It has been baked into the cake in dealing with customers and clients, that they are always right, even when they are wrong. But is that the best strategy? Sometimes it may not be. Here’s why.

If you just yes to every client or patient, you are in essence devaluing your professional expertise. You are the professional – whether you have an MD after your name or a DDS, RN or ARNP. Patients are coming to you for advice. Just because they spent some time trolling the Internet, does not mean they know enough about their specific condition or concern to make an informed decision. That is where you come in.

Giving them a filler when they really need a toxin will yield only short-term gain. When they see the results of the treatment you administered didn’t solve their crease or volume deflation, they are probably going to be disappointed. Disappointment can often turn to anger, resentment and the next thing you know, there is a scathing one-star review on YELP. That short-term gain didn’t really solve anything for your practice or for the patient. It is not the way to build long-term relationships with patients and keep them coming back to you and referring their friends and family.

When in doubt, candor is always the best policy. My philosophy is to be upfront and straight with patients. If the patient has unrealistic expectations, it is your job to cut to the chase and explain the limitations of what can be achieved. If the patient presents stating exactly what she wants and telling you how much she knows about it, that is a good time to interject by setting her straight…in the nicest and most respectful tone and manner.

How do you handle patients who are making decisions or choices based on incorrect information they have obtained from a friend, magazine or website? This is the opportunity to turn that patient around, but it takes some pride-swallowing and a lot of finesse. Often, the best solution is to listen to their request, explain that the option they have chosen may work well for some patients, and then ask if they are open to exploring some potential alternatives. Say something like, “I understand what you are trying to achieve, and I would like to give you my honest opinion of what I believe will yield the best solution for you. In my experience, that procedure will not correct/improve/fix that condition sufficiently and there are some other options worth considering. Let me explain further…”

In these situations, showing visuals will be more compelling than just speaking in words. Use tools to explain the what and why of it. Don’t expect patients to have an imagination. Use language that is easy to understand and not so technical that you are at risk of confusing them. Show them in a mirror, utilize imaging, demonstrate how it works, etc.

So, the next time you encounter someone dead set on a decision, practice the art of alternative solutions: Ask permission, and then explain why there are better options. If the patient insists on her original choice, and you strongly disagree, it is okay to just say no. They may even respect you more for it.