I’m sure you know the drill. A patient calls your practice and asks how much it would cost for an examination. Knowing that this patient probably needs some restorative care if he or she hasn’t seen a dentist in a while, you’re faced with a choice. You can quote the patient the price for an exam, fully aware that the cost for treatment will probably be much more than that, or you can refuse to quote a price and risk upsetting the patient.
Price shoppers are always going to be a tricky issue in dentistry. Whenever you find yourself on the phone with a shopper, try to see things from his or her point of view. If you can do that, it becomes clear that shopping for prices is a very natural thing to do. Most patients have very little information to distinguish potential dentists from each other, so they’re basing their decision on the one factor they do understand — price. You need to get them in for an appointment, but doing that without offering them a price quote can be a challenge.
The one thing you want to avoid doing is diagnosing over the phone. There’s no accurate way to do that and you may give the patient the price for a procedure that they don’t need, scaring them off in the process. You also don’t want to quote too low by giving the patient the cost of a simple exam. If you do that, you may get the patient to come in, but when additional treatment is needed and the fees end up being more than you quoted, I doubt you’ll get that patient to return. As a rule, it’s better to avoid quoting prices to price shoppers.
Instead, emphasize the quality of the practice and the concern the dentist would have over the condition of the patient’s mouth. Reassure patients that they made the right decision in calling you and that the doctor will definitely want to take a look at what’s going on in their mouths. However, without coming in, there’s no way for you to offer them a fully accurate price quote. I suggest offer them a free initial exam and making absolutely sure they understand that you’ll go over the cost of any treatment with them before you get started.
The best strategy to win over shoppers is explaining why the dentistry you offer is the best for the price in an inviting, non-threatening manner. Give them a reason to choose your practice other than low prices while also making it clear that they will never feel trapped or pressured when it comes to the cost of treatment. If you can reassure price shoppers that it’s not financially scary for them to come in and be seen, don’t be surprised when they decide they’re done shopping and are ready to make an investment in what you have to offer.