I Need to Think About It


Despite your best efforts, you will encounter patients who respond to your treatment presentation with “I need to think about it.”

Your first reaction could be to say “Ok. Call me when you’re ready!” and we all know that rarely will the patient ‘think’ about it and call you back.

The reality is this ~ for every treatment plan you present, the patient  is thinking “Do I really want this?”, “Do I really want this now?” and “Do I want to get this from you?”

Here are the top 2 things I’ve learned from my experience presenting treatment:

#1 It’s up to me, the treatment presenter, to find out what it is this person needs to think about.

  • Most patients use this response to object to time, money or the possibility of pain so I want to address these potential issues directly.
  • For example, “Mr. Fearful, I realize this is a lot of information we went over and I know you want to process it all. So that I give you all the details you need to make an informed decision, help me understand what it is you’re still unsure about.”
  • I can probe further by asking, “Is it the number of appointments you need to think about it?” or “Tell me what you are thinking in regards to the fee.”
  • Remain open to what the patient has to say and allow him time to respond.  Silence can be golden.

#2Follow-up is key! 

  • Allowing patients to keep control of the ‘buying’ situation is paramount to their acceptance so let them ‘think about it’ AND get permission to follow-up. Having a solid follow-up plan in place will keep these patients from falling through the cracks.  Ultimately, the goal is to get a YES but a ‘no’ now does not mean ‘no’ forever, so respect the fact that people have other priorities beyond dentistry.
    • If a patient doesn’t schedule today, make a phone call the next day.
    • An example, “Barbara, I appreciate you need time to discuss this with your husband and determine how this treatment can fit your budget. With your permission, I will call you tomorrow to see if there are any further questions you or your husband have and we’ll take it from there.”
  • Additional follow-up could look like this:
    • If you can’t reach the patient, make another phone call within 3 days and send a short note/letter with treatment benefits and photos.
    • If the patient is still unreachable after 2 call attempts, then send an email once a week for two weeks.
    • If the patient still remains unresponsive, send a letter with your concerns and let the patient know that when she’s ready, you will be there for her.
  • Commit to reviewing any outstanding treatment at hygiene visits for when the patient is ready to say yes.

“Let me think about it” is another way of saying ‘I don’t have enough information to say yes’.

Keep your patients engaged by uncovering what they’re still unsure about and if they truly need to think about it, make a commitment to following up to show you care.

Robyn Reis

Robyn Reis

Robyn began her dental career in 1998 as a marketing and communications director for a large group practice, and instantly fell in love with the world of dentistry. She has spent every waking moment since learning, growing and collaborating with dentists and their teams utilizing her expertise in all aspects of dental practice management, marketing, communications, HR, continuing education, and laboratory sales. Robyn's personal goals are to make a difference in someone's life every single day and to give the best of herself to those around her. Robyn and her family live and play in Northeast Ohio.