A few weeks ago, I went into a fairly upmarket men’s clothing store in my local town centre – I was looking for a new dress shirt to go with my dinner suit. I found a selection of shirts and was in the process of checking them out when a (slightly elderly) sales assistant came over and offered his help.
I explained what I was looking for and what my size was and he quickly gathered a few options together – all neatly folded and wrapped in that cellophane that shirts come in.
None of them were cheap – I think the lowest priced shirt was £75, the highest was over £100.
As the assistant started to talk me through the various styles of shirt, showing a great deal of knowledge, he did something I wasn’t expecting – when he finished talking about a particular shirt, he proceeded to throw it on the floor!
And he kept doing it, until he’d created a fairly impressive shirt display…on the floor!
“As the assistant started to talk me through the various styles of shirt, showing a great deal of knowledge, he did something I wasn’t expecting – when he finished talking about a particular shirt, he proceeded to throw it on the floor!”
This was clearly something he’d done many times before. He did it with panache and a little theatre. But ultimately, there was no escaping the fact that he’d thrown all the shirts on the floor.
I looked at him aghast.
Did he seriously think that the act of throwing expensive shirts on the floor was more likely to result in a sale than if he’d carefully placed them to the side? What did he expect me to do…point at the one I wanted, or bend down and pick it up myself? Whatever he was hoping, he was wrong.
My thoughts were…if your idea of presenting expensive shirts to a customer is by throwing them on the floor – you’re on the wrong planet!
“The sale was lost because of poor presentation.”
I thanked him for his time, walked out of the store, down the high street to another men’s store, where I paid £85 for a dress shirt, very similar to the ones I’d just left lying in the other store.
So, during my first encounter, there was nothing wrong with the shirts, they were perfect for what I wanted. There was nothing wrong with the advice I received, the guy certainly knew what he was talking about, and I was prepared (reluctantly) to fork out the money for a shirt. But the sale was lost because of poor presentation.
Now, you may be asking, what does that have to do with dental practices?
Well, quite a lot, I would argue – not that I would suggest for a second that you would deliberately throw stuff on the floor in the presence of your patients – but I do think that presentation is an issue for many dental practices – particularly when it comes to treatment plans.
“Patients are consumers and they react to a treatment plan proposal in the same way they would to a more traditional purchase. And much of that is either sub-conscious or based on gut feeling – ‘does it feel right?”
Many treatment plans, that add up to significant potential investment for the patient, are poorly presented, both in terms of the physical format and the language used.
It might seem like a small thing, but it’s actually a big thing – patients are consumers and they react to a treatment plan proposal in the same way they would to a more traditional purchase. And much of that is either sub-conscious or based on gut feeling – ‘does it feel right?’
That’s how it was for me with my shirt experience – the act of throwing the shirts on the floor, was contrary to the experience I was expecting – it didn’t ‘feel right’ – and so, the sale was lost.
“If you’re going to deliver a treatment worth £5,000 – then your patient will be expecting a £5,000 experience.”
If you’re going to deliver a treatment worth £5,000 – then your patient will be expecting a £5,000 experience – and that starts with a treatment proposal that is beautifully presented, of high quality and in a format that is easy for the patient to understand and act upon.
A little creativity and attention to detail could result in a significant upturn in your treatment plan uptake…I’ll bet my shirt on it!
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