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Selling Full Arch Dental Implant Cases? First, Know the Four Big Areas of Attrition

This is part 1 in a series of four produced by Bart Knellinger, CEO of Progressive Dental Marketing and The Closing Institute, and Amol Nirgudkar, CEO of Patient Prism. The first objective of this series is to familiarize you with the four areas of attrition that occur when selling full-arch dental implant treatment so that you can address those areas in your own practice. 




A Hot Market with a Lot of Competition

“Now is one of the hottest times that I've ever seen when it comes to full arch marketing,” says Knellinger. “One of the biggest things that we do here at Progressive Dental Marketing is help doctors advertise and close full-arch, immediate-load implant cases. Having over 700 clients in nearly every major market in the country, we've run many implant campaigns. And we've seen things that have worked well and we've seen things that have not worked well, even things that have bombed. We're constantly looking at the different areas of attrition that prevent our clients from getting the maximum return they could, and we're trying to create solutions to fix those problems.”

The competition is stiff, so dentists need to differentiate themselves with a specific sales process for full-arch treatment. To start, Knellinger explains that he would like to go through the areas of attrition and describe what they see on Progressive’s end after running many, many implant campaigns. “And then I’d like to discuss with Amol, how Patient Prism can help you leverage artificial intelligence to actually generate more opportunities and close more of these cases.”

The dental implant business has “blown up over the last decade” agrees Nirgudkar,“ and now it's becoming an option that a lot of people thought they couldn’t afford and now decide they can afford after all.” Nirgudkar believes Progressive Dental Marketing has been especially successful because Progressive’s marketing strategies include educating people on why they need and want it. That gets them in the door and can lead to closing on treatment when the sales process is managed well. “I don't think there's anybody better, in this world today, than you guys in terms of getting patients into your clients' offices and changing patients’ lives,” says Nirgudkar.


The Four Areas of Attrition

“Without question, there are four big areas of attrition,” says Knellinger.

  1. “It's either lack of a marketing strategy or an unsophisticated strategy.” This means the strategy is basically the same as everybody else’s. It's either a race to the bottom with price, or it's talking about how the patient experience is going to be wonderful. How do you stand out from all you competitors? “Without a unique selling proposition, campaigns are doomed from the start.” 
  2. Number two is poor lead management. “A lot of times we will help a doctor with the marketing strategy, and we see lots of leads coming in. But the lead management is a huge area of attrition. You start to see 600 leads coming in and you're still only getting maybe 15 to 25 consultations a month.” That’s a small number explains Knellinger. More attrition occurs later in the sales process. Closing a few cases each month is just not optimal. 
  3. Number three is not prequalifying new patient consultations. According to Knellinger, most dental practices treat all new patient consultations the same way. “This is crazy when you think about it,” he says, “because we're dealing with a demographic that is either edentulous or has terminal dentition. Many of these people have financial problems, credit problems or fear problems. There needs to be a sales process that financially prequalifies leads from the start, so the doctor can speak with good leads and not waste time with patients who are unqualified. It has to be an abbreviated version of a normal consultation, something that's going to be highly efficient so you can meet with a significant number of leads to actually do full arch cases at a scale that makes sense.”
  4. Number four is poor negotiating skills. “Sometimes the patients don't have to be sold. Sometimes they've been sold. They want full arch. They're just shopping,” says Knellinger. “They need to be sold and closed. The sales process is one of the biggest things that we teach at The Closing Institute.”



Typical Sales Process Dilemmas 

One of the big problems with not having a sales process specifically for full arch is you run into situations where the average new patient consultation is running 45 to 60 minutes, or even an hour and a half says Knellinger. When the consultation gets to the end and the fee discussion comes up, the patient says something like, “Hold on, wait, how much is it? I can’t afford that. Isn't there something you can do for me?" 

“We don't want that at the end. We want that at the beginning,” says Knellinger. “With full arch, you want the ability to negotiate with the patients. Sometimes the patients don't have to be sold. Sometimes they've been sold. They want full arch. They're just shopping. When they're shopping, I don't have to sell them on the benefits of full arch. They already know they're going to get it. They're just trying to decide who they're going to make the purchase from, which practice, which doctor, right? And many times, they show up to negotiate. I see a lot of doctors and a lot of treatment coordinators fumble simple negotiations.”

Nirgudkar relates, “I was at one of the events you did in Clearwater, and you talked about giving the patient more than one treatment option. One of the things you teach very effectively is the ability to give the power back to the patient by giving them more than one choice. This a negotiating tactic that works. They’re going to make the right decision when they have the power to choose themselves. They choose the treatment that benefits them most.”

“That's the beauty of it,” says Knellinger. The patient shouldn't feel like they're being sold. And when it comes to negotiation, we must find out what exactly the patient wants in terms of price. There are simple techniques you can use to learn what the shopper is willing to pay.” 

Doing that early in the sales process can reduce the time spent consulting with leads and increase the number of closed cases. It can also bring the available financing conversation closer to the beginning of the process so when the patient meets with the doctor, both the patient and doctor know there is a way to pay for treatment. That makes everyone more comfortable, and the dentist can more effectively focus on creating rapport and trust.


Lead Management Is One of the Biggest Challenges

“There’s been a huge increase in doctors offering full-arch, immediate-load treatment over the last five years,” says Knellinger. Lead management is one of the biggest challenges. Much attrition occurs due to poor lead management. “I’m really interested in how Patient Prism can help with the lead management aspect of attrition at the beginning of the sales process.” 


Up Next: How Patient Prism Solves Lead Management Problems 

Patient Prism’s AI in dentistry platform tracks new patient calls and constantly coaches front desk team members so:

  • They don’t miss or fumble hot leads that should be converted into scheduled new patients.
  • They optimally communicate with and interview callers inquiring about full-arch implant treatment.
  • They can appropriately help prequalify patients for this treatment.
  • They can “tee up” their dentists for shorter consultations that can be more easily closed.

If a phone conversation does not end in a booked consultation and the AI software recognizes this is actually a high-value lead, Patient Prism alerts the front office and coaches them in how to call back and possibly win back that consultation opportunity.

Watch Part 2 of 4 >>

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