How to Talk Patient Finance Without Fear

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that having multiple sources of revenue helps to support practices in times of crisis. One source of revenue that’s receiving ever-growing demand is patient finance, due to the fact that interest in cosmetic dentistry has remained strong despite the restrictions of the pandemic.

Talking about money can be a sticking point for many team members, who may see talking about patient finance as ‘salesy’. To help overcome this issue, I’ve pulled together my top tips for overcoming this reluctance.

Recognise your worth
It’s surprisingly common to be nervous about presenting the cost of treatment plans – the good thing is that you don't need to be. If your pricing is calculated correctly to cover the running costs of your business and to provide you with your desired income and profit, then you should be confident that you are worth it.

Ensure patients fully understand the itemised treatments you’ll be providing for them and the associated costs, including lab bills and up-front costs you may incur.

Most patients won’t understand the nature of the work required and the time you’ll spend fulfilling their treatment needs. However, when explained well, most patients won’t object to the cost if they feel they’re getting value for money, especially if they can spread the cost using patient finance.

Keep up to date
Ensure you and your staff are fully up to date with training in all things associated with offering patient finance.

Understanding and feeling comfortable about your obligations under the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulations comes from training with experts and practise. Aim to reach a point where you know how to offer finance in a compliant manner and what it means to treat customers fairly and so on. This will help you gain confidence in communicating finance by being well versed in the details.

Working in the world of Covid-19, it would be beneficial to choose a finance provider that can offer you support virtually, with remote training sessions alongside e-learning, so that you can take your training into your own hands at times that suit you. This will help to ensure that you and your team are delivering the messages about patient finance in a confident, consistent and compliant manner.

Remember the benefits
If you have patient credit facilities at the practice, then patients will have the opportunity to pay for their private treatment plans in easy-to-manage, bite-sized repayments. This is both beneficial for them in the sense that their treatment becomes more affordable, and you in terms of cashflow and treatment uptake.

Remembering these benefits makes talking about treatment costs and patient finance even easier for you and your team and removes some of the obstacles that can cause people to shy away from it.

If you offer patient finance, know what terms you offer at the practice. For example, do you offer both interest-free credit and interest-bearing credit facilities?

Keep in mind which terms are available to patients such as how many months do you offer on an interest-free basis and how many on an interest-bearing basis, and what annual percentage rate (APR) is applied to patients’ interest-bearing loans.

Giving patients as much choice and information as possible will allow them to choose a solution that suits them best and encourage better acceptance for patient finance and then as a result, treatment uptake.

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