Archive for Dental Office Marketing
While the analogy is not as stark as the one I described last week, it seems to me that in the “sea-of-sameness” and mediocrity, we must be strategizing our business model in ways that allow us to distinguish ourselves from others.
So how are you different from “the other doctor’s offices” in your community?
Below are some suggested questions to either ask yourself and/or your entire team at a monthly meeting. I believe you will discover the answers are more challenging to come by than you might think.
- What do you do or how do you behave that sets you apart from the others?
- How do your patients/guests make the distinction between you and the others?
- What in your 15-second elevator speech attracts a prospect to you?
- Describe what is uniquely YOU in your marketing materials and marketing initiatives?
- Where do you educate your team to be “different?”
- When will you devote at least 50% of your CE budget to “soft skill” training?
How Different Are You?
Two Different Doctor’s Offices
Boy, if this doesn’t hit the nail on the head, I don’t know what does!
Two patients limp into two different medical clinics with the same complaint.
Both have trouble walking and appear to require a hip replacement.
The FIRST patient is examined within the hour, is x-rayed the same day and has a time booked for surgery the following week.
The SECOND patient sees his family doctor after waiting 3 weeks for an appointment, then waits 8 weeks to see a specialist, then gets an x-ray, which isn’t reviewed for another week. And finally has his surgery scheduled for 6 months from then.
Why the different treatment for the two patients?
The FIRST is a Golden Retriever.
The SECOND is a Senior Citizen.
What differentiates your dental practice from the next?
Where does most of your business come from? Most dentists will answer with “by word-of-mouth.” However, very few dentists have a strategy for increasing word-of-mouth business.
Many simply “pray” for referrals. Unfortunately, that’s not enough.
Referrals are to the dental practice are what base hits are to baseball players.
What’s your batting average? Are you getting your share of hits?
How good are you and your team at generating new patient referrals?
Take this free assessment, and come back here to rate yourself at how well you do.
How well did you do? Successful doctors find that the higher they rate as a referral collector, the higher their production and subsequently the higher their practice income.
Scoring: Add up the number of YES answers that you checked off above. A score of:
• 12 to 13 is off the chart fantastic—your practice is likely generating plenty of New Patients. You and your team have a strategy in place. Take a bow.
• 10 to 11 is very good—not bad. You’re doing better than most dentists in generating New Patients through your referral efforts.
• 9 is good—just a little more effort and you have the potential to elevate your practice to levels of profitability and satisfaction.
• 8 is average—how important is it to be mediocre?
• Below 8 is a red flag. To continue growing your practice and your income you may want to take steps immediately to improve your referral strategies.
Never confuse motion with action. Frequently, many of us have wonderful intentions to move forward on a project or an idea and then get “bogged down” in a lot of activity without making progress towards the completion of our goal.
Set aside time with your team to create the strategies, to develop the scripts and the communication skills that will increase your practice referrals. Following this approach will assure you that the actions you take will produce the results you want…more new patients, a happier office, and increased income.
Buying a bunch of “technology” for your practice, while important for the delivery of your care, has much less impact on your patient’s desire to continue care with you and your team. It’s the “experience” your patients experience.
Bonuses will never get the wrong person to do the right things. It’s the “experience” your team members get to feel. The easiest way to create a memorable event…provide lousy service. When you customize a service delivery you automatically create an “experience” (Hazelnut coffee with the patients favorite flavored creamer prepared for them). Teach the team to “stage” the “experience” like it is theatre (singing Happy Birthday while delivering a card or balloons at the end of their appointment).
If your business disappeared tomorrow, would anyone notice?
World-class is expecting the unexpected. Consider creating the position of Vice President of Memory Making; offer your team a Secret Service Allowance from $25-$100 per month per team member to be used at their discretion (consistent with your practice Core Values) and to be fully spent every month. The design of these ideas is to encourage your team to create “experiences” that your guests will never forget.
Coaching Action: devote a section of your monthly team meeting to “turning ordinary into extraordinary”. Come up with ways to make your guests visits a true “experience”.
Over the past two weeks, I have received an unprecedented number of calls from dental auxiliaries upset that their doctors don’t appreciate them. They tell me that they are “bustin’ their butt” (exact words from two of them) and yet they get no recognition for the extra effort and, often, not even a Thank You!
My experience has shown that the #1 complaint from dental auxiliaries is not low pay, not boring work…rather, it is a perceived and widespread lack of acknowledgement for what they do and the above & beyond they invest in serving the patients and the practice.
I don’t know if there is something in the water or the unbelievably cold weather that has gripped our country this winter (except for Arizona and the west coast), but I do know this is a real issue in many dental offices.
One hygienist asked me to call her doctor and tell him how his team is about to mutiny on him if he doesn’t at least try to be grateful. When I spoke with this doctor he told me the following: “Hey, you can coach all you want, but these employees are getting the highest wages in the area. They work only four days a week and I pay for their continuing education and health care. That’s enough. They should know I’m grateful so this is a nuisance complaint.” While he is not a client but a friend, this is a real story.
So I have two questions for you:
- What advice would you give one of your friends if he/she responded this way?
- What ways do you recognize and acknowledge your team members that you are willing to share with my readers?
I bet you’ve seen the mass marketing guru’s, the practice management experts, and the social media wizards touting the importance of investing in all kinds of ways to promote and market your dental practice/business as we move into the New Year of 2014. It happens every year. Most of which involve “new programs and initiatives”, signing up for extended packages, and certainly involve substantial financial investments.
All too often we are convinced that we need to replace your current “stuff” with a host of “new stuff”…when in reality, through a simple and structured marketing plan, you can re-implement many of your low or no-cost initiatives that have been fun for you, your team and your guests…however, they were allowed to simply disappear and for no good reason.
I submit an alternative: Shop Your Current Dental Home. Consider the following steps:
- Walk through your office and look at every nook and cranny for forgotten items. Items such as sprucing up your Comfort Station in the reception room and stock it with flavored coffees and creamers – include juices, water and tea. Look in your closets for stored away and overlooked music headsets, neck pillows, lip balm, aromatherapy kits, your old towel warming unit, the Otis Spunkmeyer cookie baking oven, or your old paraffin wax spa hand treatment unit. Pull out the box of inexpensive toys and gifts purchased from the Dollar Store to give away to patients just for fun. What other forgotten patient-centered items could be shopped in your office? Think of it as a scavenger hunt for the entire team. Make it a game and offer prizes. This is marketing at its best to create your brand and to enhance the “connection” with your patients. This is about “touching” people through the smallest of intentions.
- Photograph all your items recently revived and put them on a Vision Board and have the entire team identify which are the top three patient-centered items you want to reinvigorate as part of your 2014 marketing initiatives. Assign a Champion to each initiative and establish your intentions, the outcome, a timeline, and a budget.
- Remove or eliminate any of the marketing ideas that no longer or never worked. Replace them with strategies that are focused on enhancing your patients experience with you, your team and your facility – many of which will be ideas that you once used, they worked, and are familiar but, for some unknown reason, we let them fade away. By modifying many of these old ideas (like finding furniture in another room of your house and covering it with a colorful throw and moving it into another place in the house) what was seemingly lost, is now fun, different and energizing.
Inspiring your team members to shop your business as a way to make your practice look different is a fun way to keep your business home feeling fresh and gives it new life. Not only is it cost effective and a team builder, it will help you feel like you have an energized practice and you just might appreciate what you currently have
As a follow up to last weeks post today I’d like to share lessons learned from Dr. Brunetti that can apply to your business or practice.
If they know your name…you have a BRAND.
Brand is an idea that you own in the mind of the market.
The Dr. Brunetti BRAND (replace with your name) is what the customer thinks!
What Do You Bring To The Party?
- What do you have that is UNIQUE? Or what are you doing that makes you stand out?
- How will you articulate that uniqueness well?
- What will you do to be relentless in making multiple, quality impressions?
Customers want relationships. Give it to them.
Best way to create a brand advantage – do one thing better than anyone on the planet.
- Stand out
- Declare your market
- Stick to it
- Dominate tightly defined markets
Branding is a matter of personality – wrap your personality around your business.
What brand does your image stir? How can you create your own BRUNETTI Brand?
Mr. Earl Nightingale in his legendary communication, The Strangest Secret in the World, said the following:
“Let’s take 100 men who start even at the age of 25. Do you have any idea what will happen to those men by the time they are 65? These 100 men who all start even at the age of 25 believe they’re going to be successful. If you asked any one of these men if he wanted to be a success, he’d tell you that he did, and you’d notice that he was eager toward life; that there was a certain sparkle to his eye, an erectness to his carriage, and life seemed like a pretty interesting adventure to him. But by the time they’re 65, one will be rich, four will be financially independent, five will still be working, 54 will be broke.“
Out of the 100, only five make the grade!
This same principle applies to dentists, entrepreneurs and business people. How do we become Distinctive and Stand Out from the other ninety-five percent? Most patients think a dentist is a dentist is a dentist. After all, they all went to “dentist” school! Intuitively they know there is a difference yet how do they make the distinction? With ObamaCare and PPO’s operating under the guise that you will be receiving “affordable care” that you deserve, every dentist will be obligated to be the same. These programs dictate fees, what is and is not a covered service, and what treatment your doctors will and will not be legitimately permitted to deliver to you. The reality is we are “dumbing down” the patient to accept mediocrity as the highest standard.
Here is the BIG question and a Team Meeting Exercise:
Rather than being Ho Hum like the ninety-five percent, how will you be distinctive? How will you be persistently and consistently different than mediocre? What are your orange shoes, orange tops and orange-lined gloves?
Have you seen groups of bike riders on the road that appear non-descript, they come up on you unexpectedly or are easily ignored? I fear that they are the folks who are candidates to be hit or injured by inattentive drivers.
Recently I have taken up bicycling as an adjunct to my 3-mile powerwalks in order to maintain my humpty dumpty physique. What I’ve decided to do in my bike-riding routine is to Stand Out!
I want people to notice me – not for my good looks or because I’m a world-class athlete, but rather to be different and distinctive.
I want to make a statement that “I am here” – “you can’t miss me” – because I want to be able to safely ride my bike for years to come. I don’t want to be victim on the side of the road.
As a consequence my bike-riding garb is officially orange shoes,orange tops and orange-lined gloves. I admit this outfit doesn’t make me faster but it certainly makes me Stand Out! No Ho Hum for me! I like Distinctive!
How do you stand out in your Dental Practice?
We all have patients/guests as well as our team members who have become very special to us. We must never, ever miss the opportunity to tell them how much we appreciate them at every opportunity, as we never know when that opportunity may never exist.
Who can you recognize and appreciate today?
“There is no such thing in anyone’s life as an unimportant day.” – Alexander Woollcott
I believe that feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. What present is in you to give? Please share below, or on my Facebook page.