I read a great blog post from Seth Godin last week.
Titled Ad blocking the blog discussed how in business, the way to be successful is to stick to the age old fundamentals of growth.
The first four of these fundamentals were indeed “Home Truths” when it comes to building a business, any business, and are just as applicable to both Dentistry and Dentistry today as they are to all businesses.
So please, don’t let me hear you say:
“But Dentistry is different.”
Because running a Dental Office is still business.
Do it badly, and you’ll be out of business, closing down, and your patients will need to find another Dental Practice to attend.
So here are those four key fundamentals, along with my Dental Practice take on how they apply to the business of Dentistry.
The best marketing isn’t advertising, it’s a well-designed and remarkable product.
You can’t advertise your way to success if you have a poor product.
Your product has to support your advertising claims.
If the product’s no good, then the advertising is not going to resurrect the product.
In Dentistry, you need to walk the walk as well as talk the talk.
You need to be providing good dentistry with good service to keep people coming back.
If your service is lousy, if you’re not schmoozing and WOWing your clients and customers, then patients will simply leave your Dental office and take their business elsewhere.
Why do they need to put up with *YOUR* bad service?
I’m always alarmed when Dentists make contact with me and tell me that they need more new patients.
Why do they need more new patients?
Aren’t they keeping their existing patients?
If these Dentists have been in business a while, then they should have built up a core group of loyal patrons and patients who are happy to come to the Dentist and happy to accept recommended treatments and happy to refer their loved ones and friends.
So why do they need more new patients?
Something is obviously not computing….
The best way to contact your users is by earning the privilege to contact them, over time.
Bombarding your customers the moment you acquire them is a sure way of turning them off of you.
You need to build trust, and sometimes the building of trust takes time.
Occasionally we can sell treatment straight off the bat to new patients, but often, there’s a “getting to know you” period that needs to be negotiated through.
It’s amazing how much mutual trust is built with long-term patients over time.
These patients are the true core of your Dental Practice.
Growing the size of this core of true believers should be every Dentist’s aim.
But it does take time….
Making products for your customers is far more efficient than finding customers for your products.
This point relates totally to your Customer Service Systems.
A well thought out complete system of providing Exceptional World Class Customer Service for your patients will keep them as loyal fans.
It is far more efficient and far more cost effective to be keeping and holding onto existing patients than to constantly be chasing new patients for your practice.
Existing patients already love you and trust you.
Chasing after new patients often results in us neglecting our existing patients.
And it is these neglected patients that leave and take their business elsewhere, because of our apathy towards them.
Horizontally spread ideas (person to person) are far more effective than top-down vertical advertising.
When people are talking about your practice, your Dental Office, your business, in a positive way, then that’s a far more effective means of advertising than simply throwing money at regular top-down marketing.
We’ve all made recommendations to our friends, such as good movies to see, and great places to eat.
And it’s the same for great service, even at the Dentist.
Word of mouth is very powerful.
In summary, keeping patients by WOWing them and providing them with World Class Customer Service makes far more business sense. Ignoring existing patients, so that they leave you, and then spending up big on advertising and chasing after new patients just doesn’t seem logical.
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