Why Your Patients are Like Wine Tasters
In 2008, university researchers tried an experiment on wine drinkers. They provided samples of five Cabernets to test subjects and told them how much each one cost: $5, $10, $35, $45 and $90 per bottle.
Not surprisingly, most people found the $90 bottle to be the best. In fact, their rankings were quite consistent with the prices all the way along. They liked the $10 wine more than they liked the $5 wine, but much less than they liked the $45 wine.
Here’s the catch: The $5 bottle and the $45 bottle were actually the same wine. And that $90 bottle of wine they ranked as the best? It was the same wine as the $10 sample.
This story comes from a book called Mind over Mind: The Surprising Power of Expectations (you can read an excerpt about the wine experiment here). It goes into the science behind what is happening with those volunteer testers. Our expectations play a huge role—more than we realize—in how much we ultimately value something.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; our minds are always looking for clues and cues to help us reach decisions. As the researchers in this study put it, “In a world of noisy measurements, the use of prior knowledge about the quality of an experience provides additional valuable information.”
In other words, once a person is primed to have the right expectations, it is much easier to make them see the right value.
So how do you go about setting the right expectations for your patients? One of the most important things you can do in this regard is to have a well-practiced, thoroughly systematized, comprehensive new patient experience. Introduce patients to the practice in a way that tells them that this is a quality dental practice. It’s a subject I have spent a lot time coaching dentists on over the years, and it happens to be the focus of the next volume in my e-book series (which will be released in a few weeks).
The main point is, if you give your patients that valuable pre-experience, you’re applying a label to your practice that establishes expectations—just like the label on an expensive fine wine.