It is no secret that we all make emotional decisions and then justify those emotional decisions with logic. While the dental office may seem like a logical environment, patients are making decisions all day long based on how they FEEL, not necessarily on what they know. So what are you doing to regulate or manage the emotional environment in your office? Beyond the personal treatment which is the most powerful emotional influence your patients feel, over the next few weeks we’ll consider some of the other powerful things in your office that have an influence on your patient’s emotions.
Emotional influence #1: Brag a little. What things do you intentionally place in your office that brag on you and what you do? The natural law of “Pre-heat” says that people believe more what they overhear than what they hear. The information that patients gather from independent, third party, trusted sources, will have a greater impact on them than anything you could tell them directly.
For example, what awards and certificates do you have on the walls of your office? Are they displayed prominently or do you have them hidden somewhere. Someone once said, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.” Patients are interested to know that their dentist is credentialed, certified, and knowledgeable about what he or she is doing. Give them that reassurance. Don’t hide it.
Articles from the local newspaper where you may have been featured for anything (unless it is your name featured in the police report!) Will Rogers once said, “All I know is what I read in the newspapers.” To some degree, patients are the same. If it is in print, they have a tendency to believe it more than if they just hear it directly from you.
Pictures. Don’t just put pictures of beautiful smiles on your wall, put up pictures of yourself with well-known people; especially well-known people in the community. Mother always said, “You are known by the company you keep.” Your patients judge you the same way. If you are associated with people they trust, they will trust you as well. You take on the same characteristics in people’s minds as those with whom you associate.
Letters. Just about every office I know of receives letters or notes from time to time from happy, satisfied patients. Where are those letters now? There is only one place they should be and that is on the reception room table with the patient’s permission of course. We have always called it a “brag book.” Letting your patients know how other patients feel about you in their own words has a powerful effect. By reading page after page of testimonials, a patient can’t help but think, “All of these people can’t be wrong. I think I have made the right decision.”
Take a quick inventory this week of the intentional identifiers you have placed in your office. What other items could you add that would give off an even more powerful impression resulting in patient confidence and reassurance? Any time is a good time to increase your emotional influence.