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Selling dentistry is an art, especially during economic times such as those we are experiencing now with the price of gasoline over $4.00 a gallon. Having said that, I am aware of dentists who are very successful in selling large cases. These practitioners are adept at developing relationships of trust very readily. The interior area of the ARC represents the strength of the relationship between the dentist and patient. As the area increases so does the ability to sell dental services. As each point of the triangle is strengthened the internal area increases so does the relationship.
Affinity is defined as the “attraction” between two individual. Affinity can be increased both inside and outside the office. The reputation that the doctor and office has in the community has a great deal to do with the affinity that the patient has as they enter the office for the fist time. The atmosphere that the staff and the doctor create can either increase affinity or decrease it. As the doctor and patient share positive experiences, trust increases as does affinity.
Establishing a shared reality it essential to building the doctor/patient relationship. Unless the patient “gets” it, they will have no interest in making improvements in their dental health. The effective use of such tools as models, x-rays, intra oral camera, and diagnostic tools such as endo ice and a tooth sleuth can aid the doctor in helping the patient “get” the need for dental treatment.
Without good communication skills it is impossible to increase reality or affinity. As practitioners it is important that we learn to ask, listen and clarify repeatedly as we diagnose dental needs and present treatment. Staff members are a valuable tool in the communication process as we have all had the experience of having a staff member come to use after the fact to tell us what the patient related to the staff member once we have left the room. The use of pamphlets and post operative letters and calls can help to minimize the doctor/patient communication gap.
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