The Most Important New Patient Conversation
You have a new patient in the chair. You and your team have done your best to introduce them to the practice in the right way and they seem comfortable and open. You are excited because new patients represent new opportunities and you can’t wait to show this patient everything you can do for them. You perform a complete exam and give them a comprehensive evaluation of everything you see, to the very best of your ability.
And suddenly they’re not so comfortable and open anymore. Now they’re saying (or thinking) “my last dentist never told me this,” and they are trying to figure out how to reconcile what you’re saying with everything they haven’t heard in the past. And they just met you. They’re not feeling excited by possibilities right now; they’re feeling confused and overwhelmed.
That’s because they got into the chair without the right context.
New patients arrive with a mindset about what dentistry is and why they are there. Generally speaking this mindset is far from what it would be if they truly came to value dentistry in the right way. This means you have some work to do to bridge the gap from their vision of dentistry to yours. You have to set the groundwork for a new way of thinking—one that moves away from tooth-based reactive care and towards truly comprehensive care. And you have to establish this philosophical foundation before the examination begins.
It starts with non-verbal cues, like how contemporary your facility looks and how up-to-date your technology is. But then it comes down to having a conversation with the patient about what your practice is all about and what you mean by comprehensive care.
If you’re looking for specific examples of language and analogies you can use, you’ll find them in my lessons on the New Patient Experience online. The important thing is that you reserve time in every new patient visit for this important conversation, so they are not blindsided by the depth of your diagnosis. If they go into that exam expecting a new level of care, you are far more likely to get the response you’re looking for.