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How to book in more veterinary dentals: 6 great tips

Posted in Festival of All Things Dental @ Feb 6th 2014 - By Connie Stewart
How To Book In More Veterinary Dentals Vet Edge V2

This blog post was originally posted on the Vet Edge website on 3/9/13 & has been reproduced in its entirety with permission.

Most vets struggle booking in dental treatments.  I remember well what it is like.  This blog post with tips on how to book in more veterinary dentals is here to help.

While August was Dental Month for many veterinary practices, your canine and feline patients suffer from dental disease all year round.  According to Kyllar & Witter (2005), 60% of over 400 adult dogs in their study had periodontitis.   Hence every second dog who presents to your clinic for an annual health check potentially requires a dental treatment.  But are you performing half as many dental procedures as you are conducting canine annual health checks?  I suspect not.

I remember from my days in practice as a veterinarian what it is like.  Day after day you recommend a dental procedure and client after client say "I want to think about it" and you don't see them again until next year.  There is a better way.  To follow are 6 steps to help you get more of your clients to say "yes" to your veterinary dental procedure recommendations.

Step 1:  Examine the teeth of every veterinary patient 

I'm sure you are looking at every mouth, but are you pointing out the dental disease by showing the owners on their pet.?  If your patient is a little "mouth shy", you could always use a dental model that has dental disease on one side and a healthy mouth on the other.  While this might seem a little unnecessary, remember that your clients have not had all your years of veterinary training and experience and they don't see dental disease every day like you do.

Step 2:  Explain to the owner all the benefits

Make sure you tell the owner all the benefits they will receive when "Fluffy" undergoes a veterinary dental procedure.  A note here is to explain using language the owner understands, not 'veterinary speak'.  Another great tip is to consider the benefits from the owner’s perspective.   For example, you might say:  "Have you noticed Fluffy's breath isn't that pleasant?  Well this is because of the dental disease and our treatments will remove all the disease causing the bad smells."

Step 3:  Explain the negative consequences of not going ahead with the dental procedure

I find most vets are happy to discuss the endocarditis potential and other negative consequences of dental disease.

Step 4:  Explain to the owner all the steps involved in the veterinary dental procedure

Owners are left to assume that the procedure you will perform is much the same as what happens to them in the dental chair unless you explain otherwise.  Include elements that will put your clients mind at ease.  Examples include use of blood screening and fluids to improve anaesthetic safety and nurse monitoring throughout the procedure.   The more detail you include here, the more value the owners understand they are getting before you get to how much it will cost.

Step 5:  Always leave price until the very end, and keep it a simple price range

It is tempting to print out an estimate and run through all the technical elements of their future bill.  The problem with doing this is that all the value you explained to the owner in Steps 1-4 have now gone out the window.  Instead, all they are thinking about is how much this bill is eventually going to come to (doing maths in their head).  They also naturally start to think about what else they could do with that money.   It is ideal to keep step 5 super short and it could go something like this:  "We can do all of this for Fluffy and it will cost between $350-500 (insert your owner prices here)".

The range is to allow for differences in severity of disease, if the procedure goes longer than expected, requires more teeth extractions and/or additional medications to be administered.  This can be explained to owners if they ask.

Step 6:  Ask to proceed

Again, nice and simple:  "Would you like to go ahead with booking in Fluffy", or "How is next Thursday to book in Fluffy?"

Now while you won't get a "yes" every time, you will hopefully get more than you do now.  

How are you getting more clients to say "Yes" to your dental treatment recommendations?

What tips or pitfalls have you discovered to get more clients to say YES?




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