How do you know which patients will spend the next $5,000 or $15,000?

How do you know what will trigger that purchase decision?

How do you know they’ll spend it with you?

I was watching my guilty pleasure yesterday, Million Dollar Listing. Three high-power real estate agents wheel and deal in LA and Malibu! One of the agents hosted an open house and a less-than-savvy looking visitor arrived but there was no stopping on service, no prejudgment … because millionaires can dress like slouches too! Another agent constantly proactively reaches out to buyers and always stays in front of clients.

The lesson, as sellers, is something we always need to remember, and selling dentistry might be tougher than any other product. We’re dealing with trepidation, competing priorities, and busy lifestyles where dentistry is low on the list. To get to the $15,000 patient, you need to work them past INTEREST to WANT to TRUST to BUY. And you need to BE THERE when they’re ready.

When we pre-judge, we can often blow the sale. If we pull the plug on a campaign too early we could miss the opportunity. Remember Oprah and the $38,000 Switzerland purse? If we, as sellers, decide that someone can’t afford what we’re selling, it will affect the way we communicate. In your target market, you must assume that every patient can afford what you do, it’s just how important they feel it is to them. We can probably all relate to being judged as buyers … as a young adult I recall shopping for a car (with my Mother in tow) and when we asked to see a certain vehicle, the sales rep told me he would show it when we came back with my Dad. I don’t have to tell you that he lost that sale!

We need to keep in mind that people need time and information to make decisions. As posted on forbes.com, here are 7 steps to take:

KNOW – Allow prospects to slowly get to know who you are and how you can help them

LIKE – Over time, this will create a positive feeling for you and your practice

TRUST – They will begin to trust that you will be able to help them when they need it. This may involve a purchase or just advice

TRY – They will try a sample (new patient appointment/free consult/2nd opinion) of your service as a test

BUY – They will make the first purchase from your company (recall/elective)

REPEAT – They will buy again, becoming a satisfied patient (2nd stage elective)

REFER – Most importantly, they will refer more patients (if you ask and remind)

REPEAT – This process requires continuous communication with patients. The majority of people will not purchase elective services out of the gate, and therefore most of our clients work on building that steady flow of new hygiene patients. This is the perfect forum to enter your patients into a program to nurture the relationship over time. Patient nurturing, in the form of your quarterly newsletter, helps you inform and create interest, build trust, and it keeps you visible when priorities shift.

We should be in constant development of our client relationships. Help your patients get to know you and your services better and like and trust you more, and you’ll continue to strengthen your relationships earning more revenue per patient over the long run. Because … you can instill desire … and you never know who’s got the dough!