Let me be very clear upfront: I am not in the business of making money by consulting you or coaching you about how to market your dental practice effectively. I am, however, happy to share some tidbits of information for FREE to those who are interested in improving their marketing efforts. I am a big proponent of developing a marketing strategy (which includes developing a strong brand and then communicating that brand message through various marketing communications). If you fail to plan, then you’ve already planned to fail!
So, with that said, I recently attended a seminar hosted by Laurie Slater of Fortune Management at a Hilton hotel in Vaughan last Friday. Laurie and the guest speaker, the electrifying Fred Joyal (co-founder of 1800Dentist in the U.S.), gave fantastic presentations about marketing your practice. And I don’t want to steal their thunder. But I do want to point out a thing or two which I picked up along the way which made me pause for thought.
Now, first thing’s first… get this book from Amazon right now:
This is Fred Joyal’s book and it basically contains everything you need to know to get started on marketing your practice.
Now, back to what I learned by listening to Laurie and Fred.
Dentistry is often seen as “maintenance” or a “utility”
The public’s perception of dentists and dental services isn’t very good. They don’t think there is much value. They fear going to the dentist (perhaps they’re embarrassed because they haven’t been there for a long time). They think the dentist is there to gouge them (profits > patients). They don’t want to pay the co-pay (if they have insurance). They basically are just going to the dentist to maintain their oral health. They don’t perceive going to the dentist as a health or wellness enhancer. And because of this, patients are reluctant to go to their dentist; and for those that do go, they expect to pay the least amount (nothing hopefully) of money. They perceive dentistry as a utility, not as a lifestyle enhancer. And for those things that they do perceive as lifestyle enhancers, they’re OK with paying for the best (e.g. nice suits, fancy purses, fast cars, flashy watches, etc.).
But Dentistry is all about Lifestyle Enhancement
Think about it. How much is a beautiful and bright smile worth? How much would someone pay to make the pain and discomfort in their mouth go away? Dentistry is a lifestyle enhancer. And Fred and Laurie pointed this out in their presentations. So the key here is for all dentists to be on the same page and communicate this message to the public over and over again as loud as possible: dentistry makes your life better! With a better and brighter smile (with no pain), you will look better, feel better, and good things will follow (e.g. relationships, jobs, money, etc.). As Fred Joyal pointed out in his presentation, we are a society that is obsessed with looks and attractiveness. And studies show that good-looking people receive better opportunities in the workplace vis-a-vis those who aren’t as attractive but who have better resumes!
In my next blog, I’ll talk about the idea of selling and packaging dentistry…