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Why patients object to elective treatments and what to do about it?

PART 1/4 : Overcoming Patients' Objections

If you are a doctor or a dentist that provides elective services such as Botox, Facelifts, Eyelifts, Lasik, Dermafill, Derma abrasion, Liposuction, Cosmetic Dentistry, Dental Implants, Veneers and a long list of other discretionary services; I am sure, you have come across patients that say “No” to your treatment plan. This can sometimes hurt our ego as healthcare professionals, after all we want what is the best for our patients.

Understanding patients’ objections to our treatment recommendation is an important part of the acceptance (Sales ) process and learning how to overcome those objections can lead to a higher treatment conversion to actual sales. This blog and the next two blogs, will discuss some of the most common objections by patients and how you or your team must learn to handle them.

How do you find out what a patient’s objection really is? Simply Ask. Most doctors and clinics fail to ask questions. Doctors are simply not trained well in asking good questions and majority of them assume that if a patient says "No" to a treatment, it is a money issue. Nothing is further from the truth. Next time you come across a patient that does not want to commit to their treatment, ask one simple question; “What is your concern about going ahead with this treatment?”. Then listen carefully as what they tell you. From being in healthcare over 27 years and also consulting with hundreds of medical and dental hospitals, I can tell you patients’ objections are typically any of the following:

Objection #1- Time (Covered in this Blog)

Patients buy our services when they are able to fit it into their schedule. The old concept of that I am a doctor and my time is more important and the patients have to make their schedules work within mine, is an old and disastrous way of thinking. The time has changed, when there were only a few doctors in a neighborhood and plenty of patients and not enough providers.

With so many clinics for a patient to choose from and number of of Uber like apps such as ZocDoc, BookDoc., showing empty appointment slots for doctors’ patients have an array of choices. It is our obligation to our businesses to make our schedule around the patients and not the other way around. If this means coming early before normal hours or leave late after everyone is gone home. This is the way to do business in a new service economy. I don’t say, it is easy, but more and more patients are demanding convenience from their providers.

So, What Should you do?

Beginning tomorrow, inform your staff, that you don’t want any of your patients to leave your practice without them finding out their objection about booking their next treatment. If their objection is about time, then your staff need to find out what is your patient’s preference and how they can make this work for him/her? The conversation can go something like this…

You/Your Staff: “What is your objection about going ahead with your treatment?”

Patient: “Well, I have a very busy schedule and I am not sure when can I find the time to get in?”

You/Your Staff: “What would be the most ideal day/time for you?”

Patient: “I prefer to do it after I pick up my son from school and it looks like your clinic closes at that time.”

You/Your Staff: If I can discuss with our team and arrange for you to be here one evening this week, after our normal work hours, would you be interested to book that appointment now?

Patient: Yes. I would.

There are many ways that this conversation can go, including patient saying No, and we teach our clients and their teams on how to handle these objections through role playing of various scenarios and offering them various scripts that they can use for each situation. The point here is, we as professionals must find ways to find out our patients’ objections before we simply let them leave our clinics and only hope they would call us back for an appointment.

Elective treatments such as having a trimmer waist line or beautiful set of teeth are emotionally based purchases. If a patient does not book an appointment with us when they are already in our clinics, the chances of them calling us back to schedule and appointment becomes very low. It is our job to reduce barriers and help our patients to choose us over our competitor.

Look for my future Blogs:

Part 2: Handling Objection about “Pain”

Part 3: Handling Objection about “Money”

Part 4: Handling Objection about “Lack of Knowledge”

Dr. Allen Nazeri is a healthcare consultant with 27 years of experience as a healthcare entrepreneur, management consultant and a healthcare investment banker. He coaches healthcare professionals and their teams on operating successful patient-centric companies. For more information or to book Dr. Allen for a training or a speaking event, please contact him at

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