I had an experience recently, regarding a Practice with which C&E work, who were tentatively looking at the option of changing a supplier. We went through a bit of a process with this company, who kindly came to visit the Practice in question etc. Ultimately, the Practice chose to remain with the current supplier and we gave some email feedback on why we made the decision etc. We then got a rather…. interesting reply… anyway – all good fun, but (as always) this got me thinking….

Dentistry, whether y’all like it or not, is a sales/service based industry – this is an irrefutable fact – you are in the business of influencing other peoples (your patients) opinions, to ensure they take up treatment in their best interests – which you know will make them healthier, have a great smile and be happier – that’s sales baby. Forget the ‘sales’ stereotypes, of double glazing salesman banging on your door, this isn’t the 80’s. Anyway, moving on…

We all love that fantastic feeling we get when we ‘close’ a sale – remember that immense feeling of satisfaction (and pride!) you all get when a patient turns around and says, “YES!” to that treatment plan/quote, that you have painstakingly prepared and agonised over after surgery has finished for the day – a wonderful feeling and one you most definitely like to repeat as often as possible!

However, on the flip side of that coin – people will sometimes say, “No, thank you very much,” to treatment plans for a variety of reasons, often:

1) Can’t afford it, as it was more than they had budgeted for,

2) Have been to a few Practices and were more impressed elsewhere.

Cold truths, but always best to get it out and about.

Now my main point here is – how you deal with those rejections is absolutely key. Keep it humble, keep it polite and most of all keep it professional. Please, please, PLEASE always make sure you reply to a treatment plan rejection – whether it be over the telephone or email – don’t just file it under, “Oh well on to the next one!” and not reply at all!

Some tips:

  1. Talk to/call back the patient personally and thank them very much for their consideration of your proposal. Make them feel that they really were doing you a favour by coming back to you. Stress that you totally respect their decision and that you and your team are always available should they re-consider or change their mind at any point – no hard feelings & always welcome. You never know they may have more questions or even re-consider thanks to such courteous treatment and customer service… above and beyond the call of duty dear friends!
  2. If an email reply is the only contact option – same as above, but in writing! Please do not be short, rude or (at worst) passive aggressive – even though the temptation may be there, as your pride is a tiny bit bruised – remember, this is no reflection on your clinical abilities and is not personal! This is not to mention the fact that once you email something to someone, it is there forever and can be (rather easily) shared between people via email, or worst case scenario – via social media… if you’ve been condescending, dismissive or passive aggressive this could equal a big OUCH moment for your business and your hard won and excellent reputation.

I suppose what I am poking at here, is that even when you get rejected (which will happen in every facet of life as we know) – keep it ultra polite, humble and professional – this will enhance your reputation, credentials and you never know, may lead to the ‘rejector’ referring you some friends or family for treatment…

Much love,


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