When a patient first comes in we have ourfirst consult, first I sit in front of them and they aresitting up and the first question I ask is, “Why are you here,and what do you want to do?” And they may have been referred,so there is some prior knowledge of why they are here.
But I need to hear it from them, so that I have listened their chief problem.
The other thing we have learnt from experience to ask is,”When do you need this done by?” Because we have had the odd occasion wherea lady has come in and the daughter is getting married in two weeks and she wants some veneersdone or something like that and you say “When do you need this done by?”“Saturday week” and you go “Not going to happen.
Not in this shop.
It’s not gonna happen.
”Because some of those sorts of things need time and care and patience.
We do ask them about money.
And, you know they are a bit nervous about that, theycan sort of sense that question is coming andI say to them quite flippantly “If I charge you a million bucks for this filling can youafford it?” Some of them say “Yup, provided it’s asensible million bucks.
” “I’m planning for this”, “I’ve beenwarned” and others say “Well you know I’ve just retired and I’vegot some expenses” and then I say “Ok we need to budget, weneed a plan, we need to spread this out.
” And then we formulate a treatment plan thatmay be done in stages over a period of time and it becomes affordable for them.
And so that they can also see that this investment in their mouth, which they are going to have to maintain,is going to be a better investment than going down the street and buying a car which, isgoing to last for ten years, and this investment we are hoping, is going to last twenty to twenty-fiveyears.
So that is an important thing to get acrossto them right from the word go when they are looking for something that they have seenlots of pictures and been shown things and friends have had work done and haven’t exactly owned up to how much things cost.
They are the four big areas, “Why are you here?”,”What do you want?”, “When do you want it by?” and “This is what it’s going to cost.
“Once you’ve got that, then you can formulate a treatment plan in a sequence.
So you can’t do it the other way around, whack together a treatment plan saying“There it is, there is the bottom line” And when we do have a big bottom line we make surethey’re sitting down.