Case acceptance: mastering the 'Art of Persuasion in Dentistry' by mastering the art of compassion

Aug. 26, 2014
There are many key factors involved in successful case presentation, but an extremely important one that is often overlooked is compassion. Kyle Summerford, BS, explores five simple ways to become familiar with in displaying acts of compassion that will increase your case acceptance and contribute to a winning relationship between you and your patients.
I recently saw a continuing education course that was titled "Master the Art of Persuasion." Many key factors were mentioned for staff members to learn when “selling” dentistry during their case presentation. Although many key factors that were listed were important for case acceptance, there was one extremely important factor not mentioned. What was the essential ingredient missing? Compassion!!!

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This is an essential component to add to your case presentation. It will put the patient at ease and show care and consideration. Compassion stirs emotions, which generate action while at the same time allow the patient to feel that a friend is recommending this treatment.

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Follow these five simple ways to become familiar with displaying acts of compassion and increase your case acceptance.

1.Be considerate. Listen to the patient; pay close attention to what the patient is saying by opening your ears and keeping eye contact.

2.Patient first. Be selfless and put yourself in the patient’s shoes; deliver the bad news and financials as if it were you on the other end.

3.Gentle, warm communication. During case presentation be positive and optimistic for the patient; reassure the patient that this is the right choice of moving forward with correcting the problem.

4.“I understand.” This strong verbal communication phrase shows empathy, which in turn generates trust and shows that you can relate to the patient’s emotions and situation.

5.Compliment. Warm compliments go a long way. Boost the patient’s ego; sometimes we all need a little ego boost.

Understanding that incorporating the compassion component into your case presentation will more than likely increase your case acceptance. Remember the key is to utilize the five acts I have listed above and at the same time make sure you are confident when delivering financials to the patient. Confidence and compassion contribute to a winning relationship.

Kyle L. Summerford, BS, is an independent dental consultant. His professional career of 13 years in dentistry has given him expert knowledge in various areas of practice management. He is a professional speaker focusing on various topics such as increasing profits, staff etiquette training, and maximizing dental insurance benefits. He has authored many articles that have been featured in Dental Economics,, and Surgical-Restorative Resource. You can visit his websites and, which are available to dentists and their team members for educational purposes. You may also contact Mr. Summerford by email at [email protected] with any inquiries regarding his practice management consulting services.