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How to Remove Hurdles and Avoid Leading "No's" to Tough Questions

August 21, 20232 min read

I know sometimes our patients ask us tough questions where the most direct reply is, "No." I get it. It's effective, but many times it is not received well. And many times it feels like we put a hurdle in their path.

Let's talk about a few of the common tough questions and how to adapt our responses.

Business Hours

"Are you open on Fridays?" The most direct answer for many of us is, "No we're not…"

Let's flip it. Let's say what we can do.

Now we reply with, "We currently see patients Monday through Thursday."'ve answered with what you can do.


Another common one is, "Do I need a referral?"

Again, the most direct answer is, "No you don't." But that is again harsh and it has that negative connotation.

So let's flip a response to a more positive reply. "Great news You don't need one!"


Oh, this can be a doozy and we tend to keep those hurdles up instead of removing them. Here is how it usually begins, "Are you in network with my plan?"

Instead of saying, "No, we're not," change it to, "While we're not in network with them. We do accept all insurances, file for you, and work to maximize your benefits."

Or, for those instances of state-funded insurance you can proceed to an affordability solution and say, "While that insurance does not cover orthodontic benefits, we are very successful at setting up payment plans to fit monthly budgets."


That leads me on into a cost question. We get asked, "Can you tell me how much that costs?"

Most replies are a tap-dance routine of how you don't quote fees on the don't know how much treatment costs...or worse yet have a CYA response of, "Well, it could be anywhere from $3000 to $10,000."


I want you to break it down, remove the hurdle, and go to the affordability. And what you can say is, "Your investment is going to be unique to your solution, but what I CAN tell you is we're very successful at setting up payment plans to fit monthly budgets."

Now if they press you even more, feel free to use the "as low as" language. It looks like this, "We can get down payments as low as "$xxx and monthlies as low as $xxx."

Hurdle removed. Solution provided.

Watch and hear the difference


So in summary, remember to:

  • Remove hurdles

  • Avoid leading "no" responses

  • Say what you CAN do for them

We want to make sure that we are removing those hurdles because not many of us are high hurdle jumpers. And we want to avoid the leading nos. Flip it.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes for you. 

Amy Demas, MBA, DTM, DFSS works with clients around the world to improve communication skills, resulting in a better customer experience!
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Amy Demas

Communication trainer and coach for individuals and businesses.

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