The Ring of Opportunity

The American writer Charles Swindoll once said, “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.”  For a lot of dental practices, the seemingly impossible situation is this: a potential new patient calls and asks if the practice is contracted with a specific PPO plan, and if the practice is not, the patient doesn’t want to schedule.

In keeping with the spirit of Charles Swindoll’s quote, I contend that this is an opportunity brilliantly disguised as an impossible situation.  When the phone rings and you have a potential new patient on the other line, you have a golden opportunity to schedule a new patient.  What makes this seem like an impossible situation for dental teams is the patient appears focused on insurance and costs.  But what else does the potential new patient have for reference? 

This person doesn’t know about your warm and gentle chair-side manner or the quality of your work.  And the potential new patient will never find out unless you convert this call into a scheduled appointment.  How do you make the conversion?

Start by saying “no” without saying “no.”  If you do not participate with the specific PPO plan in question, simply say, “We do not participate in that particular plan; however we have many patients with that type of insurance who love coming here.”  Then ask the potential new patient a question, “What are you looking for in a dental practice?”

This creates a dialogue and allows you to brag about the practice instead of saying, “No, we do not accept that insurance plan.”  End of call.  Even though a potential new patient calls with questions about insurance, the real reason for the call rarely relates to insurance. 

Patients are willing to pay extra or drive an extra distance to find a really good dentist.  Your practice is full of patients like that.  So why are potential new patients on the other end of the phone any different?  They are not.  I encourage you to view every call as a ring of opportunity.

Please visit our section on practice management to learn more about how we help dental teams sharpen their skills.

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