Secure New Patient Leads with a Transition Statement
If you own a dental office and you want your staff to book more new patient appointments then it is CRITICAL that they master the use of a “transition statement”.
A transition statement is a powerful tool that will allow your staff to take control of the conversation, build trust with the patient, and will ultimately help secure the new patient.
Without the use of a transition statement… calls end up being lead by the patient, the conversation doesn’t go where it needs to the majority of the time will result in the patient saying “let me think about it and call you back”.
what exactly is a transition statement?
Today we’re going to look at the basics of a transition statement, what it is, and how to use it to have better conversations with potential new patients so that staff can book more appointments.
So let’s start off with what exactly is a transition statement?
A transition statement is just ONE sentence that can change the entire course of a call. This one simple sentence allows receptionists to take control of the conversation so that the call goes smoothly and is much more engaging.
Often times when a new patient calls your office, they are going to ask a question like “Hi, do you guys do dental implants?”
In most cases, the dental receptionist responds back with something like “Yes we do.” The patient then responds with “Ugh…Ok… how much do you guys charge for implants?” At this point, most dental receptionists and most dentists believe this patient is a price shopper who’s just calling around to see who is the cheapest dentist in their area.
We used to think this too until we learned better from our friends at All-Star Dental Academy.
What All-Star taught us was that when a patient calls asking for the price, they’re not asking because they’re sitting there with a pen and paper and calling 50 different dental offices to see who the cheapest dentist is. When patients call in asking about the price… it’s because THEY LITERALLY DON’T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO ASK!
They don't know how to begin the conversation
The problem is that in the vast majority of cases, dental receptionists don’t know what to say either, and they don’t know how to take control of the conversation and have a great dialogue with the patient. We have listened to thousands of dental calls and when a patient asks about the price most receptionists respond back with something like this…
“Oh well… I’m not really sure…it really depends… everyone is different… you’d have to come in for a consultation”.
Responses like this typically don’t lead the conversation anywhere and make patients feel like you are not being upfront with information. It makes it seem like you just want to get them in the door to sell them, so they usually don’t book.
On the flip side, giving the patient the price also doesn’t work either. The receptionist may say “At our office, dental implants start at $3,000 per tooth” after which the patient says “oh.. okay.. thanks” and then hangs up.
When this happens, we don’t know the patient’s name, their phone number to call them back later to follow-up, we don’t know how they found out about the office, we don’t anything about their issues, whether they were missing one tooth or multiple teeth, whether they were calling for themselves or someone else, we don’t know anything at all and the conversation went absolutely nowhere.
the use of a Transition Statement
Now let’s look at what the conversation would sound like with the use of a Transition Statement
This is a simple sentence like:
“I’d be happy to help you with that today. Would you mind if I ask you a few key questions first so I can better assist you?”
A simple sentence like this can make a night and day difference in how well the call goes.
Imagine a patient calling in and asking “Hi, do you guys do dental implants?” and your receptionist responds back with
“Absolutely. We’ve got a very talented dentist in our office who has done hundreds of implants, he’s an artist when it comes to that type of thing. Are you looking for some information on implants?”
The patient responds back with “Ugh… yeah. How much do you guys charge for implants?”
The receptionist then responds back with “I’d be happy to help you with that today. Would you mind if I ask you a few key questions first so I can better assist you?”
The patient responds back with “Sure, okay”
Then the receptionist says “Great! Well, my name is Andrea, who do I have the pleasure of speaking with today and would you mind giving me your phone number in case we get disconnected?”
This one simple sentence has shifted the power away from the patient and into the hands of the receptionist. “I’d be happy to help you with that today. Would you mind if I ask you a few key questions first so I can better assist you?” shifts the power of the call into the receptionists hands and allows he or she to be the expert. This sentence signals to the patient that they have done this before and that there is a process in place for the service they are looking for.
Because the receptionist now has the power on this call they are able to ask investigative questions that will build trust and rapport with the patient. These questions can sound like…
“How did you find out about us?”
“Are you looking for implants for yourself or someone else?”
“Are you missing one tooth or multiple teeth?”
“Is it top or bottom? Left or right?”
“Is it causing you any pain? Are you having any trouble eating?”
You can see where this goes. You’re able to have a much more engaging and meaningful conversation with that patient and make a great impression. Even if they do call a dozen other offices, it’s going to work in your favor because you will have been the only office that had a great conversation with the patient.
They are going to think “this office is the only office that actually took the time to ask me about my situation and got to know me and my needs.” This sentence creates trust and people buy from people they trust.
A transition statement is a very simple, but very powerful tool for engaging with patients. Make sure your staff know how to use it, and make sure they use it on every call, because it’s going to make a huge difference in the quality of conversations they are having with patients, and ultimately in the amount of appointments you book.
While marketing can get the phone to ring with new patients, you have to remember that how well your staff does on the phone plays a big role in how many patients actually come through the door. You could get 10 new patients calling this week, but if your staff are not well trained and have no idea what to say to patients to maximize the chance that they come in, then those 10 new patient leads may only result in 2-3 new appointments.
Vice versa, there could be another dental practice in your area that is spending just as much on marketing or doing just as good of a job and they also secure 10 new patient leads. However, if their staff ARE very well trained one how to talk to new patients, those 10 new patient leads could result in 7-8 new appointments for that practice.
As a dentist, your success is often at the mercy of your staff. If you’ve got a great team with great training, they can fill your schedule with new patients. If you don’t have the right people or they don’t have the right training, you could have the best website or marketing in the area but you’re still not going to get very far.