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Managing Full-Arch Implant Price Anxiety with Bart Knellinger

In almost all instances, closing a full-arch implant case comes down to price negotiation during the consultation. But how do you qualify the best leads, so you don’t waste the doctor’s time? And how do you reduce, if not eliminate, price anxiety during the initial phone conversation?  There are responses that fail, and there are responses that work. In this video and this article, you will learn about these and how Patient Prism’s call tracking and coaching AI software helps you optimally manage leads by addressing price concerns over the phone.





“Eighty percent of the leads we see from a full arch perspective are people that have already gotten to the price phase before they even contact our clients,” says Knellinger. “It's straight negotiation, and that's good because it's a truncated version of a new patient consultation, much different than a complex restorative case.”

And this brings us back to the discussion we had in the previous video in this series. In order to close more full arch cases, doctors need to see more leads by shortening their consultation appointments. There also needs to be block scheduling, so you have immediate consultation times always available.

Nirgudkar reports that studies done at a DSO in California last year found that for every day an implant consultation is booked out, the show rate goes down by 10%.

“If you book them two weeks out, they’re not going to show up,” says Nirgudkar.

With block scheduling that sets aside consultation times for these high-value cases, you can get them in right away. 

Patient Prism studies have shown that giving the potential implant patient an option of two times transfers the power to the patient to make a fast decision. “They feel in control,” Nirgudkar says.

Patient Prism advises saying, “We have a consultation appointment available tomorrow at nine o'clock in the morning or one at two o’clock in the afternoon. We want to provide this service, and we want to make it affordable. When would you like to come in?”

But what if the caller is price shopping and booking a consultation is not their primary agenda? Scheduling is one challenge, and price shopping is yet another.


Price Shoppers

“A large number of callers are price shoppers, especially for All-on-4 cases,” says Nirgudkar. “Being able to have those right conversations on the phone, which is the first interaction is something we look at a lot at Patient Prism, and we're seeing a price shopping rate of about 25% of the calls. Knowing what to say at that time is going to make or break the deal.”

Patient Prism constantly reminds phone receptionists about the optimal things to say, for example, the receptionist could say, "We have many patients who call us concerned about price. We have multiple options to suit your needs. We work with several financing companies, and we can make this very affordable. We want you to come in and see our doctors because we do such incredible work, and we strive to make it affordable.”

Once the patient comes into the office, they hopefully have an amazing patient experience laid out for them. “For example, welcome coffee and an aroma that does not smell like dentistry. You have the whole patient journey mapped out, so they feel genuinely cared for,” says Nirgudkar. “We also have to deliver the message that the treatment is affordable without preconceived notions about whether the patient can afford it.”


Two Approaches that Don’t Work

Most front desk teams handle price shoppers in two ways that fail reports Knellinger. 

  1. “We can’t give you a price until the doctor determines your needs. Let’s make an appointment for you to see the doctor and have a complementary initial appointment. Then you’ll know the price.”
  2. “Getting full arch implants costs $________.”

Neither of these approaches works. The patient with high price anxiety doesn’t want to be put in a position where she or he is being sold. Quoting a high dollar amount, without planting the vision that you make it affordable, scares away a great many. And it’s a bad idea because the receptionist doesn’t really know how to frame the price for each patient’s needs. 


The Approach that Does Work

Knellinger takes Nirgudkar’s example of what could be said a step farther. “We want to know what the caller wants to pay,” says Knellinger. “So, we can say, ‘Well, listen, I can get you that information. And just so you know, when it comes to full arch, I know a lot of places that you call they may have one way of doing it and that's All-on-4 and they give you one price. It sounds nice and simple and easy, but All-on-4 is just one way of doing full arch implants. We have several different options of doing full arch and implants at different budgets with different pros and cons. So, I want to get your price, but it kind of sounds to me like you may have a dollar amount in your head that you're trying to stay within there, right? So instead of going through the whole dog and pony show, why don't you tell me what you're looking to spend on full arch implants, and then I can tell you about whichever treatment is closest to that price point, if that makes sense. Just ballpark it for me. Based on what you are telling me, it sounds like you’re going to be a great candidate for full arch implants…’ 

“Another way to say it is, ‘Based on what you are telling me, it sounds like you are going to be a great candidate for any of the full arch options we have. It’s just a matter of what you want to pay. We have several treatment options which makes this affordable for just about everyone. What are you looking to stay within? Okay, that means you can afford one of the treatment options we have.’ When they ask how much it is, give the number to them. That’s how negotiation works,” says Knellinger.

“Then when they come in for the consultation, the number I’ve given them is higher than what I will allow them to negotiate me down to, but they view that as a starting point in negotiation,” says Knellinger. “Because we teach our clients to negotiate and how to do it, they have a huge competitive advantage.”


Managing Leads with High Anxiety

The marketing-sales process begins with the patient recognizing their need, but anxiety gets in the way of moving forward. Nirgudkar says Progressive Dental Marketing does an excellent job of starting the process by awakening the vision of living a preferred future without the disadvantages of a conventional denture. Patients call Progressive’s clients because they want the advantages of implant treatment. 

“Once the call occurs, you have to make sure that every interaction with the patient, whether it's online, offline, or on the phone is truly optimized and removes all the barriers to entry,” says Nirgudkar. Scheduling is a big barrier to entry, and pricing is huge. The two main reasons why dental patients do not book appointments are they're concerned with price and they're fearful that it will hurt. Either way, and sometimes in both ways, you are dealing with people with high anxiety.”

“Price shoppers in general have a lot of anxiety regarding the price of full-arch implant treatment,” says Knellinger.

“So, you have to flip the narrative,” says Nirgudkar. “You flip it to what they want and meet them where they are. Not every patient has a price limit that you can work within, so you triage them out of moving forward to a consultation. That’s okay.”


Always keep in mind that you need to proactively reduce callers’ anxiety about price and pain by addressing these issues head on. If you don’t, great leads may self-eliminate themselves from having what they want, and you won’t learn if callers are financially qualified for any of your options. The opportunity to triage and appoint is lost.


How does Patient Prism Address Lost Opportunities?

Patient Prism’s AI robot listens to conversations, and based on millions of phone calls, the AI can tell with 90% probability if the caller is a new patient. The robot understands the words in the conversation and determines which of the calls are full-arch implant leads to be converted. Patient Prism has a live dashboard that shows how many of these new opportunities came in, how many booked, and how many didn’t book and why they didn’t book. The AI robot identifies the actionable leads that matter in real time. 

“What AI allows us to do is really surface up all the actionable stuff,” says Nirgudkar. We want to only surface up intelligence that matters to you. And the intelligence that matters is the people you didn't close.”

Patient Prism facilitates re-engagement of lost opportunities'

If high anxiety over cost or pain is a reason a caller did not move forward, a Patient Prism alert and feedback from the AI will prompt you to call back the caller and explain that you genuinely want to help them have the treatment they want and need. Maybe you forgot to mention there are multiple implant treatment options that make treatment more affordable. Maybe you forgot to mention available financing and how low the payments might be. Maybe you forgot to mention that patients are impressed by how comfortable the treatment procedures are, that they are delighted with the results and can immediately start eating on their new full arch, and that many say they wish they had had the treatment sooner. 

Whatever you can add to the conversation in a call back, that might reduce the lead’s anxiety, will increase the potential for you to actually triage the lead and appropriately schedule them.

In the next segment of this video blog series, the reason, ease, and success of call-back calls to re-engage lost opportunities are described by Amol NIrgudkar.

Watch Part 4 of 4: How AI Enables You to Make the Most of Your Full-Arch Implant Opportunities


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