost to be able to do a particular service, and that is taking into account the supply costs to be able to do that particular service. That is taking into account our fixed expenses and our variable expenses per hour, to be able to do that. And what's really interesting is as we had the workshop, one of the first things I said was how many of you know how much it actually costs to run your practice per hour? And what I mean by that is looking at what are your costs per hour for salaries? What is your cost per hour, including your rent or your mortgage, your costs per hour, including your utilities, looking at your marketing cost, dividing that into the number of hours you work.
Because a lot of times what happens is that when we are not certain and sure of our actual expenses, when we're not certain of what it actually costs to do even a crown, taking into consideration that we have the fee for our materials, that we have the fee for our lab, and not just that breaking down our adhesive or our etchant or our tips or our burrs. Once we are not really understanding what our costs are, then sometimes we get into this whole thing in our mind of, well, maybe our fee is too high, or maybe I should try to reduce it.
One thing that worked really well for me in my practice that really gave me the confidence, and one thing that I teach our clients, is to look at your profit margins, because when you know that, for example, it's going to cost you $140, for example, to do a filling in your practice, then you know that if a patient says, "Wow, $160 for a filling," if that's what your fee is, hypothetically, that you know that you're not going to feel bad about it, because you know what your actual costs are.
It was really interesting, as we started looking at profit margins years and years and years ago, what we discovered is that, wow, it does cost a lot of money for us to be able to deliver a crown. And so when a patient came and said, "Oh my gosh, doc, a thousand dollars," for example, to do a crown, we're able to confidently say, "Absolutely." We know our cost. We know our expenses. And we know that the fee that we have set is extremely fair, based on our expenses. And so because of that confidence, now we had no problem quoting our fees.
And it's really interesting, is a lot of times you start getting into understanding case presentation and verbal skills. And for me, this is a foundational piece that's really important for you to know. And not only for you to know, but for your team, because as we know, many times, they're like, "Wow, the doctor's getting $1,000 for this procedure or $2,000 or $3,000." And without knowing the actual expenses, even when you start getting into full mouth reconstruction, full mouth rehab cases, once you're using a high quality lab, high quality adhesives, and you're taking the time to spend with the patient, which is looking at what are your expenses for rent for that time, salaries for that time, it really does add up. And so once you and your team understand what these numbers are, it's going to go a really long way. And so if you haven't done that exercise, looking at your profitability, looking at what you are actually making on profit margins, I highly recommend getting into our accelerator program so that we can teach you and your team very quickly how to be able to identify this.
Another thing that you really want to consider is how are you presenting your treatment plans? What are you doing to set the stage so that patients understand that there's going to be an investment that they will be making? And what's been very exciting is seeing our clients use our frameworks, where now they're coming in and they're saying, "What are your goals for your teeth, your mouth, your smile?" And the patients letting them know, "I want my teeth to be strong. I want a beautiful smile. I want to be healthy." They're letting you know why they're there, what they want, what they desire. And from there, asking a question of, you know, what else? And they're saying, "Well, I really don't like that there's this brown spot here on my filling. It's driving me crazy." Or, "When I'm eating, food is getting stuck," and we say, "Well, what else?" And they're telling us all of their issues. "Well, you know what? I also have a toothache here." Or, "I don't like the look of that dark line."
And from there, we're able to find out, emotionally, what are the triggers for the patients? What are their desires? And from there, we ask questions like, "What would it mean for you if you got this fixed?" And so now they're saying, "I'm healthier. I have more confidence. I don't have to be annoyed and frustrated with this food that's getting stuck." And from there, you can now offer your suggestions, offer your solutions, because you know exactly what they want, what they need, what they desire, and they understand what will happen for their life, or for them, once they go ahead and make that investment.
And so from there, you can now get their permission. "Is it okay if I take some time and share with you how we can help you and how we've helped other patients just like you?" And of course the answer's going to be yes. And at the end of it, you say, "Now, this is going to be an investment. The great thing is that once you have your smile makeover done, once you have the food that is going, this is what your life is going to look like. You're no longer going to have to have food getting stuck. You're no longer going to have to cover your mouth or have to worry, or even have to worry about your denture getting loose." And so from there, the question is, this is what you have. This is what you want. Do you want me to help you with it?
And when they say yes, then now you present your treatment plan and say, "This is certainly going to be an investment in yourself, and you're worth it. The great thing is that we have ways to be able to help you fit dentistry into your budget, and we're going to work with you and create a customized plan so that you can fit this dentistry that you so deserve and you so want into your budget."
All right, guys. So I wanted to take some time to go through this, because, again, a lot of the challenges that we have is that we don't know our fees. We're not confident in our fees. And so that, to me, would be the first step, investing in understanding where you are and then taking it a step further and investing in verbal skills training and case presentation training. Which, of course, if you're looking for help, we're here to help you with that, as well, within our accelerator program.
All right, guys. So hopefully this helps you. I love talking about case presentation, and how do we get our teams aligned, and how do we serve more people? And that's what we're here for. We're here to help people to get dentistry done, to get healthier, to give them their confidence and to help them live their best life. All right, guys, that's it. Take care. See you guys next time, and enjoy the rest of your week.
Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the Delivering WOW podcast with Dr. Anissa Holmes. We'll catch you next time.