Learn the business skills of case acceptance.

The Pandora’s Box of Negotiating Your Fees

In my field work with practices, the subject of reducing fees comes up with increasing regularity, and I have seen instances where doctors have made an on-the-spot decision to drop the treatment fee upon request, usually in response to a lower offer from a competitor.

It might be tempting to drop your price in a situation like this, but you will pay for it a thousand times over. In fact, once your market learns that you negotiate your fees, two things will transpire almost immediately:

  • Visitors will not take your initially quoted price seriously because they will know that it is a “soft” offer; and
  • You will attract a new class of patients to your practice that you will quickly realize you wish you hadn’t.

The message? Show me a practice that must resort to lowering fees to win cases, and I will show you one that needs to improve its ability to communicate value effectively. My books cover a myriad of ways in which to do this, but the bottom line is that if you aren’t putting your best foot forward in the initial consultation, dropping your price is neither an acceptable substitute nor an effective long-term strategy for saving a case.

Another key point to remember about your fees is that most families are much more concerned with the financial pain incurred via your financing arrangements than they are with what your fees are. If you are structuring your payment options properly relative to your market and your competitors, you can have a higher fee and still win a majority of cases. Doing an excellent job of communicating value while offering competitive financing arrangements is the winning combination for maximizing new-patient starts.

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