4 Questions You Need to Answer If You Want Your Dental Marketing Patients to Trust You

When I talk to practice owners or DSO execs, I hear a lot of frustration about marketing patients.

And hey, I get it. Everybody loves patients who come in thanks to referrals, because they’re what we in the marketing business call warm leads.

Essentially, they already trust you — because a friend or loved one has pre-sold them on how great you are. That’s why they’ve come to you in the first place, rather than simply googling “dentist near me” and choosing the closest practice.

Marketing patients, on the other hand, decidedly don’t trust you. Compared to referral patients, marketing patients are less likely to show up for their initial appointment, say yes to treatment, or come back for recare.

But look — if you want to achieve predictable, sustainable new patient growth, you have no option but to rely on marketing patients. Referrals are not a scalable business plan.

That means you’ve got to figure out how to bridge the trust gap. Do this successfully and you’ll see a higher ROI on every marketing dollar you spend because your marketing patients will be that much more likely to stick around.

Fortunately, earning a marketing patient’s trust doesn’t require a master’s degree in psych. All you really need is a willingness to slow down, listen, and see each new patient appointment as a chance to begin building a relationship.

That, and one more thing. You also need to have clear answers to a few simple questions.

Seriously, my team and I do new patient generation and conversion coaching for hundreds of practices across the country. Time and again, we find that when a practice can’t convert one of our leads, it’s because whoever the new patient is talking to can’t answer these 4 top concerns:

  1. How much is this procedure going to cost?
  2. When can you get me in?
  3. Do you take my insurance?
  4. Do you do the specific treatment I need?

Doesn’t seem like rocket science, right? These are the same questions you or I would have if we were calling to schedule an appointment or meeting with a new doctor for the first time. 

And yet, you’d be amazed by how many call handlers, treatment coordinators, and even doctors struggle to respond when patients raise these issues. Or if they do have answers (especially when it comes to cost), they fail to show the patient the value of the treatment in question or provide space to talk about any barriers the patient needs to overcome in order to get to yes.

For me, this feels like an entirely self-inflicted error. It’s like driving the ball 95 yards toward the endzone and then turning it over on the 5-yard line — because half your offensive linemen didn’t get off the sidelines in time. 

Fortunately, it’s also a relatively simple fix. Get clear on how to address these questions, train your team, and if necessary, bring in coaching to help them improve their performance.

So yeah, if you’re frustrated with marketing patients and see them as unreliable, I do understand. Truly. But you’ll be much less frustrated if you (and your team) know the steps that go into building trust — and are prepared to answer key questions that help you get there.

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