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Episode 130: Talking Points Versus Scripts

April 08, 2021
In today’s episode, you will learn whether you should use scripts or talking points in your practice.
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Do scripts help you achieve a specific desired result? Whether you use scripts or talking points in your practice, it is essential to consider whether they help you achieve your goals. You can effectively utilize scripts or talking points in your practice if you understand the correct way to use them. In this episode, that’s exactly what Gary will explain! He will help you learn how to use scripts and talking points in the correct way to achieve your desired practice goals.

  • 00:00:56 – Intro to today’s topic
  • 00:01:10 – Get RID of PPOs’!
  • 00:03:00 – Receiving end of scripts
  • 00:03:34 – Using scripts “usefully”
  • 00:10:40 Creates complications
  • 00:12:13 – The talking points
  • 00:15:29 – Customized talking points

Resources

Naren: Hello everyone, welcome to the less insurance dependence podcast show. This is Naren, your co-host today’s topic is a topic that came from Gary’s years of experience coaching, and the topic is talking points versus scripts. Before we jump into the topic, we have a quick announcement. Now let’s jump in talking points versus scripts me personally, Gary I am not a big fan of scripts. I don’t like scripts because I like that independence I get when I have talking points I can use as and when needed. Script’s kind of is like a straitjacket for me; what do you think?

Gary: Naren, true confessions here I have a love-hate relationship with scripts truly love-hate relationship with them on the hate side that’s a strong word, but I do truly feel that way we’ve all been on the receiving end of scripts, and usually it doesn’t feel very good. Usually, it feels very mechanical, it feels very rote, and it feels like there’s not much of a connection. You can usually hear a script coming down the road, you know, edit and my experience has been that it can be difficult to get the desired result, you know, with the script, but then let me go to the other side for just a minute. Scripts can be used usefully. Let me use an odd example, Naren, imagine that you are a producer of a play, and imagine the play is a William Shakespeare play that we all are familiar with called Romeo and Juliet, and imagine that you are cast in the lead role. How do you think this would go over, Naren? You read through the script, yeah that’s pretty good, and then you go to the producer and say, you know these the script is pretty good but I really rather just add limit I’d rather really just come up with my own version of Romeo because you know I’ve got some different thoughts and I think I can do a better job than this, this Shakespeare guy did with the writing I’m just going to do my own thing. How do you think that would be received by the producer?

Naren: I think not only by the producer but even by the audience I think it would be a flop, right because nobody can play at the level at Shakespeare right, I mean 

Gary: the producer is actually going to say Naren, we have an understudy in this position that is now in the lead. I’m sorry you’re no longer in the play. 

Naren: you’re 100 percent you’re out exactly 

Gary: so, but and I have to now, I have to share a story with you, Naren, that I don’t think I’ve ever shared with you. This is a wonderful story that all of our listeners of less insurance dependence need to hear. A client of mine who successfully eliminated insurance in his practice was right on the fence as to whether he had eliminated every plan except delta, and he was on the fence about whether he should eliminate delta as the last plan, and that day in his practice one of his patients turned to his dental assistant and asked the question this was the way the doctor described this patient. The doctor described this patient as one of the most difficult patients in his practice. She was very brash, very bold, very outspoken, really didn’t listen very well, and this patient turned to one of his dental assistants and said, how come you’re not taking my insurance anymore, and my client happened to be in the hallway, and he overheard it, and he was at the; you know behind the 12 o’clock wall where the patient couldn’t see him and the dental assistant couldn’t see him, but he could hear, and he said I almost rushed in to rescue her because I’m thinking you know this really isn’t in her wheelhouse, we’ve done training around it, but this really is in her wheelhouse and she doesn’t deserve this question from the patient. I’m going to jump in and rescue her, but he said I resisted the urge to do it, he said I thought you know I’ll just stay here and listen and see how she does and he told me later he said I think I resisted the urge because I really thought she was going to fail and the patient was going to leave the practice and he said to tell you the truth I would have been perfectly fine with that because this was a difficult patient and the assistant went to say, and I won’t use the patient’s name, but she used her name, and she said I’m so glad you asked, you know every patient in our practice; you are very important to us as a patient and let me tell you why. We’ve discovered if we were to stay in-network, we could no longer deliver the quality of care for our patients that is non-negotiable to us, and you can always count on our doctor to deliver the highest possible care. So, we’ve made the difficult decision to no longer be contracted with your insurance company, but here’s the good news, you can still use your benefits in our practice. We will still file the claims for you like we always have. We’ll submit all the documentation necessary. We’ll make it very easy for you. We’ll even do all the follow-up with the insurance company because sometimes we have to arm wrestle them to get them to do what they’re supposed to do, and we hope you appreciate the quality of care we provide. The way we provide individual attention for each of our patients, the way we continually invest in technology for your benefit, the way we take care of you like a family member, and we hope you appreciate those benefits enough to continue to stay in our office for your care and the patient said okay. When the doctor told me that story, I have to say Naren, the word sounded familiar, and I went back, and I looked at some training that I had done with this office, and it was exactly my script word for word. It was a word for word. So what did she do? She memorized the script, and she delivered it with perfection. So that’s why I say I have a love-hate relationship and what I really mean by that is for some, scripts can be useful for others, talking points are useful, more useful. So, I think you kind of have to pick your tool depending on the individual. Does that help kind of explain my concept about having both a love-hate relationship with scripting the scripting concept Naren?

Naren: hundred percent Gary. I mean, like I’ve seen it in action, like when you do coaching work, I sometimes see there are people who want every detail; in other words, you know you talk about disk personality styles. So, there are some these personality styles where having every detail thought through in a document they can look at makes them comfortable, you know that’s just it’s not something wrong with them or right with them it’s just they’re different like I am not that person like I don’t like details. I want less the details are better for me if you give me bullet points, then I can use it as I see fit.

Gary: you use the word freedom as you were talking about talking points, and I think that’s true. Some people do better with freedom. Some do better with exact details right, and I think it’s there’s not a right or wrong in it. Naren, when we do with our coaching work when we do training, we recommend that as you’re preparing to go out of network, you do some very specific team meetings around verbal skills, what to say and how to say it, and one of the things we suggest is in the very first team meeting provide some scripts to your team members and just read them out, so that you can start to get familiar with the verbiage and you can start to get familiar with the messaging and then we suggest as we go to the next meeting that we switch to talking points and see how that feels and see how that sounds. So, there’s really a place for both of them but Naren, let’s talk about some talking points because the truth is the scripts aren’t short. They are not short. They’re not a simple sentence or two because, in fact, it’s a complex answer. 

Naren: right 

Gary: and so, they tend to be multi-sentence long, which I think creates the complication of using scripts usefully because if you’re not careful, it can sound like you’re reading something like this, and then it doesn’t have much impact. 

Naren: yeah, and I think the use case, in other words, the situation also might say okay sometimes scripts are better and sometimes talking like points are better, for example, you know how do you tell a patient you’re going out of network I would say a script is better because you want to say a few things it’s a little complex as opposed to you answering phone calls there might be some talking points like you know appreciating their call or finding out what they’re looking for. In other words, these are some points you want to cover in that conversation, am I… Is that making sense?

Gary: Yeah, like for example, you use a good example thereof of phone calls we teach the concept of having some phrases on your hip pocket 

Naren: right, what are some of those phrases? I’m so glad you called we love seeing new patients here at life smiles very simple. You know you’ve called the right office; you’re going to love our office phrases like that can really have an impact on a call, especially when they’re when it’s so genuine. You know, and I love using that phrase, we love to see new patients because really, it’s rolling the red carpet out there are some simple phrases that can be used in those calls. Let’s talk about talking points for successfully reducing insurance dependence. I’m going to rattle off a few, and you know what, Naren, let’s ask our team to put these together in a talking point pdf.

Naren: absolutely 

Gary: And we’ll put that in the show notes

Naren: Right

Gary: Less insurance dependents.com and we’ll put a link to that so you can get a copy of these talking points and by no means is this meant to be exclusive there could be many, many, many, many, talking points, but we’ll kind of give you a really good start on creating your own. Here’s where I would start you can use your benefits in our office; that’s one talking point. We will continue to file your insurance claims for you. That’s a big fear for many patients, by the way, because they wouldn’t have any idea how to do it. We will continue to file your dental insurance claims for your second talking point. A third one is we’ll submit all the necessary documentation for the insurance companies to pay that claim. A fourth one will make it very easy for you. Naren, I think one of the more popular advertising campaigns lately has been the easy button; now, when I said easy button didn’t you get an image in your head right there. 

Naren: yeah, yeah, the red button 

Gary: the red button, so we’ll make it very easy for you. Another talking point, we’ll even follow up with the insurance companies, and sometimes we have to arm wrestle with them to get them to do what they’re supposed to do, but we’ll do that for you. I love that talking point because it figuratively positions us as the good guy and who’s the bad guy. 

Naren: the insurance company 

Gary: the insurance company

Gary: now go to and here’s the next one, and here’s the good news we hope you appreciate the benefits in our practice. The fact that we provide the highest quality care, we provide individual time and attention for each patient. We continually invest in technology for your benefit, we treat you like a family member, and then I would close with the intention that you want them to do, and that’s a talking point as well. We hope you appreciate all of that and continue to come to our office for your dental care. In fact, you might even say, depending on your relationship with the patient, it’s our fondest hope that you appreciate the benefits you receive in our office to continue to come here for your care. Those are talking points and those talking points I find for many, and again I’m not trying to suggest that there’s a winner or loser in scripting versus talking points. For one team member, scripting may be best for another team member, talking points may be best, but for those that the talking point is taking the talking point route very often, those talking points kind of just become the conversation starters that really allow them to have a meaningful conversation with their patient and personalize it. The problem with scripts is your kind of painted into a corner. 

Naren: Right, right. You memorize the whole thing, and you, kind of you, just don’t know how to kind of pivot. 

Gary: imagine how this could be customized, Naren, and I’m just going to make this up on the fly as if this by the way this happens, but I’ll make it up on the fly. Naren, remember when the doctor came in after hours to take care of that dental emergency you had on the upper left. That’s the kind of benefits you can expect to continually receive in our practice. Now assume that happened to you, Naren, and we’re having this conversation. Have I just made you know maybe caused a pause, and you think about whether I really want to leave this practice?

Naren: 100 percent yeah, I think the personalizing is key, right I mean the relationship I mean like let’s say you know the family and they’ve been taking care of the family you know those things could come out naturally you know in those conversations 

Gary: Absolutely, you know absolutely, and then you know the talking points give you then you know the ability to shift and pivot and make it even more meaningful to the patient in front of you 

Naren: and maybe some people start with the script get comfortable I mean especially those as you know and Cs’ in a disk you’re a big fan of the disc.

Gary: Right

Naren: and then maybe once they’re comfortable, they could maybe move to talking points; there you go well I think we’ve introduced some good context for this discussion, and you know, just to reiterate, I don’t really see a clear winner or clear loser in the discussion of scripts versus talking points it depends on the individual it depends on their familiarity with the topic perhaps depends on the patient but to have both of those in your training scripting as well as talking points will really help you be complete in your training and it is very important to be able to respond to patients questions and be able to respond in a compassionate way you know one thing I will tell you in communication when we close on this point. Experts in the science of linguistics how we communicate will tell you that the words only comprise seven percent of the message, the words only comprise seven percent of the message. Now you may think, what isn’t it all about the words. Well, certainly the words are very important, but what’s the other 93 percent of a message? The other 93 percent is everything else. It’s your tone of voice; it’s your volume, it’s your inflection, it’s your facial expressions, it’s body language, it’s everything else. So that’s another thing we teach you to know in in training is yeah, we want to have the words whether it be talking points or scripts we don’t have the right words, but we also want to convey our emotions to the patient and the biggest emotion that we want to convey I can really think of two that it’s absolutely in your best interest as a patient to continue to come here for your care, that’s an emotion that we want to commit it is in your best interest to continue to come here for your care and the second emotion that you want to convey is that our fondest hope is that you continue to come here. Then we want to roll the red carpet out, you know, and let them know that they are absolutely our desire is for them to stay. So when you put all those together, you’re going to be successful in communicating with your patients. This has been a fun episode Naren, I think we’ve given our listeners something to think about, and I think we’ve given them some great tools and especially if you take advantage of clicking that pdf document to get some talking points and then you can maybe use that to start to build your own, your own talking points on what are the benefits of staying in your practice. Well, as we come to the finish line today, I want to take a minute and say thank you. We sure appreciate the less insurance dependence community; we appreciate each and every one of you. We love what we do here couldn’t do it without you.

Three things you could do to support our work! Number one, you can tell a colleague about it. It’s always fun to have others on your journey. Invite a colleague on the path to reducing insurance dependence on their practice. The second thing you can do is you can jump on iTunes and write us a review-a review on iTunes helps other dentists find us much appreciated when you write that review. The third thing you can do is you can hit the subscribe button. You can do that on iTunes, google play, Spotify, apple music, amazon music, whatever wherever you get your podcast, hit subscribe, and that means every Thursday when we upload a new less insurance dependence podcast, it’ll be automatically uploaded for your listening convenience. On that note, thanks so much for joining us today. We look forward to having you join us on the next less insurance dependence podcast.


Gary Takacs

Gary Takacs One of Gary's most significant achievements as a dental practice management coach is transforming his own practice, LifeSmiles, from one that was infected with PPO plans, no effective marketing strategy, and an overhead of 80% to a very successful dental practice that is currently one of the top-performing practices in the US.

With over 2,200 coaching clients, Gary has first-hand experience transforming insurance-dependent practices into thriving and profitable practices.

Through his Personalized Coaching Program, Gary shares access to the systems, strategies, processes, and experience gained over 41 years of coaching dentists and transforming over 2200 practices worldwide.

Learn More:: www.thrivingdentist.com/coaching/
Connect with Gary Takacs on Linkedin

Naren Arulrajah

Naren ArulrajahAs CEO of Ekwa Marketing, Naren has over a decade of experience working with dental practices and helping them attract the ideal type of patients to their practices. It is his goal to help dentists do more of the type of dentistry they love with the help and support of effective digital marketing.

Ekwa’s "Done-For-You" Digital Marketing model blends fundamental persuasion principles with an all-in-one Digital Marketing solution to help your ideal patients find you and choose you for reasons other than being on their insurance plan.

If you’re interested in finding out if Ekwa is the right fit for you and your practice, book a Free Marketing Strategy Meeting with Ekwa’s Marketing Director, Lila Stone.

Book Free Marketing Strategy Meeting: www.lessinsurancedependence.com/marketing-strategy-meeting/

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