When you tell your patients they NEED a crown, mouth guard or wisdom tooth removed. Do they believe you? You are clinically trained to know what’s best physiologically for your patients, but do you really understand their psychology?
All of us NEED a bank account to stay in business or to buy groceries and gas. But most of us only WANT an iPhone, two-day delivery, or online search at our fingertips. These WANTS aren’t things we need to function. As a bank holding your money, J.P. Morgan is more of a necessity than any of these tech giants, yet it isn’t even worth 50% of the value of Google.
This brings me to my point, what do your patients really want? How many times has a patient been concerned about the appearance a black spot or small chip on a front tooth in your office? This is a WANT in action. Many times I’ve treated patients for these “small repairs” on front teeth, while they have large decayed or cracked posterior teeth that they are pushing off or have little urgency for addressing. The feeling of wanting a socially acceptable smile far outweighs the emotional feeling over a tooth that they really NEED treated
On the flip side, taking care of the want first builds trust with your patient. I’ve learned the hard way, by pushing too hard to convince the patient of a NEED, they can feel overwhelmed or like the doctor or team is “pushing” them into treatment they just aren’t ready for. It’s not about what they NEED, it’s about what they can handle.
Helping our patients’ wants match their needs is the key to case acceptance. If they want whiter teeth, show them how their needed perio treatment will make their teeth whiter. If they want to save their teeth until they die, show them how they need a crown to prevent losing a tooth or needing a root canal or dental implant.
As demonstrated by Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft, wants can be at least twice more powerful than needs for many of us.
Never underestimate the emotional side of needs from you or your patients. Plus this powerful psychological principal may be able to more than double your case acceptance like it has in my practice.